Happy New Year! Eric and I rang in 2015 playing a dreidel drinking game (which I – the only non-Jew in the room – won) and dancing to the Phil Collins Pandora station at our new-to-me, old-to-Eric friend’s apartment. And maybe it was Phil Collins, or perhaps it was the coffee I drank after dinner, but I managed to stay awake until 3am – a real feat for me considering my propensity for falling asleep at 9pm.
On New Year’s Day, I felt some of the first pangs of missing Chicago. Tired, slightly hungover, and craving some comfort food, Eric and I set off on a search for good, authentic Mexican. Having lived for years around the corner from at least five taquerias in Chicago, we were used to rolling out of bed and being mere minutes away from Eric’s beloved carne asada tacos at Guanajuato Carniceria. And perhaps we haven’t found our spot yet, but sadly, the bland carnitas topped with cheese – yes, cheese – just didn’t do it for us. After that, we made our way to Xi’an Famous Foods for something that actually is done really well – Chinese food.
Anyway, on the healthier, new-year’s-resolution appropriate end, here is a nice little roasted veg dish that is pretty filling and flavor-packed. My brussels sprouts went perhaps a little over – I’m still getting used to the erratic temperatures in my new oven – but the crispy, burnt ends were actually kind of good with this spicy tahini, which is the real star of the show here. This sauce would be good over so many vegetables and noodles, so don’t feel brussels sprouts are the only way to go here. Make a big batch and use it all week.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Gochujang Tahini
2 cups or so of brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small daikon, peeled
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup tahini
1 heaping teaspoon Gochujang
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 leaves fresh basil
Preheat oven to 400. In a bowl, combine the brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a bit of salt. Spread them out on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast until crispy, approximately 15 minutes or so.
Thinly slice the daikon and place in a bowl with the white vinegar. Fill with water until all the daikon is submerge. Place in fridge.
In a bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, tahini, Gochujang, and rice vinegar. Stir well and set aside.
In a pan, dry roast the pine nuts over low heat. In a mortar and pestle, smash the basil and olive oil together with a pinch of salt, then add to the dry-roasting pine nuts. Stir for another minute until fragrant and just warmed through.
To serve, smother the brussels sprouts in the Gochujang-tahini and top with pickled daikon and basil sunflower seeds.