I am fully embracing wooly sweater and fuzzy sock season. My love for cozy fall things extends from my wardrobe to my menu choices. But before I give you the recipe for this comfort food with a stinky cheese twist, let me tell you how I came to possess five stalks of farm-fresh Brussels sprouts.
I was contacted by a blogging friend of mine. She excitedly filled me in on her new role promoting a Seattle based start-up that connects small and medium sized farms directly with consumers. The company is called Farmstr, and though they launched only a few months ago this web based company already has farmers and customers begging for the beta services to be expanded. My friend asked if I would like to take a few stalks of fresh Brussels sprouts in exchange for helping spread the word about Farmstr. The more I learned about Farmstr the more excited I became to share it with you so I happily accepted the sprouts and here we are.
Not all small and medium sized farms are able to sell all their produce to area retailers, have stalls at farmers’ markets, or contribute to CSA (community supported agriculture) programs. Farmstr provides a place for these farms to reach customers directly without a middle man. Farmers list their fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, honey or any other products.
Here’s how Farmstr works: Farmers (and other sellers) create a profile on the site and write a description of their product including variety, unit size, number of units available, price, and drop off location. Customers browse the site (or sign-up for a weekly email) and find the deals they are interested in. Payment is processed through the Farmstr site so no money changes hands at the time of drop-off/pick-up.
The service Farmstr is providing brings farm fresh local, organic food to customers in an entirely new way that saves both the seller and buyer time and money. For example these Brussels sprouts were planted by Rents Due Ranch who intended to sell them to a local higher end market. Before this crop was ready for harvest the market was ready to begin selling sprouts. They went with another farm’s crop and Rents Due Ranch listed their sprouts for sale, directly to consumers, through Farmstr. As far as saving money check this out – in the store these little organically grown gems sell for $7.99/lb, through Farmstr they are 5 stalks for $20 (or $55 for a 20lb box). For the stalks I received, this is less than half price thanks to eliminating the middle man. (Buy these sprouts – this link will stop working when the sprouts are sold out)
Can you see why I was so excited to share this new company with you? There is a whole bunch more information on how this system works on Farmstr’s website, click over and check out the “how it works” and “FAQ” pages. You can also stay in the loop with the current selection by following Farmstr on Facebook and Twitter, @TheFarmstrs.
[Update! Forgive me! I completely forgot to tell you that the creators of Farmstr want you to have a discount on your first farm fresh purchase. To receive this $6.50 credit head to the site and sign up for the weekly Hot Sheet (front and center on home page). When you sign up – say you heard about Farmstr on Our Lady of Second Helpings. Once you have signed in and given this blog a shout out , fill your cart with everything you want ie: 1/2 a pig, some brussels (obviously) and a dozen eggs, etc. As long as you mentioned Our Lady of Second Helpings you will be refunded $6.50 of you purchase.]
Now let’s get to the business of what to make with so many Brussels Sprouts: I started with a comfort food favorite – hash. AND I don’t care a lick that Dana Cowin* said she is so over the “put an egg on it” trend when she appeared on Top Chef Masters last summer. Serving a pile of hash with a soft centered egg is a must!**
*Dana Cowin is the Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine magazine. She is considered an authority on all things, well, all things food & wine. However just because she doesn’t think eggs on food are très chic doesn’t mean they aren’t yummy. Also adding an egg turns many low protein dishes into complete meals.
** Technically speaking, a soft centered egg is considered undercooked from a food safety perspective. Consuming undercooked food is not recommended by the USDA. But it’s darn tasty. Of course I ate some raw blue cheese and the occasional piece of sushi while I was pregnant so I’m not exactly a stickler when it comes to following the USDA’s recommendations. I say make sure your eggs are fresh and clean then dig in – or not.
- 2 teaspoons grape seed oil
- 1 cup red onion, diced
- 1 lb red skin potatoes, baked & chopped
- a pinch of salt
- 3/4 – 1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- 1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced
- 2 oz gorgonzola cheese, crumbled - a loose 1/2 cup
- Dice the onions into 1/4 – 1/2 inch squares. Chop the baked potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Rinse, trim, and slice the sprouts across the bud end discarding any thick stems.
- Heat the oil in a large flat bottomed skillet over between medium and medium high heat. Don’t let the oil begin to smoke. Sauté the onions in the oil until the edges begin to brown, 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped potatoes, salt and pepper. Cook the potatoes and onions together flipping occasionally. Let them form a bit of a crust in between flips. After about 10 minutes of toasting and flipping the potatoes and onions should have accumulated a nice amount of crispy bits. Taste the potatoes and add more pepper if needed. The cheese will be salty so don’t over salt the potatoes.
- Stir in the sliced sprouts and toss everything around in the pan to combine. Let the sprouts get in on the toasting action for about two minutes before removing from the heat and sprinkling over the crumbled cheese. Stir in the cheese just a little. It will soften creating creamy little bites of zingy funk to contrast the heaviness of the potatoes and slight bitterness of the sprouts.
- Serve hot with an egg or two.
- Approximately 1 cup per serving