The brussels sprouts were my project this year. Last winter I romanticized during nomadic travel about the lengths we would traverse to facilitate growing all the deepest joys of our taste buds. Often times, when conversation on the long road fell to silence, I would come to murmur vegetable breeds we knew and loved, speaking of them as old fond friends. The bleakness of the country’s winter landscape would lull my mind into fantastical daydreams about the first tendrils of the new growing season – the decompression of winter’s bite, and the burgeoning of bud and blossom. On the muted and frosted horizon I could see our new garden growing.
Last weekend we retrieved some small holiday trees from the garden. My brussels sprouts were modest but had lived the extent of the garden’s life. Their roots were embedded past the nurturing blanket of dirt we cultivated for them, projected deep into the earth – filled with an entire growing seasons’s worth of victories and flops. They saw the vendetta of the wind demolish their cohorts, they watched the tomatillos slowly take over everything, and they watched the broccolini flower one too many times (although the bees loved it). They saw peppers and tomatoes burst in every color, and they observed an herby map of the world. Their small cabbage nodes grew bigger, gaining more leaves, mimicking the structure of the entire plant. They spiraled sweetly downward into oblivion. We ate their leaves. They fanned out in support to greet and cup the sun. As deep the roots, as strong the life.
In the quiet hours of a late autumn morning I am here to pay homage to the sweet success of deep dreams and driven actions. To exile what you know for the passion of the unknown. To illustrate the adventure and sketch plans for the next. It is in these moments that we become familiar. Through trials we get triumph and error. Through growth we obtain development and self. And through brussels sprouts our brief sensory feelings become concrete, fluid, and affirmed.
- 1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved if needed
- 1 lb seedless black grapes
- 1 / 4 tsp coriander
- 1 / 4 tsp cumin
- 1 / 8 tsp garam masala
- 1 tbl grapeseed oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 / 2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seed)
- 1 tbl lemon juice
- 1 / 4 tsp chili powder
- 1 / 8 tsp cayenne (optional)
- preheat oven to 400 degrees. in a large bowl toss together brussels sprouts, grapes, coriander, cumin, garam masala, and oil. add a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. transfer brussels sprouts and grapes to a large sheet pan and place in oven for 30 minutes.
- toss pepitas with lemon juice, chili powder, and cayenne - add to sheet pan and toss with brussels sprouts and grapes the final 5 minutes of roasting.
- combine brussels sprouts and grapes and serve as a side or atop grains for a heartier, more inclusive meal. garnish with cilantro.