When you buy items from the Amazon links below, we get a small percentage of the sale. That helps us fund the site. And we like you a lot.

  • The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
    The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
    by Deb Perelman
  • Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients
    Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients
    by Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito
  • Savory Sweet Life: 100 Simply Delicious Recipes for Every Family Occasion
    Savory Sweet Life: 100 Simply Delicious Recipes for Every Family Occasion
    by Alice Currah
  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier
    The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier
    by Ree Drummond
  • Bouchon Bakery
    Bouchon Bakery
    by Thomas Keller, Sebastien Rouxel

« Malaysia in Chinatown | Main | our favorite chocolate chunk cookies »

friends and sprouts

I have very few friends in my life that I have stayed in close contact with over the years. Maybe I'm a bad friend (I hope not). Maybe it's because Karen and I have moved so much over the last thirteen years that we've been married. New challenges, new jobs, new communities to connect with and find a place to belong. But there are friends that remain, that you cling to, and to whom you return to know who you are and who you were.

Which brings me to Brussels sprouts.

Our good friend, Lori, hates the sprouts. When I posted on Facebook that I was making them, she threatened to hide my updates, at least the sprouts-related ones. When I told her she could make this same recipe with cauliflower, she asked if I was going to keep naming things until I got to cupcakes, because then she'd be willing to try it.

Lori and her husband, Chris, have known us for long time now. Chris is a teacher, and a good one. He's the kind of teacher that makes you think in more ways than you could ever thought possible. And when he drove me in his car on my first day of me being a teacher, we talked musicals and Sondheim and I knew I found a friend. Later that year, we moved two blocks away from them in Goshen, IN. Proximity wasn't the major factor, but it certainly helped. He and Lori made room for us in their lives. Lori's probably the smartest person I know with the driest sense of humor I've encountered. I remember holding their first son and weeping, knowing just how hard they'd love that boy. Now they have two, and their pictures on Facebook make us miss them more.

I left teaching and Karen and I moved constantly the next few years with new jobs and new adjustable rate mortgages, but we never lost touch with Chris and Lori. Then Chris did a national tour this summer, watching every Shakespearean play in forty days. He stayed with us, and I took him into NYC on a walking tour of food from Penn Station to the East Village, because I knew he had to try David Chang's Momofuku. We ate Berkshire pork ramen and pork buns, and really, it was perfect. They seated us at the counter, and I got to stare at the hands of the chef as he did final prep on dishes flying past us. Art and craft and a razor blade to slice the scallops.

The one thing we missed at Momofuku that we really should have tried was the Brussels sprouts. Crisp burnt edges (but in a good way) from their time in the deep fryer (we bake ours, which is a Chang-approved alternative), coated with a salty/sweet/spicy dressing, and showered with cilantro and mint. The final touch is crisped rice cereal that is seasoned with Chinese seven-spice powder. It's an ugly-beautiful concoction that tastes better than you could ever imagine. It's one of those things that you cannot stop eating, and you're looking at the other person's plate to see if they have any crispy bits left on their plate.

Chris, Lori, and the boys are coming to visit NYC this summer. We really can't wait to see them. And I'm sure we'll be eating sprouts. And cupcakes.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (3)

Okay, this is possibly the nicest thing anyone ever said about me! We are so glad to be friends with you and Karen. You help widen our Midwestern world. And I totally trust you enough to try Brussel sprouts.
Chris is currently making the chocolate chip cookes from your last post. He is in the kitchen pounding the hell out of a candy bar. Nothing sexier than that.
Can't wait to see you guys this summer.

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterspeechmom

I was just having a conversation about brussel sprouts, so I'm intrigued about this recipe as I was trying to convince my friend that they are delicious if prepared well. (Warning: here comes my picky eater-ness) How much can you taste the mint though?

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjen

@Jen - You can taste the mint for sure, but it's not like there's a stick of DoubleMint gum in there. So, leave it out, or pull out your portion before you serve, and then add in the mint.

And for nothing, I share this...I personally hate cilantro, but I don't mind it at all in this. Maybe the mint is worth a try.

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterC Thornton

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>