"Looks like we've both gone to our default meals."
Three nights ago my roommate Chris pulled out a frozen pizza from Whole Foods, his "I'm at home and want to eat something that I know I'll like but won't take much effort" meal of choice. He came home as I was halving Brussels sprouts and frying half a pound of chopped bacon, ensuring that bacon fumes diffused into every cubic inch of our apartment. And the hallway outside our apartment. And probably a few feet beyond our building's front door.
The fate of the Brussels sprouts and bacon: Kenji's recipe for "Brussels Sprouts Worth Eating"—aka, seared Brussels sprouts and bacon. It's easily my most oft-cooked dish that doesn't come out of the freezer. Why? Because to make it I only have to buy two ingredients: bacon and Brussels sprouts. This is a big deal as someone who sparingly cooks at home (I eat out a lot, not always predictably so), and when I do, it's just for myself. Cooking from scratch for one person after getting home late from work can be a frustrating exercise in getting the most deliciousness with the fewest leftover ingredients in a reasonable amount of time. This recipe requires no extra starches, no herbs, no spices, no sauces, no medley of anything. And I use all of the bacon and Brussels sprouts in one go, with no leftover ingredients—like a bag of cilantro when all I needed was a tablespoon, or a tub of ricotta when all I needed was....not a tub, or a whole mess of other half-used ingredients left to age in my fridge-turned-35°F-cell-of-decay.
With Brussels sprouts and bacon, I crisp up the bacon, dump the bacon in a bowl and reserve the fat, coat the halved sprouts in the reserved bacon fat, return the sprouts to the same pan, cut side down, cook on high heat for three minutes, flip sprouts over and cook for about another three minutes, and then IT'S OVER.
...Well. I usually need to cook another one or two pans because my pan isn't big enough for 40-something halved Brussels sprouts. But overall, it doesn't take that long. After all the sprouts are cooked, toss them in a bowl with the bacon, add some salt and pepper if you want, and you're done. Kenji suggests adding some extra vegetable or olive oil to the first bacon rendering step to ensure you end up with enough fat for the Brussels sprouts, but I skip this (or rather, I accidentally skipped it at some point and just continued skipping it) and make do with the bacon fat I end up with. Admittedly, I usually go with a higher bacon-to-Brussels sprouts ratio: about 1/2 pound of bacon to 1 1/2 pounds of Brussels sprouts, unlike Kenji's 1/2 pound to 2 pounds. If you want more bacon, go for it.
I pack half of the Brussels sprouts and bacon for the next day's lunch or dinner and dump the other half in a bowl, perhaps topped with sprøstekt løk (Norwegian fried onions, most popularly used as a hot dog topping, but I put them on almost anything I cook at home since Kåre gave me four bags of the stuff and it tastes awesome). Happiness is being curled up in front of my computer while watching something on Hulu (I'm devoted to Fringe, House, and Chuck, in case anyone's curious) and chewing hearty mouthfuls of charred, tender cabbagey babies, a bit crisp and sweet, enhanced with nubs of salty pork.
If you eat this dish and don't fall in love with my cruciferous friend, I don't think I can trust you.
Oh, if you have suggestions for other awesome two-ingredient meals, let me know! My cooking repertoire is about an extensive as my workout regimen. Or my shoe collection. Or my ability to speak Mandarin. Or my knowledge of early modern European history. Or my ambition. I can just keep on listing stuff that I lack, but I think you get the idea.