Dec 23, 2012

Pass the Sprouts

Last year for Christmas, I got a kudos/crotch-kick combo in the comments for defending the defenseless.  This year, we're saying happy birthday Jesus, pass the Brussels sprouts.

My first and last encounter with the terrible tiny cabbages was 30 years ago.  Five years old, mom sat me down to a hot mound.  They smelled funny, I gingerly gulped a sphere of green mush down the hatch.  Cough, gag and splat, all over my lap and sister's.  I cried, my sister screamed and punched me.  Been scared of those smelly barf balls ever since.

Sometimes our taste buds change over time.  Food we "accidentally" dropped on the floor as kids tastes pretty good 20 years later as adults.  Perhaps those Brussels were overcooked and gross, but today would be all right with a little TLC. 

No instructions or Google cheats, I sat quietly for a minute to piece what would play well together, settling on bacon + onions + Brussels sprouts.  Here's how it played out.

At the store we bagged a dozen sprouts, a slab of bacon and one small white onion.  You know everything's going to be swell with a lil' bacon rendering oiling the greens and offsetting any benefit of their anti-cancer glucosinolates.

Grocery tip:  rather than a pre-pack of Hormel bacon, head to the meat counter and order fresh sliced pig.  It costs more per pound, but since you can specify what you need, maybe 8 or 10 strips at a time, there's no waste.  Maple-smoked Amana died in the making. 

I did a small batch for Pigtails, Curls and me, so two fried strips is plenty.

Pick your heat for the sprouts:  boiled, roasted or steamed.  I desired the tender-crisp nip of steam, with a crunchy fried coating on the outside.

First I par-steamed them for four minutes in a bamboo cylinder.  A layer of green leaf prevents stickage to your wood and adds moisture.  Boil a half inch of water in a pan, then drop the steamer stack loaded with sprouts.

As the bamboo whistles, chop the onion.

Pigtails owned the D40 for most of the shots in this one.  That's a lot of tea paraphernalia.

Crumble down the cooked slabs of fat into bits.  Tiny blobs will stick to the sprouts better than chunks.  We're going for a salty crunch coating to doctor up the boring balls.

Toast the onions in bacon fat.  Your arteries will cry, just do it.   

Pull the veggies from the steamer before they're fully cooked, we'll finish 'em in the sauté pan.  They will be firm, darker green than when we started, and the lettuce layer will be wilted.

Set the burner on medium, toss in all ingredients and fry for two minutes.  I shut it down when the Brussels loosen and change color to done.  Don't add salt, the bacon has that covered.  Black pepper and a little garlic will do.

Compare to above, see how the color changes when done?  Don't overdo it.

    Loaded up a ramekin with the finished dish.
    Waved the sign of the cross.
    Dredged through bacon and caramelized onions until coated.
    Chomped one down.

I liked the taste, but was curious how my daughter would hearken to it, with her immature palate.

    She sniffed the musty stench
    Wrinkled her nose
    Popped one in and chewed in slow motion




  1. I love, LOVE brussel sprouts! Just as they are steamed, a bit of salt & pepper..But, what isn't better with bacon!? Yum, that looked delicious, serve me up a plate please.

    1. Agree, I now like them too. I tend to think that when kids often don't like vegetables, perhaps mom or dad isn't cooking them properly. Overcooking them by even 2 minutes is the line between flavor and mush.

  2. How crazy is that? We had Christmas dinner with my mother in law this evening, not four hours ago, and she served brussel sprouts with the meal. And it was probably the first time that I tasted them that I liked them. I asked her what she did and she told me she boiled them until just tender (not mushy), drained them and then poured a stick of melted butter over them in the serving dish. Well, that explains everything. ;)

    Will have to try this bacon/onion version of yours. It sounds VERY tasty.

    1. Ha, a stick of butter is the secret, no more questions.

  3. Bacon makes everything better. But, I love brussel sprouts so no need to convince me. My husband on the other hand ... :)

    I've been thinking aobut you and your family a lot lately. I'm sure you have been feeling the internet love from many based on the many comments.

    1. Thanks DSMama, you're a rare salt and light type of person that makes others smile.

      I hope your family has a happy Christmas and many blessings in 2013!

    2. I had to google that to figure out what you meant. That is such a kind thing to say ... but I have to tell you the feeling is mutual. Funny how little things we do influence others more than we may realize. Those old sayings "Treat others as you want to be treated" and "No good deed goes unnoticed" may be on to something! Who knew?!

  4. I to was anti-brussel sprouts until this last Thanksgiving. I spent the holiday in Ireland and was lucky enough to score an invite to Thanksgiving dinner in the home of some American missionaries. Kristina served roasted brussel sprouts with garlic and shaved ham. I am a convert. I send you the recipe..:)

    1. Send me your brownie recipe, hardy-har.

    2. Haha... Surprisingly my nickname has nothing to do with my baking skills. I'll send you a cupcake recipe instead. Homemade butter cream makes people think you are possessed by the spirit of Julia Child. Super simple.

  5. shaved or sliced brussel sprouts are the best. same ingredients, just add a drizzle of reduced balsamic at the end.

    1. Step 9: shave your sprouts.

    2. Melissa12/27/2012

      That's what she said...sorry, couldn't resist!

    3. That's the first time I've heard a lady drop a TWSS.

    4. Melissa12/27/2012

      Who are you calling a lady?! I use it all the time. Totally cracks me up!

    5. Sorry, Melissa the man?

    6. Melissa12/27/2012

      Nope. Sometimes I have the sense of humor of a 13 year old boy.

  6. Just went back to last years' post. Great job, as always! I just spent too long reading every comment. I messed up somehow b/c my comment wasn't posted...not calling you Supermom or anything. My comment was a simple one towards the bottom. I'm not re-posting here b/c I think I'm a genius. I genuinely don't get the argument that we need more education in order for there to be fewer abortions. I don't have the time to search numbers from Planned Parenthood or the CDC, but I am pretty willing to bet that since sex education was put in the classrooms (70s???) that premarital sex has skyrocketed, that S.T.D.s and abortions have gone up astronomically. If my thoughts on that are accurate, how would education help slow down or stop abortion?

    And don't get me started on how, if abortion is wrong 'just because' or as a contraceptive, that the same arguments don't apply even if a woman/girl conceives from a violent act of rape. I'm not the most logical person/arguer, but even I can see that there is such a gap in rational, logical thought.

    1. Error error, we somehow got cross-contamination on the Brussels sprouts post. Oh well.

      The comments on the Defender post easily are better than the post. For the life of me, I still can't comprehend why ANYONE is cool with killing babies, masqueraded as "choice." One of the greatest evils in society today. What more can I do to help the innocent unborn? God help us.


Thanks for the note, check back for my response!