Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Playing Chopped in the Kitchen

Hi Crushers!

As you know, I'm in love with the Food Network. One of my favorite shows is "Chopped". I could watch this all the time. I am always amazed at how the chefs on this show problem solve. "This is too sweet; it needs something bitter." "We'll grill this to bring out the smokey flavors." "Let's make a sauce from candy we've never heard of!" It's amazing.

On Sunday night, I looked in my fridge and realized I had some brussel sprouts that needed to be used up. Time for a chopped challenge right in my own kitchen! What to do with brussel sprouts that will keep the integrity of the vegetable and yet use them in a new and interesting way. Challenge accepted!

OK, so I think that brussel sprouts are less "sprout" and more "baby cabbage looking veggie". What do you make with cabbage? Hint: we were having pulled pork sandwiches for dinner. What's a great side for this BBQ sandwich? Coleslaw!

Now, brussel sprouts can be kind of bitter, so I decided to haul out my food processor and add some sweeter veggies to balance the brussel sprouts. I [very carefully] put the slicing blade on the food processor and started tossing in carrots, onion and green peppers. When I made the dressing, I took care to think of what would be tangy, but not over-powering. There are staples like sour cream, vinegar, pepper and such, but how about some mustard? Mix, taste and be prepared to start over!

Overall, it turned out great. The only thing is that we have A LOT of coleslaw. Fortunately, it's a pretty versatile side dish and it's got tons of vitamins and nutrients. I used the "low fat" kind of mayo and sour cream, so it's not even that bad for you. So good...
Colorful, tasty and good for you! Trifecta of an awesome side dish.

Brussel Sprout Coleslaw
1 lb. Brussel sprouts, washed and trimmed
1 1/2 medium green pepper, unseeded
4 medium-large carrots, peeled
1/2 medium onion (I wish I had had green onions, but the chefs on Chopped have to use what's in their basket!)

Dressing ingredients:
2/3 cup sour cream (I used the low fat kind)
1/3 cup mayonnaise (I used Hellmann's low fat kind)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp pepper (or more if you really like it)

Gear you'll need: Either a food processor or a sharp knife for chopping, a LARGE bowl, measuring cups and spoons

Mix all of the dressing ingredients in the bowl (no need to make a separate bowl dirty). You could mix them in a different bowl so that you could measure out how much dressing you want, but trust me, this is just enough to coat everything without having a puddle of dressing.

Get your food processor ready to slice! Carefully assemble everything without cutting yourself (otherwise, please see my kitchen first aid post here). Make sure that you have cut your veggies into chunks that will fit in the feeder tube. Then turn it on and start loading the feeder tube with your veggies for slicing. With the carrots, I actually switched the blades to the grater one. It made really nice long strips of carrots.
Tip: If you don't have a food processor or mandolin, just take a large, sharp knife and start chopping up your veggies into small, long strips or just dice the onion finely. 
When it's all sliced, dump all of the veggies in the bowl with the dressing and mix. It's so easy! The carrots and green peppers are sweet enough balance the brussel sprouts and the lemon juice gives it a nice zing. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

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