November 30, 2012

Turn The Tables

Today is the last day of consecutive blogging. I made it. Over the past four weeks I have shared recipes, travels, recipes inspired by travel, ups, and some downs. As things come to a close I have an unsettling feeling that I have been blabbering on, talking at you and not with you. I worry I've been like that dreaded cocktail guest who holds you hostage with their dull stories and doesn't ask you a single question. I hate those people. So I thought as I bring a close to this month of rattling that I'd ask YOU - my incredible readers - a few questions. I'll even answer them, just to break the ice, but really I'm hoping you'll answer them so I can learn a little bit more about you. (There is an amazing cookie waiting for you as a thank you!)

So here goes...

On Cooking : 
What recipe or meal do you wish you had the courage to tackle?
Duck Confit

Where do you look for / find inspiration?
One of my favorite pastimes is wandering into grocery stores in foreign places. I drag Zach to all sorts of markets and food shops when we travel. I love seeing what's on the shelves and in people's baskets. 

What is the ideal number of people to cook for?
4. After 4 I begin to get stressed. When I cook for 2 I generally make enough for 4 anyway, so 4 feels natural. 

Is there a recipe you consider your go-to - perhaps a recipe that other people have named after you because you make it so often? (please feel free to share links!)
(Talley's) Fennel Dip and (Talley's) Banana Bread

On Writing (applies to all writing, not just blogging):
Do you have a writing routine? Or do you write whenever you find a few spare minutes?
I try to sit down every morning, before breakfast but with my tea, and write for thirty minutes. These morning notes are more me releasing the busy thoughts that are taking up precious space and that once I get down on paper make room for more productive ideas.  When it comes to blogging, if this month has been any indication, I sit down after dinner and write, just like I'm doing right now. 

What is your writing process? Do you start with index cards and baby step your way to a Word document or blog platform? Or do you dive right in?
I am a slow and self-conscious writer. Before this blogging month I would write ideas - one or two lines - in a Moleskin and then draw those ideas out in bullet point form in a Word Document and then eventually start a new Word document (there is something refreshing about a blank page) and turn those points into sentences. And then finally rewrite everything in Blogger (I know!)

This past month has loosened me up a lot. Now, after four weeks of daily posts, I have started writing directly in Blogger. It's liberating. I don't fret over ever word, I simply write down what I'm thinking in that moment and then press publish. There hasn't been much time for dilly dallying. 

Do you have any tips on how to ease the angst of writing and let the words flow?
My only advice is those thirty minutes of morning pages. I'm really looking to you on this one... 

On Reading :
What do you most enjoy reading about (here or on other blogs)?
I love learning little personal details; being given little inlets into the writer/bloggers life. 

What are you reading when you aren't reading blogs?
I followed Amy's lead and downloaded Jane Eyre, which I have been reading at night scrunched up on the couch. I also just recently bought two books by Michael Chabon - The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and Telegraph Hill which the NYTimes compared to one of our favorite movies -You've Got Mail. How could I not get it?

On Eating:
What's for dinner?
Zach is at a whiskey tasting so just me tonight. I made a butternut squash, onion, zucchini and tomato sauté and ate it with torn basil leaves over pasta. 

Let's say there's something baking in your oven right this minute, what is it?
THESE (see below) cookies! You know they're done when they smell like melted Nutella.

* * * feel free to answer just one or three or all * * *
(edit: of course now 20 minutes after posting I'm nervous you won't answer at maybe just one?)
Every year at Christmas mom my makes sugar cookies, Aunt Julie's Sugar Cookies to be exact. After thinking about the recipes I'll be remembered for (see above) I decided I wanted to add a cookie to this list. I decided that one of my missions before Christmas arrives is to find my cookie. I might have found it on the first go. This buttery hazelnut cookie, which is just slightly crackly on the outside and melt in your mouth buttery on the inside, is the perfect bite size Christmas treat if you ask me. The fact that it looks like a snowball also doesn't hurt either. Let's talk about the real clincher though, the fact that this cookie smells like Nutella when it is baking. I opened the oven to check on their plumpness and doneness only to be met with the most wonderful scent, like I was floating down a river of smooth hazelnut chocolate. Granted there is no chocolate in this recipe, yet that is. David Lebovitz just recently posted a recipe for a surprisingly similar cookie with a chocolate layer. I'll be trying those next. 
 // Palle di Neve : Snowball Cookies // 
            from Biscotti: Recipes from the Kitchen of the American Academy in Rome: Rome Sustainable Food Project by Mona Talbott and Mirella Mistenti
(more on this book and the American Academy in Rome in another post)

