Friday, January 20, 2017

Instagrub: Sticky + Garlicky Korean Beef Noodles

And here's the last recipe to kick off our week of Asian dishes! Remember how I mentioned on Wednesday that I would post my Sticky + Garlicky Korean Beef Noodles? Well, here they are! There are very few recipes that we make more than once. My husband hates me for that because I'll make something so delicious, and then when he requests it again, I have to tell him that I've already made that and I'm a food blogger who needs to constantly come up with new recipes for all of my followers! However, there are a few exceptions to that argument, and one of them is certainly this Asian pasta dish. We have made these Korean Beef Noodles every week for the last six months! We think it's pretty easy-peasy to make and it makes enough to feed an army! The sauce is pretty straight forward, as I already went into how to make it on my post for the Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Sweet + Salty Sauce (literally, it is the exact same sauce). As for the pasta, I really love to use Trader Joe's Pappardelle Pasta for this recipe, but honestly, any kind of noodles will do! The most important cooking process is by far the beef component. I start off by cooking the ground beef in a cast iron skillet until it has just barely finished cooking, and then I drain the excess fat out of the pan, using a pasta strainer. While the beef is separating from the extra fat and liquid, wipe down the cast iron skillet, so that it is completely dry. Return the skillet to your stovetop and crank up the heat to as high as it will go. Once it is screeching hot, add the ground beef back in, along with the minced garlic. Quickly pour in half of the sweet + salty sauce and stir to coat the ground beef. I find that if you cook this at a very high heat, the sauce will perfectly caramelized onto the meat and deepen the flavor. Really all that is left to do is to combine all of the components... al dente pasta, caramelized onions, charred green onions, minced green onions, sweet + salty sauce, caramelized ground beef, + seasonings. We really like to overdo it with the minced, dried garlic, toasted sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes, so I'll leave that up to you on how much you want to put in. Now all you have to do is eat the Sticky + Garlicky Korean Beef Noodles while they are still hot!! Enjoy :)
For the Sweet + Salty Sauce:
1C Light Brown Sugar
½C Soy Sauce
¼C Hoisin Sauce
1T Toasted Sesame Oil
1-2T Sriracha (depending on how spicy you like it)
1T Rice Wine Vinegar
1t Freshly Grated Ginger
1t Red Pepper Flakes (less or more to your preferred spiciness)
4 Large Cloves of Garlic, Minced

For the Caramelized Onions:
2 Vidalia Onions, Sliced
4T Unsalted Butter
2T Vegetable Oil
1t Kosher Salt
1T Sugar

For the Korean Beef Noodles:
1T Canola Oil
2 Bunches of Green Onions (1 bunch finely sliced + 1 bunch cut into 1-inch pieces)
1T Toasted Sesame Oil
2-3lbs 80/20 Ground Chuck
4 Large Cloves of Garlic, Minced
16oz Pappardelle Noodles (I like Trader Joe’s brand, but really any kind of pasta will work)
2T Korean Chili Seasoning
Prepared Sweet + Salty Sauce
Prepared Caramelized Onions
2T Minced, Dried Garlic (or to taste, but we love adding a bunch to this pasta)
1T Toasted Sesame Seeds
1t Red Pepper Flakes (this is optional, but you can add more or less to your liking)

