Friday, November 25, 2011

Tiny Cabbages - yum!

Brussels sprouts are not loved by many, but those of us who enjoy them, really love them and this is the time of year to do so!  The problem with Brussels sprouts is buying them out of season and then cooking them all wrong!  You wind up with nasty cabbage-flavored mush with a bitter edge no one can enjoy.

Brussels sprouts at this time of year have been touched with a bit of frost and like spinach, this bit of frost sweetens them up.  Buy them fresh from the farm market or grow them yourself.  They are cheap and plentiful right now, so it's a perfect time to try them.

Brussels sprouts are at the top of the veggie nutrition pile with carrots and broccoli.  They are part of the cabbage family and therefore contain lots of cancer-fighting nutrients (as do all cruciferous vegetables). They are especially helpful with colon cancer prevention due to the chemical that creates the odor Brussels sprouts produce.  Other chemicals help with fighting free-radicals in the system for other cancers.  They contain lots of vitamins C, K, A and some B.  Also, iron, potassium, and plenty of fiber.

To make sure you get fresh and tasty sprouts, look for tight heads that have no yellowing or brown leaves.  Cut the woody stems down and remove the loose, life-less leaves.  I like to slice a small line at the base - like the head of a screw for ease in cooking.  You can boil your sprouts or steam, but I wouldn't recommend it - this is how they end up like mushy heads of bitter tasting green stuff!  Plus, you loose vitamins in the water.  Roasting is my favorite (and most others I know who love this veggie also roast).  However, they can be stir-fried - cut in half or quarters first and use your favorite recipe for stir-fry.  I like to just make it simple with garlic and soy sauce and eat over rice.  You can braise them - again in half or quarters, with some dried fruit and nuts.  I also love pickled Brussels sprouts, although have only eaten these pre-packaged.  Follow the recipe below for roasting!

How will you try Brussels sprouts this week?

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sesame Seeds

1 lb. Brussels sprouts
2 TB olive oil
salt to taste
2 TB sesame seeds
2 TB Tamari or soy sauce
2 tsp. honey

Preheat the oven to 400.  Trim the stems from the Brussels sprouts and cut an X into the base, about 1/8 inch deep. Mix the sprouts, salt and the oil in bowl until well coated.  Roast about 15 min. - looking for a bit of browning on the edges.  In a bowl, mix the honey and tamari together.  Pour over the sprouts and mix well to coat (some will sit on the bottom of the roasting pan, no worries).  Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top and put back in the oven for 3-5 min.  Take out and stir well, scraping the sauce from the bottom and put back in for another 3-5 min.  Watch to make sure the edges are not getting too brown!  Stir and serve.

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