A Squared: An A Squared-- or Triple A-- Birthday Celebration

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An A Squared-- or Triple A-- Birthday Celebration

Way back when we first became friends
This past weekend we went out and celebrated our good friend Alexis's birthday.  Alexis has been a big part of our life together in Chicago-- she was the first close girlfriend that I had after moving here (and still the closest), she was one of my maids of honor in our wedding, and she helped Alex pick out my engagement ring and organize the whole engagement evening.  That's a good friend!  Funny, because I didn't like her when we first met.  :)  It's true.  In all honesty, I didn't give her much of a chance in those first few weeks.  She was hired by the company that I had been working at for about 4 months and I was convinced that they were going to fire me and that I was training her to be my replacement.  Well, that wasn't exactly the case and we ended up becoming fast friends and the rest is history.  I can't believe we've only been friends for a few years-- it feels like she's been in our lives (and that we've been 'Triple A') forever!

Happy birthday, Alexis-- may 28 be the happiest, luckiest, and best year yet!

Triple A.  Happy birthday, Lex!
To celebrate we met friends for drinks at Haymarket (this seems to be a running theme lately), but first Alex and I took Alexis to Scoozi, one of our favorite restaurants.  We could eat here all the time because the service and the food are always fantastic.  See the ginormous pizza that Alexis and Alex shared for reference below.

Seriously?  This is a large pizza?

One of my favorite things on the menu at Scoozi is their Brussels Sprouts salad.  I'm obsessed.  The first time that I ate this was when we took my parents to Scoozi a few years ago and my mom ordered the salad and made me try it.  I'm pretty sure I had never eaten a Brussels Sprout before at all, but this is definitely where my love for them began.  I have often tried to recreate the salad at home and I think I have finally found something pretty close.  Regardless, it's delicious so that is good enough for me.  Scoozi puts currants in their salad, but I don't normally keep those on hand so I subbed in chopped pears instead.  I've included the recipe for my version of the salad below.  Enjoy!


Brussels Sprouts Salad 
  • 3 cups Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and shredded
  • 1 cup Radicchio, chopped
  • 1 cup Bosc Pear, thinly sliced (or other fruit: I'd suggest apples, currants, or dried cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup Hazelnuts, shelled
  • 2 oz. Parmesan or Romano cheese, shaved
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 4 ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Combine Brussels Sprouts, radicchio, and fruit and divide into individual salad bowls.

In a small bowl or cruet combine olive oil and next 4 ingredients.  Whisk or shake to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Dress the salads with desired amount of dressing and toss to combine.  Add shaved cheese to the top of each salad and set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and add hazelnuts, stirring frequently until fragrant.  Remove hazelnuts from heat and let cool for 2-3 minutes. While the hazelnuts are still warm place them inside a dishtowel and roll them around.  This will help to remove the tough skin from the outside of the hazelnuts.  Coarsely chop the cooled hazelnuts, add to the salads, and enjoy! Serves approximately 4.


Recipe inspired by Scoozi Restaurant and dressing courtesy of Bobtail at Food.com.

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