Holiday Cooking - With a Side of Brussels Sprouts
Because we traveled over the holidays, I tried not to do anything too adventurous in the kitchen with my cooking. I planned to bake a cake but scrapped it in favor of store-bought pie, buns and chin-chin for dessert. The main meal was whole roasted Chicken and I played it safe with plain Jollof Rice as the primary side dish.
For veggies, I decided to go with Brussels sprouts. This is not the favorite vegetable to grace my table neither did I grow up eating it, but since spending a few years in the UK with a couple of Christmas Lunches with natives, I hardly think 'holiday' without thinking of the small sized cabbage wannabes.
I hear that Brussels Sprouts are not very well loved, and truly on their own, they don't taste that great. However... however, they do have some things going for them. For me, first and foremost is that they're veggies and so obviously, the calorie count is relatively low. They also provide some variety to the usual suspects of lettuce, carrots, spinach, cabbage, etc.
For those who are only swayed by nutrition information, then hear this. Brussels sprouts are fat-free, high in fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and folates. They are also part of the cabbage family, and linked to reduced cancer risk, less stress and lower heart-disease rates. As one gets older, these things become more important than how nice the food tastes. Not to forget, I'm trying to remain on the healthy living track.
So how does one cook Brussels sprouts? I usually buy the frozen bulbs and thaw quickly in the microwave when I want to use them. I chop/slice into halves or more pieces, they cook faster that way. These are the various ways I prepare the veggies;
1. Quick stir-fry - Add a little oil to a pot placed on heat. Pour in the Brussels sprouts and stir every couple of minutes. After 5mins, add salt to taste and continue stirring till done.
2. Boil: Put the veggies and a pinch of salt in a pot with enough water to cover it. Bring to boil and the simmer for at least 15 minutes or until done.
3. Oven-Roast: Spray your baking pan with cooking oil. Spread the Brussels sprouts and add some spices, pepper and salt. Roast at 400 degrees for at least 20 minutes. Remove from oven.
Remember not to overcook, and for each method, you can add some spices or cooking vinegar to bring the taste to your liking.