Counterbalance

Pies, pies, pies. So many pies this month. That’s okay. It is a month for feasting festivities. Still, I figured I’d counterbalance the caloric overload with a beautiful veggie dish. (Yes mom! I used beautiful to describe a vegetable – and a green one at that!)IMG_8656

Browse around this blog and you’ll see we’re no strangers to veggie based recipes. We even made it through a 21-day vegan challenge with ease last year. However, when I was a kid, veggies were not welcome on my plate, at least not by choice. I hated them. Well, all of them except corn. Fortunately, I grew out of that, but unfortunately for my mom, it wasn’t until I was in my 20’s and not living at home anymore.

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We had a veggie on the table every night growing up, everything from green beans and peas to carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. My two least favorites though were easily beets and brussel sprouts. Well, either my tastes have undergone a dramatic transition, or pigs are flying somewhere, because this year I’ve been eating both – and loving them!

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Remember the roasted beets with whipped goat cheese served with arugula, candied walnuts and a balsamic glaze from Chicago Gourmet? So good!

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I also eat them regularly at our local Indian restaurant where they’re served shredded and fried. And I ate them at the farmy when Celi prepared them with garden greens, walnuts and balsamic. Delicious. I’m still leery of most beet recipes, but I’m definitely encouraged. Maybe you do have to try something 21 times before you can rule it out.

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That brings us to brussel sprouts. I’ve probably tried these less times than beets over the course of my life. Mom eventually gave up on making me try them and I’ve not touched them often since. Until a few weeks ago that is. I was out to lunch with friends and ordered a Cuban sandwich. My go-to lunchtime sandwich. The dish came with fries, but I glanced down at the sides to see if I could substitute the fries for sweet potato fries. The sweet potato fries were an option, but what caught my eye was the crispy brussel sprouts.

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Now I have no idea what possessed me, but I ordered them. I mean this is really out of character for me. And do you know what? I loved them! They were roasted, charred and sprinkled with parmesan. They even out-shined the Cuban. But perhaps the most amazing thing is, I have craved them ever since. Truly craved them. So here is my take on a crispy brussel sprout dish.

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I can honestly say this is the first time in my life I have ever purchased brussel sprouts. I even had to read up on how to clean and cut them. Fortunately it’s easy. Rinse them with water, slice the base and remove the outer leaves.

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I sliced ours in half for roasting and combined them with a few whole garlic cloves. I then tossed these in a cast-iron skillet with olive oil and salt and pepper, roasting them for about eight or 10 minutes.

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In the meantime, I preheated the oven to 400F and minced a few more cloves of garlic. Once the sprouts were browned on both sides, I mixed in the minced garlic and drizzled a bit more olive oil over the top before placing the skillet directly in the oven.

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I roasted our sprouts in the oven for another 25 minutes, until they were done to my liking. This couldn’t have been easier. The best part about this little veggie adventure was when everyone arrived home. Mr. N was first. He walked in and said, “Wow! Something smells great. Is that dinner?” Then Mike and Miss A arrived home and also said, “Dinner smells great! What are we having?”

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Miss A was dismayed when she learned it was brussel sprouts. Despite the enticing aroma, she wasn’t buying it. Mr. N, however, said, “Huh. Well, they smell good. Can I try one?”

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We served our roasted brussel sprouts with a farro, apple and cauliflower salad. It was probably one of my favorite meals this month! The brussel sprouts had a slight sweetness from roasting, were full of garlicky goodness and satisfyingly crispy. I could eat these as a meal. A glass of Sauvignon Blanc or a Dry Riesling alongside a bowl of crispy garlic brussel sprouts and I’d be in heaven!

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Mike and Mr. N gave them 3 spoons. Mr. N said he’d eat these anytime, but agreed with Mike, they are a vegetable, a good vegetable in fact, but not 4 spoons. These boys are tough critics (partly why the all-around 4 spoon vote is impressive in this house). My rationale differed from theirs. The fact that these are a vegetable that I went from loathing to loving, made them a definite 4 spooner for me. Miss A, was not as impressed. She thought they smelled great, but didn’t taste very good. Still she didn’t give them a 0 or a 1, but came in at a 2 spoon vote. That’s at least promising. At her age, I would have been at a 0 for sure.

