Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Huh…Brussels sprouts.  Now there is something not everybody gets excited about!  🙂  There are some of us whose only experience with Brussels sprouts comes from the Swedish Chef.  (You know, from the Muppets?  I can’t help but think of his little routine to make Brussels Sprouts every time I fix them!  What?  You’ve never seen it?  Well, by all means, click here!  It’s worth the snicker!)

I used to run the other way when someone mentioned Brussels sprouts.  Granted, I’d only had very sad, nasty boiled, versions of these little power houses.  When I learned that you could roast them for an entirely different flavor, as well as texture ~ well, I was willing to try them one more time.  (Especially since they wouldn’t go to waste, as J loves them ~ even boiled ~ and would eat them all even if nobody else liked them!)  Think of the difference between boiled potatoes vs. roasted potatoes, or boiled vs. roasted carrots or beets.  Roasting just brings out an incredible flavor in most veggies.

Have you ever seen Brussels sprouts in their natural state?  By the way, that isn’t in a little mesh baggie at the supermarket!  😀  They come on a great big stalk!  They are a challenge for the people at the check-out to bag for you (because I certainly don’t have any ecologically-friendly bags big enough for them, either.)  I wish, wish, wish I’d thought to take a picture of them before I plucked them off and prepared them.  I went back and bought yet another stalk this week just so I could take a picture…and to make J happy ~ and, apparently, the cat, who went nuts and ‘mugged’ me when I brought the pan out of the oven.  ;D  I purchased mine at Trader Joe’s.  They were/are the freshest Brussels sprouts I’d ever seen.  Of course, you have to keep an eye on them, because one week they might not appear quite as hearty ~ last week they didn’t.  Look for tight, healthy, mini-cabbage-like sprouts.

I encourage you to try this method of preparing a much-maligned veggie.  🙂

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • a stalk or a bag of Brussels sprouts
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt ~ coarse sea salt is the best here (the amount in the picture was a little much…oooo, salty!)

 

Preheat your oven to 425°.  Pick sprouts off of the stalk, or out of the bag, and rinse.  Remove any beat-up leaves.  From ones on the stalk, trim any stem ends off that seem long; trim all ends from the bagged ones to leave fresh stems ends.  If your sprouts are not tiny ones, cut them carefully in half so that you don’t lose a lot of little leaves.  Toss all of them together in a mixing bowl, with generously drizzled olive oil, and salt.  Place them on a cookie sheet or, if absolutely necessary, a cake pan (remember ~ if you were generous with the oil, they won’t stick very much later!)  You can use parchment paper, but that tends to hold the moisture and doesn’t allow for the browning you want.  Here is the secret to doing this the right way so that you don’t end up with steamed sprouts (bleh, bleh, nasty!) ~ make certain that the sprouts do not touch each other as much as possible.  (See the picture above.)  They need room to put off moisture.  Bake them until they are beginning to blacken (I know, I know…that doesn’t sound tasty, but trust me on this one.) ~ about 20-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve immediately with extra salt and lemon juice, if desired, to taste.

 

Roasted Potatoes

BBQ SoycurlsPotatoes can get ~ mmm ~ boring if you have them the same way over and over again.  There is a simple way to mix things up a bit, though.  When you roast potatoes, you gain quick control of 2 interest points.  First, their texture – will you bake them until they are crispy, or just until they are cooked through, or somewhere in between?  Second, their seasonings – and the sky’s the limit here – plain, lemony, Cajun, Italian, Indian, spicy….use your imagination!  I’m going to give you my go-to version here.

Hubby teased me when I said I was beginning this blog.  He said, “How are you going to share recipes?  Do you even USE recipes?”  I just looked at him with my mouth hanging open….because he’s there SO often (cough, cough) when I cook.  But then I laughed, because he’s partially right.  I used to watch my mother cook with a little of this and a little of that, going strictly “by feel.”  I thought I’d never learn to do that.  Well, evidently it is in the genes, because I go “by feel” when I create a recipe – and sometimes coming up with correct measures later can be a challenge!  Roasted Potatoes are one of my “by feel” recipes every time I make them.  I’m going to challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone this time and try your hand at adding seasonings “by feel.”  Hey, the worst that can happen is that you need to put salt and seasoning shakers on the table to add more, because unless you have a really heavy hand can you really over-season chunks of potatoes?

Though this recipe is written to make a cookie sheet full, it can easily be cut in half or less, but it would still be a good idea to use a cookie sheet.

  • 5 lbs. potatoes, cut into pieces – smaller pieces bake faster and can have more crispy-on-the-outside (or use baby potatoes and cut into wedges)
  • olive oil – 2-4 T. is plenty
  • Italian seasoning – just enough to have nice flecks on all of the potatoes
  • salt
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place potatoes in a large bowl.  Pour olive oil over them and toss until everything is even coated.  You want just enough olive oil to coat things well – not only to help the spices cling, but to keep the potatoes from sticking forever to your cookie sheet!  Sprinkle seasonings over the mixture and toss again until well coated.  Spread out onto a large cookie sheet that has edges.  Bake for 30-60 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your potatoes.  Serve with ketchup or barbeque sauce.

 Variation: Choose from a selection of large chunks of onion, turnips, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, whole baby carrots, etc., – or dice/chunk up some gluten pieces, seitan, or other meat substitute – and toss with the potatoes.