Directions:
1. For the Sweet + Salty Sauce: In a small pot, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until it is well incorporated. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-low heat, making sure to continuously whisk. Reduce to a simmer and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool for a few minutes. Repeat this process of bringing it to a boil and simmering the sauce three more times. After you have done this, allow the sauce to cool while you make the Korean Beef Noodles.
2. For the Caramelized Onions: Heat the butter and oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add in the sliced onions, salt, and sugar. Cook for 10 minutes, and then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to caramelize, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes. The onions should be browned and caramelized. If at all during the cooking the onions begin to darken or burn, just add a few tablespoons of water. After they are done, turn off the heat and leave the caramelized onions in the pot.
3. Charring the Green Onions: In a cast iron skillet, over high heat, add in the canola oil. Take the one bunch of green onions that were cut into 1-inch pieces (leave the other bunch of thinly sliced green onions uncooked) and put them in the searing hot pan. Stir the onions around for a minute or two until they have begun to char and slightly soften. Remove the charred green onions from the pan and place them into the pot with the caramelized onions.
4. Preparing the Pasta: Boil your pasta according to the package directions. Once they have cooked to al dente, strain the noodles and add them into the pot with the onions. Sprinkle the Korean chili seasoning on top of the pasta and toss to combine all of the ingredients in the pot (that way the noodles won’t stick together).
5. Cooking the Ground Beef: Heat 1T of toasted sesame oil, in the same cast iron skillet that you charred the green onions in, over medium-high heat. Add in the ground beef and cook until just browned, about 5 minutes. Make sure to crumble the beef as it cooks, so smaller pieces form. Drain the excess fat out of the pan. Return the cast iron pan to high heat. Once it has gotten extremely hot, add the cooked, crumbled beef back into the pan, along with the garlic. Stir this mixture around for 1-2 minutes. Quickly pour half of the sweet + salty sauce over the ground beef and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Cooking at such a high temperature will help the sauce to caramelize into the beef and deepen the flavor.
6. Finishing the Korean Beef Noodles: Pour the sauced, caramelized beef over the pasta in the large pot, and then drizzle in the remaining sweet + salty sauce and add in the finely sliced green onions. Using tongs, toss together all of the ingredients until they are evenly incorporated. Season the pasta with the dried minced garlic, toasted sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes. Mix everything together and serve while the noodles are still hot!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Sweet + Salty Sauce

We've been on a real Asian kick this week when it comes to cooking dinner. Sometime in the next few days, I'll post my Garlicky Korean Beef Noodles, which have become a weekly meal for the last 6 months. But today, we're going to talk about chicken lettuce wraps. Lettuce wraps are a must for me whenever we go out to a restaurant, so why not make my own version at home? This recipe is pretty easy when it comes to cooking other dishes on my food blog, although you will do a lot of chopping. But if you have another person helping you, y'all will be done in no time! I started off by making my go-to sweet + salty sauce (that also goes on the Korean Beef Noodles) and all you have to worry about is bring it to a boil, reducing it to a simmer, whisking continuously, and letting it cool. You'll repeat that cooking process 3-4 times until the sauce is smooth and has reduced slightly. After you have done that, just let the sauce cool in the small pot until you are ready to pour it over the chicken. Now, I have a pretty firm belief that everyone likes chicken, but if you are that one person who doesn't, then just trade out the ground chicken for ground pork and ground beef. Now let's talk about all the vegetables. We were recently eating out at one of our favorite thai restaurants and they have the most glorious chicken lettuce wraps. Something a little different that they include are red + green bell peppers. Both my husband and I enjoyed that addition so much, that I had to put some peppers into my chicken-vegetable mixture. It is important though, that you dice up the sweet onions and bell peppers to the same size, so that they will all cook for the same time. Once those vegetables have become slightly softened and somewhat translucent, throw in the minced fresh garlic, diced water chestnuts, minced green onions, fresh basil, minced dried garlic, toasted sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, and some red pepper flakes. Stir it all together and let it cook for a minute or two. Now, all that is left to do is to pour some of the sauce over the chicken mixture until everything is coated. I would suggest starting with half the sauce and working your way up because you don't want an overwhelmingly large amount drowning your chicken + veggies. The goal here is to add just the right amount of sauce to your liking, that way the chicken lettuce wraps taste light and delicious. All that there is left to do is to assemble them. Get a piece of butter lettuce, spoon in some of the sauced chicken mixture on top, drizzle with a little bit of extra sauce, and garnish with a pinch of minced, dried garlic, red pepper flakes, and toasted crushed peanuts. Voila, you have made yourself a real crowd pleasing recipe! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! 



For the Sweet + Salty Sauce:
1C Light Brown Sugar
½C Soy Sauce
¼C Hoisin Sauce
2T Toasted Sesame Oil + 2T Sriracha
1T Rice Wine Vinegar
1t Freshly Grated Ginger
1t Red Pepper Flakes (less or more to your preferred spiciness)

For the Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps:
Prepared Sweet + Salty Sauce
4T Vegetable Oil (separated)
2lbs Ground Chicken
2 Sweet Onions, Diced
1 Red Bell Pepper + 1 Green Pepper, Diced
1t Salt
8oz Sliced Water Chestnuts, Diced
8 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
2 Bunches of Green Onions, Minced
¼C Fresh Basil, Minced
2T Minced Dried Garlic (plus more for garnishing)
1T Toasted Sesame Seeds (plus more for garnishing)
Red Pepper Flakes (to your preferred spiciness)
1T Toasted Sesame Oil
1-2 Butter Head Lettuce
Toasted, Crushed Peanuts, For Garnishing


