Aaaaaand, I’m back. We’ve moved back to our permanent property, into our new house, and I’m finally using my new kitchen. Regarding moving into a new house during the holiday season, I only recommend it if you’ve been waiting way, way too long for said new house to be completed. Otherwise, the whole process is much better suited to a time when you’re not missing all the celebrating and relaxing going on all around you. But, we’re so glad to be back. Waking up in the morning and looking out the window at our own yard and our own plants and trees is a delight. As soon as I got somewhat organized in the kitchen, I located my always-growing, to-try stack of recipes. The stack gets shuffled and reordered from time to time, and I lose track of what’s in there. After spending a few minutes flipping through the pages, I found some gems I couldn’t wait to make. First, I whipped up the Mafaldine with Shrimp and Lemon from last March’s Living magazine. Next, I found the open-faced sandwich shown here that was from the October/November 2012 issue of Donna Hay magazine. My first thought was: which farms have local Brussels sprouts right now? The following morning, I saw a post on Facebook showing what was available at Boggy Creek Farm—including Brussels sprouts. Off I went, and I got there just in time to nab the last little basket of them. I found the green onions I needed at Springdale Farm. And, I wasn’t sure I’d find local mint at this time of year, but Springdale did still have some growing. This was going to be a fresh and lovely sandwich.
The parts of this recipe are a mix of home-cooked and store-bought. I bought the sourdough bread and the hummus, and the chickpeas came out of a can. And, I made a few minor changes. The intent was to pull the leaves from each Brussels sprout, but these were fresh, tightly bundled, little heads I had brought home. As I cut the ends from each sprout, I collected any leaves that fell to the side and left the remaining sprouts intact. The sprouts and leaves were boiled briefly in salted water and then drained and rinsed in cold water. The canned chickpeas were rinsed and drained as well before being sauteed with garlic and chile flakes. After about 10 minutes, the chickpeas take on a darker, golden color and get crispy on the edges. You should mash some of the chickpeas as they cook as well, and the mashed ones get the crispiest. The next item to prep is the haloumi, and it was sliced and fried in olive oil until browned. The cooled Brussels sprouts were added to a mixing bowl with sliced green onion and chopped mint. Chopped cucumber was to have been added as well, but I skipped it. I wanted to make this all about the Brussels sprouts. Lemon, olive oil, and salt and pepper were added to the bowl, and the mixture was tossed to combine. To assemble the sandwiches, I toasted slices of sourdough, spread each piece with hummus, topped the hummus with the sauteed chickpeas, layered on haloumi slices, and spooned the Brussels sprouts mixture on top.
This is a knife-and-fork kind of open-faced sandwich but deliciously so. After my first bite, I was so glad I located and included the mint. It added a brightness and freshness to the lemony vegetable salad. And, haloumi. No explanation required. It continues to be one of my favorite ingredients. Overall, this was a great combination for a vegetarian sandwich. I have several new books to cook from as I continue to break in my new kitchen and try to remember where I’ve put everything. Stay tuned for more food coming soon. Happy New Year!