Shaved Brussels Sprout Christmas Salad + A Cookbook Giveaway

You might be a bit confused. No, I don’t celebrate Christmas. I don’t really celebrate anything. Culturally, I connect more to Judaism and will use any excuse to make matzo balls or latkes or devour a big plate of gefilte fish. I’d consider myself more of a secular Jew, one who connects to the community and its general principles, but I don’t believe in a higher power. At least I don’t give it much thought.

But now that I’ve explained that… let’s get back to Christmas. While I don’t celebrate it, my mother in law does. Sort of. Like my own mom, she loves any reason to have her family home for a big dinner. Nothing religious about it, though there is a beautifully decorated tree and some stockings hanging in her living room.  Last year, there were 20 people over for dinner and I had just come across this beautiful Brussels sprout salad from Green Kitchen Stories.  As soon as I looked at the bowl, I knew I was going to replicate it the following Christmas.  I mean, look at these ingredients.  All of my seasonal favorites… fresh citrus, Brussels sprouts, pomegranates, hazelnuts. So many things to love.

I’m not terribly surprised that some of my favorite recipes from this year happen to be creations from David and Louise of Green Kitchen Stories. This summer, I went a little crazy for their potato salad recipe in their cookbook, Vegetarian Everyday. I feel like a giveaway would be a great way to wrap up 2013… and I just adore their cookbook, so I’m going to give away a copy to one lucky A Thought For Food reader.

Here’s how to enter to win a copy of Vegetarian Everyday:

Leave a comment on this post… it can be anything, but I’d love to hear what your favorite dishes were from this year.

Additional entry: Tweet the following and then come back and leave a comment telling us you’ve done so - 

“Check out this Brussels Sprout Salad and giveaway of the @gkstories cookbook over at @myfoodthoughts -

Rules: This giveaway will end on Friday, December 27, 2013 at 12:00 PM EST.  I’ll pick 1 winner via and that person will be contacted via e-mail.  Two entries per person (one comment, one Tweet) and entrants must have a US mailing address (sorry international friends) and provide a valid email address. Best of luck!

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DanielleDecember 17, 2013 - 4:56 pm

I have such a short-term memory but one recipe we’ve repeated a lot is Vegan Kale Salad with Roasted Chickpeas. Yum!

sowmyaDecember 17, 2013 - 5:20 pm

This salad looks delicious :)
If I had to pick only one, Singapore Noodles is my all time fav ..

Emily RDecember 17, 2013 - 5:24 pm

We took a Thai cooking class earlier this year and one of our favorite dishes that we continue to replicate from the class is red curry with vegetables. Another favorite on our weekday repertoire was the roasted eggplant and chickpeas dish from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook.

Bianca @ Sweet DreamingDecember 17, 2013 - 5:41 pm

spaghetti squash casserole was my go-to dish this year! and probably next year too!

TieghanDecember 17, 2013 - 10:56 pm

This is stunning! A must make wether you celebrate Christmas or not!

Becca FDecember 17, 2013 - 11:13 pm

I love sweet potatoes anything!

TracyDecember 18, 2013 - 12:41 am

So many great things were eaten this year. But I just made a farro salad with cranberries and goat cheese from Tasty Kitchen that was fabulous.

TracyDecember 18, 2013 - 12:43 am
Yoojin LeeDecember 18, 2013 - 1:13 am

i’ve been playing in the kitchen with pomegranate lately because it’s in season, and i loooove how bright it makes everything (in flavor and color)! i especially love it on green as a big contrast and holiday feel :)

Jenny @ BAKEDecember 18, 2013 - 3:02 am

what a gorgeous colourful salad!

Sarah H.P.December 18, 2013 - 8:52 am

My favorite dish this year was a slow cooker roast pork I made!

Emily RDecember 18, 2013 - 8:53 am

One of the best things I cooked all year was a White Bean Caesar Salad with Herbed Garlic Bread from Sandra Lee, of all people!

(And I’m not the same Emily R who commented above, just to clarify.)

MalgosiaDecember 18, 2013 - 9:19 am


sarahDecember 18, 2013 - 10:03 am

I love this Christmas salad! I’ve eaten my fill of chocolate and cookies already; this looks perfect. Thanks for the chance to win! This book is on my wish list.

Katrina @ WVSDecember 18, 2013 - 10:17 am

This salad is truly perfect. Love it!