140 g / 5 oz hazelnuts
300 g / 2 cups + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
230 g / 1 cup + 1 tbsp butter
85 g / 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp granulated sugar
5 ml / 1 tsp vanilla extract
5 ml / 1 tsp water
325 g / 2 cups + 3 tbsp confectioners sugar for coating

Preheat the oven to 150ºC / 300ºF

Spread the hazelnuts evenly on a sheet pan and toast for 10 minutes or until the skins begin to split. While the nuts are still warm pour them into a kitchen towel. Cinch up the kitchen towel and rub with your hands in a circle direction to work the skins away from the nuts. The skins can be somewhat bitter so removing some or all of them is helpful. Lift the nuts out of the towel, leaving the skins behind, and place in a food processor and pulse with 2 tbsp of flour until they are an even sandy texture. 

Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and water and mix until incorporated. Add the ground hazelnut mixture and the rest of the flour and continue to mix on low speed until the dough forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and place in the refrigerator for  at least 30 minutes. 

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and form into 80 balls, about 9 g / 1/3 oz each. At this point you can place the balls of dough in a zip lock bag and store the freezer for up to a month until you are ready to bake them.

When you are ready to bake the cookies heat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºC

Place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper leaving about 1 inch between them. Allow the balls to come to room temperature (if they have been in the freezer). Bake for 10-12 minutes. 

Cool the cookies completely on a wire wrack and then roll in confectioner sugar a few times, or sprinkle with a sifter a few times (of if you are like me you can do both). 

These cookies are best freshly baked. (Although I baked them yesterday (made the dough Wednesday) and just ate one and they are equally delicious today as they were yesterday). 
And so it ends, 4 weeks of blogging. It has been a wonderful experience, in a large part because I knew you were there reading. Thank you! 

November 29, 2012

Ratatouille from Ratatouille

I knew there would be a few in this month of blogging - those posts that reek of desperation, of posting just to post. This might be one of them. I wish I could offer you something more as we near the end of this blogging streak, but I just don't have it in me today. I've been away from my apartment and computer for most of the day and it's late and I don't have the energy to be creative. You know that feeling? I'm guessing you do. Anyway, I'm hoping to redeem myself a little by sharing an outstanding recipe. It is the recipe for ratatouille from the movie Ratatouille. Thomas Keller helped the writers and animators with the food and recipe conception and he shared this recipe with the New York Times shortly after the movie was released. I love everything about the movie, but I especially love the idea that a simple stack of cooked vegetables, full of flavors so simple yet sublime, can evoke memories of love and family.

I made this ratatouille on Tuesday, after our Thanksgiving leftovers ran out and we felt the need to overdose on vegetables. It was actually in the oven as I was writing about detoxing and parsley root soup. I'm going to come right out with it - it was one of the best meals I've made in a long time. The zucchini melted into the eggplant which melted into the tomato which all melted in to my mouth. The pipernade - the sweet caramelized onions, tomatoes and peppers - that rests underneath the sliced vegetables brings all the flavors together and helps to soften the vegetables in the oven.

I'm going to leave you with the link for the recipe because my eyes are closing. I didn't adapt a thing, I just did exactly as I was told. I recommend you do the same.

Ratatouille (Confit Byaldi) 

ps. picture is before I put it in the oven.

November 28, 2012

Figures, Food, and Flowers

Isn't this mannequin lovely? I see her everyday on my walk, just after I leave Rietberg Park and just before I pass the sheep, which are near the church with the tall bell tower. I often find myself wondering what type of person puts a mannequin on their balcony, and I always come to the conclusion that whoever it is that I would like to meet them. 
A tied lamb roast waiting for it's turn in the oven. I roasted it with red wine and garlic and we ate it with roasted carrots and potatoes. 
It seems that taking pictures at the market never gets old. My files are full to the brim with market photos. I love leafing through and sensing the season by the offerings and the light. This photo is from a September Saturday at the market in Oerlikon.
This delightful cherub kept us company as we sipped our cappuccinos (for him) and green teas (for her) at Kafi für Dich two Sundays ago. 

