Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Other Vegetables (and the Goddess of Sequencing)

Cooking is not only an exquisite opportunity to notice and appreciate the various characteristics of the elements of our meal and how they react to heat and fat and cooking times and methods, but a wonderful way to appreciate how everything is ordered in time and space and to honor Kali — the Goddess of Sequencing.

Brussels sprouts seem to be fashionable this year.  I’ve always liked them.  My preferred method is to braise them:  saute lightly in olive oil and/or butter in a heavy pot with a lid, splash some dry sherry, wine, or vermouth into the cooking pot and stir until the liquid is absorbed, add some broth or water (not quite to cover) plus salt and herbs of your choice, simmer until the brussel sprouts are tender and the liquid is absorbed.

My friends are gushing about roasted brussels sprouts.  I think the tenderizing, fat-adding delight of roasting has made the much maligned brussels sprout more accessible:  toss with olive oil, salt, garlic, and herbs such as rosemary and thyme.  Roast at 400F until tender and browned (15-20 minutes).  Use peanut oil, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce or Braggs amino liquids for an Asian meal.  Try safflower oil, turmeric, ground ginger, garlic, and ground coriander seeds to serve with Indian food.  Use just butter (or if vegan a light, relatively flavorless oil such as safflower or canola), salt, paprika, and pepper for an Eastern European flavor.

Whenever I roast vegetables, I toss in an extra head of garlic (separated into cloves), and serve some with the vegetables and reserve some for cooking something else with roasted garlic.  Include a variety of vegetables.  Just remember that different vegetables need different cooking times.  To recognize the mysteries of the Goddess of Sequencing in time and space — you have two choices in roasting vegetables.  You can cut the vegetables into different sizes (so you would leave brussels sprouts whole, cut winter squash or turnips into cubes a little smaller than the brussels sprouts, and potatoes into wedges or rectangles that are narrower than the brussels sprouts for them all to be golden and tender, but not overcooked at the same time.  As an alternative (as we do with sauteing or stir-frying), you can add different vegetables at different times.  You might need a combination of both techniques.  If you wanted to add mushrooms to the mix, since those would need to be larger than brussels sprouts, you would want to add the mushrooms later lest they get withered — how much later depends on the size of the mushrooms relative to the other vegetables.

Enjoy (and give homage)!


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