September 9, 2006

How can anyone hate brussel sprouts?

The brussel sprout is such an undeservedly maligned vegetable, often scorned and derided as “bitter”, “slimy”, “weird”, “icky”, and “stinky”. I never had brussel sprouts growing up; the first time I ever had them, they were roasted until slightly blistered with a bit of browned butter, which coaxed out the inherent sweetness, combined with a fragrant smoky nuttiness… awesome. We nabbed these little gems from the Yasai market.


    capellini with roasted brussel sprouts, tomatoes and sweet corn

    pollo arrosto di modena with rosemary and garlic, roasted potatoes, balsamic pan jus

    almond polenta pound cake with strawberries, figs, peaches and crème fraiche
    2004 eric kent pinot noir, stiling vineyard, russian river valley


      I picked up a bottle of the 2004 Eric Kent Pinot Noir a couple of months ago just because the story behind the effort is compelling ( The winemaker, Kent Humphrey, basically decided one day that he should turn his passion for wine into a full-time job. With no formal wine-making education or training, he worked for a couple of different wineries, starting in entry-level jobs, until he picked up enough knowledge to go out on his own. Each new wine features the work of an emerging artist, and a portion of the wine sales is donated to support the arts. This bottle features the work of Kevin Keul (

      The wine itself was quite ripe (15.2% alcohol… whew!) with a nose of sweet roses and intensely concentrated cherries and dark plums. Pretty huge, but remarkably soft on the palate. There was a sweetish, nuanced undertone that I had a hard time identifying… maybe a spice like nutmeg, but not quite.

      I wanted to feature the brussel sprouts prominently in a pasta dish. I still can’t quite let go of the summer, and the sweet corn at the market is just about gone, so this might be the end of the summer veggies. The capellini is from Trader Joe’s. TJ’s dried egg pastas have a really amazing al dente texture when cooked. I’m a big fan.

      This was also our first stab at roasted chicken. We went with a Rosie chicken from Petaluma Poultry—certified organic and free-range ( I don’t want to get into a rant about industrial farming methods, but seriously, any cursory research into mass-produced poultry can be really frightening (deformed, debeaked, genetically-modified… you name it). Anyhow, the effort for roasting at home is rewarded mightily with fantastically juicy meat, crisp, paper-thin golden skin, and the potential for great pan sauces from the drippings.

      Some roasted purple and white creamer potatoes, which get really sweet and tasty in the oven.

      We capped it off with a polenta pound cake. The crème fraiche makes everything delectable.

      1 comment:

      1. i'm so hungry jack! the chicken was so good. that's a great picture! whoever your photographer is must be very gifted, intelligent and beautiful.