It’s cold here, up at 7900 feet. Despite my layers and extensive head coverings, I’m shivering and bracing against the plummeting temperatures.
A gust blows down the mountain, bringing with it a fine powder of snow that stings against my cheeks. It’s hard to keep my footing and I can barely hear the instructor through the roaring in my ears.
The first time I rode the lift, I fell on my back getting off. As I lay in the snow, laughing, a thought breezed through my mind, “maybe…lessons.” But skiing couldn’t possibly be that difficult – after all, aren’t those five-year-olds whizzing down the slopes?
I learned something, however as I flew down the hill at, what felt like, 80 miles per hour.
Guys, skiing is hard. And lessons? Very important.
Two and a half hours later, after falling on my back countless times, and training next to the children’s classes (who seemed to pick it up faster than I thought possible), I found myself, alone, back on that first lift.
“Don’t lean back, don’t lean back,” I whispered to myself as I neared the end of the lift. And for the first time, I didn’t fall as I skied off. I rounded around the corner and slowed to a stop at the top. Deep breath, and down.
I zigged and zagged; I turned and traversed.
And guys, I totally skied!
Braised Brussels Sprouts
Very slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 4, as a side dish
1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 to three shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 Tablespoon fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
Trim the Brussels sprouts and remove the outer leaves. Halve lengthwise. In a large, heavy skillet or cast iron, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Arrange the halved sprouts in the pan, cut sides down, in one layer. Salt and pepper, to taste. Without turning, cook the sprouts until the bottoms are golden brown. Depending on your skillet and stove, some of the sprouts will be browned before others. Remove these so they do not burn, and set aside while the remainder brown. If all the sprouts don’t fit in one layer, brown them in batches and add them all back to the pan before continuing with the shallots and wine.
With all the browned sprouts in the pan, add the shallots, wine and stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently. Cover the pot with a lid or foil, and cook the sprouts until they are tender, about 20 minutes.
Once the sprouts are tender, scoop out the sprouts. Add the cream to the sauce that remains and return to a simmer for two to three minutes, until slightly thickened. Whisk in the Dijon and whole grain mustards. Adjust seasoning. Pour the sauce over the sprouts and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley. Serve immediately.