Monday, December 21, 2009

Brussels Sprouts on the Darkest Day of the Year

Today is Solstice. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, that makes it the day with the most darkness of all the year. The fact that today our Congress finalized $632 billion toward an unnecessary war in Afghanistan, signed a health care bill that only benefits the insurance companies (and will only hurt the working poor), and that throughout the world, dozens of activists were arrested in the wake of the pathetic Copenhagen conference, it is a symbolically dark day. A very dark day.

Luckily, I have plenty of distractions from the unpleasantness of my nation's politics. I have a wonderful family and lots of work on my plate. And tonight, I had lots of brussels sprouts on my plate--which was a delicious distraction. Here is a recipe for the Braised Brussels Sprouts we enjoyed tonight. Salty, nutty, caramelly, tasty: they will put a smile on your face, no matter how you feel about Washington DC. And the good news is, sprouts are in season here in Oregon, so at least the veggies are doing their bit to reduce our carbon footprint.

20-25 brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
1 tb butter, unsalted (could veganize with Earth Balance!)
1/2 c hot water
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tb brown sugar
fresh ground pepper to taste
Over medium heat, melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan. While it is melting, combine sugar and salt in a large bowl; add hot water and stir until dissolved. Toss brussels sprout halves in liquid. When butter begins to bubble and smell fragrant, add the brussels sprouts and liquid. Cover immediately. Cook until brussels sprouts are a vibrant green, about 4-5 minutes. Remove cover and bring heat up to medium high, stirring occasionally. Cook until liquids have evaporated and sprouts are a golden brown (about 8-10 minutes). Add pepper, serve immediately.
We had these with roasted potatoes from my dad (purples and reds!) and some terrific tofu--but I can't imagine a meal that couldn't make space for a pile of these tasty little cabbage-cousins.

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