Directions:
1. For the Sweet + Salty Sauce: In a small pot, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until it is well incorporated. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-low heat, making sure to continuously whisk. Reduce to a simmer and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool for a few minutes. Repeat this process of bringing it to a boil and simmering the sauce three more times. After you have done this, allow the sauce to cool while you make the chicken lettuce wraps.
2. Cooking the Chicken: Heat 2T oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in the ground chicken and cook until just browned, about 5-7 minutes. Make sure to crumble the chicken as it cooks, so smaller pieces form. Drain the excess fat out of the pan and set aside the cooked chicken while you sauté the vegetables.
3. Making the Asian Chicken: In a large pot, heat the other 2T of oil over medium-high heat. Add in the diced onions, diced red bell pepper, diced green pepper, and the salt. Sauté these vegetables for about 5-10 minutes, until they have cooked down and gave become translucent. Next, toss in the diced water chestnuts, minced garlic, and minced green onions. Stir everything so that it is all mixed together. Bring the heat up to high and let it cook on that temperature for a minute. Drizzle in half of the reduced sweet + salty sauce, stirring to make sure the lettuce wrap mixture is completely coated in the sauce. Lastly, finish off the dish by throwing in the fresh minced basil, minced dried garlic, toasted sesame seeds, as much or as little red pepper flakes that you like, and toasted sesame oil. Turn off the heat and taste the sauced, ground chicken-vegetable mixture. If you think the chicken needs more sauce, salt, or red pepper flakes, then add it to your liking.
4. Assembling the Chicken Lettuce Wraps: Pull off the individual leaves of butter lettuce and wash and dry them. Place the lettuce leaves onto a plate, and then spoon some of the chicken mixture into each leaf. Garnish the top of the chicken lettuce wraps with a drizzle of the sweet + salty sauce, dried minced garlic, pinch of red pepper flakes, and some toasted, crushed peanuts. Enjoy the lettuce wraps while they are still hot (but they are just as delicious if you serve them cold)!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

"Bae" Toast with Crispy Bacon Lardons, Marinated Avocado, + Luscious Cheesy Scrambled Eggs on Garlic-Rubbed, Bacon Fat Fried Multigrain Sourdough Toast

If you could do one thing for me when it comes to cooking, it would be to make this avocado toast... before anything else. Have you ever wondered what "bae" stood for? Some people believe it to be what I already previously stated. But in my crazy foodie world, it obviously stands for bacon, avocado, + egg. Yep, the craze of 2016 had to be avocado toast. I wasn't really on board with it in the beginning because I'm not much of an avid avocado person. Don't get me wrong though, I love me some guacamole. But just toast and avocado? I wasn't quite buying it just yet. However, I started seeing recipes pop over all over the blog-o-sphere and pinterest and they included much more than just a piece of bread + avocado. That inspired to make one of our favorite dishes yet, Smoked Avocado Toast with Herbed Crab Salad, Bacon Fat Fried Sourdough, + Citrus Caviar. It's so good that we make it a few times a month. So, I knew I would've eventually come up with another twist on this new-found classic. What I absolutely love about this recipe is that you can literally eat it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, a snack, or dinner-- it is so versatile! Now, let's break down each component. First let's talk about the "toast"... if you could even call sliced thick cut, multigrain sourdough pan fried in smokey bacon fat toast. It's crunchy on the exterior, but perfectly melts into your mouth like a perfectly cooked piece of bacon. That golden brown piece of bread is then rubbed with garlic, which gives the toast a little bit of bite, especially in such a rich dish. Speaking of rich, let's get to the marinated avocado. I personally think avocado is a little too bland to me. So any time I use it, I like to "marinate" it. I do this by buying an almost ripe avocado, cutting it into slices, and then smashing it ever-so-slightly with some salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, and lime zest. This adds just a wee bit of flavor and intensifies it just enough to bring everything together. Now far and away, the best component of this toast are the luscious cheesy scrambled eggs. A chef can make or break a recipe by the way they cook their eggs. And this is the only way I will scramble an egg. Eggs are beaten together with heavy cream (YES), kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper. They are then slow-slow-slow-and-low-low-low cooked in a skillet with butter and oil. This is very, very important. The key to getting fluffy, luscious, and creamy eggs is to continuously stir and fold the egg mixture with a rubber spatula. If I could describe it best, I would say to graze the pan, gently moving the cooked eggs from the outside of the pan towards the center. I will say that this method will take some time, anywhere from 15-30 minutes, but it is so unbelievably worth it. At the very end of cooking, I like to grate some parmesan on top of the curds and gently fold it in. I also love to garnish with fresh chives, but that's completely optional! Really, all that is left are topping the toasts with crispy bacon bits and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes... and that is it! It is such a simple dish, but oh-so-amazing! I mean, anyone can make this. I hope y'all love it as much as we did. Enjoy :)



