Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I can't like it! Oh wait...maybe I can.

I have always considered myself to be an open-minded person when it comes to food. There is very little that I shy away from. I tend to have a policy of "you have to try it before you diss it". I mean, imagine all that you might miss out on if you refused to try something simply based in the look of it! That being said, I have recently come to a realization. While perusing my cookbooks and the countless food blogs I am now addicted to, I have noticed how many ingredients I have never used in my culinary adventures. That is not to say I have never eaten them, but cooked with them? Nope. Some of the long neglected ingredients are butternut squash, pumpkin, quince, lamb, quinoa, fresh cranberries, and brussel sprouts (to name a few.) I have already started to rectify these oversights. I have discovered a love affair with quinoa. My cranberries were a raging success at Thanksgiving. Pumpkin was a fantastic addition to my soup. But brussel sprouts? Ew! This is how I usually look upon the mention of those little green bastards. I mean really, how can anyone enjoy a vegetable that looks like the heads of the aliens from the movie "Mars Attacks"?

I'm a big kid now. (Go ahead, sing the jiggle. You know you want to.) I figured I should take a page out of Mikey's book and try them again, I might like it. So I braced myself, purchased a bunch of really nice looking sprouts, and prepared to cook. Now I wouldn't just get the idea to cook brussel sprouts from out of the clear blue sky. Salmon, yes. Brussel sprouts, no. I was browsing through entries on Erielle's blog, Fancy Toast, and saw this lovely recipe that calls for braising. I have never done this. Why not kill two birds with one stone? Also...I had nearly all the ingredients. Nearly. I had to make a last minute substitution.

Once it finished cooking I piled a helping on my plate and prepared myself for the first taste. The result? Wow!!! What a fantastic surprise. So yummy! The brussel sprout has been reborn. Creamy, savory, tender. In a word: delicious.

Preparing myself for the worst

Wow! Happy surprise!

Creamy Braised Brussel Sprouts

1 pound brussel sprouts
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Chopped sage
1 cup half & half
Salt & pepper

Trim the base of each sprout and peel off any ragged outer leaves.Cut the brussel sprouts through the core into half. Slice each half into either thirds or halves so that you are left with little wedges no more than 1/2" across.Over medium-high heat, melt butter in a 12" skillet that has a lid.Brown the brussel sprouts in the butter for about 5 minutes, until there are brown spots on the sprouts.Pour in the half & half and sage, stir, cover, reduce heat to a slow simmer, and cook for 30 to 35 minutes.Remove the cover, season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer, uncovered, for a few minutes so the cream thickens and turns into a beautiful glaze.

The only problem with the resolution to try new and varied ingredients is that I tend to end up with items that I am clueless how to use. For example, these beauties.

What is a girl to do with two Red Cactus Pears? Any suggestions?


eep said...

You are SUCH a goof. And how can you not enjoy brussel sprouts? I know every kid is supposed to hate them, but I've always loved them. Just steam them, add butter, and I'm a happy camper.

BTW, bonus points to you for using a Mars Attacks! reference. "ACK, ACK!" indeed.

Lynn Barry said...

Thanks for the are a riot and a good writer and someone I love to blog-check out. HA! Good stuff.

ByTheBay said...

Ooh... Creamy brusselsprouts. Never thought of that. I usually roast them with honey and balsamic vinegar. I'll have to give that a shot. Anything's good with 3 tbsp of butter on it, eh?

And let us know what you do with those cactus pears. I've never eaten them.

Erielle said...

I'm so glad the brussel sprouts recipe worked out for you. It's a keeper, isn't it? Think of all the people that think they don't like brussel sprouts that you can convince otherwise. Yumyum.