Friday, April 20, 2012

Recipe With Story - Brussels Sprouts, Always a Favorite


Maybe you've shared these recipes numerous times, they might be easy to remember and that's why folks want to make them again and again. On the other hand, they might be complicated, or require special ingredients that you wouldn't purchase except on special occasions.
As desire to have your recipes organized takes hold in your mind, you might think of putting them together in categories that make sense to you. This is your project and you get to do it in any way that suits you. You might, instead of organizing them by appetizers, main courses and desserts, decide to take the favorites and make a special section for those.
Let's just say that you do organize them by favorites, or that you pull out a handful of five favorites to start with. What's the next step? Well, as you look them over, you might remember some special meals where you enjoyed these recipes. You might remember some of the people who were there.
Here is a template you could use to construct your family favorites into a story form:
I have one recipe for brussels sprouts from the San Francisco Chronicle years ago that everybody seems to like. It has some star anise in it and it's flavored with apples and cider so it gives the brussels sprouts a slightly sweet flavor. I think that's why even people who don't like brussels sprouts very much enjoy this dish.
I found it one Christmastime as I was thinking about my annual Christmas Eve dinner. This was always a fun party that my husband and I hosted for our California friends, who like us, didn't have family in the area. I remember the time that Howie and Barry sang "Car 54 Where Are You" because they didn't know any Carols, having grown up as Jewish New Yorkers.
Those were younger days, and as time passed, life evolved, people moved out of the state, circumstances changed and the Christmas dinners changed too. I joined a church and after Mike's death, for a number of years I was having a dinner on Christmas Day instead because I started going to the Christmas Eve service. At the end of the service we all went outside holding white tapers, lit against the darkness and we sang Silent Night to the winter stars. It was always a beautiful service. At my Christmas Day dinners during those years, we gathered in the living room after dinner with our tea and took turns passing Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales around. Each person read a bit and passed it to the next person.
Now I go to visit my family in Wisconsin for Christmas, and after all these years of not spending that holiday with them, it has been especially nice to reconnect and experience all the traditions there. We go to Mass with my mom and it is very special to sit in the pew at St. Helen's church on Christmas Eve with my sister, her husband and my brother Jim.
1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium size yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 Golden Delicious apples, cored, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 star anise
2 tablespoons balsamic vineger
Trim the sprouts. Cut each sprout in half lengthwise.
Melt the butter over low heat in a skillet or heavy bottomed saucepan large enough to eventually hold all the ingredients. When the butter begins to foam, add the olive oil. Increase the heat to medium, add the brussels sprouts and saute for 5 minutes.
Add the apples and onion and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, gently siirring. Add the apple cider, salt, pepper and star anise.
Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until the sprouts are tender.
Using slotted spoon, remove the contents, leaving only the juices in the pan. Reduce the pan juices by half over medium high heat. Add the vinegar and cook 2 or 3 minutes, stirring and scraping bottom of pan.
Discard the star anise. Put the Brussels Sprout mixture in a serving dish and pour the juices over the top. Serve hot or warm.
Serves 6
Per serving: 190 calories, 3 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fat (3 saturated), 10 milligrams cholesterol, 230 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.
Margaret Randall
I have been a journalist, a publicist, a technical writer and so much more. One of my passions is helping people tell their life stories - because we all have a story. Our stories define us, they tell who we are and where we come from. Our stories also help us to preserve the memories of our loved ones. It is important to preserve your stories so that they are not lost.

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