Bacon and Brussels Sprout Salad with Chipotle Dressing by Chelsea Zwieg

While I was in Tennessee last week, my mom dusted off a Whole Bite oldie and made this Honey Mustard Brussels Sprout and Broccoli Salad. The only problem was, she was making it for one of her friends and not for me to sit down and eat the whole thing in one sitting. Of course we had more important things to eat at the moment, like movie popcorn while seeing LaLaLand for the fourth time and all of the Dairy Queen we could find (Memphis really brings out my refined food palate obviously). But I had that salad on my mind the rest of the week and made the most gigantic version of it the day after I got home. It's been a very brussels sprouty week. The best part about brussels sprouts is that they stay crunchy for dayzz, so salad leftovers three days down the road are just as happy and not at all like the pathetic, wilty party you would expect. But once that was gone, I decided to mix it up a little for my next batch. And by mix it up, I mean add bacon.

This is the simplest salad (3 ingredients!) but it doesn't need much to be amazing. Super crunchy brussels sprouts shredded into a slaw, toasty pecans and salty, crispy bacon. You could definitely add some cheese and no one would be mad about it. But what really makes this salad is the dressing. A chipotle lime dressing with yogurt as a base, it's the perfect amount of creamy, limey and spicy. If words like chipotle and bacon aren't enough to make you want to make this for dinner tonight, well then I'm just not so sure we can be friends.

Also, real talk for one second. I don't know what my problem is, but I have been feeling SO uninspired food wise lately. I want to keep posting consistently but my inspiration is at like level 0 right now. So, if there is anything you want to see on the blog coming up let ya gurl know. Comment below, email me, send a carrier pigeon, let me know what you want to see or what you have been loving lately. I need some major cooking inspiration and scrolling through Pinterest or staring blankly at the cookbook section of Barnes and Noble is doing nothing for me. Ok, that's all. Have a great weekend! 

Bacon and Brussels Sprout Salad with Chipotle Dressing

Serves 4

| Ingredients

  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce + 2 tsp. sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste 

| Instructions | 

  • Trim the ends off the brussels sprouts and cut any larger ones in half. Shred the sprouts using the shredding blade of a food processor. If you don't have a food processor, use can also use a mandolin slicer or even slice them thinly with a knife. But the food processor route takes about 30 seconds, so I'm all about that. 
  • Transfer the shredded brussels sprouts to a large bowl. Place the pecans in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat and cook, stirring often, until they smell nutty and toasty. Let cool slightly then chop. Add the chopped pecans and bacon pieces to the sprouts and toss to combine. 
  • For the dressing, combine the yogurt, oil, lime juice, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce in a blender and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Add dressing to the salad, to taste and toss to coat. 
  • This salad makes fantastic leftovers since the brussels sprouts stay crunchy for a few days. If you want it to stay extra fresh, add the dressing as you eat it, rather than tossing it in all at once. 

Raspberry Vanilla Valentine's Cake by Chelsea Zwieg

If you follow me on Instagram, you may recall a cheesecake photo I posted last week. Three perfect layers, raspberry, chocolate and vanilla, a little oreo crust and a thick layer of ganache with the promise that I would post the recipe on the blog closer to Valentine's Day. Well. Here's the thing. After I made that cheesecake, a miraculously successful outcome to a no-recipe kitchen experiment, I forgot to write down the recipe. I do this a lot but thankfully I can usually remember it a few days down the line. Except for this time. After I made it I went on vacation and somewhere in there, between all of the puppy kisses and 12 hour drives, it fell out of my head. Eventually I'll make it again, figure out what I did and write that shtuff down. But for today: here's a cake! And a whole lot of heart sprinkles. 

While I was in Memphis last week I gave my mom some cake decorating lessons (and also convinced her that she needed everything in the Michael's cake decorating aisle. oops.) and we made the happiest little Valentine's cake. It was so adorable that I had to come home and make another one to share with you! We did chocolate the first round, so I decided to go with yellow cake for this one. Obviously chocolate is the most delicious in all situations in life but for this one, I am all about the yellow cake. It lets you see the layers of raspberry filling, it's much easier to cover a yellow cake with white frosting than a chocolate one and the yellow cake is super delicious but also mellow enough so that what you can really taste is raspberry, vanilla and lots and lots of butter. And if you're going to love anything this Valentine's Day, let it be butter! (ok, maybe a few other things/people too. But mostly butter.) 

Raspberry Vanilla Layer Cake

Yellow cake adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes a 3 layer 6" cake

| Ingredients | 

For the cake: 

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk 

For the frosting: 

  • 1/2 cup egg whites (3-4 large eggs)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam

| Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Butter or spray 3 6" cake pans and line the bottom of each with a circle of parchment paper.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix on low to combine. Add the buttermilk and mix. The batter will look slightly curdled at this point. Scrape the bowl and add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.

Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to finish cooling. 

For the frosting, whisk the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and cook, whisking often, until the mixture reaches 155 degrees on a candy thermometer. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high for 8-10 minutes until the egg whites are medium-stiff peaks and have cooled to room temperature. Swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment. With the mixer running on low, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, letting it incorporate after each addition. The butter needs to be room temperature to work in properly. Once the butter has been added add the vanilla and salt. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the frosting is fluffy and smooth, at least 3 minutes. 

To assemble the cake, trim the layers so that they are level. Spread half of the raspberry jam on the first layer, followed by a layer of frosting. To keep the the jam from seeping out of the layers, it is easiest to pipe a ring around the edge of the layer forming a little frosting dam and then fill that space with jam. Repeat with the second layer and top with the third. Frost the cake as desired (heart sprinkles mandatory. obviously.)