Thursday, January 12, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Grapes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Grapes

Happy Two-Thousand & Twelve, everyone!  I hope you all had an immensely fun and beautifully  festive time during the holidays, and are now enjoying this new year to its very
fullest.  I am such a huge fan of New Years.  I love that fresh optimism that never fails to follow along with the resetting of the calendar.  I love how enthusiastic and invigorated I always feel, waking up to that very first morning.  I love making a long, detailed list of resolutions.  I love the excitement that comes from believing, for at least a while, and no matter how impossible certain goals may be, that I’ll follow through on every last one.  And I love those impossible resolutions most of all.  At least, of course, until I actually prove their impossibility.

Sprouts & Grapes

Prepping the Brussels Sprouts

One of my goals for 2012: Write blog post every single week.  Well, take a quick look at today’s date at the top of this post.  January 12.  Yep.  Already, I’ve not quite followed through with this one.  And oh geeze!  That wasn’t even one of the more impossible-sounding resolutions this year!  Shoot!  :)  Oh well, lucky for me, I tacked one last goal to the very end of my list:  Don’t be too disappointed if/when (but more likely when, of course, because come on face it, Kate, this is, as always, a wicked crazy list) you don’t actually cross-off every item on here.  And on this point, my friends, I’m happy to report that I’ve followed through completely! 

I had to, you see.  I just wouldn’t have been able to face the horrible shame and disgrace of utterly failing at not one but two resolutions, and so pathetically early in the year!  I tease of course, I do hope you’re picking up on that. :)

Brussels Sprouts & Grapes, with Garlic, Thyme, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

Set for the Oven

Honestly, friends, I’m not being hard on myself at all for falling behind on this one.  Actually, I could hardly care in the least.  Because, you know what, I’ve got a really, really good excuse.  Just about the cutest, cuddliest little excuse ever – a brand new nephew, Elliot Anders Smigelski!  My sister Molly and her husband David welcomed this adorable little bundle of sweetness into the world last weekend, and he is oh so amazing.  Being there for the very start of his brand new life, well, something like that is worth more than a million silly resolutions marking the start of a measly year!  And so, at the earliest hint of Elliot’s eminent arrival, I tossed this first week’s deadline into the wind, and we packed right up and drove straight to Toledo.  I told you.  Really, really good excuse! 

Freshly Roasted, Oh So Tempting!

And now, days later, having given Elliot’s forehead one last good bye kiss, then making the trip back home, I’ve finally settled into my desk chair, set my fingers to home row on my lap top keyboard, and am diligently typing out this post.  But of course, I’m distracted now and again by the blustery blur of white that’s whipping past my office window.  Because finally too, it's started snowing here in Chicago.  Really snowing!  The first legitimate snow all season, I do believe.  And somehow, this first total blanketing of white – pure, absolute freshness resting on all the sidewalks and trees and windowsills – it makes it seem like new year’s day all over again.  It kind of makes me feel like this post made it just in the nick of time, after all.


So let’s get to it!  Let me tell you about this first recipe of 2012!  Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Grapes.  A wonderful, wintery side dish.  A side dish so wintery and wonderful, it doesn’t need to stand aside anything at all, which I illustrated last week, as I gobbled up a pound’s worth of sprouts and their sweet, wrinkly pink side kicks, fresh out of the oven, before Ben even arrived home from work.  My belly full and appetite spoiled, I contentedly kept my husband company through dinner, a plate-less placemat in front of me, hardly missing my pork chop at all.  (Or, I should say, Ben’s bonus pork chop.) Really, it’s a rare vegetable dish that gets me so greedy.  Something about this though, was just beckoning me to keep eating.  A bite of buttery Brussels sprouts made my want the sweet juiciness of a roasted grape, which made me need another taste of golden cruciferous goodness, which begged to be followed with a shot of bright fruitiness.  And on and on it went.  Quite the tasty cycle. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Grapes

I hope you’ll give this one a try.  It’s quick and easy to throw together,  nearly as healthful as it is tasty, and if I do say so myself, it really is quite a looker!  So pretty, I think, don’t you?  Ben reports that it’s a great pairing for pork chops.  And while I’m sure he’s right, I just may have to go through the motions of proving him so, and sometime soon.  This time though, I’ll make a new resolution, and won’t have a single taste, ‘til my husband is home, the table is set and the pork chops are done!  (No excuses for this one, no matter how cute and cuddly they may be!)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Grapes
Serves 6
Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Grapes
2 pounds Brussels sprouts
1 1/2 pounds red table grapes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F and arrange an oven rack in the middle position.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside. 
To prepare the Brussels sprouts, peel off any discolored or blemished outer leaves, slice off the stem at the base of the sprout, then slice in half.  Pluck the grapes from their stems, then rinse under cool water and drain well. 
In a large mixing bowl, toss to combine the Brussels sprouts, grapes, olive oil, garlic, thyme and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Spread this mixture evenly over the prepared baking sheet, then place in the oven. 
Set for the Oven
Roast for about 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and give the ingredients a good mix with a metal spatula.  Return the pan to the oven and roast for an another 15 minutes. 
Meanwhile, combine the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl or pot. Using either the microwave or stove, heat the mixture just a bit, only until the sugar dissolves.  Stir it a bit, to help it dissolve.  Set aside. 
After 3o minutes cooking time, remove the pan from the oven again, and sprinkle the Brussels sprout mixture with the balsamic-sugar mixture.  Toss to combine with the metal spatula, then return to the oven for a final 15 minutes of roasting.  When done, the grapes will be wrinkly and juicy, and the Brussels sprouts will be golden brown, crisp on the outside and tender on the insides.  Serve warm. 
Fresh out of the oven


  1. I love Brussels and make them in so many ways but I have never tried them with Grapes! Definitely doing this soon. -Josh Wagy

  2. Yay, Josh! I'm so proud of having introduced you to a new variation on sprouts! How else do you like to prepare them!?

  3. Last time I shredded them and sautéed them in oil, garlic, ginger, black sesame seeds, a little soy sauce which was really good and different. But usually cut in half in a big skillet a little water and sauté them until the water if gone and they start to brown and add garlic, shallot and a knob of butter. For Thanksgiving I did a brussel gratin with bacon and two kinds of cheese a little cream which was amazing also. Now I want some! I'm going to have to stop at the market and on my way home from work :)

  4. Man, now I'm craving sprouts too, and at eight in the morning! All those sound like TERRIFIC preparations! Thanks for the inspiration, Josh! Hey, by the way, what are some of your favorite Toldeo restaurants? We should meet for lunch/dinner sometime I'm home!

  5. Definitely that would be great!

    My favorite spots right now are:
    Zingo's in Perrysburg (Falafel wrap with garlic sauce)
    Bankok Grill in Maumee (green curry)
    Koto Buki in Toledo (chef selection sashimi plate & miso soup)
    Plate 21 in South Toledo (best cappuccino & cold press coffee)
    Burger Bar 419 in South Toledo (whatever special burger of the week chef Tony is doing)
    Caper's in South Toledo (Sicilian pizza with fresh basil)
    San Marcos in Toledo (mexican street food tacos)

  6. Whoa, thanks Josh! I just sent this list to my mom. :)