Brussels…Love ’em? Hate ’em? Try them!

I find that many people are divided about their likes and dislikes with food.  Texture is a big deal.  Some prefer more or less spice.  But one food seems to really divide people and that’s brussels sprouts.  People seem to love them, hate them or won’t try them.  This is definitely a case of depends on how you prepare them.  No one likes anything cooked to bitter mush, which is what some people remember them tasting like as a kid.  They are overcooked or boiled and lifeless.

I’ve shared a favorite brussels sprouts recipe before for brussel leaves.  However you don;t always have time to peel.  This year I’ve been making a quick roasted brussels sprouts recipes that are enticing people not ask for an actually try (and enjoy) brussels sprouts.

First there was a “feast” at my son’s school.  This was very cute as each child brought in a favorite recipe to share with the class.  They each got up and told why they brought the dish, when they usually eat the dish and if there was any significance to their family.  They are next making a poster with the written recipe with a photo of them with their dish.  Recipes had to be approved by the teacher first because otherwise we would have all been eating our favorite family desserts only.  My son asked me to make stuffed grape leaves and while I loved the suggestion I was short on time.  Next he asked for brussels sprouts.  I loved this idea because I am always asking people to try them.  And in the class there were a few kids (and adults) who tried them for the first time.  Especially cooking for babies, getting to be there for a first bite is so fun.  It’s still fun for me if it isn’t babies.

The sprouts were eaten, with the exception of about 5 pieces, and my daughter polished those off in the car on the way home from school.  We had a potluck for my son’s tae kwon do that night and wasn’t sure what to bring.  It’s always a lot of pizza and desserts.  We decided to head to the store for more brussels sprouts and I made them again for that night.  It is not even the holiday yet and I made two batches in one day.  I thought my kids would be burned out on these, but my daughter asked yesterday, “Can you make brussels sprouts for Christmas?”  Sure I will.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Choose small firm compact heads with tight fitting leaves that are bright green in color for the freshest taste.

1 lb. brussels sprouts

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon rosemary sea salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Trim bottoms of brussels sprouts, but keep leaves intact.  Cut each sprout in half lengthwise.  Place sprouts in a plastic bag or bowl with oil and toss to coat.  Place sprouts on baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake for 12 – 15 minutes, turning halfway through.  Bake until outside leaves begin to brown and crisp, and inside is fork tender.  Sprinkle with cheese and serve warm.

 

Share

International Potluck with Falafel Recipe

Growing up I remember visiting my grandmother in Rhode Island and she would spend all day in the kitchen making Syrian food.  Everything from grapeleaves (she even grew and picked her own leaves), lamb kibbeh, tabouli, stuffed squash, etc.  She never followed a recipe.  Just did it from memory of watching her mother and grandmother.  I’ve made her recipes (from an old cookbook my aunt gave me), but they’re so labor intensive I usually only make one item at a meal.

My son has been making a family tree and studying hertitage at school.  The studies culminated in an International Potlcuk at the school.  Each family was supposed to bring a dish from your family heritage.  Originally my son asked me to make grapeleaves, but I just didn’t have the time to do that mid-week.   Instead we selected falafel.  Funny I don’t remember a lot of falafel at my grandmothers, but my family likes them and it’s quick.  It also serves my vegetarian daughter well.  This recipe is from Real Simple (I’m sure my grandmother would never use canned chickpeas).  I did make her cucumber yogurt dip though.  It too works with lamb or grapeleaves.

The event was really fun and I was amazed by the variety of foods.  Everything from pot pies from England, samosas from Africa, pasta from Italy, sushi from Japan, to sausages from Germany and more.   It would be a fun theme for any large gathering.  And it was great to see kids, and adults trying foods they’ve never seen before.

Crispy Falafel

2, 15 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 shallot, finely diced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper flakes

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoons kosher salt

3 tablespoons fresh parseley, chopped

1 1/2 cups panko or dried breadcrumbs

2 eggs, whisked

1/4 cup canola oil

Yogurt Sauce

1 1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

(add a pinch of brown sugar if too sour)

 

In a food processor, processor chickpeas, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water until almost smooth.

Add the shallot, cumin, red pepper, garlic, salt and parsley and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs.  Pulse to add together.

Remove from processor.  Roll unto 2 inch diameter balls and flatten slightly to form patties.

Place remaining breadcrumbs on a flat dish.  Dip patties in eggs then roll in breadcrumbs to coat

For cucumber yogurt sauce combine all ingredients.  Cover and let sit in refrigerator at lease 30 minutes.

Heat half the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook half patties (do not crowd) until golden brown, about 3 – 4 minutes per side.  Drain on paper towels.

Add remaining oil if necessary and cook remaining patties.

Serve with yogurt cucumber dip, pita bread and spinach.

 

 

 

Share

Potluck Salads (Organic Recipes)

From Lisa Barnes

It’s potluck time at my kids’ school.  You may remember (or you can read here) my blog (rant) from last year regarding everyone who brings take-out pizza to the school potluck.  Although after now attending a few of these school functions I realize the other popular way out is with dessert.  Who doesn’t like to make and eat cookies and cupcakes?  Plus think how popular your child will be with his friends.

I feel like I shouldn’t take up the dessert choice and the main dishes have improved (a great enchilada and chicken at the last one).  So now I’m bringing salads. Not a typical lettuce salad, but something unique.  Even though I know unique may not be eaten (or tried) by everyone.  Here are two that are easy, healthy, tasty and very colorful.

Organic Confetti Slaw

Here the produce takes center stage with a bright, vitamin-rich mix of colors and flavors that will entice children and adults alike. Cutting julliened pieces or shredding fruits and vegetables with a box grater is a great way to add extra vegetables into dishes such as quesadillas and pasta sauces.

Makes 5 (1-cup) servings

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed organic orange juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large organic zucchini, julienned
1 medium organic red or orange bell pepper, juliened
1 small organic Fuji apple, peeled and juliened
1 cup juliened jicama
1 cup shredded organic purple cabbage

In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, vinegar, and olive oil. Add the zucchini, bell pepper, apple, jicama and cabbage, and toss together to combine.

Monica’s Organic Edamame Salad

My friend Monica brought our family a lovely dinner after I came home from the hospital when my daughter was born. The best part was this yummy and beautiful salad. It quickly became a family favorite. Whenever I make it my son Jonas asks, “Did Monica make this for us?” This is a very versatile and quick dish because you can use many prepackaged convenience items (such as slivered almonds), make use of left-over cooked rice, or even find pre-cooked rice in your store. It can be made ahead for a potluck picnic or school event.

Makes 10 (1-cup) servings

1 1/2 cups cooked organic brown rice (left over or pre-packaged)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen organic white corn, thawed
1 (16-ounce) package fresh or frozen organic edamame, (if frozen, cooked according to package directions)
1/2 cup chopped organic celery
1/3 cup organic golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped green onions (about 4)
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves

Dressing

3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
5 tablespoons expeller-pressed organic canola oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds

Combine rice, corn, edamame, celery, raisins, onions and basil in a large bowl.

To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.

Pour dressing over salad and toss with a spoon until everything is coated. Serve almond pieces on the side (in case of allergies) to sprinkle on top.

Picky, Picky! For a choosey eater, separate out items such as raisins and edamame that make great snacks on their own, without the fight over “mixing it all together” or getting “dressing on everything.”
~
See also Lisa’s Freeze Please! (do your kids hate eating veggies?)
~~
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: Soybeans © Norman Chan | Dreamstime.com
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com
[Permanent Link] [Top]

Share