For the Marinated Avocado:
2-3 Ripe Avocados, Sliced
1 Lime, Zested + Juiced
1T EVOO
Kosher Salt + Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, To Taste

For the Luscious Cheesy Scrambled Eggs:
2T Unsalted Butter + 1T EVOO
6 Extra Large Eggs
¼C Heavy Cream
Pinch of Kosher Salt + Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
½C Freshly Grated Parmesan
1-2T Fresh Snipped Chives

For the "Bae" Toast:
Prepared Marinated Avocado
Prepared Luscious Cheesy Scrambled Eggs
6 Slices of Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, Cut into Lardons + Cooked until Crispy
Reserved Bacon Fat, For Frying
4-6 Slices of Multigrain Sourdough Toast, Fried in Bacon Fat
1 Large Clove of Garlic
Dried Red Pepper Flakes, For Sprinkling

Directions:
1. Fry the bacon lardons in a large skillet over medium heat until they are perfectly crispy (but not burnt). Remove the bacon lardons from the hot pan and place them on a paper towel to drain and cool them. Reserve the rendered bacon fat for frying the toast.
2. For the Bacon Fat Dried Multigrain Sourdough Toast: In the same large skillet, over medium heat, add in about 1-2 inches of the rendered bacon fat. Fry the toast for a couple minutes on each side until they are golden brown and slightly crunchy. Repeat this process until all of the bread has been fried/toasted. Set them aside and let the toast cool for a few minutes, and then rub the clove of garlic all over the warm surface of the bread. Set them aside before assembling.
3. For the Marinated Avocado: In a mixing bowl, add in the sliced avocado, followed by the lime zest, lime juice, EVOO, kosher salt, and fresh cracker pepper. Toss all of the ingredients together, so that the avocados are covered in the lime. Right before assembling, mash the sliced avocado slightly, so that there are still some large chunks amongst the smoother smashed avocado. Set the marinated avocado aside until you are ready to assemble the toast.
4. For the Luscious Cheesy Scrambled Eggs: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over low heat. Add the butter and EVOO and allow it to melt and start to froth a bit. Pour the egg mixture into the warm pan. Using a heat-resistant rubber spatula, continually stir and fold the eggs until super soft curds form. It is important that you neatly and gently scrape (or graze) the sides of the pan, making sure to never stopping the motion. Push the eggs from the outside of the pan towards the center and repeat it until they are creamy, but cooked through. This process should take 15-30 minutes depending on your stovetop. Once the curds form and the eggs are cooked, sprinkle the top with the freshly grated parmesan and snipped chives. Stir to combine and be prepared to serve them while they are still warm.
5. Assembling the "Bae" Toast: Grab your perfectly browned bacon fat fried toast and rub the surface with the clove of garlic. Top each of the slices with some of your marinated mashed avocado and season with a pinch of salt. Spoon a mound of the luscious cheesy scrambled eggs on top of the creamy avocado. Scatter the crumbled, crispy bacon lardons evenly over the avocado. Garnish with some red pepper flakes for some spice and enjoy!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Our Favorite Recipes of 2016: Savory + Sweet

I'm back on tha grind... I know I have been horrible with my posting
But, here's to a new year + new recipes!!
We have some amazing food from last year, ranging from sweet n' salty combos 
to some southern favorites with elevated flavors. 
And don't forget about desserts either 'cuz it's all about interesting takes on everything chocolate.
I'm looking ahead and can't wait for y'all to see everything I have made!!
Thank you to everyone who has liked, commented, followed, pinned, and shared this year.
XOXO, Juliana




