Recipe: Smokey Brussel Sprouts with Blood Orange Balsamic Glaze

I wish I actually had some fancy recipe to share with you. But I don't. Except I ate the best lunch in the world on Wednesday, so I feel like I should make it possible, in some way, for you to eat it also.

It started out with some leftover rice in the fridge. We had made rice last week and added corn and some spices (probably at least turmeric and a bouillon cube). To this, I added diced tomatoes and some finely chopped onion. And then I cooked up some brussel sprouts.

One of my favorite things that Donnie and I do is, instead of finding the perfect birthday or Christmas or anniversary present, we go to the international aisle at a grocery store, or we go to an international/gourmet grocer. Our favorite is World Harvest. We'll look around for the other person, searching for the most unique and/or bizarre sauces, spices, or other ingredients we can find. The eventual gift ends up being a collection of foods that we don't normally indulge in -- fancy creme fraiche, pomegranate molasses, or a flavored oil. We have so much fun trying to incorporate those ingredients into our cooking. It's a great way to make an average weeknight a little more exciting.

For one such occasion, Donnie got me a blood orange balsamic glaze. I started putting it on everything (like vanilla ice cream... mmmmm!). But my favorite food to top with this glaze is brussel sprouts.

I lightly steam the brussel sprouts first, and then pan fry them in a ton of butter. (I didn't say it was the healthiest lunch!) Once the sprouts began to get dark on one side, I added some liquid smoke and a little pepper.

As soon as I removed the brussel sprouts from the heat, I drizzled them with the orange balsamic glaze. It was, quite possibly, perfect.

What are your favorite ingredients to fancy up a meal? Do you have a go-to sauce or topping that makes your cooking extra special? I'd love to try it!