The Literate Chef

Posts Tagged ‘brussel sprouts’

With Thanksgiving but a Week Away…

In General Articles, Recipes, Thanksgiving on November 15, 2012 at 10:01 AM

…if, you are still planning your Thanksgiving menu, perhaps we can be of assistance. Last year we posted our traditional family Thanksgiving recipes; here we link them in this update, which we hope that you will find helpful.

Ready and Waiting for the Carving Knife

This year, as our long-time close friends, Marge & Dan, as well as their 3 children and their families will be joining us, we will have 22 at table. Accordingly, we will be doubling up on the Roast Stuffed Turkey with Dorothea’s Italian Sausage and Mushroom Stuffing, and tripling up on the sides of Fresh Cranberry Sauce, Bourbon Sweet Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts Roasted with Hazelnuts.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Roasted Brussel sprouts with Hazelnuts

In addition to sharing this special meal with special friends, we will enjoy the added bonus of a double quantity of Turkey Soup after the feast is but a happy memory.

Turkey Soup with Cheese Tortelloni

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our subscribers and readers!

The Maturing Palate

In General Articles on March 31, 2012 at 10:38 AM

As we mature, our palate does as well!  That statement is admittedly anecdotal and based solely on personal experience.  But think about it, how many foods did you as a child once eschew only to find yourself in later years enjoying, as if they were always a part of your diet?

My mature palate discoveries   have included Calves Liver, Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli Rabe, Fish and Beets! Yes, beets; that deep-red, firm and smooth vegetable which resembles nothing else in taste or texture and that, when forced upon me as a child, produced an involuntary gag reflex, appear to be good for you , as mother always claimed, and they taste good as well.

Beets, also known as beetroots, can be boiled or roasted and eaten warm, as a side dish; boiled and pickled and eaten cold, as a side dish; boiled, not pickled and either warm or cold used in a salad, particularly with goat cheese, which has a great affinity for beets. Last week, while trolling the aisles of the supermarket, I spotted a great sale on beets, a bag of 12 for $3. Being unable to resist such a bargain, I threw the bag into my shopping cart with little thought as what to do with them.

Betty, having grown up with Pickled Beets as a mainstay in her family, knew exactly what to do with them. She boiled and peeled them, then pickled half of them, setting aside the other half, which she chilled and added to salads during the week. So after eating beets for the past week in these various forms, I am on to the next discovery.

The Turkey That Keeps Giving

In General Articles, Recipes, Thanksgiving on December 4, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Here it is nine full days after Thanksgiving and we are still enjoying the gifts given up by our 21 pound Plainville Farms Thanksgiving turkey. The turkey dinner and its side dishes are but a memory.  The leftovers of hot turkey sandwiches smothered in gravy, accompanied by re-heated stuffing and the counterpoint of tart cranberry sauce, as well as cold turkey sandwiches on rye bread slathered with homemade Russian dressing disappeared days ago; and now the last of the Turkey Soup is gone as well. I have had my fill of Tom Turkey and if I don’t meet him again until next Thanksgiving, that will be just fine with me. But it is remarkable how many meals one can squeeze out of a single bird.

Our Thanksgiving feast this year started out with a gift of more than two dozen deliciously sweet and briny East Dennis Oysters™ compliments of John and Stephanie Lowell of the East Dennis Oyster Farm and our mutual friend Serge. I first became acquainted with these briny delights in Biloxi, Mississippi while on the payroll of Uncle Sam and stationed at Keesler AFB. Having had a long established relationship with another hard-shelled creature of the sea, Cherrystone clams, I never felt the need to meet their cousin. But clams were not readily available on the Gulf Coast, while oysters were in abundance, thus began a long-standing conflict; clams or oysters or both!

I am an able-bodied clam shucker, but never developed the skill of oyster shucking, so have always had to depend on the kindness of strangers. Our son-in-law, having grown up on the North Shore of Boston and on Martha’s Vineyard, is a skilled oyster shucker. He was assigned the task of prying these creatures from their shells, and as you can see from the picture, did a remarkable job in doing so.

Original East Dennis Oysters™

My wife, bravely tried her first raw oyster, but happily for the rest of us, demurred from having a second. As a result, our two daughters, son-in-law and I finished them off in a flash, washing them down with a well-chilled bottle of Crémant de Loire.

By the time we finished off the oysters, the main meal was ready. The Roast Turkey, having been filled with Dorothea’s Italian Sausage and Mushroom Stuffing, was waiting to be carved.

Ready and Waiting for the Carving Knife

I dutifully performed that task while my wife readied the delicious Bourbon Sweet Potatoes and the additional side dishes of Brussel Sprouts Roasted with Hazelnuts and Cranberry Sauce. The latter was prepared by following the recipe on the bag of fresh cranberries, as opposed to opening a can.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Sitting around our harvest table, with no gift-giving, or tinsel, or Christmas music to distract my thoughts, I reflected upon how fortunate I was to be surrounded by the love of our ever-growing family, which over the past 40 years has grown from two to seven.

Brussel Sprouts Roasted with Hazelnuts

In Recipes, Vegetables on October 25, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Roasted Brussel sprouts with Hazelnuts

(serves 2: preparation time 5 minutes; cooking time 25 minutes)

Ingredients:

½ lb. of Brussel sprouts
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
¼ cup chopped, unsalted hazelnuts

Preparation:

1.    Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2.    Trim off the stem ends of sprouts, as well as any yellow leaves.
3.    Rinse and dry the sprouts, and cut them in half lengthwise.
4.    Add cut sprouts to a mixing bowl.
5.    Add the other ingredients and toss well.
6.    Transfer to a cookie sheet with a raised edge, or a shallow roasting pan.
7.    Roast for approximately 25 minutes, turning once or twice to brown on all sides.

See Eat Your Brussel Sprouts for background information

Eat Your Brussel Sprouts! Mother Commanded

In General Articles on October 25, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Let’s face it, Brussel sprouts are good for you, but getting past the gag-inducing, cabbage smell is tough going. As with all cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and kale, Brussel sprouts are known to contain significant health benefits. But to obtain those benefits you have to eat them, as well as cook them properly beforehand.

My mother, being very health conscious, periodically tried to get us to eat Brussel sprouts. She would boil them and serve them with butter (ugh!), or boil them and serve them with onions and smothered in Del Monte tomato sauce (nice try, but it didn’t work!). Either way, the gag effect took hold for me as soon as she started boiling them. As a result, I could never get past the first taste. Poor Mom, she had good intentions, but didn’t know that boiling Brussel sprouts is probably the best way to destroy their nutritional value.

After reading several articles, skimming through various cookbooks, trying several techniques and listening to my daughter extol the virtues of roasted vegetables, I decided to try roasting Brussel sprouts with hazelnuts. The result proved to be delicious and, based on my readings, healthful. Please try Brussel Sprouts Roasted with Hazelnuts to see for yourself.

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