Only after I looked at this picture for the third time did I notice the apple core. 
These two filets are evidence of Fish Tuesdays. I think I remember lightly turning them in flour, egg and bread crumbs and then sautéing them in the pan. Or maybe I treated them to a meunière preparation, I can't remember.
This is a bouquet I bought on or around my birthday. It was one of many overflowing from buckets lined up under a big tree. They were going quick and so I scooped one up and brought it home. There should always be room in your budget for flowers. 
She is my favorite; soaring, for no apparent reason, on a completely non de-script building.
Because there is something about a pink building with blue shutters and tan branches climbing all over it. I have plans in place to visit this building in the summer when it's pink and blue and green.
Sometimes my husband is full of wonderful zany ideas, like waking up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday with the hopes of seeing the sunrise over the alps. We were there standing on the platform at 6:30 with the hopes of marigold and purple peaks only to be met with violet clouds. Still pretty, definitely still pretty.

November 27, 2012

Fish on Tuesdays

We eat fish for dinner on Tuesdays. I should say we usually eat fish on Tuesdays. Today I ate Pad Thai with an extra scoop of peanuts. But if we don't have other plans or cravings already in place we eat fish on Tuesdays because that is the day that I can get it fresh at the farmers market. I always buy it from the same women; the ones in the blue and white stripped aprons, who work in the trailer on the edge of the market closest to the lake, the one all the way to the left with the red trim,  the overflowing bowl of lemons on the counter and the giant octopus in the case. 

Zach adores fish. It all started with salmon. His love of salmon grew into a love of trout, grouper and sea bass, which then transitioned into a love of zander, egli, forellen, saiblings and pretty much anything else with scales and a penchant for swimming. 

As I mentioned in a previous post (the one where we cooked an entire sea bass) I resisted cooking fish at home for a long time. I saw fish as something that was cooked for you, not by you. I thought it would make the apartment smell for days and days and days, and I hate super fishy smells. Unwilling to jump in too deep, I started with salmon. You could say that salmon was our starter fish. After multiple salmon successes in a row I eventually branched out to some of the smaller, thinner, local fish, but it all started with salmon, salmon cooked in an herb crust. 

The mustard, brown sugar and minced herbs melt into one another in the oven and the crust becomes slightly crispy around the edges, all while the fish stays nice perfectly pink and moist underneath. It's as if you tucked the salmon into bed with a big fragrant green blanket, a blanket that after a little while in the oven releases it's flavors into the fish, while also keeping it from drying out by shielding it from the intense heat. It's magic really.

If you don't already cook fish at home you should and you should start with this recipe. It's easy, quick and makes for a well presented and delicious meal. I think we probably ate salmon in an herb crust four or five times in a row before I finally decided to try something different and packed it in a papillote with  basil and roasted tomatoes and steamed it in the oven. If you're anything like me you just need somewhere to start. From there you can take it where you will, but taking that first step is the toughest. 
// Salmon in an Herb Crust //
adapted from Katie Lee (once Joel), The Comfort Table
serves 4 (one pictured above was for two) but this can easily be expanded to feed a crowd. I usually estimate about 350-400 grams for two people, which is about 3/4 of a pound or a bit more. It goes without saying that you should buy the best fish you can find, which means wild when it's in season and organic when it's not. 

1 cup loosely packed mixed fresh herbs, minced (such as parsley, thyme, chives and mint - tarragon, cilantro are also nice)
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 pounds of salmon

Heat the oven to 450º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a bowl mix the herbs, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper. You want the mixture to resemble a paste so you can spread it - feel free to add more mustard or sugar in order to achieve the desired consistency

Place the salmon skin side down on the baking sheet and spread the herb mixture evenly over the top (you might have extra). Thinly slice the lemon and lay a few pieces, overlapping, down the center of the fish. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the salmon is just opaque in the center. 
When we eat salmon we often eat potatoes and spinach too. This is one of my favorite roast potato recipes from Nigel Slater. It's super simple, just roast small potatoes with garlic, flatten and toss with a vinaigrette - yum!

// Roasted and Flatted Potato Salad //
Nigel Slater, Tender

24 new potatoes
1 head of garlic
olive oil
a few sprigs of rosemary or thyme 

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400ºF / 200ºC

Clean and scrub the potatoes and place them in a baking dish. Separate the garlic cloves, but do not peal them, and add them to the potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and toss in leaves from rosemary or thyme. Place in the oven and roast for 45 - 60 minutes, until they are puffed and golden and their insides are fluffy. 

Mix the vinegar, mustard, olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper in a jar, cover tightly with a lid, and shake hard to mix the dressing and make it thick. 