OUR TOP TEN RECIPES OF 2015: SAVORY

Spicy Barbecue with Caramelized Red Onions, Pulled Pork, + Smoked Cheddar Cheese
Braised Short Rib Ragu Pasta
Smoked Avocado Toast with Herbed Crab Salad, Bacon Fat Fried Sourdough, + Citrus Caviar 
Farmer's Market Finds: The Best Damn Deviled Egg Salad Sandwich with Crispy Prosciutto, Peppery Arugula, Soft Herbs, + Sriracha Powder on Buttered White Bread
#instagrub: Eggplant Parmesan with Homemade Brown Butter-Heirloom Tomato Sauce, Creamy Burrata Cheese, Fresh Basil, + a Drizzle of Balsamic Reduction
Autumn Fuji Apple Crostini with Whipped Herbed Goat Cheese, Bourbon Caramelized Shallots, a Drizzle of Winter White Honey, + Fresh Basil on Bacon Fat Fried Baguette Rounds
Saturday Down South: NOLA-Style BBQ Shrimp
Maple Roasted Pear Pizza with Pistachio Olive Oil, Caramelized Shallots, Crispy Prosciutto, + Crumbled Goat Cheese
Mexican Bell Pepper Shakshuka with Habanero Cheddar Cheese, Cilantro Whipped Feta, + Garlic Rubbed Grilled Bread
Summer Strawberry Pizza with Sauteed Ramps, Crumbled Gorgonzola, Shaved Speck, Baby Arugula, + a Balsamic Reduction Drizzle on Multigrain Pizza Dough

OUR TOP FIVE RECIPES OF 2015: SWEET

Espresso Infused Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Whipped Sea Salt Buttercream, Honey Caramel Sauce, Smoked Fleur de Sel, + Crispy Cake Crumbs
Saturday Down South: University of Alabama-Inspired Houndstooth Pudding Trifle with Homemade Red Velvet Pudding, Cream Cheese Whipped Cream, Crushed Double Stuffed Oreos, + Red Velvet Cake Sprinkles
New Orleans "King Cake" Cronuts with a Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Custard Filling, Toasted Pecan Sugar, Bourbon Glaze, + Festive Mardi Gras Sprinkles
Spicy Mexican Chocolate Silk Pie with Vanilla Bean Pâte Brisée , Salty Cajeta + Cajeta Infused Whipped Cream
Gourmet S'more Pie with Chunky 'Nilla Wafer-Graham Cracker Crust, Espresso Infused Brownie Truffle Filling, + a Toasted Homemade Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Topping

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Revamped: Pan Fried Brussel Sprouts Tossed in a Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette with Bacon Lardons, Dried Cranberries, Candied Pecans, + Crispy Shallots

My recipe for Pan Fried Brussel Sprouts Tossed in a Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette with Bacon Lardons, Dried Cranberries, Candied Pecans, & Crispy Shallots is far and away my most requested + most loved recipe during the holiday season. So, when I started getting organized for our upcoming Thanksgiving meal, I noticed that this recipe is four years old and in need of a desperate "revamping". The recipe is only changed slightly, but I added more detailed instructions to help my follow readers! Like before, it requires the same maple-mustard vinaigrette because I think it pairs with the dish like no one's business... I guess if you're not a mustard fan, you could use a balsamic reduction because that would work quite easily. But really though, listen to me and all the fans of this dish and go with the homemade dressing! Mmk? Good... moving on. Concerning the candied pecans, I will leave that up to you and what you want to do. I personally make the candied pecans, but I have used store-bought candied pecans, and no one even noticed the difference. So, by all means, if you want to save time and cut a corner, then go for it! Now, in a small pan, over medium-low heat, you're going to caramelize + crisp up those thinly sliced yummy shallots; they really bring the dish to another level. Next up on the list is cooking a shit ton of bacon... because bacon makes everything better, duhhhh. Once your bacon lardons are crispy, strain them out of their fat onto a paper towel to dry, leaving the just-rendered bacon fat in the pan. That's when you get the trimmed + halved brussel sprouts and begin to pan fry ... in BACON FAT (dun dun dunnnnnn)! Like I've said, bacon makes everything better. Crisp up the sprout halves until they have begun to brown on their flat side, and then toss all of them around to cook the other side of the brussel sprout. I know some people like their brussel sprouts to have some al dente texture, while others prefer a softer finished product. Either way, just cook them until they have reached your desired doneness. If you don't have a large saute pan that can fit all of your brussel sprouts, you might have to do 2-3 batches of them. But, thats no biggie at all! Now it's time to assemble this yummy side dish. In a large mixing bowl, add in the bacon-fat fried brussel sprouts, bacon lardons, dried cranberries, crisped shallots, and chopped candied pecans... all that is left to do is to toss all of the components together while drizzling the maple-mustard vinaigrette evenly over the dish. I suggest that you start off with just a little, and add as you go until you have the perfect amount of dressing that coats everything beautifully. And wham, bam, thank ya ma'am... YOU'RE DONE!! If you want to get a head start on this dish you could easily do any of the following: trim and halve the brussel sprouts and place them into a ziploc bag, make the candied pecans, and whip up the maple-mustard vinaigrette in a mason jar and refrigerate it. That way, you'll have most of the components done + all ready to start cooking! I hope you enjoy this holiday side dish as much as everyone else does!! Enjoy :)
Mmm, bacon lardons
golden brown + crispy shallots 
My Famous Brussel Sprouts in 2015 
So yeah, you have to make these... You'll thank me later!
For the Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette:
2T EVOO
2T Apple Cider Vinegar
4T Maple Syrup
2t Dijon Mustard
2T Grainy Mustard
2t Garlic, Minced
Kosher Salt + Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