Elissa HDecember 18, 2013 - 10:57 am

Looking forward to trying this salad, what a nice way to balance out all the rich Christmas foods!

DeenaDecember 18, 2013 - 11:10 am

This year I made the boozy cranberry sauce from Avery Cooks and it was a big hit. :)

Jeanette ~ Jeanette's Healthy LivingDecember 18, 2013 - 11:42 am

Love the holiday colors in this beautiful winter salad!

Hilary LDecember 18, 2013 - 12:02 pm

This salad is right up my food alley! Looking back over the year, I would have to say that I have been on a consistent salad kick but it has to involve a red wine dressing! I can’t get enough!!

EileenDecember 18, 2013 - 2:41 pm

What a vibrant & beautiful salad! I love the idea of combining dark winter greens with acidic fruit. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

ChristinaDecember 18, 2013 - 5:27 pm

Anything with sherry vinegar – it’s my fave.

KateDecember 18, 2013 - 10:44 pm

Your photos are always so stunning, Brian. I wouldn’t have thought to use brussels sprouts as a base for a citrus salad, but I’m kind of obsessed with the idea now. I don’t have a copy of Green Kitchen Story’s book yet, either!

JillianDecember 18, 2013 - 10:49 pm

Vegetarian Everyday is already on my wish list! My favorite dish this year has got to be the Spaghetti Squash and Zucchini Casserole from the True Food cookbook.

JoanneDecember 19, 2013 - 7:02 am

We celebrate in a very non-religious way also…it’s mostly all about the food and the gifts! And I guess, you know. Family time. :P I LOVE this salad! Full of fresh beautiful ingredients. Now if only I could get the.boy to like brussels sprouts.

I’ve had Vegetarian Everyday on my wish list for ages! Favorite dish this year…whoa that’s hard. Hmm. Probably anything I’ve made from Ottolenghi.

RDecember 19, 2013 - 8:01 am

This sounds so fabulous! Will def make tonight

JasonDecember 19, 2013 - 11:38 am

I have really been into making all sorts of different stuffed grilled bell peppers! So easy, so awesome! Thanks for the chance!

JasonDecember 19, 2013 - 11:39 am
Sara @ Cake Over SteakDecember 19, 2013 - 2:08 pm

I think one of my favorite dishes from this year is the kale and goat cheese salad from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Thanks for doing this giveaway!

DessertForTwoDecember 19, 2013 - 2:09 pm

This salad is absolutely stunning. My favorite dish this year? As in, favorite dish ever? Hmm…I ate a lot of Otsu this year (the recipes is from 101 cookbooks).

Sara @ Cake Over SteakDecember 19, 2013 - 2:10 pm

I tweeted! :-)

meredithDecember 19, 2013 - 8:33 pm

My favorite meal was my mom’s awesome butternut squash soup and pumpernickle rolls

meredithDecember 19, 2013 - 8:33 pm

I tweeted!

alison @ Ingredients, Inc.December 19, 2013 - 8:45 pm

fabulous looking Christmas salad!

MerylDecember 19, 2013 - 10:50 pm

Thanks for the giveaway!

MonetDecember 19, 2013 - 11:30 pm

What a lovely giveaway Brian. You are always so thoughtful in your posts and your prizes :) This would truly be a great gift to receive! As for favorite dishes? Goodness…I would have to say that Ryan and I both fell in love with a Sesame Ramen recipe we found in an old cookbook. Perfect for our cool Colorado nights. Hugs and love to you and your sweet family.

Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)December 20, 2013 - 2:43 pm

You’ve totally distracted me from even the thought of Christmas with this stunning salad. I love everything about it!! Especially the hazelnuts. Must make this.

KatieDecember 20, 2013 - 9:15 pm

That salad looks amazing – I need to try it! Favorite dish of the year is probably a simple baked potato soup recipe that I’ve been loving in this cold weather.

CarolsueDecember 21, 2013 - 2:01 am

I think I left my comment in the wrong place…

I just discovered a recipe for Snickerdoodle Fudge that was amazing! So I guess that….along with the normal stuff like roast turkey and baked ham.

CarolsueDecember 21, 2013 - 2:02 am
Carolsue AndersonDecember 21, 2013 - 7:01 am

I just discovered a recipe for Snickerdoodle Fudge that was amazing! So I guess that….along with the normal stuff like roast turkey and baked ham.

