Post # 184 My Favorite Cruciferous Vegetable

October 28, 2013 at 3:51 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Anyone out there a fan of the television show The Big Bang Theory?  I am.  I came to it late in its lifecycle, but now I’m one of its biggest fans.  There was an episode where Sheldon had decided to live longer by eating healthier so he no longer was having Pizza Thursday with the gang.  Thursday was now Cruciferous Vegetable Night.  He ate a big bowl of Brussels sprouts.  That amount of roughage combined with the intrinsic nature of the food led to severe bouts of intestinal gas which was unfortunately expelled the next morning after a tumble down the stairs with Penny on the way to a morning jog.  He calmly announced after the loud retort that Thursdays were no longer cruciferous vegetable night.

I love Brussels sprouts, ever since I was a little kid.  I always thought of them as little cabbages and sometimes would eat them leaf by leaf until I could no longer pull the leaf off the bud.  Then, I’d toss the whole thing in my mouth, chew, swallow, and start on the next one.  I’ve told you before that my mom was an uninspired cook so boiled frozen Brussels sprouts was all I knew until I moved out on my own and saw the vegetable raw in the produce section.  Imagine my surprise to find out that not many people shared my enthusiasm for this wonderful little ball of goodness.  I like them so much that my favorite way to eat them is to steam or boil them until tender then place them in the fridge until well chilled.  A little salt, and I’m munching away.  Their inherent sweetness is offset by the touch of seasoning, while the chilled juicy veggie is crunchy but soft and wonderful to eat.  But, hey, that’s just me.

Partner/spouse did not like Brussels sprouts at all.  I made dinner one night, and not knowing his distaste for them, cut up raw sprouts into quarters, sautéed them with onions in fresh bacon fat, and sprinkle the crumbled bacon on them just before serving.  He liked them so much that he called someone he on the opposite side of the country to tell them about the sprouts he’d just eaten.

When I was still married, my wife’s sister’s husband did not like the little green balls.  We were having a pot luck, and again not knowing his aversion for them, I made a baked Brussels sprouts dish.  You heat a cup of milk or heavy cream (cream is better), then add 1/2 tsp of dried mustard, a dash of pepper, and 1 cup of grated Swiss cheese.  Stir until the cheese is thoroughly melted.  Prepare one to two pounds of sprouts and put in a baking dish.  Just before pouring the cream over the sprouts, put a tablespoon of brown sugar in and stir until it starts to melt, but doesn’t completely.  Pour over the sprouts and put in a 350 oven for half an hour to forty-five minutes until the sprouts are done.  The cream sauce thickens up, and has a tangy but caramelized taste and is to die for.  My brother in law ate them and said I was free to bring those over anytime.

Partner/spouse enjoys them so much now, he’s taken to experimenting with them.  Once, he grated a bunch of them up, fried up some onions and bacon, added the shredded sprouts, and fried them up as if he were making fried cabbage.  It was wonderful!  He added Worcestershire sauce to it just before serving and added a smokiness that was killer.  He keeps playing with it, and one time added potato cubes and called it hash.  One time, he added multiple vegetables to create a kind of medley.  Always good.

The last way I’ll tell you about is my favorite way.  I like to roast them in the oven at a very high temp, 425-450.  Place either frozen or fresh sprouts in a large bowl and add a tablespoon of good olive oil.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on them and toss them in the bowl until completely and evenly coated.  Place in a single layer on a baking sheet with a lip then put in the oven and cook for fifteen minutes.  Stir everything around and cook for ten minutes.  Stir again and cook for a final ten minutes.  The sprouts should be crispy on the outer leaves, which may have turned black around the edges, but will be soft and tender on the inside.  Serve hot with extra salt for each person to add.  Sometimes I add shallots to this for extra flavor.  Good stuff.

Enjoy your Brussels sprouts!

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