Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Brussels Sprouts even a 3 year old will eat (and will impress your significant other)

Since knee surgery, almost six weeks ago, I have trouble sleeping past 3:30 am.  The pain meds, ice packs and knee brace (when it was on) helped but I keep waking up.  This early morning I planned on blogging about sauteed radishes.  I transferred the photos out of iPhoto into the blog and discovered I selected the brussels sprouts instead.  Maybe it's time for another cup of coffee.

Growing up overseas exposed me to lots of different foods.  While a kid living in the middle east our live in maid was Indian and made some of the most wonderful curries.  While out with my parents I remember eating fresh shawarma of the spit, fresh roasted nuts, skewers of lamb and veggies from the small sidewalk cafes.  Traveling back to the US always resulted in a lay over somewhere in Europe.  I still remember at 11 eating real carbonara fettucini with the raw egg on top in Rome.  Oh ya, some of the most incredible pizzas too from the little food trailers.

Then my teenage years were spent in Melbourne Australia (go Collingwood Magpies!)  How ironic, my favorite footy team's colors are black and white.  Australia is a melting pot of culinary delights.  My neighbors were Italian, Greek, Chinese, Czechoslovakian and Ozzy.  There was cream in the milk, the meat was grass fed, great public transportation (which was great when you couldn't legally drive till 18) and walkability.  The local shopping center had a supermarket for basic, I'll call it canned/carb sundries.  You then made the rounds to  the  produce store, a meat butcher, a bakery, a desert shop, a flower stand...all individual businesses that focused within their specific niche to finish off the shopping trip.  And the first few years we lived there weekend shopping was limited to 1pm on Saturdays and no commercial shopping on Sundays.

For six years I wore a shirt, tie, slacks and blazer to school.   90210 was the show I'd watch, on one of three commercial TV channels, to see what life was like in the US. I learned to drive on the left side of the road, ate fish and chips with lots of vinegar and wrote/spoke the Queen's English.  I also ate some of the traditional Queens food-banger and mash, scones with cream, marmite (or even worst Vegemite - sorry my ozzy friends), real mint jelly and brussels sprouts.  Brussels sprouts  were served gooey, overcooked and covered in butter.  The butter was the best part.

So fast forward to ten years later; I'm in my late 20's dating my wife and deciding to try a new vegetable in the kitchen, good old brussels sprouts.  After all it's part of the cabbage family and should be good for us.  But I don't want them to be soft, gooey, stinky mess.  So lots of butter later (I didn't understand the positive health benefits at the time), a little sea salt and moderate heat I discovered sauteed brussels sprouts.  It has taken a few more attempts to master and now it is a weekly staple in our house.

I prefer fresh brussels sprouts however Trader Joe's use to carry a frozen bag that would work in an emergency pinch.  In this recipe I cheated and used jarred garlic.  Somehow I forgot to buy fresh and the Trader Joe's jar is a good backup.

1/2 lb to 1 lb brussel sprouts (I get mine at Fresh and Easy)
Chunk (2 Tbsp) Good butter
1-2 cloves minced/squashed Garlic
Twist of sea salt

1.  Cut the hard bottoms off the brussels sprouts and remove the outer leaves (I do because it is the most exposed side of the veggie and if I don't I get the germ hebe jebes).  Rinse under cold water.  If the brussels sprout is large you can cut it in half.  The goal is to have a uniformed size for cooking.

2.  Put on a high heat.  I love this fry pan.  It is almost shot and the other night the handle started falling off.  But it has cooked hundreds of happy meals on multiple stoves, in multiple cities, over multiple grills, served to multiples of friends and family.

 3.  Add enough water to immerse the veggie about 1/4 to 1/3.  Let the water boil rapidly.

 4. Monitor the veggie.  As soon as the water boils off angle the pan over the heat and push the veggies to the side.

 5. Drop a big chunk of butter on the open side of the pan and let the butter melt into the veggies.  Be careful not to burn yourself.  And don't angle the pan too much otherwise the chunk of butter will slide into the veggies unmelted.  Add the garlic and twist or two of sea salt.

 6.  Place back on high heat, toss a couple of times with a flick of the wrist and grub up.

Comments, feedback, thoughts-Please.

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