When I was consulting my expert about what vegetables are in season for this blog post, I dreaded to mention the one at the top of the list. This poor little guy has such bad PR, I thought all my readers would be driven away – perhaps forever!
But, if everyone could look past their childhood nightmares and give this little vegie of goodness the love it deserves – I promise you and your kids are very, very likely to enjoy them (I won’t say definitely, because there are no guarantees in life!).
In fact, I know many people who HATE a plethora of vegetables. More commonly: Cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin, beans, peas (I admit, this is the only real vegetable I don’t like), spinach/silverbeet …
And finally, the subject of today’s post:
I know most of you are making a face at your computer screen right now and are tempted to just click the ‘close’ button and think of happier things, like chocolate … but please, read on, especially if you are a parent who is trying to get your kids to eat any sort of vegetable, even the ones you know you don’t even like … like Brussel sprouts.
I actually don’t think I know anyone who loves these little green balls – other than myself and my mum. The rest of my family happily eat them – but mum and I LOVE them … and do you know why?
Well, it’s all about how they are cooked! My mum had a real knack with cooking vegetables when we were kids (she still does!) – and this made our perception of them totally different to that of most of the kids I grew up with – and so many of the grown ups I know today.
I realised that it’s actually quite common for people to dislike or refuse to eat a whole range of vegies. I was surprised! But once I asked them why, a pattern started forming. Most people didn’t like vegies like Brussel spouts, brocoli and cauliflower because they thought of them as soggy and tasteless. This tells me that their issue has nothing much to do with the vegetables themselves.
It’s the cooking process that’s the problem, with most people I spoke to recalling how their mum’s boiled them forever in a pot of water on the stove, or had made the poor food do a few to many circles in the microwave. They were then plonked on the plate, with no love, care or attention (also known as seasoning). I mean look at this piece of broccoli as an example … who would want to eat this sorry-looking soggy thing?
But if you were served this … do you think you’d feel a bit differently about putting it in your mouth?
Doesn’t this look so different to the first example?
Now if you aren’t a lover of these vegetables now, because you are used to boiled lumps of yuckiness – then I know even the latter version probably doesn’t look like a meal made in heaven. But I can tell you this now, with some love, in the form of sauteing these babies in a frying pan with some olive oil, pieces of bacon and some salt and freshly ground black pepper and a twist of lemon juice – you are VERY likely to enjoy every floweret of flavour they have to offer.
Don’t make your kids eat the same boiled crap you did when you were a kid. Just because it’s a side-dish and it’s healthy, it doesn’t deserve some care and attention before making it to the plate. It takes hardly any more time to inject a little flavour – and best of all – it’ll take less time to cook them too. A slight crunch and the bright, vibrant green colour is what you’re after, and it only takes 3 or 4 minutes to achieve it – not 10 or more in the microwave.
Now to share my mum’s trick with Brussel sprouts:
15 Brussel sprouts
1/4 cup of water
1 chicken stock cube
1 heaped tablespoon of butter
freshly ground black pepper, and salt, to taste
Remove the outer leaves from the sprouts, especially if they look a bit discoloured. Remove the stalky bit at the bottom and then chop the sprout into three pieces.
In a medium saucepan, place the spouts, water and chicken stock over a high heat, until the water starts to steam and boil. Stir the Brussel sprouts around in the water a stock cube mixture. They will start to loosen and go bright green. Do this for about 4 or 5 minutes, or until the spouts are tender BUT NOT OVERCOOKED!! You won’t need to cook them for longer than 7 minutes.
Take the spouts off the heat, and add the butter, pepper and you can add some salt, if needed (the stock cube would have added some salt).
Serve with your favourite meat. I love these with a nice juicy steak. This cooking method also works well for broccoli too 🙂
I know there are a million recipes you’d rather try before you do this one – but I promise, it’s super yummy! I know the butter adds calories to what would otherwise be a healthy meal – but if you can’t get anyone to eat their vegies, a bit of butter to ensure they get all the vitamins and minerals of foods like Brussel sprouts and broccoli – then I reckon it’s worth it. This is the method my mum used to get my brother and I to LOVE our vegies. I know she was really on to something here!
Do you think you’ll give this a go with your kids, and for some vegies you don’t like? What things have you tried before to make vegies more yummy? Leave your comments below. I’m sure there’s plenty of people who would love your tips too!