AdriDecember 21, 2013 - 10:28 am

What a lovely salad. With the varying testures and bright flavor of the pomegranate and orange, I bet it is quite refreshing. Bravo!

Marjorie Wong MishkinDecember 21, 2013 - 2:08 pm

Love anything with pomegranate.

Carol Ross BaumannDecember 21, 2013 - 5:17 pm

Looks yummy

Carol Ross BaumannDecember 21, 2013 - 5:20 pm

The potato salad is outstanding.

FayeDecember 21, 2013 - 6:43 pm

Probably my favorite dish this year was a Cuban roast pork with some really good Cuban black beans.

Marleen ValdesDecember 21, 2013 - 6:59 pm

I know your mom so I live when u mention her!

debDecember 22, 2013 - 9:43 am

Definitely making this! Printing it now for my collection!
My fav recipe of the year is Shanghainese sauce from Richard Wong’s “Modern Asian flavors.” I use it midweek on wok cooked anything from chicken and veggies to bok choy and tofu. So easy and so flavorful!

Stacey MDecember 22, 2013 - 11:34 pm

I think my favorite would have to be this one.

beverly thorntonDecember 23, 2013 - 10:03 am

Love your blog fresh photo shots are inspirational.The beauty is in your sharing with us.Please enter this in your giveaway.Thank you.Bev

SarahDecember 23, 2013 - 3:17 pm

This year, my favorite recipe was a blueberry jam. I learned how to can this year, and it’s already a favorite.

SarahDecember 23, 2013 - 3:24 pm

I tweeted the comment above. I also realized that I was not following you on Twitter. I have rectified that error. :-)

jerin merinaDecember 26, 2013 - 1:02 am

I have needed some quick recipes. This sounds delicious. Thank you for the recipe!

LindsayDecember 26, 2013 - 9:22 am

I learned to love kale this year!

Lindsay BonnettDecember 26, 2013 - 9:24 am

I tweeted: “Check out this Brussels Sprout Salad and giveaway of the @gkstories cookbook over at @myfoodthoughts –“

itziaDecember 26, 2013 - 10:25 am

I enjoyed sweet potatoes this year

itziaDecember 26, 2013 - 10:27 am
Danielle JonesDecember 27, 2013 - 3:58 am

I made a veggie lasagna using zucchini for the noodles. It was very good.

AaronDecember 27, 2013 - 10:24 am

Any recipes with Brussels sprouts were great for us this year.

MichelleDecember 27, 2013 - 8:28 pm

Browned butter was something I’ve enjoyed this year! Thanks for the giveaway!

Sweet Potato Creme Brulee

I recently had to explain to a friend the crazy world of blogging. I’d gone over to her shop to shoot (and “use her” to help me eat) a sweet potato creme brûlée recipe, which I’d prepared for a blog post. More specifically, it was for a virtual baby shower for a fellow blogger. When I told her what this whole thing was for, she gave me a funny look. A virtual baby shower?  For a blogger… a blogger you’ve never met? Yup. That’s right. We’re crazy. And awesome.

Most of us started blogs not just because we love food, but because we wanted to share our life experiences, both good and bad, with others. I don’t think any of us expected that complete strangers would read our posts.  It was all about keeping our friends and family updated on what’s going on in our lives.  But then others found our sites and commented on posts… and a community was formed.

I really have no idea how I first started chatting with Bev (the creator of the site BevCooks).  It was through our blogs though that we connected; leaving comments, often humorous, on each other’s posts.  I adore Bev’s sense of humor… often laced with sexual undertones.  Our banter is pretty fantastic.  These brief conversations soon turned into the occasional e-mail to check in to see how the other person was doing.  And, earlier this year, I thought I’d reach out to her to see if she’d be up for doing a guest post for the cocktail blog, The Boys Club.  She responded immediately, explaining that she wouldn’t be able to do a post at the time… not because she didn’t want to, but because she had been trying to get pregnant.  So, no booze for her.

That was in the spring and, not long after, I got word that she was preggers. With twins. A boy and a girl. Yay for happy endings!

So, here we are! A group of us bloggers got together to throw this crazy woman a little online baby shower.  Now, if you could keep this a secret, that’d be great… but I spiked these bad boys with bourbon.  Sure, you could leave it out if you wanted… but everything’s better with a splash of bourbon in it.  At least that’s what I think.

