Perfect fall

sprouts 1So it’s fall.
So let’s see…the baby is on me to get fifteen pumpkins that she thinks we are going to carve every single one of, and my son is on me to buy gourds that are shaped like his private parts so he can crack jokes.
My pool will maybe get closed before the first snowfall. Maybe. And only because my father is awesome like that.
The bins of clothes are everywhere as I try to do the switch out from summer. Nothing fits my teenage daughter, so it’s either she wears my clothes (which may kill her) or she gets a new wardrobe (which certainly will kill me).
The yard is full of leaves that I will never rake, spiders are coming in to the house flaring up my phobia, Oktoberfest beers are stocked in my fridge so I can be drunk on a moment’s notice and my house smells like a pumpkin pie even when I’m not baking one (thank you Yankee Candle). Hooray for fall.
Fall food is the best. I suck at grilling most things. Corn I can do, and I make a few desserts that are grilled, mostly to impress my friends not because I like grilling, and occasionally I make a steak that is good and rare. Everything else…blah…I suck. I guess I need a man for that (sigh).
So I welcome this time of year. I cook good shit in fall and it gets me ready for holidays when I cook awesome shit.
So here is my big first fall recipe to share. I love brussel sprouts. It must just be a thing that comes with age. Kids look at them and throw up in their mouths, adults have learned that you can enjoy them, especially since modern cooking has gotten away from boiled, soggy sprouts and given way to crispy, roasted and sautéed recipes.

sprouts 4 This is one of my favorites. It is easy and flavorful with a maple Dijon dressing. Plus it looks as awesome as it tastes. Promise.sprouts 3

Roasted Brussel Sprout Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette (adapted from Williams Sonoma)

1 cup toasted chopped pecans (I drizzle with honey and a little cayenne pepper and salt and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes)
¼ cup olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
4 pounds of Brussel sprouts, stems trimmed, halved and shredded (you can use a food processor, I cut the stem and rough bottom and half them, and then finely slice)
1 cup dried sour cherries (or dried cranberries would be fine)
1 cup cooked crispy bacon chopped
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons of whole grain mustard
6 tablespoons of pure maple syrup (NOT aunt Jemima’s)

Preheat to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray with cooking spray. Roast shredded Brussel sprouts with a drizzle of olive oil and a heavy sprinkle of salt for approximately 30 minutes. Do not over do the olive oil, you do not want them wet and greasy. They should be drier and crispy some of them golden in color. Let them cool to room temperature before assembling.
In a small bowl whisk together cider vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, maple syrup and salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the ¼ cup of olive oil, taste and reseason with salt if you think it is necessary.sprouts 2 Place Brussel sprouts, cherries and pecans in a bowl and add half the dressing. Toss gently adding more dressing as needed. Sprinkle bacon on top to serve.

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