Thursday, December 30, 2010

Brussels Sprouts Breakfast

Sometimes, the idea of a good breakfast is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the winter. I've discussed the peculiar virtue of breakfast many times already, so I'll just say that this iteration did it's magic especially well. For those of you who do not feel that brassicas at breakfast have any appeal, I encourage you to have eggs and grilled sprouts for dinner.

The last time I bought brussels sprouts, I got a huge branch of them at TJ's and it was more than I needed at the time. So I cooked them and froze them. I've had bad luck with frozen sprouts before, and I was a bit anxious about doing that, but they defrosted just fine. The key difference I think, is that before I had used sprouts that had been frozen fresh, which caused their cooking behavior to be a trifle unsatisfactory. This time I fully prepared my sprouts and then froze them, and they thawed out perfectly. Here's what I did:

Rinse and halve 2 pounds of brussels sprouts and put them in a microwaveable dish with a lid. Put 3 or 4 tablespoons of water in the dish to create steam, add a fair amount of butter, salt and pepper, and microwave in 3 minute increments until they're done. After about 6 minutes, stir in about 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, which is mostly nutmeg, ginger, gloves and maybe cinnamon. 'Done' is a matter of taste. Early in the season when sprouts tend to be very tender and mild tasting, I only cook them until they're bright green and slightly translucent. Later on, they tend to be tougher and more bitter, and I like to cook them until they are very soft and are a more olive green color. These were some of the latter. If you freeze them, they may take a few days to thaw in the fridge.

This morning I remembered that I had cremini mushrooms. I grilled some of those in butter, then browned the sprouts in the pan. When the sprouts looked good, I scrambled up some eggs to go with- a few of my sprouts and shrooms got into the eggs, but that's fine. The trick with mushrooms is not to stir them around when they're browning, or they'll get sorta squishy. Just put plenty of butter in the pan, get it medium hot, put in the shrooms, and leave them alone. Once you can see them curling up, flip them over once and do the other side.

Does anybody but me feel that it's totally fancier to have two different kinds of jam for your toast?

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