All of that sounds super fancy, doesn’t it? That was kind of the point.
As I’ve reported in the past, I enjoy grocery shopping. While it’s not too far away, going to H Mart is still always a treat. There are so many amazingly beautiful and interesting vegetables that I don’t have any clue what to do with but buy anyway (yu choy! baby radishes!).
Everyone’s been going on and on about baby Brussels sprouts lately. I don’t know how they became the cool vegetable, but I knew I wanted to try them. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do and it developed as I wandered around H Mart. I needed more sesame oil and I thought the nuttiness would be a good compliment to the earthy flavor of the sprouts. Soy sauce was an obvious choice, as was garlic, and ginger was on sale. I knew I needed something acidic, so I grabbed oranges.
But one can’t make a meal of Brussels sprouts alone (well, OK, you can, but …) so I needed a hearty grain. Quinoa (which, fine, I know is not actually a grain) didn’t seem quite right, so I went pretty basic: brown rice. I picked up mushrooms (not at H Mart, sadly, which probably would’ve been smarter) and figured those, the leek I’d picked up and a bit of garlic would be just perfect.
To round out the meal, I knew I wanted something a little sweet and fruity. Apples are always my go-to for this, and on a whim, I grabbed a few plums. I knew both things would be wonderful with a bit of ginger.
Apple-plum compote with ginger
- A combination of apples and plums, peeled cored and coarsely chopped to make 3 cups of fruit (I used four apples and three plums — I’d say it was about a 2-1 ratio of apple to plum, but I think it’s pretty flexible)
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups water
- 1-2 teaspoons agave syrup or maple syrup (or a bit of sugar — my goal here wasn’t to make this too sweet but just amplify the sweetness already there)
- Salt to taste
Everything goes into a saucepan. Let this simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the fruit is softened and the water has been reduced. Feel free to break up some of the fruit chunks as you go, but it’s still supposed to have some substance. You’ll know when it’s done, but it will probably be about 20 minutes. I would start this first and just set it aside when it’s done. It will cool to the right temperature by the time everything else is done.
Mushroom brown rice with leek and garlic
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 8 ounces of mushrooms, chopped (I used crimini, but whatever mushrooms you like)
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock/water
- 1 cup brown rice
- Salt if needed (if you’re using stock, you may not need salt)
- 1 tablespoon oil — olive or vegetable
Saute the leek and garlic until softened and translucent. Add the mushrooms (and a bit more oil if necessary) and cook while stirring for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms have softened. Add the stock/water (taste for seasoning) and bring to a boil. Add the rice and reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 40-45 minutes or until done (By the way, basically, after you’re done with the vegetables, you’re just following the directions on your package of rice).
Soy-sesame roasted Brussels sprouts
Preheat oven to 450 degrees (F)
- 1 pound baby Brussel sprouts, cut into uniform pieces (generally halved, but if you have bigger ones, possibly quartered)
- 2/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon agave/maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside while you prep your Brussels sprouts.
Stir your Brussels sprouts in with the dressing and let them absorb some of it for a bit — you’re not necessarily going to let them soak in the dressing for too long of a time, but toss them in it for a couple of minutes.
Spread your sprouts onto a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through. Once you take them out, transfer to a bowl and pour over some of the leftover dressing (which you will have since I estimated too much).
The rice should be done about the same time your sprouts are, unless you’re much faster at prepping than I am. Your compote is done, though, and is probably waiting for you. Pile everything onto a plate and enjoy with a nice white wine or a beer (the seasonal bocks that are out right now are a good choice). Also post the photo of your meal to Facebook to make all your friends and family jealous.