Kid Friendly Brussels Sprouts

Happy Tuesday Fellow Foodies!

If you are a friend of mine, or have followed my blog for any length of time, then you know that there are certain foods that I have loathed since childhood; such as Kale, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Corn, etc...the list is longer than I care to admit being a chef.

My mother, whom I love, is your typical working mom of the 1970's-1980's. She has the double curse of not having enough time to put great effort into cooking, and she also learned how to cook from her 1950's era mother.

Now, please don't email me and tell me I have the whole "Americana Experience" wrong. When I grew up vegetables were either fresh and then cooked to a dead death, or every mother in American assumed they grew in a can. So most of the veggies that I consumed growing up (peas, green beans, corn, beets, what-have-you) came out of a can. The fresh ones, when we got them (Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, etc) were cooked to a mushy, yellow, stinky mess of ick! [Sorry mom, I love you- and it's not your fault, that's how Nana taught you to do it.]

So when I went to culinary school, my entire world opened up! I learned everything that they taught, but what made the most lasting impression upon me was that veggies were fresh, crispy, delicious gems of yumminess! It was a life altering experience that broccoli was tasty, and that cabbage didn't have to stink up the house when you cooked it!

With all that said there were still a few vegetables that I found most repugnant: Kale, Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower, and a few others. I have simply been avoiding them all these years, but now the game has changed, because I have a little kid. I don't want her growing up to be a picky eater, and while she eats and loves most veggies, I have not until recently served the vegetables that I dislike to her.

Enter a change of heart... A friend prepared roasted cauliflower for a dinner party a while back, and in a show of "grown-up-ed-ness" I had a helping. I found this dish not only inoffensive, but downright delicious! So began my journey into previously untried veggies, and recipes to cook them in a way that I and my 7 year old will enjoy them! Below you will find my Chili-lime Brussels sprout recipe that we both gobble up. It starts out kid-friendly and then it finishes with a grown-up kick.

The secret to enticing kids into eating their veggies, is to add a salt, fat, and acid. That may sound extreme, but a little soy sauce, sesame oil, and lime juice go a LOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNG way! Even kosher salt, a small amount of butter, and lemon juice can make a big difference to a kid's successful consumption of the mysterious green things they must eat to obtain dessert! So here is the recipe:

Kid-Friendly Brussels Sprouts

2 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Lb. Brussels sprouts
3/4 cup chopped onions
1 Tbs. minced garlic
2 Tbs. dark soy sauce (you can use regular soy sauce, but the finished product won't be a delicious)
2 Tbs. light brown (or coconut palm) sugar
juice of 1 lime

1-2 Tbs. Vietnamese Chili-Garlic sauce

Trim the heels off your sprouts and cut then lengthwise in half. In a 12-14 inch skillet heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook 3-4 minutes until lightly browned add the garlic and the Brussels sprouts, toss them all together to coat the sprouts with the oil. place the turn the heat to high and turn as many sprouts as you can to the cut (FLAT) side down in the pan.

 Leave them undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, until they are nicely browned.

Meanwhile, mix the soy sauce, lime juice, and sugar in a one cup measuring cup. Add enough water to make 1/2 cup of stock. Once your sprouts are ready pour the soy sauce stock over them and toss gently. Allow them to cook for a minute or two, just long enough to evaporate most of the liquid, and you have a shiny glaze. Your sprouts should still be a bright green color, and have a slight al dente crispness-please don't overcook them, I will weep!

Remove a few sprouts for your kid(s), and then add the chili garlic sauce and toss to evenly coat the sprouts for the grown-ups! Serve with your meat, and starch of choice.

Popular Posts