A tiny slice of my life

This is a look at my life, and the many things I try to learn and do.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Eat more greens !

Vegetables now we all know we must eat more fresh fruit and vegetables a day, but some vegetables are a bit challenging to eat or even like the taste of.

Now not only did my Nana teach me to cook, my Pa grew most of their vegetables in their backyard. Now this wasn't in a country town, but right in the suburbs of Melbourne, where most people had a vegie bed or two and quite often a chook or two.

Luckily my Nana was not of the boil vegetables until they are unrecognisable then add a pinch of sugar, to try to add flavour back in, brigade. She would only cook her vegies until done, then serve them with most of the color and flavour still retained.

One of the vegetables that my Pa grew was brussel sprouts, he would pick them we they were small and my Nana would boil them till just tender, then serve them with a little dob of butter.

I still love them, but unless you grow them most of the time the ones you buy in the shop are large and old, which gives them that strong flavour and smell when cooked.

So how best to cook them, so they are tasty and people will enjoy them. This recipe I got from a TV show Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen that I watched many years ago. It is from Lidia Bastianich, who has several restaurants in USA and has down several cooking shows. It can be modified for your taste, if you don't have or like garlic leave it out. If you don't want the sharp taste of vinegar leave it out or put less in. I didn't have any red wine vinegar, so last night I put a small splash of champagne vinegar, it didn't give it the real tang of red wine vinegar, but a more mellow flavour.

This recipe is so simple and easy, the only part that takes time is preparing the sprouts, you could also cook this recipe with cabbage, broccoli or really any green vegetable.

Brussel Sprouts Braised with Vinegar
500 grams brussel sprouts, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 cup chicken stock or water, 3 cloves garlic, salt & freshly ground black pepper, 2 tbsps red wine vinegar

Preparing the brussel sprouts. Working over a big bowl with a sharp paring knife, cut off (and discard) a 1/4-inch or so of the base of each sprout, freeing the outer leaves. Now stick the point of the knife into what's left of the base and slice out the tiny core, in one cone-shaped piece - just as you would cut out the bigger core of a cabbage or cauliflower. This loosens the inner leaves. Discard the small core.

Begin peeling off the outermost leaves: discard only wilted or blemished leaves; drop all the fresh dark green leaves, even thick ones, into the bowl. Keep peeling off the leaves until you reach the tiny ones that can't be pulled apart. Cut this bundle in slivers and drop them into the bowl. When all are done you will have a large fluffy pile of leaves.

Put the oil and the garlic in the skillet and set over medium heat.(Now I quite often grate the garlic over the sprouts just before I add the vinegar so that it has a fresher flavour) Let the garlic cook and caramelize lightly for 4 minutes or so, shaking the pan now and then. Dump in the sprout leaves, shake the pan to spread them out, and then sprinkle the salt all over.

Add the stock/water. Cover the skillet and let the leaves cook and wilt for 4 to 5 minutes, giving the pan an occasional shake, then uncover and turn them well with a big spoon or tongs. The leaves should be sizzling but not browning - lower the heat if necessary. Cover again. Cook another 4 to 5 minutes until the leaves are soft, greatly reduced in volume but still green and glistening.If all the liquid evaporates, before the sprouts are cooked. add more about 1/4 at a time. Sprinkle over the vinegar and black pepper, stir. Serve the Brussels sprouts hot right from the frypan or turn them onto a warm platter.

Lidia's website

Now I hope you give the humble sprout a try, you will be amazed at how tasty they actually are when cooked like this.

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