Coded green.

Tuesday 4 December 2007

Brussels sprouts in plastic

Pic of the day: Brussels sprouts from the supermarket. A bit late in the season, I guess.

"Baby cabbages"

You know what I mean: Brussel(s) sprouts. In Norwegian and Danish they are poetically called rose cabbage, but that is utterly non-descriptive. "Baby cabbage" however describes them perfectly.

These cuddly little veggies are evidently popular among the elderly British (and near universally hated by the kids) but here in Norway it is a typical holiday food. So I was pleased to see that the local supermarket is stocking them now. I bought a box (400 gr) in the fond hope of having them for dinner together with jam of vaccinium vitis-idaea (lingonberry, cowberry), a good combination in my memory. However, this would depend on me being able to cook them properly.

Perhaps this is overly complicated, but here is what I do: I remove the outer leaves, which are often yellow and tattered anyway. I then boil the sprouts for about three minutes, then throw away the water, and boil them for five more minutes in new water (with some garlic salt). At this point they are cooked through (if they are not too big, in which case you would have to cut a cross in their base before cooking, I understand). They are now tender but still have a mild taste, without the sulphur compounds that come out when you overcook them.

After cooking, I stir-fry them with cooked pasta, raising and some low- fat ham cheese, and eat them warm with lingonberry jam. Your mileage may vary. Most of you probably eat large chuncks of meats, and in that case you would probably eat the cooked sprouts with the meat. It may not be any point in frying them then. I have elsewhere tasted them with turkey and pineapple, an excellent combination, except people kept expecting me to eat a lot of the turkey instead of using it as a seasoning, so to speak, to add taste only. I am not a vegetarian, but large chunks of meat freaks me out.

Brussels sprouts certainly don't freak me out, though. If there was a fast food outlet in town selling cooked brussels sprouts, I would probably have them for dinner regularly. At least if they came with fried onion and some garlic. Yummy onion...

I wonder if this could actually come to happen when the population has aged enough? I understand that the taste buds for bitter weaken over time, much more so than the rest. This explains why we middle-aged and upward enjoy various leafy vegetables, while kids usually don't. (Though there are several success stories of brussels sprouts, when not overcooked. Then again there is a genetic component, some people simply are less sensitive to the bitter taste of greens.) I believe there may be a wisdom of nature in this improved taste over time: As we grow older, we burn less calories per day. This means we can exploit leafy vegetables which would not be energy-dense enough to fuel the growth of a youngster.

But for the time being, the fast food places sell burgers and at best pizza (which is actually good for the heart, one recent study says). If I want brussels sprouts, I have to look for them in the shop (they are not always there) and cook them myself. And this is a bit much work for a workday, so don't expect it to become a habit. I'm glad I tried it though.

Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago: Dell to the people
Two years ago: Fast forward
Three years ago: Saturdawn
Four years ago: Civ3 PtW hotseat
Five years ago: Work again
Six years ago: Al's angels
Seven years ago: Negro shopping
Eight years ago: The smell of silence
Nine years ago: Less tired without alarm

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