For Candied Pecans:
1 ½C Pecans, Toasted
½C Sugar
Pinch of Salt, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cayenne, & Chili Powder (I did a large pinch)

For the Crispy Shallots:
4-6 Large Shallots, Thinly Sliced
3T Canola Oil
Kosher Salt

For the Pan Fried Brussel Sprouts:
1T EVOO
1.5lbs Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, Cut into Lardons
2T Canola Oil
5lbs Brussel Sprouts, Trimmed and Halved
Prepared Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette
1 ½C Dried Cranberries (save a handful for garnishing the dish)
Prepared Candied Pecans, Roughly Chopped (save a handful for garnishing the dish)
Prepared Crispy Shallots
Kosher Salt + Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Directions:
1. For the Maple Mustard Vinaigrette: In a mixing bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until combined. Season it with salt & pepper to taste. Refrigerate the dressing aside until ready to add to the brussel sprouts.
2. For the Candied Pecans: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes until just toasted. Remove from the oven and let it cool. Meanwhile, pour the sugar into a medium saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon while the sugar melts. Keep stirring until the color turns a medium amber color. Once that color is reached, add in the pecans to the pan and quickly stir to coat. As soon as they are coated, spread them onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with the salt, cinnamon, and cayenne. Let them cool completely before adding them to the dish (after they have hardened, you can chose whether or not you want to chop them up or leave them whole).
3. For the Crispy Shallots: Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add in the canola oil. Next, toss in the thinly sliced shallots, along with a heavy pinch of salt and sauté them, stirring occasionally, until the shallots caramelize to a golden brown color and start to get a little crispy.  It is very important to not rush this process, so keep a constant eye on the shallots because they can burn quite quickly.  Remove the perfectly crisped shallots from the pan and put them into a bowl, and set them aside until you are ready to assemble the dish.
4. Crisping up the Bacon Lardons: In a large, deep sauté pan, bring the olive oil to medium-high heat and in the bacon cubes. Cook the bacon until they are very crispy and the bacon has rendered all of its fat. Remove the crispy bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate (leaving the fat in the pan).
5. For the Pan Fried Brussel Sprouts: Add in the vegetable oil into the rendered bacon fat and bring it to high heat. Gently place the halved brussel sprouts face side down (or the flat side), and season with salt & pepper. Cook them until they have browned and caramelized, and they have become slightly crispy in texture, about 10-15 minutes (if you have a big enough sauté pan to fit all of your brussel sprouts, then extend the time of cooking to 20-25 minutes; however, if you do not, then you will have to do several batches in order for all of the brussel sprouts to reach your required crispiness and doneness). After they have browned, using tongs, toss the brussel spouts to continue sautéing to cook the brussel sprouts all the way through, about 3-5 minutes (I prefer my brussel sprouts on the crisper side, but some people like to cook them longer until they are soft).
6. Assembling the Dish: Once they have all been cooked and have reached your desired doneness, remove the cooked brussel sprouts to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle the prepared maple-mustard vinaigrette over the cooked brussel sprouts, tossing to cover all of them. Add in the bacon lardons, dried cranberries and chopped candied pecans, and toss once again. Season with salt & pepper if needed. Place the glazed brussel sprouts onto a serving platter and garnish with the remaining handfuls of dried cranberries, candied pecans and the crispy shallots. Serve immediately and enjoy while they are still warm!!