Sunday, December 20, 2020

Brussel Sprouts!

When we went for out afternoon walk Friday, the sheets of rain blowing in the air resembled billowing smoke over the fields of Rollo Park. It was a classic Autumn Westcoast Rain Forest day. The ground was supersaturated; all the worms were on the surface of the land. Walking the trails meant paying careful attention to every step.

Needless to say, I spent most of Friday indoors, and I ate a lot more in one day than I have in ages because I’d the Apple pie I’d made earlier in the week, the ice cream I bought for the first time since June and Stolen that friends gave me for my birthday. Par-tay!

Saturday began dreadfully. I got an email from Shelly, Kevin’s wife, telling me that their little doggie, Oso, had died of kidney failure. When I read her note, I burst into tears. I love animals too much. I went into the living room distraught, and there was Sheba, in my face, tail wagging, eyes hard on me and I was so, so happy to have such a comforting friend. 

To feel better, I went out and soaked in the hot tub in the darkness. I got to hear the birds awakening. The big Barred Owls hooted, the Ravens not only were showing off their incredible vocal renge, but I can hear every flap of their wings that sound like waves in the air. And all the little birds were singing like mad at my feeder as daylight broke, accompanied by the low, barely audible, bass calls of the Sea Lions offshore.

Kevin and Shelly invited me for Christmas Eve dinner with their daughter and Kevin’s mother, but I gently declined.

When I was eleven, my mother became paralyzed and she remained in bed for the rest of her life, more due to her mental health than her physical decline. And soon she moved into care where my father met and fell in love with her nurse. All this meant no one was home, for Dad went to the hospital every day after work and on weekends to be with his women.

That meant I had to make my own meals and I had no one to teach me what to do. However, my best friends, Doug and Marilyn, were being raised by a single mother who insisted they come home from school and prepare the vegetables and set the table so that when she came home, dinner could quickly and easily come together. I started buying and eating any vegetable that I could boil: Carrots, Peas, Beans, Potatoes, Spinach and, best of all, Brussel Sprouts.

To this day, Sprouts are my favourite veggie. And somewhere, not long ago, I read about a way to prepare them that interested me. Now I am feasting on the concoction almost every day; it’s a simple quick recipe.

I get about a dozen large Sprouts and remove all the green leaves (I don’t use the core or the very small yellow leaves) and put them in a bowl. Then I prepare a heaping tablespoon (or more) of finely chopped Shallots, an equally large tablespoon of Lemon juice and ½-to3/4 of a cup of Pistachios.

I fry the Shallots in two-to-three tablespoons of Grapeseed oil in a large skillet, add the Sprout leaves and Pistachios, turning the mixture constantly in the skillet to get all the leaves coated in oil and softened. It takes only a minute or two to gently cook them (I prefer them al dente), then I pour the Lemon juice over the mixture, do a few quick churns of everything in the skillet and then I pour the mixture into a large bowl. It’s the most delicious way to eat Sprouts in the world! Try it if you like Sprouts!

Today has dawned clear and bright. We’ll have lovely walks today and my spirits will be high. Soon, Choral Concert will be on the CBC—my favourite weekly radio program—and it’s likely to be stunning ecclesiastical Christmas music. 

This afternoon, I’ll do a bit of work in the yard and in the shed. I’ve kindling to chop and I’ve to start digging up my Paperback Maples to transplant them. Tonight, I’ll be on the couch by the fire. And tomorrow, Winter arrives precisely at five-thirty am.

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