Thursday, December 01, 2005

Something Wicked This Way Sprouts

I’m not afraid to admit that I am an avowed brussels sprouts-hater. Harsh words, true, but spoken with sincerity.

My memory of sprouts stretches back to childhood. I can remember sitting at the table, nose mere inches away from the plate, staring in utter horror at its contents. On one side was the s’kat steak, a sort of generic version of Steak-Uumms, and I gazed upon it with love.

On the other side- brussels sprouts. They sat flaccidly, in a limp pool of grey-green disenchantment. I whined, cried, and begged for mercy, but The Parents were firm: you have to eat at least one!

With no other alternatives, I’d pick up a sprout with one hand, pinching my nose tightly closed with the other. Screwing my eyes closed, I popped in as much would fit, desperate to get it over with. It seemed a lifetime of chewing that disgusting, snotty texture around before it was small enough to go down my gullet. I immediately gasped for air, and grabbed my glass of milk, chugging for all I was worth.

Can you feel my pain?

So it was quite a bittersweet day when, in my very own kitchen, I found myself staring down a row of brussels sprouts once again.

You see, I kept running into brussels sprouts everywhere I turned. First, there was Molly rhapsodizing about them in her enticing and tempting way. Then, Stephen goes on a bonafide brussels sprouts rampage, tearing through six renditions in just under a couple weeks’ time.

Clearly, this was a matter that called for careful investigation.

I settled upon Stephen’s
Brusssels Sprouts with Pancetta, Garlic and Basil , certain that with the aid of a little pork, DucCat would be willing to test-drive the hated little cabbage.

As it turned out, it would probably be easier to get him to try tofu. “No way!” he laughed, and I dropped the matter for a short time.

Then, Molly busted out another paen to the sprout, and a new recipe: Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon. I had all the ingredients at hand, and more importantly, it looked like it would be easy enough to prepare for myself alone.

I couldn’t have been more right. With sprouts sliced and ready to go, they emerged steaming from the pan in a matter of mere minutes. Of course, one always must taste and adjust any recipe. I plucked out a slivered sprout, exhaled, and mentally mantra'd, "Fear is the mind-killer..."

Carefully, I placed it upon my tongue.

For a moment, I re-lived those old childhood fears. Then- utter joy washed over me.

The flavour gently unfolded itself, tender and sweet, with a hint of nuttiness. The proudly green sprout was bursting with fresh lemony flavours, pefectly enhanced by the wine and garlic. I swallowed in awe, and as Molly promised, the universe began opening up to me.

I immediately demanded that DucCat try a piece, and under protest, he did. Alas, the little rabbit hole didn’t open for him. Gagging slightly, he chased his portion with a hearty swig of wine. He even tried again at the table (cuz' that's the love he has for me), once they had cooled off just a bit, but no dice: DucCat is still a proud, card-carrying member of the Anti-Cruciferous Veggies Club. What can I say- the man doesn’t even like broccoli!

Me, on the other hand, I'm a swooning, happy convert. Vibrantly hashed sprouts, a baked potato and a perfectly grilled steak – truly, dining euphoria.


This post is dedicated to Molly and Stephen for showing me The Way.


Blogger Mona said...

Yay, welcome to the world of brussel sprouts fans :) I'm happy to hear you converted, but not as happy as I am to have found a new recipe. Thanks for sharin-they do look tasty!

December 01, 2005 4:28 PM  
Blogger Molly said...

i've also been a non-fan of brussel sprouts - but you might just convert me as well. it's about time i expand my sprout horizons - and these look great!


December 01, 2005 5:37 PM  
Blogger MeBeth said...

Your sprout photo is adorable, all lined up on the cutting board. But the steak photo too - Yummmmmmm.

December 01, 2005 10:52 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Hi s'kat! I have to say I have never been a big fan of Brussels sprouts either, but the one time I did enjoy them they were pulled apart into smaller pieces and sauteed I think. I'll bet I'd like them this way too!

P.S. beautiful photos!

December 01, 2005 11:28 PM  
Blogger s'kat said...

Mona, you simply must try this!

And Molly, I'll say the same, but add that there's a beginning and an end to everything. Let this be the beginning of your sprout-love!

MeBeth, I'm lucky that DucCat makes such perfectly grilled specimens!

Thanks, Cathy!

December 02, 2005 7:39 AM  
Blogger Nerissa said...

Hmm... as an avowed brussel sprout hater since childhood I wonder if there is, too, help for me. I wonder if these new recipes I see might change my mind. Hey, just a little while ago you wouldn't see me pass any mushroom over my lips but now I am a little shocked at the goodness of chanterelles (at least in sauce) Sooooo... maybe brussel sprouts are next??

December 02, 2005 10:10 AM  
Blogger Alanna said...

Well at least he's gotta LOVE the photos, esp the macros. WOW! Alanna

December 02, 2005 10:13 AM  
Blogger Molly said...

Yes, LONG LIVE THE SPROUT indeed! S'kat, I am thrilled and honored to have helped you welcome the sprout back into your life! That plate of sprouts and steak looks like heaven.

December 02, 2005 1:55 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Long live the FRESH sprout.

Eternal hell fire to the FROZEN sprout which should be banned by the United Nations.

Long was I tortured by the metallic-tasting, soggy frozen sprout until I discovered the Fresh Sprout. I hadn't realized they were grown up to that point!

A Thanksgiving tradition at our house is the following:

Roast and peel a bunch of chestnuts.
Prepare and steam sprouts until tender but not overcooked.
Melt a little butter in a pan. Toss in chestnuts and sprouts. Mix to coat and heat through. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon for zing. Serve hot.

Sprouts have a nutty flavor that is complimented by the chestnuts. The lemon wakes up your taste buds in case they're asleep.


December 03, 2005 11:50 PM  
Blogger s'kat said...

tdd, it's wonderful how one's palate continues to expand. Oh, no- that's my waistline!!

ak, thanks, and he did love my newfound enthusiasm for the lowly sprout!

Molly, that recipe is the best! Thanks again.

Bill- I'm noting now that frozen sprouts are perhaps not so good. You recipe, however, sounds quite the opposite!

December 05, 2005 11:45 AM  

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