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It’s definitely odd how our tastes can change over time. I eat so differently than I did as a child. In fact, far different than I ate even 10 years ago. Whatever the reason, I’m not complaining. It’s hard to complain with so much deliciousness to explore. I wonder how different my tastes will be in another 10 years. Or in another year – these next months will certainly be a food adventure! And I definitely wonder how the kids’ tastes will develop over time. We’ve already seen Mr. N go from picky eater to an adventurous experimenter. Only time will tell. Hopefully you’ll follow along for the discoveries.

Print this recipe: Crispy Brussel Sprouts

Until then, we’ll be getting back to our pies and a tasty little liqueur as we gear up for the holidays! Cheers.

P.S. Some bacon and/or parmesan added to this recipe would also be amazing! I’ll definitely be experimenting with this recipe.

 

 

26 thoughts on “Counterbalance

  1. ChgoJohn says:

    I’m a big fan of brussel sprouts. I cook them much like you do here, though I use bacon and bacon grease when I sauté them. Different approach but same effect: delicious! Im definitely give your version a try.
    You’ve reminded me that I’ve written a post for them but never published it. It was one of those dishes that Max devoured while I was in the next room taking photos of a single serving for the blog. Like many people, he’ll eat just about anything if there’s bacon in it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Norma Chang says:

    Love your broccoli and garlic header.
    Attended a function recently and one of the small bites was Brussels sprouts slaw, it was delicious. The Brussels sprouts leaves were separated and shredded, wondered which of the lucky sous chef got that tedious job 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Debra says:

    i hated Brussels Sprouts as a child, and i don’t remember when that changed, but I know i had some in a restaurant years ago that turned me on to roasting! Several times a year I buy a whole stalk and I can make an entire meal out of them. Your method of roasting sounds wonderful and would be a great change for me. I roast them in the oven, but I really like the idea of browning and crisping them up in the cast iron skillet before completing the roasting process. You’ve honestly made my mouth water. I wonder if I’d had these little green orbs cooked this way when I was a child if I might not have learned to like them much sooner! I’m sure your pies are going to be wonderful, too, and blessings to you and your sweet family as you prepare for Thanksgiving, Kristy. ox

    Liked by 1 person

  4. hotlyspiced says:

    I grew up loving brussels sprouts and couldn’t understand why no one else seemed to like them. I don’t think I could survive a vegan challenge though – I’d just miss butter and eggs and cheese too much! I love the look of your dish but yes, I’d probably add some bacon – see…I’d make a hopeless vegan! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

    Love it! I actually did a double take when I saw the Brussels sprouts remembering that they were not your favorite. Amazing what a little roasted, salted crispiness can do for your life, right? (to outshine a Cuban yet 😉 ). And they look so good too! Sounds like the whole family enjoyed this preparation. A 2 is definitely not a zero. Our taste buds change over time and I was just reading an interesting study about how variations in taste receptor genes can influence taste sensitivity in both children and adults, accounting for food preferences… interesting stuff! x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. travelsandtomes says:

    My mom used to steam brussels. Ugh. When I discovered them roasted or sliced and sauted/crisped, it was a revelation. I’m pulling some out tonight to use with a stir fry– like you, I’m already having to counterbalance. Some chilly weather, and snow flurries forecast for the weekend, and we already have pumpkin pie and Chocolate Gingerbread cake coming out of the oven–the only way to survive that so early in the season is to give a lot away to neighbors and to start the veggie counterbalance!! Great post, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kristy says:

      Chilly weather always makes me want to eat more! And we have snow coming this weekend too. Counterbalance is the only way to make it through. I’m definitely going to have to try these in a stir fry! Wonderful idea! 🙂

      Like

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