May it Please the Palate

 Hipster Cuisine

Nick Roumel, Nacht Law

In true hipster fashion, I resent the hipsters.

I am not even sure what a hipster is. As the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once famously said (about something else), “You know it when you see it.” One consistency is that hipsters embrace irony. Urban Dictionary notes that they otherwise defy definition “because then they’d fit in a category, and thus be too mainstream.” 

Yet like any counterculture, hipsters tend to conform to each other. They may have shaggy hair, leggings or tight pants, and beatnik-style glasses, and artsy pretension. Example: they will like a certain band until it becomes popular, then they will come to hate it.

Their beer of choice, for some unfathomable reason, is Pabst Blue Ribbon. (Remember, this is the beer that made ex-President Jimmy Carter’s brother Billy an alcoholic.) Another thing that binds hipsters is their preference for trendy foods — often organic, locally grown, vegetarian or vegan. Their food prediliction is where my resentment comes in.

A recent Huff Post “listicle” entitled “The 22 Most Hipster Foods on the Planet” includes things like cold brew coffee, artisan pickles, anything off a food truck, and — what really cheesed me — Brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower. Why? Because in true hipster fashion, I like these cruciferous goodies precisely because they are not popular. 

Oh, the irony.

Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts 

with Pancetta*

(* that’s hipster bacon)

— Ruth Lively, “Fine Cooking” 

Ingredients:

* 2 oz. pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice

   (about 1/2 cup)  

* 1 to 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil  

* 10 oz. Brussels sprouts (about 18 

   medium sprouts), trimmed and 

   halved through the core  

* 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

* Freshly ground black pepper  

* 2 Tbs. unsalted butter  

* Kosher salt  

 

Directions: 

1. In a heavy 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan set over medium- low heat, slowly cook the pancetta in 1 Tbs. of the oil until golden and crisp all over, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. With a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels, leaving the fat behind. You should have about 2 Tbs. of fat in the pan; if not, add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil. 

 3. Have ready 1/2 cup water. Put the pan over medium-high heat and arrange the sprouts cut side down in a single layer. Cook undisturbed until nicely browned, 2 to 3 minutes. When the sprouts are browned, add the water to the pan, cover immediately, and simmer until the sprouts are tender when poked with a fork or skewer, about 3 minutes. (If the water evaporates before the sprouts get tender, add more water, 1/4 cup at a time.) With a slotted spoon, transfer the sprouts to a plate.

4. Return the pan to medium-high heat and if any water remains, let it boil off. Add the balsamic vinegar and a few grinds of pepper. Boil the vinegar until it’s reduced to about 2 Tbs. and looks lightly syrupy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the butter, and stir until melted. Return the sprouts and pancetta to the pan and swirl and shake the pan to evenly coat the sprouts with the sauce. Season to taste with salt and more pepper and serve.

Best enjoyed with a PBR or an esoteric craft beer. Speaking of which, do check out this hilarious two minute spoof of hipsters ordering beer — definitely NSFW: “Hipsters Ordering Beer Video Is Everything We’ve Ever Wanted” on Huffington Post. 

Because if there’s any one thing that defines me, it’s making fun of hipsters.

—————

Nick Roumel is a principal with Nacht, Roumel, Salvatore, Blanchard, and Walker PC, a firm in Ann Arbor specializing in employment and civil right litigation. He also has many years of varied restaurant and catering experience, has taught Greek cooking classes, and writes a food/restaurant column for “Current” magazine in Ann Arbor. He has a blog at http://mayitpleasethepalate.blogspot.com which badly needs updating!

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