Brussel Sprouts: Initial Success!

Remember these little guys?

not afraid of you anymore, tiny cabbages.

It probably seems like I am a tad obsessed with trying to like our friend, the brussel sprout. And maybe I am. See, this is really the only vegetable I don't care for. But even though the taste isn't my thing, there are a million reasons to love them. According to (great website, by the way, and a really great book too), our little green buddies are:

  • low in calories...a cup only has about 61. Of course if you douse them in EVOO and butter, that number goes up, but let's not talk about that.
  • high in folic acid, so a natural prenatal vitamin, fighting birth defects.
  • super high in many vitamins and minerals, including K, C, Bs and others.
  • known to cut the risk of several cancers.
  • provides a natural detox since its a member of the cruciferous veggie group.
  • high in dietary fiber (keeps y'all regular).
  • supports healthy skin and immune function.

So what's not to like...well, besides the taste? I really want to model healthy eating habits for my daughter, and shunning veggies is not something I want her to learn from me.

So many of you wrote in with you favorite recipes and last night I decided I had procrastinated long enough. I pulled out a bag of frozen brussel sprouts and gave it another whirl. While eventually I want to try all of the suggestions you sent me, last night I combined a couple that sounded pretty good.

First...the method of cooking = roasting. I've found this method of cooking veggies goes off well in this household. I cut the little dudes in half, wooshed 'em around in some EVOO and doused them in copious amounts of salt because they best that way according to reader Michelle M. But because I have a torrid little love affair with balsamic vinegar, I added some of that too. Here's what Michelle wrote:

Ok, brussel sprouts are THE best, when you cook them this way. Toss the green buggers in quality olive oil (do they still have those barrels you can pour your own from at Penn Macaroni Co?? --Jen's note...YES they do and I love it!) and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt. A bit more than you think is necessary really. The salt defines them, as it does a fabulous bowl of popcorn! Ok, now roast them in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes-ish. Toss them around in the roasting pan a couple times while they are cooking. You want them well browned, and crispy on the outer leaves. Delish!!

Tossed in EVOO, kosher salt and 4-leaf balsamic vinegar. Popped on a stone and ready for roasting.

I'm not embarrassed to say that I also prepared a back-up vegetable because I just didn't have faith in the final outcome.

My mama is in town visiting and I can usually convince her to try just about anything, so I knew I had a supportive audience. Our verdict? Not bad. Not bad at all. I would say that maybe I even cooked them a little too long because, while they were well browned, it was borderline burnt. They were a smidge dry too. Maybe a pat of butter may have helped that. But we both ate all of ours, plus the back-up broccoli, plus shrimp and tilapia (it was a good Thursday evening at imanimama's house, y'all). Sean tried one too, and likened it to a potato (???).

Hey, he likes potatoes, so I'll take it as a compliment.

imanimama's verdict: will try again and try to get something a slightly moister outcome next time.

So now I'm kind of excited to try some new recipes that were left in my comments. But in the meantime, I want to share with you one of my favorite reader stories.

This is all a true story… I promise! So, these green vege’s have been one of my favorite vege’s since I was a toddler! My mother loves to tell the stories of me and “hulk-heads!” I begged for them. She would tell you I would prefer these to a candy bar at the store. (I won’t deny that I was odd when it came to food– I also used to eat lettuce by the head– plain!) Once we were at the grocery store and I caught a frozen package of these from the corner of my eye in the freezer section. I threw a major tantrum when my mother would not buy them. I was crying “I want brussel sprouts!” all through the store. At some point, the manager approached my mom and said “Is she crying for what I think she is crying for?” My mother responded with “Yes- she loves brussel sprouts.” He then handed us a couple frozen packages with a note and said “these are on me– I hate them and you couldn’t pay me to eat them!”

(Thanks Kristin, for the hilarious story.)

Till the next time, Jen

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