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Roasting Brussels Sprouts on a Stalk
Are you a hater or a lover . . . of Brussels sprouts, that is? Which category do you fall into? Scientists at Cornwall College have discovered a genetic reason why people fall into one category or the other. These scientists discovered that some people have a mutated gene which makes them immune to the bitterness of Brussels sprouts. Too bad for those who don’t eat these sprouts, though, because they are packed with nutrients – with high levels of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, and iron, just to name a few. I purchased a whole stalk of Brussels sprouts at an Asian market for only $3.99 and roasted it, stalk and all, in maple syrup and olive oil. For an added nutritional punch, I sprinkled fresh pomegranate seeds over it. Treat your family to this visually interesting, nutritionally-charged vegetable this Thanksgiving and you’ll feel less guilty about serving them the other nutritionally-challenged Thanksgiving fare!

Brussels Sprouts Roasted On The Stalk
Recipe from Trader Joe’s and The Fresh Market

Ingredients:
1 Brussels sprout stalk
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground pepper and sea salt, to taste
Fresh pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries, for garnish

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Trim the stalk down to the fullest, best looking part, if necessary. Trim sprouts off one side of stalk to make a flat bottom. Also trim off any discolored or blemished leaves. Brussels sprouts stalk 3. Rinse stalk and trimmed sprouts in fresh water.
4. Wrap damp stalk in plastic wrap and heat in the microwave for 4 to 5 minutes (or blanch in a large pot of boiling water). Place trimmed loose sprouts in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 3 minutes.

Blanched Brussels sprout stalk

Blanched Brussels sprout stalk

5. Whisk maple syrup and olive oil together. Place stalk flat-side down along with any loose sprouts in a roasting pan and pour the maple sugar mixture over it.
6. Use a pastry brush to mop the maple syrup mixture onto all sides of the sprouts and stalk.
7. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Brussels sprout stalk

Ready for oven

8. Place in oven and roast for about 45 minutes or until sprouts on the stalk are fork tender and caramelize to a golden color.
9. To serve: Place stalk on a holiday platter, pour any syrup from the roasting pan over the stalk. Garnish with something bright and tart such as cranberries or fresh pomegranate seeds*. Roasted Brussels sprout stalk with pomegranate seeds

Serves 6 – 8

Linnell’s Notes:
1. The stalk I bought was covered evenly with sprouts, so I did not need to trim off any straggly stem.
2. Before trimming the sprouts off of one side, you need to decide first which side is the most attractive, then turn it upside down and trim off the sprouts that prevent it from laying down flat. Trim off as few as possible. I did not trim off any near the top back portion of the stalk, because when I flipped it over it was balanced and laid flat nicely.
3. If you are blanching the stalk in a large pot of boiling water, instead of microwaving it, you will have to turn the stalk over so that the both ends of the stalk gets some time in the hot water.
4. For easy clean-up, I covered my roasting pan with a sheet of parchment paper.
5. When selecting pomegranates, select the heaviest ones. They’ll contain more juice. It’s not important how red they are on the outside, unless you’re buying pomegranates to dry for decorations.
6. To serve, I just snipped the sprouts off with kitchen shears and served them on the same platter.

*How to cut open a pomegranate easily and without a mess:
1. Wash and dry the exterior of the pomegranate.
2. Fill a medium-large bowl with water and put it in the sink.
3. Cut off the top, just below the crown, and then cut the bottom off.
4. Notice that four to six sections of white membrane are now exposed. Cut the skin vertically along each section.
5. Put the pomegranate into the bowl of water and break apart along the cut lines.
6. Break the sections into smaller parts, loosening the arils and allowing them to sink to the bottom of the bowl.
7. Using a spoon or your hands, scoop up the pieces of white membrane that have floated to the surface of the water.
8. Pour the arils and liquid through a strainer and let drain.

ENJOY!

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Pumpkin Cream Pie As leaves start taking their final bows and nights become longer, fall’s spectacular show appeals to our senses more than ever. Acorns make music as they fall from tall oak trees and drop to the ground. Autumn leaves paint fiery displays of color on bright blue backdrops of sky. Familiar smells of favorite spices set the stage for the holidays. With a little over three weeks until Thanksgiving, now is a great time to test out new fall recipes. Imagine a fluffy and lightly-spiced pumpkin cream pie – one that even non-pumpkin-eaters will like and one that can be prepared in advance. That’s my idea of a fall showstopper!

Pumpkin Cream Pie
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

INGREDIENTS
For the Crust:
1-1/2 package graham crackers (about 15 Cookie Sheets)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 stick butter, melted

For the Filling*:
1 box (3 oz. box) Vanilla Pudding (Cook and Serve variety)
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup heavy cream
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
2 tablespoons whiskey, optional
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup additional heavy cream
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Extra graham cracker crumbs, for garnish

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Grind graham crackers in a food processor (if you don’t have a food processor, place them in a large Ziploc and pound them with a rolling pin). Add powdered sugar and melted butter and process until totally combined. Press into the bottom and sides of a pie pan until nice and firm. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until warm and “set.” Remove from oven and allow crust to cool completely.

3. In a medium saucepan, mix dry pudding mix with half-and-half and cream. Add spices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly and thick.

4. Remove from heat and stir in whiskey, if using. Add pumpkin and stir to combine. Place lid on pot and set aside to cool. When cool enough, place pot in the fridge to cool completely.

5. When mixture is cool, remove from the fridge. In a mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup heavy cream and brown sugar. Beat until very light and fluffy. Fold in pumpkin cream mixture until combined. Pour into cooled crust.

6. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight. Serve with graham crackers crumbled on top.

Serves 8

Linnell’s Notes:
1. This recipe called for 15 graham cracker “cookie sheets” which I assumed meant 15 double sheets or the sheets as they come out of the bag. This was way too much, so the author’s definition of a sheet must be half of that. I used part of the leftover crumbs for the garnish.

2. *In the photo of the pie on The Pioneer Woman I noticed the pie looked a bit shallow, so I decided to double the filling ingredients. A 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée was a bit more than what a doubled amount would have been, but I went ahead and used the whole can. Didn’t make sense to let a small amount of pumpkin go to waste. Extra filling filled four individual ramekins and was called pumpkin mousse!

3. The next time I make this pie, I will try sprinkling a tiny bit of finely chopped candied ginger on top along with the graham cracker crumbs – just for a special interest.

Enjoy!

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