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JennDecember 10, 2013 - 3:28 am

This is such a creative idea, I love it! What an awesome sounding dish, and I think the bourbon sounds perfect :)

Glazed Dulce De Leche Pound CakeDecember 10, 2013 - 4:04 am

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Sarah | The Sugar HitDecember 10, 2013 - 4:55 am

Seriously, sweet potato creme brulee? HOW have I never seen this before?? It looks freaking amazing! And congrats to Bev. The blogging community is the best.

Belinda@themoonblushbakerDecember 10, 2013 - 5:27 am

Yay for sweet potato love. I have done ice cream, buns, chips, donuts all in sweet potato but never creme brulee!

I can only imagine how creamy this is. What a wonderful tribute to your friend Bev.

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autumnDecember 10, 2013 - 7:01 am

Brian, I love this! It looks fantastic and such a welcome, unique take on a classic.

Lemon Risotto Tarts with Pea PureeDecember 10, 2013 - 7:38 am

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Katrina @ WVSDecember 10, 2013 - 8:30 am

This seriously looks perfect! I love the flavour!

shelly (cookies and cups)December 10, 2013 - 8:41 am

This is the perfect combination of flavors I never knew I needed!

Liz @ The Lemon BowlDecember 10, 2013 - 9:24 am

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more beautiful photo of a cooked sweet potato.

Averie @ Averie CooksDecember 10, 2013 - 9:42 am

Brian this is gorgeous! I just ate a huge sweet potato last night. I should have made this with it! Pinned

Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)December 10, 2013 - 10:03 am

I can almost taste this just looking at the pictures! Almost being the operative word, haha. Such a great idea! And I’ve been loving all of these virtual baby shower posts this morning–she must be feeling the love like woh :)

Aimee @ Simple BitesDecember 10, 2013 - 10:10 am

Brian, I am making a plan to skip appys and salads and head straight for dessert at this baby shower. You in? Oh, we’ll need a drink, too. ;)

Seriously though, this virtual sweet table rocks. I LOVE your contribution – it’s both creative and sophisticated. Kinda like you.

Happy Holidays – let’s party!!

DessertForTwoDecember 10, 2013 - 10:20 am

Wow, so gorgeous!

It was nice celebrating with you :)

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Bev @ Bev CooksDecember 10, 2013 - 10:49 am

Aaaaaand I’m dying.

A) This is fabulously gorgeous and I LOVE creme brulees. I’m seriously going to make this. I better do it soon before I birth two humans and never cook again.

B) You’re SO sweet to be a part of this amazing surprise! I’m a teary hormonal mess. It’s wonderful.

C) SEXUAL UNDERTONES?! I’m laughing so hard! You thiiiiink they’re sexual undertones. I’m really just a shy little girl. Okay that’s a lie.

thank you thank you! xoxoxo!

Heather || Heather's DishDecember 10, 2013 - 3:56 pm

Your photos are always so stunning, but I LOOOOOOOOVEEEEEEEE the one with the skin coming off the sweet potato. I can literally feel and smell it just from that one shot!

Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and HealthDecember 10, 2013 - 4:00 pm

so decadent.

Cinthea MartinsenDecember 10, 2013 - 4:17 pm

I’m thinking this recipe should lend itself well to pumpkin too! I love sweet potatoes, and will definitely try it as written (minus bourbon) but right this minute I’m in a pumpkin state of mind!

naomiDecember 10, 2013 - 4:37 pm

This is absolutely to die-for!!

ShainaDecember 10, 2013 - 8:49 pm

I love the splash of bourbon in these! Absolutely gorgeous, Brian!

TieghanDecember 10, 2013 - 9:20 pm

This is gorgeous, Brian!! Wow, I am wishing this would just magically appear in front of me! :)

JulieDDecember 10, 2013 - 9:26 pm

Wow, I’m blown away by this! So gorgeous!! LOVE IT!

brandiDecember 10, 2013 - 9:27 pm

this is so beautiful! almost too pretty to eat….almost.

MeganDecember 10, 2013 - 9:55 pm

Bev and Brulee – two words that just go together! This is heavenly and so fitting for our favorite girl!

Susan PolkDecember 10, 2013 - 11:28 pm

It would be super helpful to have a measured quantity or raw weight for the baked sweet potato. Some are huge, others not, and I think that proportions could really be skewed.

