Garlic and Herb Stuffed Brussels Sprouts

15 very large Brussels sprouts
1 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon sea salt
A pinch of pepper
Olive oil

1. They say size doesn’t matter, but it does. Well, it matters here. The key to this recipe is large Brussels sprouts. I usually buy the tiniest ones I can find. But for this one, you want them super-sized. After you wash them, trim the ends and then halve them as seen below.

2. I know stuffing Brussels sprouts sounds like a pain in the rear, and if you skip this next step, it will be. We need to blanch these babies. So fill a large deep pan with water, bring it to a boil and add the sprouts. You want to add them cut-side down, since we are doing this to make coring them easier. Let them cook for 1-2 minutes and remove them and let them cool.

3. I suggest you watch the video below for this next step.
He goes through how to quickly core the Brussels sprouts in just a few minutes.

4. Finely chop the cored Brussels sprouts pieces. We are going to saute them in some olive oil along with the minced garlic until over a medium-high heat. Cook until the chopped sprouts are tender and the whole mixture is aromatic. Yum!

5. Mix the cooked garlic and sprout mixture along with the ricotta, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and herbs. Add in some of the salt and taste the mixture. Ideally, you want it to taste a bit overly salted because it will be less salty once they are baked. So you’ll need to experiment a bit here.

6. Using a small spoon, fill the Brussels sprouts with the stuffing. Over fill them. This stuff is good!

7. Bake the stuffed Brussels sprouts for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees, or until the caps are crispy and burnt. Enjoy!

via Garlic and Herb Stuffed Brussels Sprouts – Cooking Stoned.


Reflections on 2012

I’ve always found that even-numbered years are usually more fun, looking back, than those of odd years. I’m not sure why that is, if it’s psychological, or if it’s something to do with 16, 18, 30, etc. appearing on even years, but this year was no exception. If I had to sum up this year in a word, it would be change. So many facets of my life are different now from where I began 2012 that I can barely remember them all.

Like most of the last few years, I did monthly resolutions this year, at least for part of the time. This led to some amazing times, especially Fearless Month, which I think I’ll carry with me the rest of my life. Fearless month led to trapeze, trapeze led to a blood clot in my leg, putting me face-to-face with my mortality for a while, and eventually led to me taking a daily multivitamin and walking around more, especially at work.

I got married. My wife is an amazing person, and continues to stun me with the depth of her compassion and the care she shows me and our life in general. It’s been over six months, and we’re still doing well. We’re continually conquering one of the biggest hurdles our marriage can face–money–and we’ve got hope about the other ones and working on them in the future. I find myself happy, and with New Year’s eve approaching, a holiday I used to dread, I find myself excited and confident about what the next year will bring.

We’re having a child. Within the next month, we’ll give birth to our first son. People keep asking me, “Are you ready? Are you excited? Are you scared?” and, of course, I’m all of those things. I’m ready to be a dad. I’ve been ready to be a dad for a long time, insomuch as Plato believed he was a genius. The only thing I know about being a parent is that I’ll never be ready to be a parent, so why not now? I’m scared of the mistakes I’ll make, and I’m excited about the potential I have to become a better person through my son, and help him become better, too.

We moved to a nicer neighborhood. Our loft in Oakland was great, but it was huge, cold, in a bad area, and not much of a “home.” Also not my favorite place to raise a child. The idea that my wife can walk with our son to the park and not worry about crime the way we used to is an incentive greater than many others. The new house is already more of a home to me, and the workshop in the garage doesn’t hurt either. I’ve started making furniture, and I’m already a lot better than when I started.

All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better year. I’m happy, healthy, relaxed, and productive. If I can keep this up for the next 70+ years, I’ll be in good shape.

Changing Table Plans

With our son on the way in less than three weeks, and with a pair of reasonably successful bookcases under my belt, I’ve decided to tackle making a changing table. We’ve been looking into lots of different options and, while some of them are very nice, I don’t think any of them would be perfect, if for no other reason than I’m 6’8″ tall and they’re all made for short people.

I have some 3d modeling experience from back in the day, and I’ve dabbled with SketchUp before, so I cracked open version 8 and got playing around. The interface is very nice, and perfect for something like producing woodworking plans. If you’re good with math and have any vector graphics experience, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Wood List:
1 – .75″ plywood 2’x4′
1 – .75″ plywood 4’x8′
1 – 1×6 x12′ or 2 – 1×6 x6′
1 – 1×6 x10′
1 – 2×4 x8′
1 – 1×4 x8′
1 – 1×4 x6′

Cut List: Note: The cuts only fit in the wood specified in a specific way. Please review the cut sheet below before cutting anything!
Main Body:
5 Shelves – 40″x15″x.75“
2 Sides – 33x15x.75″
1 Top – 43“x18.5″x.75″
7 Back Slats – 1×6 x33″
4 Legs 1.25″x1.25″x36″
Top Frame:
2 Sides – 1×4 x42″
3 Dividers – 1×4 x16″
2 Separators – 1×4 x9.75″

Here’s the cut sheet:
Lists CutDiagram

Here’s some mockups of the changing table I’m planning to build this weekend, complete with Skubb Ikea Drawers:
ChangingTable4 ChangingTable3 ChangingTable2 ChangingTable

Here’s the breakout with the biscuit locations shown:
ChangingTable Breakout1 ChangingTable Breakout2 ChangingTable Breakout3 ChangingTable Breakout4 ChangingTable Breakout5

And here’s the measurements for the various parts when assembled:
ChangingTable Measurements1 ChangingTable Measurements2 ChangingTable Measurements3 ChangingTable Measurements4