Monthly Archives: November 2013

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

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The Brussels sprout is a member of the cabbage, or cruciferous family. (Variety gemmifer, species brassica oleracea)  It is a bud on a stalk.  It looks like a small cabbage head that grows on a thick stalk.  The individual leaves can be removed from the head. There are approximately 20 – 40 buds per stalk.  The whole stalk looks similar to “bells on a sleigh rein”.

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            Brussels sprouts contain a chemical called isothiocyanates. (Prevents carcinogens from being absorbed into the body)  It causes sulfur compounds to be produced when heated.  If the vegetable is overheated, the sulfur will intensify and become more unpleasant.

            Brussels sprouts are native to the Mediterranean seaboard, first cultivated around the 5th century.  However, they got their name from the town of Brussels, in Belgium, where they were immensely popular.

            Brussels sprouts come are in season from late fall and winter, and sometimes last into spring.  Fresh Brussels sprouts should be tight and firm.  Remove any outer blemished leaves, and trim off any discolored bottoms.

            Since they are a member of the cabbage family- they can be eaten raw, however the intensity of the flavor will change with the addition of heat.  By placing the sprouts into already boiling salted water (either whole or halved) and cooking until tender, it will help leach out some of the sulfur.  The flavor of Brussels sprouts will be greatly improved if by, after blanching, applying high dry heat in order to  reduce the sulfur components and increasing their carmelization.

            Brussels sprouts contain Vitamin C, B6, and A.  They also contain folic acid, potassium, iron, thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, and niacin.

Brussels Sprouts Flavor Pairings

 almonds
anchovies
apples
bacon
bread crumbs
butter
carrots
cheese
chestnuts
cream
duck fat
eggs, hard-boiled
garlic
grapefruit
ham
hollandaise sauce
lemon
mushrooms
mustard
nutmeg
onions
pancetta
parsley
pepper, black
peppers, sweet
pignoli
rosemary
salt
thyme
veal gravy
vinegar
walnuts

Seared Brussels Sprouts with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Pine Nuts, and Feta

SERVES 4 -6 AS A SIDE DISH                    30 MINUTES OR LESS

Pick through your Brussels sprouts to make sure they are the same size.  Remove any outer leaves that are yellow, or starting to brown.  If there are a lot of size differences in the Brussels sprouts, cook in separate batches.

3 cups Brussels sprouts, halved
1/4 cup Pine nuts
2 ea. sun dried tomato halves, preferably marinated in oil, sliced into thin strips
2 Tbs. butter
1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Eden Sea Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add 1 tbsp. of Eden Sea Salt. Submerge the halved Brussels sprouts into the water, and partially cook 2 minutes.  The Brussels sprouts should be bright green, and slightly tender.
  2. Remove the Brussels sprouts from water and submerge into ice water (to stop cooking process). Remove and set aside.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Place the pine nuts in the pan.  Stirring constantly, toast until light golden brown.  Remove from pan, and set aside.
  4. In the same sauté pan, heat 2 Tbs. butter over medium high heat.  Add the Brussels sprouts, and season with Eden Sea Salt to taste and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  5. Sauté until slightly brown and a slightly crispy.
  6. Add sun-dried tomatoes and garlic and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes.  Do not allow garlic to brown.  It should be fragrant.
  7. Remove pan from heat.
  8. Stir in crumbled feta cheese.  Adjust seasonings with Eden Sea Salt to taste and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  9. Serve immediately.

Notes:  *Pine nuts can be eliminated, if necessary due to allergies.

* To make vegan, omit the feta cheese, or use soy “cheese”, and substitute Eden Selected Spanish Extra Virgin olive oil for the butter.

PER SERVING:  330.5 CAL; 14.4G PROT; 21.55G TOTAL FAT (9.33G SAT. FAT); 27.5 CARB; 40.53MG CHOL; 542/5MG SODIUM; 11.25G FIBER.

Originally Submitted to Vegetarian Times- Cutting Edge Cuisine for the November/ December 2004 edition by Chef Jennifer Carson (Denlinger) and her students of Orlando Culinary Academy.

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Originally Published 11-6-13

© 2013 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved

Please contact me for permission to use or reference this work.

Please contact me if you wish to receive “Food For Thought” in your mailbox.

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Jerusalem Artichoke

Jerusalem Artichoke

Jerusalem Artichokes are a knobby root that is a member of the sunflower family.  Sometimes it is referred to as a Sunchoke.  It is not related to the artichoke, or to the city of Jerusalem.  It produces flowers that resemble yellow daisies.

The Jerusalem artichoke plant is 6 to 12 feet tall.  It bears a knobby root that is 3 to 4 inches in long, and 1 to 2 inches in diameter.  The root looks like a ginger root.  The flesh is crisp and juicy, and has a delicate flavor.  The flavor of a Jerusalem artichoke is similar to an artichoke.  It has beige skin which is edible.

The Jerusalem artichoke is a native vegetable to the United States.  It grew wild in the Northern United States, and Southern Canada.  It was cultivated by the Native Americans. It crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the 17th century to Europe by Samuel de Champlain.  During World War II,   Jerusalem artichokes were known as the “poor man’s vegetables”.

Jerusalem artichokes are available in the winter and the spring.  They are better after a light frost.

Jerusalem artichokes can be consumed raw or cooked.  Jerusalem artichokes are commonly found in Algerian couscous.  They will oxidize quickly, so they should be put under water after being cut.  The peel is hard to come off, so sometimes it is easier to remove after being cooked.

Jerusalem artichokes are very nutritious.  When eaten raw, they contain potassium, iron, and thiamin.  Also, they have niacin, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, folic acid, and pantothenic acid.  Jerusalem artichokes contain insulin, which will convert to fructose in the body.  This may cause flatulence.  Jerusalem artichokes are energizing, lactogenic, and a disinfectant.

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Originally Published 10-11-13

© 2012 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved

Please contact me for permission to use or reference this work.

Please contact me if you wish to receive “Food For Thought” in your mailbox.

Cherimoya

Cherimoya

The Cherimoya is a subtropical fruit native to mountains of Ecuador, Peru, and the Andes.  It is a member of the custard apple family.  There are over 50 varieties of cherimoyas.

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            Cherimoyas  have scale patterned skin from bronze to green.  The cream colored flesh is super juicy sweet with the flavor reminiscent of pineapple, strawberry, and banana, and is slightly granular. When ripe, it is soft like a kiwi or mango.  It contains inedible shiny black seeds.  The fruit grows on a thorny branched tree up to a height of 24 feet.  The fruit can range in size from 1/2 to 4-1/2 pounds.

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            Look for fruit that it firm and heavy for it’s size.  Cherimoyas spoil easily, especially since they are extremely sensitive to heat and cold.  They also bruise easily. They contain niacin, iron, and vitamin C.

Originally Published 5-23-13

© 2013 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved

Please contact me for permission to use or reference this work.

Please contact me if you wish to receive “Food For Thought” in your mailbox.