Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Garlicky brussels sprouts and life's lessons...

With working full time and going to grad school at night, life has become very hectic. I find I barely have time to do anything. Despite this I try my best to make sure we have a home cooked meal on the table every day. I do this mainly for nutritional reasons. Sure, we like going out once in a while for a nice meal but I don't think I could tolerate this every day. We were raised this way and maybe in a way I try to emulate my mom. She would wake up every morning at about 5am or so, make breakfast (hot parathas and eggs anyone?) and lunch, make sure we were dressed and ready for school and then get ready and go to work herself. Whew...thats a lot! I don't think I could ever do all that. Then she would return from work and make dinner. I have nothing but utmost respect for her, especially knowing myself how tired one can be when one returns from work, let alone having to go into the kitchen and cook.

Not wanting to cook everyday, I have nevertheless found a way to make sure we have home-cooked meals. I set aside 3-4 hours on the weekends (precious time, I know!), typically on sunday evenings to cook. I then cook 3-4 types of dishes and I'm done for the week. I try to do most of the cooking on the weekends so at the very most, I only have to assemble things (if that at all). This past weekend I made beef and vegetable lo mein, gajar ka halwa, refried beans, coconut rice and marinated some fish. I pan-fried the fish today and made the brussels sprouts. Tomorrow we will have tacos with the refried beans and all I will have to do is make some fresh salsa to go with it. This is an easy way to make sure you always have different things to eat so you don't get bored with the same old dish.

Many people think cooking is hard but its really only as difficult as you make it. If you cook simple food, you can still have a great meal without spending hours in the kitchen. Try the above strategy and see if it works for you!

Now, on to the garlicky brussels sprouts..The technique below is my favorite way to cook vegetables and I usually reserve it for broccoli, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, etc. Its incredibly simple and gives predictably good results. For those who grew up hating broccoli and brussels sprouts, its probably because they were not cooked the right way and were mushy. Try the recipe below and you will undoubtedly love these power foods now!

3 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups shredded/cliced brussels sprouts (remove outer layer and stem and wash)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste

Heat oil on medium in a saute pan. Add garlic and quickly stir-fry until it just starts to turn light brown. We do not want to brown the garlic as that will make it bitter and will ruin the dish. Add the red pepper flakes, saute 10 seconds and then add the brussels sprouts. Stir to combine and saute on medium heat. When brussels sprouts are half cooked, add salt. Stir and steam with lid on for 2 minutes. Remove lid and dry any liquid that may have accumulated. Your garlicky brussels sprouts should now be ready to serve.

Tip: For variation, you may choose to add 2 tsp soya sauce while cooking and garnish with sesame seeds.

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