Grocery bags. How many times have you forgotten to bring your own bags to the grocery store? It’s February now, three months after the passage of Prop 67 (which effectively banned single-use carry out plastic bags), and I still forget to bring bags.
But I’m getting better. At least I now have them in the back seat of my van. So, when I’m in the cereal aisle and suddenly remember about the bags, I send one of my teens to go out to the car to retrieve them. But if I’m shopping solo, well, you’ve probably seen me bagging my groceries in the parking lot.
The first time I shopped for groceries when I lived in Europe, I was blindsided. There were no plastic or paper bags. Every shopper had a string bag or cloth one that they placed their purchases into. And this was back in the early 1990s. In case you’re wondering, on subsequent grocery trips I didn’t remember my bags back then either.
Something that I have been picking up at the grocery store more frequently these days is bacon. Have you noticed the culinary fervor surrounding bacon? Kind of like pumpkin spice everything, there is now bacon flavored everything.
In addition to the bacon flavored toothpaste, coffee, and soda, I’ve also seen bacon perched atop doughnuts, chocolate cupcakes and ice cream. Have you heard the saying “Everything tastes better with bacon”? It doesn’t.
I recently stumbled across a website named baconfreak.com and discovered there is even a Bacon of the Month Club. Their artisan bacon is dry cured and hand-rubbed with your choice of spices and the monthly gourmet bacon packs come with a t-shirt that reads “Bacon is Meat Candy.”
Bacon does add deliciousness to this week’s savory recipe from the Food Network website. It is surprisingly easy to make and is ready in 30 minutes. Depending on the size of your Brussels sprouts, you may not have to cut them in half as the recipe indicates. The package of sprouts I got from Costco had some large ones that I did cut in half, as well as some wee ones that I left intact.
After roasting, the bacon has nicely crisp edges on the outside and the Brussels sprouts are creamy and tender on the inside. The crunchy creamy texture as well as the salty sweet combo from the bacon and maple syrup make for a very addicting side dish or appetizer.
The ingredients are all readily available, especially with Brussels sprouts in season right now, at the local grocery store. And don’t forget your bags.
Bacon-Wrapped Brussels Sprouts with Creamy Lemon Dip
18 medium Brussels sprouts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 12-ounce package center-cut bacon (about 18 strips)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup, plus 1/2 cup more for serving
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Zest of 1/2 lemon, plus 2 teaspoons juice
Crushed red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Trim the stem ends from the Brussels sprouts, and halve lengthwise. Put them in a medium bowl, and toss with one teaspoon salt.
Lay the bacon strips next to each other on a work surface. Brush liberally with about 1/2 the maple syrup, then halve crosswise. Wrap each Brussels sprout half with 1 strip of bacon, syrup-side out, so the seam is on the flat side. Place the sprouts seam-side down on a rimmed baking sheet, leaving a bit of space between them. Brush them with a bit more syrup, and grind a little black pepper on top. Roast, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until the bacon is crisp and the sprouts are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise, most of the lemon zest and all the lemon juice in a small serving dish. Sprinkle the remaining lemon zest on top. Put about 1/2 cup maple syrup in a second small serving dish, and stir in as much black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes as you like.
Transfer the sprouts to a platter, and serve with the lemon mayonnaise and peppered maple syrup, for dipping.