Wednesday, February 22, 2012

a new favorite

Sorry about the scarcity of posts lately...between Brent gone last week, Valentines celebrations that lasted almost a week, a cold that's now entering week #3, and keeping the house market-ready, well, something had to take the back burner. Sorry! :)

But I'm here with a yummy recipe today that might surprise you a bit.  It sure surprised me.

I'm happy to say that as an adult, I now like most of the "untouchable" vegetables of my youth.  Artichokes. (Thanks to Brent.) Asparagus. (Thanks to Shannon & Morton's during college.) Cilantro and bell peppers. (That would be Shawna.)  Sugar Snap Peas. (My own discovery.) 

As a child, I liked broccoli and green beans.  Salad.  Corn on the cob and mashed potatoes. (Which Mom would never let me get both of them when we'd eat at a Luby's or some other similar cafeteria-style restaurant.  Apparently those are both starches. Hmph.)  And that was about it.  

My first experience with Brussel Sprouts occurred at the lovely Le Mesengeau on a trip to France, where Brent and I celebrated our 1st anniversary.  We enjoyed dinner prepared by the owners in the company of the other guests: two British couples, a French couple, and an Australian couple.  I count that meal among my favorites during that trip...there was something so wonderful about sharing a meal with strangers from so many nationalities...and the food was delicious.  Quail.  Cucumbers in fresh cream. An amazing and beautiful pear tart.

And then Brent passed the brussel sprouts. And I quickly passed them on to the English lady on my left.  She fussed over me, "You forgot to take your brussel sprouts!"  

I assured her I was fine, and that I didn't think I cared for them.  Shock. That was the expression on her face.  She explained that they were a great treat for her...that they only served them for Christmas and on other important occasions.  So I took two, to be polite, tried my very first bite ever of the "delicacy" and realized that my guess was confirmed.

I did not care for brussel sprouts.  And I told her she could have the rest of my serving. :)  

About 9 years later, which would mean sometime in the past year, Brent and I were eating at an Irish pub in town and on our waitresses' recommendation, I tried the brussel sprouts as a side. They had to be better than the "mushy peas" option. 

Seriously. Mushy Peas. It's on the menu.

And my skeptical attitude changed in an instant. I am now smitten with brussel sprouts.

I've tried to replicate the recipe...and it's simple. And so good.  (And I don't mind at all that the children will only eat their required two.  More for me!)  I could probably eat the whole recipe.  The addition of the Herbs de Provence comes from my friend Stephanie whose daughter loves the "little green balls" and told my Mom that Madeleine would like them more if I "made them like her mommy does"! (And Madeleine does "like" them a little bit more, though they're still far from a favorite.)

Brussel Sprouts

15-20 small brussel sprouts, or 10-15 large
1/4-1/3 stick of butter, or more depending on the amount of sprouts used
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. Herbs de Provence

1. Prepare brussel sprouts by removing the outer leaves and trimming the stalk with a knife. If the brussel sprouts are large, cut them in half.  I usually leave bite-sized ones whole, but you can also cut them in half if you wish.

2. Melt butter in a large sauce pan.  Add prepared brussel sprouts, tossing to coat with butter and then placing cut-side down.  Sprinkle with salt and Herbes de Provence.  Allow to saute 2-3 minutes, until they begin to brown and smell fragrant and nutty.  Stir occasionally, until cooked and bright green.

Serve immediately.

Serves 3-5.

So tell me.  What foods do you like that you thought you never ever would?


Zorina said...

I love brussel sprouts! Thanks for sharing the recipe, missy.

Katy said...

Kimber, if they're the small ones (and you don't cut them), then do you not place them cut-side down? I've been eyeing some brussel sprouts in the grocery store. Now I know what to do with them. I also read that you're supposed to cut an "x", presumably at the you know what they're talking about?

I made a parsnip and carrot soup with parsnip chips on top. Really good, especially the chips! Anyways, my list contains: sweet potatoes, parsnips--didn't know what those were until last month, butternut squash, acorn squash, bean/clover sprouts, lamb (remember, they were a favorite)...

An alternative for cooking brussel sprouts, I think, for the butter: coconut oil. It's delicious. Beth Hailey (who prior to dinner said I didn't have to try them) did this--soooo good.

This is getting long. Maybe we should talk. Your phone any better?

Kimber-Leigh said...

katy, with the small ones, i cut about half of them in half (for the kiddos) and the others i leave whole...but i love the taste & look of the browned you could definitely cut all in half, despite their size.

hmmm. no clue about cutting the "x" but now that you mention it, that sounds kind of familiar. (but i don't do it.)

love the idea of coconut oil. maybe enough to let me butter rest for a bit. ;)

and not sure about my phone yet...hoping to try it tomorrow. i'll let you know.

Melonie said...

YUM! Love brussel sprouts:)

Bekah said...

I never liked them, either, having been introduced to the mushy kind - until I tried them in a nice restaurant and realized that actually, they were quite tasty when not reduced to mush.
I love them roasted. I cut off the stem ends, roll them in olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and then roast them on a baking sheet or pan until crispy on the outside (like a chip) and a little softer on the inside. Totally addicting!


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