Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Introducing Mr. Ina...

I have a friend, a very fine cook in his own right, who has designs on becoming the "next Mr. Barefoot Contessa". I am not sure how he figures to make this happen. I don't think he has ever met the BC and my friend is clearly madly in love with his current wife, who is also a fabulous cook. I think hearing Ina croon in her soothing voice so many times on her television show about "cooking this just for Jeffrey" or "planning something special for Jeffrey" has simply gone to his head.

I get where he's coming from. Who wouldn't enjoy having somebody spending much of their time and energy planning and preparing delicious meals and various soirees so all you have to do is walk in the door and et voila - a feast awaits!? I am often tricked into thinking - "what I need is a WIFE!", meaning by that, "what I need is a stereotypical people pleaser who is geared to expend all their effort into thinking up and acting out in ways that are meant to please ME." (me Me ME!)

Problem with that? Although I am constantly hoping to please my family when we dine together, primarily I cook precisely to please my own palate. As palates are as diverse as fingerprints, I am pretty sure nobody else in the universe can cook day to day in a way that will be so amazingly geared to my particular sense of what tastes good as I can for myself.

I think my friend and I are both stuck. Fortunately, Ina Garten is a generous woman and shares her recipes. The following is one I prepared for dinner recently and I found it to be my new favorite way to eat Brussels Sprouts. My husband liked them just fine, wasn't so raving about them as I was, but he agreed - these are worth a whirl. Try them and see if you don't agree?

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt ( I like these salty like French fries), and serve immediately.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 6 servings (4 if you like them as much as I do!)

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