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January 11, 2010

Sprouts and other kitchen things

After I wrote about my delicious roasted cauliflower last week, I got an email from a reader letting me know she'd made Brussels sprouts the same way with excellent results. I thought that was good info to have and filed it away in my above-neck computer.

I'm trying to get on a good schedule where I do grocery shopping on Saturday morning and then wash and scrub and clean and soak and chop any veggies I bought so that on Sunday I can do some cooking and assemble my meals for the week. The best way I know to get a handle on my health is to eat food I made myself. It's time-consuming, though, to cook all your meals. I keep reminding myself that this year getting healthy is my priority and you just make time for what's important. This is important to me, so that's how I found myself at the market Saturday morning browsing around the veggies and ran across a container of fresh Brussels sprouts. I picked them up and brought them home for a test drive.

Confession time: I have not eaten a Brussels sprout in probably 15 years. And I have certainly never cooked one. I washed them and let them dry and then sort of wondered what I had gotten myself into.

The ends of each sprout looked like they needed trimming, so I did that while I preheated the oven to 375 degrees. This oven seems to run a bit hot so I'm finding the best roasting setting is just below 400 degrees. The bigger sprouts got chopped in half while the tiny ones remained whole. I roughly chopped about four cloves of garlic (I LOVE garlic) and sprinkled them with salt, pepper, a little cayenne and a healthy dose of olive oil:

brusselssprouts1.jpg

Put them on a foil-lined pan (I LOVE Reynolds Release, it's magic, and for someone who can burn anything it has been a lifesaver):

brusselssprouts2.jpg


This is what they looked like after cooking for about 25 minutes:

brusselssprouts3.jpg


And in the bowl, with some grated Parmesan cheese:

brusselssprouts4.jpg

They weren't bad at all. The cauliflower is still my favorite, but this was tasty, especially the outer leaves which got a bit crispy. I might cook them a bit longer next time but I have to say, for my first home sprout experience it wasn't half bad.

The dish I made alongside the sprouts was chicken with baby onions from Epicurious.com. One of the things I love best about Epicurious is that you get the benefit of reading all the reviews and tips. So I carmelized the onions before adding the chicken and things were going great until I realized I had no chicken broth in the cupboard. Whoops! I just went ahead and cooked it all in wine (and my pan was smaller than maybe recommended so that was plenty of liquid) and all was going well until I got distracted with something else and slightly overcooked the chicken. It's a little dry but the taste is fantastic so I'll try this one again, this time with all the right ingredients. The caramelized onions added a delicious taste to the chicken. I served it on some brown basmati rice (and that's what I packed for lunch, too.)

Just realized I seem to talk a lot about food on Mondays! Guess that's what happens after you spend most of Sunday afternoon and evening in the kitchen. But I am so relieved knowing all my lunches are ready for the week and little snacks and I roasted a big pan of potatoes (which keep well in the fridge) to have with dinner later in the week. It is work, I won't deny it, but it's the only way to break the vicious cheeseburger loop I seemed to be caught in for most of 2009.

- - -

You know what I was thinking about today? Since 9/11 things have changed so much at the airport that there's a whole generation of people now who probably don't remember that awesome feeling of having someone meet you at the gate. Remember that? Remember the wonderful, happy, giddy feeling you'd get knowing they'd be there so excited to pick you out of the crowd walking off the plane? And they won't get to know that sad goodbye, tearful, waving to someone as you walk down the jetbridge.

I'm still mad as hell at the stupid shoe bomber, who forever ruined the walk through security (the unsanitary aspects of walking where thousands of feet in questionable stages of cleanliness walk shoeless just skeeves me out) and now the underwear bomber will probably have us all getting felt up in the crotchal regions as we pass the TSA. And these are all unpleasant, depending on what the TSA agent doing the feeling-up looks like, but what I miss most of all is that awesome feeling of flying to see someone you missed so much and there they are at the gate, craning to see you get off the plane.

Meeting at baggage isn't quite the same.

Posted by laurie at January 11, 2010 12:20 PM