Lisa [With Style & Grace]December 10, 2013 - 11:51 pm

Oh yeah. This is just gorgeous. It’s too bad this wasn’t a real shower so I could stick my face in this. I mean try it.

Laurie {Simply Scratch}December 11, 2013 - 12:09 am

These look amazing. I just love when my spoon breaks through that sugar crust… I’m seriously dying over here!

Kathy - Panini HappyDecember 11, 2013 - 12:42 am

I must concur – sweet potatoes are definitely better with bourbon. :-) This dish sounds incredible…and seasonal!

Double Chocolate Panini | Panini Happy®December 11, 2013 - 1:38 am

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Simple Apple Pear Tarts | Daisy At HomeDecember 11, 2013 - 11:42 am

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the KitchenDecember 11, 2013 - 9:38 pm

Everything is better with a little splash of booze, wish I had this for dessert tonight!

JoanneDecember 12, 2013 - 7:36 am

Oh. man. This community really is a crazy awesome thing. But this brulee might even be crazy awesome-er. For real.

aida mollenkampDecember 12, 2013 - 11:13 am

Um, what are you talking about with this awesomeness? I want one of these for breakfast!

Sommer@ASpicyPerspectiveDecember 12, 2013 - 9:02 pm

So dreamy Brian. Mmmm!

alison @ Ingredients, Inc.December 12, 2013 - 9:50 pm

too fabulous for words

AggieDecember 12, 2013 - 11:00 pm

I love that you spiked it with bourbon :) this looks so amazing!

And yes we are quite the awesome community of bloggers aren’t we? It’s pretty darn fantastic if you ask me. Happy Holidays Brian!! xo

Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabblesDecember 13, 2013 - 12:26 am

This sounds sooooooo good. Creme brulee is a huge weakness for me, and this one is definitely intriguing me!

Gerry @ foodnessgraciousDecember 13, 2013 - 12:42 am

I usually always will pick creme Brulee in a restaurant. since I began blogging I’ve met some of the best people I can easily relate to :)

CarolynDecember 13, 2013 - 7:26 am

That might be the most perfect looking brulee topping I’ve ever seen!

TidyMomDecember 13, 2013 - 9:09 am

This recipe has my name all over it!

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Cindy MartinDecember 14, 2013 - 5:33 am

Bev is the bomb! What a great idea to have a virtual baby shower!

Currently Crushing On. | How Sweet It IsDecember 14, 2013 - 6:19 am

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sippitysupDecember 14, 2013 - 9:57 pm

Happy baby. Happy post. I grew up with sweet potato pie and this is a more sophisticated version of all that love. GREG

MonetDecember 15, 2013 - 11:58 pm

This looks beautiful Brian, and what a great way to celebrate Bev and her little ones! So much love here. And even though I normally don’t love creme brulee, this looks fabulous! I would take two, maybe even three! (you can tell I’m hungry tonight!)

Honey What's CookingDecember 17, 2013 - 9:12 pm

This looks so delicious. I have never seen a sweet potato creme bruelee. Very innovative. I see everyone is giving Bev a virtual baby shower. Very sweet.

ChristineDecember 18, 2013 - 7:01 pm

Wow, that is quite the menu…who gets to keep the leftovers;)

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Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Currants

I forgot that the arrival of winter means that I want to eat everything in sight.  Oh, and that I have zero interest in going to the gym. Yeah, it’s not good. Thankfully, between walking the dog and needing to get out to go to a variety of gigs, most of which result in me lugging around a massive bag of equipment and props, I get a little bit of exercise here and there.  But, oh gosh, if I could stay inside all day, I would.  And it doesn’t help that I’ve done a couple of shoots for a local chocolate company, which means that I’m left home alone with these dark treats that just won’t stop calling my name.

I have been trying to keep the foods in our house on the lighter side. Healthy (though hearty) soups and stews. Roasted root veggies. Big bowls of quinoa.  I’ve never been fond of really heavy and fattening dishes this time of year, but I do want to be left satisfied.

Last week, I roasted a head of cauliflower and proceeded to eat the whole thing. It’s not just cauliflower, though. Give me a bunch of beets… I’ll boil and dress them, sprinkle a little goat cheese on top and that’ll be my dinner. Strange, right?

It may not be easy to see the simple pleasure of a bowl of cauliflower, but it has a lot going for it.  A bit of sweetness comes through when roasted and just a few additions really make this something special.

