What you say? Brussels Sprouts are scary?
Too many people over cook vegetables to death leaching out all the sweetness. Many green vegetables, especially the cabbage, contain an element (glucosinolate sinigrin) that will remain no matter how long you kill them by overcooking. That element gives off the sulfurous taste and smell that most people hate when it comes to the cabbage family. Yet why do people love raw cabbage in slaws? No one has ruined it by over cooking and releasing the glucosinolate sinigrin.
Like most vegetables, Brussels Sprouts have been cultivated for thousands of years but received their current name due to increased popularity during the 16th century in the low countries of Belgium and the Netherlands. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, they make an excellent side dish with hearty red meats or pork. My wife created the following recipe that is our favorite preparation for this excellent Autumn and Winter vegetable.
Brussels Sprouts with Tamari Sauce – 2 to 3 servings
12 to 15 large, fresh Brussels Sprouts
1 teaspoon pealed fresh minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh onion
2 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 tablespoons Tamari sauce – available in any grocery store’s Asian section.
Fresh ground pepper
(1) Place Brussels Sprouts in a single layer in a sauté pan and add an inch or so of cold water – do not cover the sprouts with water. Cover and bring to a rapid boil on high heat. Steam for no more than 5 minutes – they should not be fork tender.
(2) Drain the sprouts and reserve.
(3) Melt the butter in the pan and add the ginger, garlic and onion. Gently cook for only a few minutes until onion is soft.
(4) Add the Brussels Sprouts and Tamari Sauce and toss to coat well. Gently cook for 2 to 3 minutes, add fresh pepper to taste and serve immediately.
Just about anyone who lives in Philadelphia’s suburban counties knows about Peddlers Village, the faux colonial “town” of high-end shops and restaurants near the real historic colonial town of New Hope, in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County. Peddlers Village is well-known for its seasonal decorations and a nice diversion to walk around with the family. Currently the village has an interesting display of scarecrows. My favorite is the “deer in the headlights.”
The Cock n’ Bull Restaurant has never had a reputation for fine dining, although the interior is well decorated with colonial antiques, an impressive fireplace in the lobby and glass walls that overlook the village landscaping. The menu is predictable American fare. They do offer special menus and events during the year – colonial dinners, etc. – that can make the dining experience enjoyable. I have had the opportunity to eat at the Cock n’ Bull on various occasions and, although never wowed, I was not disappointed. Until yesterday at lunch.
I had never eaten lunch at Cock n’ Bull before and never will again. After a 30 minute wait for a table, at 1:30 PM, my wife, mother-in-law and I were seated. I saw why everyone in the lobby was waiting the same 30 minutes. Only one of the three dining rooms was open – less than 1/3rd of the seating capacity. Only a few wait staff was working this one dining room. I’ve been in the business long enough to know this was a simple, and unacceptable, “cost saving” for the restaurant – squeeze maximum profit out of each table no matter how inconvenient it is for the customer.
The menu was heavy on carbohydrates. I had what was described as a “Chicken Bruschetta Wrap.” It was sliced chicken lunch meat with chopped lettuce and tomato – no seasoning whatsoever. My wife had a “Chicken Pot Pie” that consisted of a couple chunks of chicken, a few peas and carrots, lots of canned gravy and a thick bread topping. My mother-in-law, not a big eater, had an appetizer of warm brie wrapped in puff pastry (the menu said Phylo dough, but it was puff pastry). It was drizzled in an overly sweet raspberry sauce and served with walnuts and crackers (crackers and puff pastry??). We did share the only good part of the meal, a slice of warm Pecan Pie with ice cream – I’m going to assume Cock n’ Bull didn’t make the pie. This lunch for the three of us cost nearly $50.00.
Peddlers Village does have some impressive, if expensive, shops. I was particularly taken with the Artisans Gallery that featured exquisite glass art, which, considering, was well priced in the $100 range.