and laughing with my mama over the telephone about the joys and sometimes utter ridiculousness of raising children, particularly teenagers. As Spring Break is winding down, I can see summer just over the horizon, and look forward to slowing it down a little bit more around here. I'm longing for more daylight hours, more second lunches, more phone conversations 'just because'.......
I've spent my entire life loathing brussels sprouts. Every five years or so, I try a new recipe that someone 'highly recommended' but to no avail. They always end up bitter, soggy and too damned cabbagy. The Man and I would swallow down one, maybe two and our severe dislike would be reaffirmed and shelved for another five years. I've been giving away the brussels sprouts that have been coming in our weekly produce delivery all month....but then a couple of things happened. First, I kept hearing references to Paul Qui's brussels sprouts recipe at Uchiko. I was captivated by his talents through the entire season of Top Chef, and was intrigued that so many of my friends, self-declared brussels sprouts haters, seemed to be swayed by the relative simplicity of the recipe at Uchiko. Then, when we were in North Carolina, we were served a dish of hot, roasted brussels sprouts at my brother-in-law's house. Our hostess that night, Erica, guided us to seek out the little crispy bits around the edges of the sprouts. "That's the good stuff, right there...you don't know what you're missing!" My interest was piqued, and I sought out a crispy-leaved sprout and popped it in my mouth. I was converted that very second. Didn't even take a moment to consider or think it over. It was done. I am a brussels sprouts lover. A brussels sprouts craver even. I've realized that like most things, I just needed to leave them alone a bit and let them do their thing. The simpler the treatment, the yummier the results. A little salt, pepper and enough slow heat to caramalize the edges of the sprouts is really all you need. I've made them three times since we've been back, and I think I'll make them again tonight for with dinner. I have a lifetime of sprout hate to make up for.
Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts
(Adapted from watching Erica in the kitchen)
Preheat oven to 385 degrees
Trim the brussels sprouts and remove any yellow, damaged or discolored leaves.
Toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper
Place in a baking dish in a single layer
Bake for 30-45 minutes, removing from the oven every 10 minutes or so to turn the sprouts for even roasting. This can be achieved by simply shaking the baking dish. When they're ready the outermost leaves should be crispy and the sprouts should be tender but not mushy in the middle. Test with a knife at 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and add more salt and pepper to taste.
It is rainy and gray in central Texas, and although we need the rain it can make things seem a little bleak when it rains for days on end. Imagine my delight at the farmers' market this morning, when I found not only artichokes from Two Happy Children Farm but also loads of strawberries at Naegelin Farms! While it was unfortunate for the farmers who had to brave the icky weather to sell their goods, I feel like I hit the jackpot with all of the incredible produce I brought home today. If I had any available light to take pictures in my house I would show you the beets, brussel sprouts, arugula, oyster mushrooms, cajeta, ricotta with artichokes, and on and on. I almost didn't peel myself out of the warm bed to head down to the market, but I remembered that I had pre-ordered goods from Dai Due that had to be picked up. I'm so glad that I did. Each vendor that I purchased from gave me a heartfelt "Thanks for coming out today." Thank me? Seriously? I was reminded of how grateful I am that these farmers and purveyors of fine local food, brave whatever market conditions each weekend...not to mention, uncertain crop yields, drought, flooding, freezing temperatures, and a thousand other variables that I can't even imagine. My family directly benefits each and every week from the hard work and dedication of the many people who bring their goods to the market. I'm only sorry that it took a cold, rainy day to remind me to say thank you. Consider this a big 'ol kiss on the cheek from our family to yours. Mwah!