April 27, 2010

Brussel Sprouts

There are so many foods that people think they don't like. This misconception likely stems from childhood, when a grandparent served the offending food in a mushy slop scooped next to roast beef and forced you to clean your plate. From that day forward you don't like .... (insert food of choice here). My theory, which is tested on anyone who comes over for dinner, is that you don't actually hate the food, you just haven't had it prepared correctly. Brussel sprouts were that veggie for Jeremy.

The only way Jeremy had eaten Brussel sprouts while growing up was when the frozen little cabbage-like veggies where thawed and steamed into mushy green globes; who could like that?! So the first time I brought home fresh sprouts, still attached to the stock, Jeremy asked what they were. Upon my response, he said "I don't like Brussel sprouts." To which I said "You don't know that. Wait till you have mine." The way I prepare Brussel sprouts, and a sure fire way to get everyone to eat them, is as follows. First, pick small sprouts with tight leaves. Dice up half a small onion (or a shallot) and a couple garlic cloves. Next, for the Brussel sprout, cut off the portion that was attached to the stock and halve each lengthwise. Discard any leaves that fall off. Heat a tablespoon or so of extra-virgin olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic and Brussel sprouts. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts just start to brown and are 'fork-tender'. Remove from heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon butter (real butter, not margarine) and some sea salt - stir. Serve.

I made this version of Brussel sprouts for Jeremy and served them with pork chops and risotto. He was very surprised - they were actually delicious! Jordan loved them too and they both ate every last sprout. All winter long we had sprouts - they are best after the first hard freeze. Tonight I made sprouts for the last time until next winter. We had them with meat loaf and buttermilk biscuits - it was a good dinner, but a sad one knowing how long we have to wait for sprouts to be back in season. Good thing the asparagus is ripe!!

Here is my meat loaf recipe:

1 1/2 lbs elk, lamb, beef or a mix there of
2 squares shredded wheat, crumbled
1 small onion, diced
1 small zucchini, shredded
1 small carrot, shredded
2 eggs
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbs mustard
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix all ingredients with you hands in a large bowl. If it is too dry to form into a loaf, add a little milk. Form a 1 1/2 inch thick loaf on a baking sheet. Bake 45 min to 1 hr or until done through. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!

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