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Winter Garden Sprouts

I did not eat anything green, except for green beans, until I was 19. The fact that I am a small farmer and run a farmers’ market is quiet humorous to my mother who frequently found my veggies hidden in napkins, fed to the dog, and many other creative ways I found to clean my plate without actually having a veggie cross my lips.

Last week, we had a couple of beautiful days in the 60s that I was able to get out and work my garden, prepping it for this summer’s market garden. Then, it snowed. Crazy weather.

I had one problem while laying out my garden, a good problem. I still have beautiful brussels sprouts growing from my first ever winter garden.

This crazy weather has not hindered the plants one bit! I wish I could say that for my washing pile, two boys playing in the snow and putting on dry clothes all day will wear a Maytag out. Oh, and wear a mom out too.
Look-a-there, beautiful. Brussels sprouts for dinner when I was a kid would have been a very traumatic event, ranked right up there with beets.

They are delicious and my kids LOVE them. And, guess what? Fresh, PROPERLY PREPARED brussels sprouts ARE NOT SLIMY. It’s true. They are solid, and crisp, and taste great!
Here is what you do: Wash the brussels sprouts well. Trim the stem ends and remove any raggy outer leaves. Cut in half from stem to top and gently rub each half with olive oil, keeping it intact (or if you are lazy, like me, just toss them in a bowl with a glug of olive oil).
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in your largest skillet, I cook strictly with cast iron which I am sure makes everything taste better. Don’t overheat the skillet, or the outsides of the brussels sprouts will cook too quickly. Place the brussels sprouts in the pan flat side down (single-layer), sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt, cover, and cook for roughly 5 minutes; the bottoms of the sprouts should only show a hint of browning. Cut into or taste one of the sprouts to gauge whether they’re tender throughout. If not, cover and cook for a few more minutes.
Once just tender, uncover, turn up the heat, and cook until the flat sides are deep brown and caramelized. Use a metal spatula to toss them once or twice to get some browning on the rounded side. Season with more salt, a few grinds of pepper, and a dusting of grated cheese (if you want and who would not want cheese?). While you might be able to get away with keeping a platter of these warm in the oven for a few minutes, they are exponentially tastier if popped in your mouth immediately.

Try it Mikey, you’ll like it!
The Park Wife


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