How much effort do you put into eating locally? How strongly do you prioritize eating local, organic, or seasonal? Or healthy? Perhaps you are following a special plan for your eating because of health or ethics, or religion.
If you follow me on Deb’sPotsBlog or social media, you probably know by now that I eat healthy almost all the time. I do make outrageous treats fairly often, but I rarely eat them myself. I taste, and that is enough. Bob is able to eat more treats than I am; he is a full foot taller and a lean runner man these days. I aspire to eat local, organic, and sustainable, but my behavior doesn’t always match my intention in that realm.
We must all decide how to feed ourselves. Our bodies are designed to hunt and to gather, and to gorge when there is opportunity. We are biologically wired to be attracted to things that are difficult to attain in the wild: fat, sweet, salty, and variety. And the food industry takes marketing advantage of that wiring. We, in the first world, live in unnatural abundance. And we must all make choices to limit our choices, lest we be overweight and sick.
So, I offer today’s recipe with a tiny apology. Brussels sprouts are not seasonal now, and I should be giving you tiny shoots and roots. But here in the northeast US, local eaters are still pretty much finishing up last year’s cabbages, parsnips, and potatoes. And I wanted something fresh and green because it is finally and truly spring. So, I promise that as soon as the farm market is open (it will be a while yet), I will stick to what is seasonal as much as possible. For now, I am still taking advantage of the food system in all its diabolical glory. So, I am enjoying brussels sprouts in April, shipped from California.
Sweet and Spicy Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Halve the sprouts if they are large; leave them whole if they’re small. I like to use these as a bed for a stew. They are also good served room temperature or even cold. Make them a couple hours ahead and let stand at room temp. Or cook them the day before and refrigerate; they reheat well.
2 9 oz packages fresh brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
1 tbs. neutral cooking oil
2 tsp cane or coconut sugar
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
balsamic or white balsamic vinegar to taste, optional
Other optional additions: Parm shards or crumbled blue cheese, raisins and nuts.
Heat the sprouts in a heavy pan in the oil over high heat until the color begins to brighten, a few minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients except the vinegar. Keep stirring and shaking the pan for a few more minutes until some browning begins to happen. Add 2 tbs. water to the pan and cover tightly. Cook for 5 minutes and then stir; check to see that there is still a bit of water and if it’s all gone, add a little sprinkle.
Cook for another 5 minutes and stir and check for doneness: Use a paring knife to assess the texture of the center of a sprout. It should be firm, but not hard. You can take one out and cut in half and taste. Cook for a bit longer if they are still raw in the center. Serve.