The push and pull in my own head about my work – which spills over to cooking and photos and the things I share here – can be overwhelming sometimes. I dare say… paralyzing. I’m certainly my own worst critic. One particular photographer I work with said to me, years ago while on a shoot, that “I think you’re just overthinking it a bit.” He has a British accent so it somehow didn’t sound as bad at the time. I hear those words a lot now and I’ve tried to go with the flow of things, trust my instincts and let the food fall as it may. It’s been really liberating and, while I still tend to be a worrier and certainly an over-planner, the freedom and inspiration I feel on set these days seems to be coming through in my styling.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I cook at home a lot, despite my crazy schedule. I enjoy it and it’s another creative outlet for me. Most of the food we cook at home is very simple and, many times, barely requires a recipe. I struggle with whether things are too simple or aren’t “food blog-y” enough, which sounds ridiculous when you type it out loud. Just as I’ve done with the cooking in my day job, I’m working at sharing things here that aren’t a seven layer dip that requires nine pastry bags to complete (something I got myself into via Pinterest – don’t ask).
One night, in an effort to use up some Brussels sprouts that were languishing in the fridge, I went looking for something to spruce them up with as I roasted them. No lemons, not in the mood for balsamic…but we did have a few blood oranges around. Citrus is citrus, right? If Brussels take to acid of lemon juice or vinegar, orange juice should work, too, right? It worked – fantastically. When I’ve made them since, I’ve added some thin slices of the orange to the pan – when they cook just right, they’re edible and have a candied, tender quality that rocks with the bitterness of the Brussels. If you’re wary of using acidic ingredients in a cast iron pan, feel free to use a baking dish or oven safe skillet – they turn out just as well.
Blood Orange Roasted Brussels Sprouts – serves 4 to 6 as a side dish
– Preheat your oven to 400 F. Place your cast iron skillet or roasting dish in the oven to heat up while you prep your ingredients.
– Take one cut half of the blood orange and cut that one in half horizontally – this will give you a flat edge to cut your orange on & stabilize it. Slice it into 1/4″ half-moon shaped pieces. If this is too fussy for you, cut them thinly however you’d like. The thinner, the more tender they’ll get if you plan on eating the citrus.
– In a large mixing bowl, combine the halved Brussels sprouts and the olive oil. Toss the Brussels together with the oil to combine then stir in the sliced blood orange. Take the reserved half and zest it into the bowl. Once zested, juice that half into the bowl (using a squeeze juicer or avoiding the seeds with your fingers) and discard. Toss to combine this all together and sprinkle with salt & pepper. CAREFULLY remove the preheated pan from the oven (use a mitt or towel, please!) and pour the Brussels into the pan. Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring once mid-way through, until the sprouts are tender and have some char & caramelizing on the leaves. Once removed from the oven, these can be served immediately or at room temperature.