Give thanks for Brussels sprouts

October 9, 2009

brussels sprouts

Raise your hand if you don’t like Brussels sprouts. Okay, now put your hand down so that you don’t reflexively hit me when I tell you that you can like this cruciferous veggie. In fact, you can make it this weekend for Thanksgiving dinner and get rave reviews. I speak the truth.

I know it’s hard to believe me when there are so many nasty Brussels sprout memories competing with my claim. But trust me: the reason you don’t like Brussels sprouts is because you’ve eaten them either 1. overcooked or 2. cooked when they were too old. Honest.

In fact, I didn’t think I liked Brussels sprouts either until I started buying them on the stalk and learned that they don’t need to be boiled to death.

Ready to take the plunge? The first step is to find fresh, young Brussels sprouts. You can hit a farmers’ market or a good grocery store that brings in fresh, local vegetables. While on the stalk, the sprouts should be firm and the outer leaves shouldn’t be yellowed or wilted in any way. The stalk should be pale green and heavy. To use the sprouts, simply cut them off the stalk and peel away any loose outer leaves. Easier than shucking corn!

Maple Mustard Glazed Brussels Sprouts

2 tsp (30 mL) olive or other vegetable oil
1 cup (250 mL) thinly sliced leeks
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 tsp (4 mL) dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper (approx.)
4 cups (1 L) halved small or quartered large Brussels sprouts
3/4 cup (175 mL) water
1 tbsp (15 mL) each maple syrup and whole grain Dijon mustard

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet set over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Increase the temperature to medium-high and add the sprouts.

Stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the water and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until liquid is evaporated and the sprouts are almost fork tender.

Stir in the maple syrup and mustard. Cook, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sprouts are browned and fork tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Makes 6 servings.


Happy Thanksgiving!

October 13, 2008

I’m sharing the day with my family and friends celebrating Thanksgiving. I hope that you are as fortunate as I am and find yourself with plenty to eat and in great company.

See you tomorrow!

Dana’s Big Gardening Adventure: It just goes on and on

October 10, 2008

I know that some of you are wondering: ” what could she be doing in her garden now that it’s autumn in Ontario?” The truth is, not much. It’s time to rototill and put this baby to bed for the winter to be honest (fortunately, there’s a long weekend ahead – I’ll have to see if I can borrow John’s rototiller for Saturday!).

Despite the fact that I’m not actively gardening right now myself, the fall produce and the bounty of Canadian harvest season is glorious! Two weeks ago on a PA Day I took my son Oliver and his BFF Paul apple picking at Pine Orchard Farms. It was a gorgeous sunny day, about 20 degrees and the place was absolutely packed with moms and kids. Since then, I’ve been to the Farmers’ Market a few times and likewise, encountered crowds of people eager to get their hands on local produce.

It’s wonderful to see local farmers getting this support. The good news is that my experience here in Toronto isn’t an isolated trend. In fact, the venerable Oxford Dictionary chose ‘Locavore’ as the 2007 word of the year based on its frequency of use last year.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit a Farmers’ Market or to plant a little veggie garden of your own, it’s not too late to get in on the movement. In fact, you can use some of the extra time afforded by Thanksgiving weekend to get out and buy some local carrots, potatoes, onions and pumpkins like the ones pictured above.

Not sure where to go? In Ontario check out the wonderful Farmer’s Market finder created by Greenbelt Fresh. For locations in other provinces, visit the Canadian Farmers’ Market site. It allows you to search by region and by product so if all you want to buy is eggs or cheese, they’ll help you find it!

Need Thanksgiving Dinner Help?
Check out these turkey preparation tips I published on my Dana’s Top Ten Table site last year.