Brussel sprouts aren't really geared for this climate. But the best way to get me to attempt anything new is to tell me that it can't be done. So I had to try it. I've unsuccessfully planted brussel sprouts the past few years; this year I've actually managed to produce a crop. Maybe it was the cool/wet weather we had in late summer, instead of dry 100+ blasting heat. Maybe I just got lucky. But after four months of pampering these picky plants, there's finally sprouts out there!
I've thoroughly enjoyed watching these things grow. It's like some sort of alien brassica plant from another galaxy. The plants just look odd. They start off looking like a cabbage. I grew my rows of brussel sprouts next to the cabbages, and for a good long while, I couldn't tell the difference. Then one day, while the cabbages where starting to head up, the brussel sprout plants did something else. They took their little half-formed cabbage-ey looking heads, and shot up towards the sky. By the next week, I had a few hundred mini-cabbage-looking things sitting on top of foot-tall stalks. Weird. I did a little research, and learned that I am supposed to remove most of the lower leaves from these stalks, so that the sprouts are encouraged to form up. OK. I did that.
Then I had what looked like a few hundred miniature tropical palm trees, with little tufts of mullet-like hair-do's up top and itty-bitty cabbage-y coconuts hanging on the stalks. A grove of pint-sized tropical trees mis-planted into 40-degree weather & Jimmy Buffet songs were cruising though my head after turning the 100th cabbage plant into yet another psychedelic-looking date palm. After helping me strip what seemed like thousands of leaves off of perfectly healthy plants, my husband asked if it was not easier to just grow a regular-sized cabbage, instead of thousands of tiny cabbages.
"Agriculture is an art form," I said. I do believe he rolled his eyes at me.
So now we have brussels sprouts. Aaaannnd I have no idea what to do with them. I'll confess - I've never eaten fresh brussel sprouts before, well, yesterday. I know, that's pretty pathetic for a vegetable farmer. I surfed the internet for recipes, and followed the recipe over to the right. We're newly converted brussels sprout fanatics.
Let me hear from you sprout fans, how do you like to cook these things?!?