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Praveen @awesomecuisineDecember 4, 2013 - 8:23 am

I love cauliflower and this looks quite good.

TieghanDecember 4, 2013 - 9:03 am

Oh my gosh, you should see it here today. It is a stay in side kind of day. Full winter snow storm. Roads closed and lot of pretty white snow falling! I kind of love it!

As do I love this cauliflower! Sounds so good!

Sandy @ REDecember 4, 2013 - 9:17 am

I can just taste this with Trader Joe’s dried blueberries, too. Fantastic, Brian! Hope you’re having a great week!

Lail | With A SpinDecember 4, 2013 - 9:40 am

This sounds wonderfully flavorful and delicious.

Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and HealthDecember 4, 2013 - 10:20 am

absolutely love roasted cauliflower and will be trying this new twist :)

LirenDecember 4, 2013 - 11:00 am

I feel your pain! I’m actually dressed for the gym but seriously considering ditching it – there is too much to do, too many deadlines, and much too much food involved :) When it comes to eating, all I want are foods like this, so I don’t blame you for eating the whole thing!!

naomiDecember 4, 2013 - 11:24 am

You are not alone. Winter turns me into an eater too. I love this simple dish!

EileenDecember 4, 2013 - 1:14 pm

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with eating everything in sight–especially if what’s in sight is a plate of this amazing-looking roasted cauliflower! NOM. :)

Joshua HamptonDecember 4, 2013 - 1:49 pm

I love the simplicity of this dish. The cauliflower looks beautiful. And I think we need moments of simplicity every now and then in this season of feasting.

Bev @ Bev CooksDecember 4, 2013 - 2:13 pm

This is exactly what winter eating is for me, too. Well, add cheese.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla SugarDecember 4, 2013 - 8:18 pm

haha I totally understand wanting to stay inside all day! And with a big bowl of this comfort!!

MonetDecember 4, 2013 - 11:25 pm

Roasted cauliflower is amazingly good. We tried roasting it last year for the first time and we’re hooked. I can’t wait to try this variety. Don’t pine nuts make anything and everything better? Thank you for sharing! I hope you guys are doing well!

Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)December 5, 2013 - 6:41 am

Oh my, I wish I had been fed cauliflower like this when I was a kid!

Jeanette | Jeanette's Healthy LivingDecember 6, 2013 - 8:16 am

I have to say cauliflower was not a vegetable I liked growing up, but now I can’t get enough when it’s roasted as beautifully as you’ve done here. My kids even like it and I make it about once a week. Roasting definitely gets rid of the sulphur smell that I think turns so many people off.

Tess @ Tips on Healthy LivingDecember 6, 2013 - 2:31 pm

What a great way to incorporate cauliflower. Would you recommend also cooking this on the stove?

LauraDecember 6, 2013 - 2:43 pm

This is just the kind of thing I’ve been eating lately. Lots of roasty veg, good spice + flavour and tasty garnishes. I get lazy in the winter too. I just want to cozy up and cook and read. Once the holiday hubbub is out of the way, I’m going into full on nest mode. No shame.

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Currently Crushing On. | pinmepleaseDecember 7, 2013 - 9:01 pm

[...] roasted cauliflower with currants and pine nuts. love [...]

saraDecember 8, 2013 - 7:18 pm

So yummy! I love love love roasted cauliflower. :)

CarolynDecember 9, 2013 - 9:12 am

Not strange to me! Lately I’ve been making big batches of Brussels sprouts in browned butter and I will make a whole meal out of it.

ShainaDecember 10, 2013 - 2:07 pm

Roasted cauliflower is a favorite here. It’s become a weekly staple in the winter kitchen. I love the currants in this recipe.

anna @ annamayeverydayDecember 11, 2013 - 10:39 am

This looks so delicious, I know I would love this!

A Selection of Shots from Improper Bostonian Article

Oh… is Thanksgiving over?  Whoops!  Well, maybe you’d like these recipes as you gear up for your next holiday feast.

A few weeks ago, I photographed a spread for our local alternative magazine, the Improper Bostonian.  Featured are recipes from local chefs Jody Adams, Jeremy Sewall, Tiffani Faison, and Lydia Shire.

Click here to check out some more pics and get the recipes.

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MonetDecember 1, 2013 - 11:10 pm

Beautiful Brian. You are so talented. Truly an artist. I love visiting your blog because it makes me think of you (such a lovely and warm person) and it inspire me (your photographs are works of art). Thank you for sharing! Here’s to a wonderful first week of December!