When the potatoes are done press on each one with a wooden spoon until they flatten and split. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and mix. 

November 26, 2012

Food Coma

It's detox time! (She writes as she bites down on yet another nougat filled chocolate truffle). There are two ways to approach the stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas: one is to adopt the attitude of 'go big or go home' and see each Christmas cookie as a testament to your love of elves and sprinkles; the other is to pull the reigns in on dear Ruldolph and to pass on the spiked egg nog and the bûche de noel until Christmas Eve. The chocolate lipstick I'm currently sporting would suggest that I am trying to eat everything that glitters and shimmers (even the gingerbread ornaments), but, really I'm trying to eat my veggies and calm my system after our Thanksgiving feast on Saturday. Oh, and just so you know, I've decided that the leftover pumpkin pie that I've been eating for breakfast counts as a vegetable. 

Speaking of vegetables, I'm guessing you think these are parsnips. And now, after that last sentence, you know that they aren't. They are parsley roots. I can't say I've ever cooked with parsley root before, but I came to love the gentle flavor and smooth thick texture that they gave to the soup. Aside from the rare root the secret to this soup is a tablespoon or two of almond butter. I know! I eat almond butter by the spoonful, but I never imagined adding it to a soup. It really helps to round out the already nutty flavors of the parsley root and the ground caraway seeds. Squeeze in the lemon juice and enjoy.

It won't wow you on looks, but then again what soup really does. It's all about warmth and flavor when it comes to soup. I added a bit of sauteed spinach to the soup when it was done, but it's not must.  
//  Parsley Root Soup //
adapted from Suppito 

4-5 parsley roots, peeled and chopped
2 floury potatoes
1 leek, whites only, chopped
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp caraway seeds, roasted and ground
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 - 1 1/2 liters (4-6 cups) vegetable broth
1-2 Tbsp almond butter
a few drops lemon juice

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add in the vegetables and caraway, stirring until the leaks have softened slightly and the caraway is fragrant. Pour 3/4 of the vegetable stock over the vegetables (or enough to just cover the vegetables), cover the pot, and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. Puree the soup, adding more broth as needed to achieve desired consistency. Stir in the almond butter and salt and pepper to taste. 
How amazing is this tree? Amazing! We like to head out on long walks through town on the weekends and this tree caught my eye.

November 23, 2012

This Time Last Year

These pictures are from the day after our Friendsgiving last year, a year from this coming Sunday. We hiked up Uetliberg to burn off those extra two helpings of stuffing and the unnecessary - headache inducing - shot of Grappa (just because it burns does not mean it's going to help you digest).

Hope you're feeling splendid and enjoying those leftovers!

November 22, 2012

Turkey (Cranberry) Day!

An email from Zach received this morning at around 10am...

You're using my recipe for the stuffing right? 

You can take the cranberry sauce I made yesterday out of the refrigerator around 4 o'clock to warm up, please leave it at room temp until dinner. 

For the jello, please don't touch the portion I made last night and put in the freezer. 

I'm excited about the gravy I made the other day using my own recipe, hope Jaime and Jess will like it as well. 

Looking forward to it! 

HA! Oh Zach...

My first thought was Jello? At Thanksgiving? I grew up in a Jello loving household; my dad loves green J-E-L-L-O. He was actually a member of a Jello eating club in high school. They used to collect all the half eaten bowls of Jello after lunch pile them all on one table and dip their spoons into the jiggly mass quivering a the bottom of the metal bowls. He'd probably prefer Jello to sweet potatoes, actually scratch that, he definitely does. But Jello at Thanksgiving? Not okay. 

Anyway, that's besides the point. If you don't know Zach than you might not know that he tends towards sarcasm and is generally joking even if you think he's being serious. 

So no, there wasn't any Jello or gravy or stuffing. The only thing on Zach's menu that we actually ate tonight was cranberry sauce. Our turkey dinner with all the trimmings is on Saturday, but I couldn't let the real Thanksgiving pass me by without spooning at least a little cranberry sauce on my plate. Okay fine, I basically made things that were a vehicle for cranberry sauce. Have you ever had Rösti? What about Rösti with cranberry sauce? No? You haven't lived. Rösti is a pretty hearty alpine potato hash pancake, covered in melted cheese, a fried egg and maybe even some bacon if you are lucky, but I pared it down and made a potato-only Rösti that we ate with spoonfuls of cranberry sauce. It was so perfectly brown and crispy on the outside that Zach asked if I had bought it at the store? Store bought on Thanksgiving?! Never! (Unless of course it's the Pepperidge Farm stuffing in a bag, then it's okay). 

