Saturday, December 11, 2010

Food thoughts: Brussels Sprouts

Long time, no cook? I'd say not. But having all day sickness with Beta has kept me from actually being creative and productive in the kitchen. Just ask Patrick. A few weeks ago I made know, actual dinner...roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls. He came home and said, "Hey! This is like the old days!" Old days being before I got pregnant, I guess.

I digress. This post is to make you love brussels sprouts. Have you tried them? Do you eat them a lot? Before we get to recipes, let's check out the health benefits! Being a cruciferous vegetable, these cute little suckers are excellent for so many things. As part of your regular diet they can help lower cholesterol, help with anti-inflammatory issues and have tons of antioxidant vitamins in them. Another thing to consider is that brussels sprouts are helpful in prevention of certain types of cancer (due to all of the benefits mentioned above)!

You don't want to over cook brussels sprouts because they start to lose a lot of their health benefits. Plus, they start to smell bad. This is a problem for most cruciferous vegetables. Steaming, sautéing, broiling, roasting...all good ways to cook these delicious vegetables, if you watch them carefully!!!

To give you a little more information, brussels sprouts are a great source of vitamins C & K; a good source of folate, fiber, B6, manganese and potassium. If you want to read more about brussels sprouts yourself, check out World's Healthiest Foods. This is my go to site on food nutrition and information!

OK, recipes. That's what you've wanted all along, I know, I know:

Sauteed sprouts with bacon -
1 lb brussels sprouts, halved
2 - 3 slices of bacon
1 small shallot (or about 2 tbsp diced onion), diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
salt and pepper

After cleaning and halving your sprouts, put them into a microwave safe bowl with a little water. Cook for about 3-4 minutes - to soften just a little.
Meanwhile, in a pan, fry bacon until crispy. Remove, leave fat drippings.
Saute shallot in bacon fat for about 2-3 minutes, until softened.
Add brussels sprouts and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Season with salt and pepper.
Add garlic, toss around.
Toss bacon back into mixture. Serve warm.

Broiled brussles sprouts -
1 lb brussels sprouts, halved
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
canola oil
1 tbsp butter

Steam brussels sprouts in microwave for 3-4 minutes. Turn broiler on to preheat. Line a baking sheet with foil. Toss brussels sprouts with oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Put on baking sheet. Cut up butter into small chucks and put randomly on the brussels sprouts.
Bake for about 8 minutes, checking frequently. The leaves will burn if you have the baking sheet too close to the broiler, or if left in too long.

And lastly, I wanted to add this fantastic recipe from Cooking Light! It's "Brussels Sprouts Gratin", a perfect dish for dinner with the family, a holiday feast, or maybe even just for lunch :) I'll just post the link, so you can go over there for yourselves and check it out.

As a side note: November's issue of Cooking Light was quite wonderful this year. There was a recipe for Crab Eggs Benedict that looked incredible. Eggs Benedict is one of my favorite breakfasts, but being pregnant means no hollandaise sauce. Cooking Light to the rescue! An easy, quick, faux hollandaise with mayonnaise, lemon and buttermilk. I can't wait to try it!

As you can see, brussels sprouts don't need a lot of additions and they are pretty quick to fix. So, enjoy eating brussels sprouts and let me know how these recipes worked for you!

PS- Dearest Kate, you can omit the bacon and try turkey bacon. Let me know how that works if you do! :)

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