Sunday, January 11, 2009

Brussels Sprouts & Me: A Hate/Love Relationship

As a kid, I HATED brussels sprouts. I know that's not uncommon for kids, but I had the kind of hatred which leads one to declare "when I have a daughter, I will NEVER make her eat brussels sprouts!"

My mom always made sprouts from the frozen brick. She'd boil until falling apart, which she did with most vegetables, now that I think about it. Sometimes, the brussels sprouts would go fancy, with a bit of butter, or sprinkle of cheese. Didn't help; they were always nasty.

When I was about 20, I had a boyfriend who liked the darn things. Being the loving girlfriend I was, I cooked them. Not frozen. Fresh from the produce section brussels sprouts. Blanched, then tossed in with butter, salt, and some sort of citrus. They were pretty good. 17 years went by without me repeating the side dish, though.

This year, while working on my day after Thanksgiving meal plans (official holiday dinner on Friday, due to Thursday half marathon), I came across a recipe for Oven Carmelized Brussels Sprouts with Autumn Fruits. Pears, apples, fresh thyme... I had to try it. And it was amazing. Have fixed Brussels Sprouts this way a couple of times since then, and loved it just as much as the first.

Late in the week, while thinking about my bin full of sweet potatoes, I read Hangry Pants' write up on colorful food on a gray day. (On a side note - love the She Says / He Says of Hangry Pants! Taste tests of new Trader Joes products, grocery shopping, healthy cooking, and ice cream.) The colorful food was sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts. And I thought:
IF Sweet Potatoes + Fruit = Good Stuff
AND Brussels Sprouts + Fruit = Good Stuff
THEN Sweet Potatoes + Brussels + Fruit = Really Good Stuff

So, I picked up a pack of fresh brussels sprouts at Trader Joes. Cut them in half, and tossed with:
Sweet potato
Sweet Onion
Apple (McIntosh, I think)
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Whole Grain Mustard
Sea Salt & Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
Brown Sugar (teaspoon)

My daughter helped with the prep, and we popped it in the oven at 425 degrees. 45 minutes later, the kids had a little of the roasted veggies alongside their mac & cheese and steamed broccoli... but no brussels sprouts. I was okay with that.

Anyway, dinner was delicious, and I will definitely make this again. Thank you again to She of HangryPants for the inspiration!

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