There was also chicken, green beans and sprout salad to accompany the Rösti and cranberry sauce. And for dessert I made a tart I spotted on Dorie Greenspan's blog only this morning; a cranberry crackle tart. It was all heavenly. Perfectly Thanksgiving-y even if we didn't have turkey and stuffing or pumpkin pie. Apparently all I need are cranberries on Thanksgiving.
And because it's Thanksgiving and I'm very thankful today, I want to thank YOU - my dear readers who keep me going and smiling. thank. you. 

November 21, 2012

An Anniversary of Sorts at Casablanca

I remember the first time we came here; thinking we were on the edge of a more exciting neighborhood; trying to find something in this new city to hold on to. It was two years ago. So much was still unknown. It felt good to stumble on a lively café. We were excited. I think it was a Sunday. Everything else was closed. We sat at a high table on high stools in between the counter and the stairs; a lofty position to look at all the people relaxed in the low brown leather sofas. The brown of the leather, the low wood tables, the burnt umber tiled columns, the golden medusa-like chandeliers and the faint glow from the bar lent a tangible golden hue to the entire café. On that November morning we probably glowed too.

We had heard about Langstrasse and it's seedy corners and seedy people, but we had also come to understand that were there are seeds there is growth and that this street, which sweeps under the girl of the rail tracks that head to the Hauptbahnhof, is an artery of new and exciting things in Zürich. We had no idea where we where in the scheme of things, but that was okay because it meant there would be endless opportunities for exploring and besides, we were happy, settled into a café that was vibrating with life.

Perched on high stools Zach read the Herald Tribune and tried to make his way through the Neue Züricher Zeitung while I lost myself in thought. What will our life in Zürich look like? Will we come here often? Will we have friends to come with? Will we find our place in this city? What will our place be? What will our routine look like? We were at the very beginning; that spot full of wonder and curiosity, where you know things will work out, but you can't see just how. We were there, floating, completely untethered from anyone and anything, but we had found a cozy spot where there were people. It felt like the beginning of place making. I remember wishing I could look into the future and see our friends and thinking how strange it would be in, say, a year or two to look back at that lonely and lost version of myself with friends and routines already in hand.
It is strange now, two years later, to reflect on those questions when I have most of the answers. No, Casablanca, while glowing and cozy is not one of our go-to places. In fact, I've only been there two other times - yesterday, and this same week last year. In both cases I stopped in after shopping at the Helvetiaplatz market, yesterday I was alone and last year I was with a group of friends and we were cold after a morning shopping for Thanksgiving ingredients. Casablanca seems to be a once year, week of Thanksgiving, tradition (or coincidence, however you look at it). And yes, I have friends, wonderful friends, friends who we will once again celebrate Thanksgiving with and with whom we will clink or bubble filled flutes and toast to being family in this far away place.


Oh and p.s., I'd like you to know that just because we are stuck in the 1950s with our stuffing-in-a-bag preferences doesn't mean everything we dole out is out of a bag or box or can. I just finished making homemade cranberry sauce - my mom's recipe, that same mom who insists on the bag stuffing. It's a give and take.

November 20, 2012

T is for Tan

Tan is the new black as far as Thanksgiving is concerned in my family. Okay, sure, there are always boiled peas, doing their job year after year as the stand-in vegetable, but no one eats them, which is too bad since left over peas are kind of miserable. We are too busy eating turkey and mashed potatoes and Pepperidge Farm stuffing smothered in gravy. Have I told you about our stuffing tradition? It's really quite embarrassing in the midst of the local, organic, whole, non-packaged, farm to table movement, but we prefer our stuffing out of a bag. I've tried homemade stuffing loaded with carrots and celery and sausage and others with chestnuts and apples. They are delicious, but still Pepperidge Farm is better. My mom won't even taste homemade stuffing she's just that committed to the bag version. She grew up on it. Her dad, my Pop, used to make it for Turkey day and they had a strict no-homemade-stuffing rule in their house; no stale cubed bread floating in a sea of celery and nuts or cubed cornbread and kale. If an aunt or uncle attempted to bring homemade stuffing there was always Pepperidge Farm as back up. 

Don't knock it if you haven't tried it. (Have you tried it?) We think Pepperidge Farm stuffing is the bomb-digity. It is fluffy and completely undisturbed by vegetables or roaming pieces of meat. You can pour endless amounts of gravy on it and you will still find a few crispy bites, the pieces that were on the top and sites of the dutch oven as it cooked. I love that combo of soft and crunchy. 