Bev @ Bev CooksDecember 2, 2013 - 8:21 am

I LOVE it all. Even that scary fish. I love it.

naomiDecember 2, 2013 - 12:06 pm

Beautiful as always, Brian. Of course–I would love the scary fish best!! :)

JulieDDecember 2, 2013 - 2:51 pm

Love love!! :) It’s so beautiful!! Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!!

JoanneDecember 3, 2013 - 6:53 am

Gorgeous! So much of thanksgiving food is pretty brown and beige but your photos are popping with color!

Sommer @ ASpicyPerspectiveDecember 3, 2013 - 9:12 am

Gorgeous photos, Brian!

[...] Stuffed Cabbage [...]

Cranberry and Kumquat Sauce and A Thanksgiving Cocktail

You know those foods that leave a lasting impression?  The ones where you remember your first introduction… the exact place and time you had your first bite and exactly how it tasted and smelled?  Well, I had this with kumquats. Yes… kumquats. It was at the office of a documentary production company I had just started interning with (and would later work for) and one of my fellow interns was always bringing in foods I’d never heard of.  One day she brought in a bag of kumquats and I was amused by their shape.  What are those? What do they taste like?  She was quick to offer me one, explaining to slowly sink my teeth into the peel before continuing into the flesh. I did as instructed. Oh, it’s sweet. Oh, it’s tart! Oh, I want another!

This may or may not come as a surprise, but the inspiration for this sauce stemmed from a cocktail recipe I started working on a few weeks ago.  My mother in law, a cranberry sauce lover (she makes it all year long… not just around the holidays), left a container of her’s at our apartment and, after tasting a spoon, I thought it’d be fun to incorporate it into a drink.  I wanted to keep it refreshing, so I went with gin, a bit of Aperol, some lemon juice and a little simple syrup to sweeten it up (despite what many cranberry sauce recipes say, the less sugar you add the better. Tart is the way to go).

I made this sauce for our Friendsgiving dinner last weekend and it was a huge hit… not as a side dish, but in the drink we served with appetizers.  Either way, folks will be pleased.  I mean, how can you go wrong with booze?

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Jeanne @ CooksisterNovember 27, 2013 - 7:31 am

Haha – I remember my first kumquat too – my older sister gave me one as a kid, mostly to see my confusion as I bit into it!! Gotta love older siblings… I am in love with this sauce, but I am even more in love with the cocktail you describe!

CarolynNovember 27, 2013 - 9:49 am

What a great twist on cranberry sauce. And you are welcome to make me one of those libations any time!

NaomiNovember 27, 2013 - 10:18 am

I love kumquats and cranberries so this is a winner for sure- cocktail first though! :)

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla SugarNovember 27, 2013 - 3:12 pm

This is definitely perfect for the holidays. Love the flavour!

Jeanette | Jeanette's Healthy LivingNovember 27, 2013 - 4:52 pm

Love how pretty your cranberry kumquat sauce looks – my mom used to preserve kumquats but I haven’t used them before. I’m sure they must make a festive Thanksgiving cocktail. Happy Thanksgiving!

KaseyNovember 27, 2013 - 5:12 pm

Oh! I saw a very similar recipe in Bon Appetit, made with wine. Yours sounds intriguing. Aperol?! Yum. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!!

MonetNovember 27, 2013 - 11:22 pm

Goodness. What gorgeous flavors AND colors here. I would want to make it just so I could but that orange and deep maroon into one pot! And you can’t go wrong with a recipe inspired by a cocktail, can you? Thank you for sharing! I hope you and yours have a beautiful Thanksgiving tomorrow!

JoanneNovember 30, 2013 - 8:07 am

It’s probably a foodie bad on my part that I’ve never had kumquats. FOR SHAME. Even so, I kind of love the idea of them in cranberry sauce…and love even more that you mixed the cranberry sauce up into a drink! My leftovers have never seemed so appealing.

