About myself I could say that I love broccoli, I like cauliflower, and I eat brussels sprouts. Do you like them? I think that I buy them about once a year, I did plant them once but I wasn't very successful: they opened up like little cabbages (maybe it is not cold enough in Auckland) and they attracted lots of bugs. And nobody in the family is exactly 'crazy' about them. My husband saw my shopping bag and said 'Brussels???'. He wasn't looking forward to dinner. The kids didn't even remember the taste, since we eat them so rarely, but they hear horrible tales about them from other kids: nobody is supposed to like them.
But I love variety, and if I cook the brussels slowly in veggie stock, and maybe with other vegetables, I think that they can be interesting. I put them in vegetables soups, like minestrone, and they don't seem bitter then. This time, instead, I wanted to cook them with other brassica, so a made a big brussels/cauli/broccoli mix.
Brussels, Cauliflower and Broccoli mix
I sauteed a garlic clove with a little olive oil, then I added my brassica: brussels and cauliflower florets first, and the after 5 minutes, the broccoli. Stir well during this time, you don't want to burn your brassicas!! Then I added 250 ml of vegetable stock, lowered the heat, covered with a lid, and cooked the lot until the liquid was absorbed. They can be used as a side dish, but also with pasta, or to fill a pie. They were eaten no problem, with comments like: "Cooked like this they are not bad..." which probably meant "Ok I'll eat them, but can we have pizza tomorrow?"
Quick Cheesy Brussels Quiche
Well, my husband approved of this one: you can't even see the sprouts :-) !! I used some ready made puff pastry as a base and arranged some of the brussels from above. I added about half a cup of grated edam cheese, and then mixed 3 eggs with one cup of vegetable stock and poured it on top (no cream, vegetable stock works well if you like to cut the calories just a little :-). Bake at 180°C for about 30 minutes and serve. Really really yum!
Maybe I will not have anymore brussels for another year, I'll wait for better brassica to fill my garden (like cavolo nero, my favourite) and other veggies too, but sometime it is nice to change, and I have to say this: brussels are not that bad, and they look really 'doll-house' cute. Plus I enjoy the challenge of making them taste good to children... of all ages.
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini, Artwork by Arantxa Zecchini Dowling ©