But as you can see this post isn't entirely about stuffing. Stuffing is a done deal in our house, there is no need to reinvent it, what needs reinventing, or rather an introduction, are vegetables. And I'm talking real vegetables, not maple syrup spiked sweet potatoes under a layer of broiled marshmallows because we have those in spades. We also have piles of boiled peas as I mentioned. Everything on the Thanksgiving table is so heavy - turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes - so how about a vegetable with a little lightness to it, a little crunch to offset all the cream? 
Zach and I love Brussels sprouts so I figured I might as well take advantage of Thanksgiving away from my sprout abhorring family to bring them into the mix. I didn't want to boil them or roast them because that means taking precious oven and stove top space in my already super tight kitchen and I also didn't really want another hot and steaming side dish. I wanted something a little crunchy, a little salty, and a lot tasty. I saw a recipe for shaved Brussels sprout salad a little while ago in a cookbook, or was it at a restaurant? Either way I figured it was the perfect companion, the perfect lively green tinge to our tan turkey day feast. 

I wanted to offset the bitter with sweet and savory and salty, so I settled on shaved sprouts with pomegranate, parmesan cheese, bacon and roasted hazelnuts, all tossed in a simple vinaigrette. Remember my shopping list from yesterday for my trip to the market this morning? No? Well, anyway, all the ingredients were on there and I set out this morning with my striped backpack (have I told you how much I love stripes and how almost everything I own is striped?) and picked up everything on the list along with a few non essentials. 
These small golden pomegranates caught my attention and thankfully there were some sample seeds to taste. They were sweet and only a touch tart, with that perfect pop of juice, so I bought two. I had already bought two standard pomegranates from Turkey, which I used for todays salad, but I'll use  these for the real deal this weekend (yes we have to have Thanksgiving on Saturday because it's not a holiday here). Also, did you know that pomegranates from Turkey are more tart while pomegranates from Spain are more sweet? I didn't know that. If they aren't labeled you can tell the difference because the ones from Spain are much lighter in color, not quiet as vibrant as the fuschia ones from Turkey. I'm not sure where these mini golden ones are from - any ideas?

What's surprising is just how damn good this salad is. Yes all the ingredients that go into it are good on their own, but together they are super-mega-fein as the Swiss would say. The flavors compliment each other so no one ingredient stands out against the others. The ingredients make themselves known by their textures; the pomegranate with it's pop, the hazelnuts and bacon with their crunch, the cheese with it's softness and the sprouts for the gentle bite. 

I know there are a lot of Brussels sprout haters out there, all of whom have probably stopped reading at this point, but if you are still with me (mom!) I want to let you know that this salad does not taste overtly of Brussels sprouts. It tastes like cheese and bacon tossed with sweet seeds and a crunchy green.  Perhaps if you are on the edge, tempted by these tiny sprouts, than this is for you, a gentle reentry into sprout land. 
// Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad //

serves 2 but can be double, tripled, quadrupled without trouble
this recipe is also very much a 'whatever floats your boat' recipe so be sure to add and subtract quantities to taste

130 g Brussels sprouts (about 8 or so)
50 g / 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
seeds from 1/2 pomegranate 
50 g / 1/3 cup hazelnuts 
4 strips of bacon

juice 1/2 lemon
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp mustard
salt and pepper 

Preheat the oven to 400ºF / 200ºC. Pour the hazelnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the oven for about 13 minutes to roast. Set a timer. If the nuts are fragrant and slightly brown in color they are done. If not roast for a couple more minutes, checking to make sure they don't burn. Take out of the oven and cool. 

Cook the bacon using your preferred method until nice and crispy and drain on a paper towel. 

Shave the Brussels sprouts on a mandolin. Watch your fingers! Shave the parmesan cheese and dump it in with the sprouts. Add the pomegranate seeds. Crumble the bacon in on top once it has cooled. Chop the nuts and add those in as well. 

Make the dressing by whisking the lemon juice, olive oil and mustard together. Drizzle on slowly tossing as you go and only using as much as needed to coat the leaves. You will likely have extra dressing, which means you'll have more for another time!
...It seems like the blog world is loving the B-sprout right now...check out Kelsey's shaved sprout and lentil salad and Jacqui's sprout salad with hazelnut and pomegranate with avocado dressing.