Kale and Shiitake Mushroom Bread Pudding

I’m not a stuffing fan. I mean, I don’t find it offensive or anything, but it’s not what I go for first. I’m much more into cranberry sauce and green beans and sweet potato casserole (who can resist those crispy marshmallows on top?). As I make my rounds at the Thanksgiving buffet, I’ll load up my plate with every other side, leaving only a small corner for stuffing.  I’ve just never been blown away.  But bread pudding… that I can get behind.  Something about the addition of heavy cream and eggs and cheese makes it more appealing.  The idea came to me as I sat down to develop a recipe for the McCormick Go4Gourmet campaign, in which I was asked to prepare something that included ground ginger, kale, shiitake mushrooms, and vegetable stock. You’d think coming up with a dish with those ingredients would be easy… but it wasn’t. I struggled for weeks.  It wasn’t until I brainstormed some ideas with Eric that this popped into my noggin.  And thank goodness… because it’s changed my view of what stuffing can be.

If I don’t see y’all before then, I want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving.  We’ll be staying in Massachusetts this year, which I’m kind of excited about. It’s exhausting traveling during the holidays… I’m looking forward to staying put for a few days.  Of course, I’ll miss my parents and sister and my nieces.  But I’m sure I’ll make it down there soon.

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Dearna @tohercoreNovember 20, 2013 - 1:57 am

I love a good savory bread pudding! This looks delicious :)

TieghanNovember 20, 2013 - 9:08 am

This savory pudding looks so good, Brian! I love kale and mushrooms, so it is perfect!

[...] out Brian Samuels’ gorgeous  Kale and Shiitake Mushroom Bread Pudding. A rich version laced with cream and [...]

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla SugarNovember 20, 2013 - 3:08 pm

This bread pudding truly looks perfect! Lovely recipe!

MonetNovember 20, 2013 - 11:28 pm

A savory bread pudding…now this sounds like the kind of dish I can sell my family on. We wanted to do a few new dishes this year but we’ve had a hard time agreeing on which ones. Clearly, this would be a winner. Thank you for sharing, sweet friend!

JoanneNovember 21, 2013 - 8:08 am

No one ever thinks to make vegetarian stuffing for me, and I have so many other things I love more, so I haven’t eaten it in YEARS. But the good thing about bread pudding is that you can eat it year-round without getting sideways glances. So this is happening.

Jeanette | Jeanette's Healthy LivingNovember 21, 2013 - 8:46 am

Love the idea of kale in this hearty bread pudding recipe – shiitake mushrooms are one of my favorites too – our local Asianstore sells them for a lot less than the supermarket.

Jen @ My Kitchen AddictionNovember 21, 2013 - 9:52 am

This is a gorgeous dish, Brian… I love the idea of a bread pudding instead of stuffing. I am not really a huge fan of stuffing either, with the exception of cornbread stuffing. Though, now you have me questioning the cornbread stuffing… How much more amazing could it be as a bread pudding? Hmmm… :)

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the KitchenNovember 22, 2013 - 5:24 am

This sounds way better than stuffing and a wonderful alternative to the traditional side.

CarolynNovember 22, 2013 - 9:46 am

Funny, I sort of think of stuffing as a savoury bread pudding like this. Whatever you call it, it looks delish!

Mallory @ Because I Like ChocolateNovember 22, 2013 - 5:36 pm

Mmmm mushrooms. I love shiitakes! This is a super great take on savoury bread pudding!

Marlene Heckman DanielsNovember 23, 2013 - 2:54 am

i have a question………which mixer paddle would you use to make mashed potatoes

sarahNovember 23, 2013 - 9:44 pm

Such beautiful photos, Brian! And this sounds amazing.
Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Russell at chasingdelicious.comNovember 25, 2013 - 2:46 pm

What a fantastic idea for a bread pudding! I love taking it in a savory direction.

Bev @ Bev CooksNovember 26, 2013 - 8:45 am

Why am I not cuddled up in that thang? UGH. So hot.

Lora @cakeduchessNovember 26, 2013 - 9:01 am

I just love this idea, Brian. I could eat this alone and forget every thing else. My favorite part of Thanksgiving is the stuffing:) Happy Thanksgiving to you, E and your family. xx

Alison LewisNovember 26, 2013 - 12:52 pm

this is my favorite recipe i have seen in a while!

Sommer @ ASpicyPerspectiveNovember 26, 2013 - 12:55 pm

So delicious, Brian! Love the flavor combo in this! Hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

ShainaDecember 2, 2013 - 11:36 am

My sweet potatoes have a praline top, but I’m with you on reaching for those before the soggy stuffing. This one, however, makes me want to redo Thanksgiving all over again.

[...] From A Though for Food: Kale and shitake mushroom bread pudding [...]