published Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Braly: Learning to love foods we hate

It’s interesting how, as we grow older, our tastes change and we find ourselves enjoying foods we never liked before.

“As we age, most of us aren’t as stubborn as we once were, and we’re willing to try new things,” says Chattanooga food coach and registered dietitian Pam Kelle.

Take turnip greens, for example. In my youth, I looked at adults in dismay as they ate them. Now, I can’t get enough of them. Kelle says that, for her, it’s beets and Brussels sprouts. She once detested them and now loves them.

Until recently, it was Brussels sprouts for me, too. I tried for years to like them, not because they were good for you, which they are with lots of fiber and other healthful things, they are just so cute — the Mini-Me of the cabbage world, if you will. I tried them roasted and boiled, even in cream sauce, but couldn’t bring myself to truly savor them enough to want another bite after the first. Finally, I simply gave up — until recently.

On a trip to WaterColor, one of 16 beaches in the southern region of Florida’s Walton County, I dined at Fish Out of Water, an incredible beachfront eatery located in the WaterColor Inn and Resort. While there, I heard people raving about the Brussels sprouts. I was intrigued and almost bypassed them, knowing my past experiences with the little cabbages. But knowing how my palate had become more accepting of certain foods, I decided to give them another go … and ate the entire serving, then asked for the recipe.

I don’t know about eating them boiled or roasted, but I do know that frying Brussels sprouts then tossing them with bacon, almonds and a maple-sherry vinaigrette makes them unbelievably delicious. They’re like candy. Now why wouldn’t that work with liver and onions? Never say never, but I really don’t think my palate will ever mature to that level.

^

Fish Out of Water Brussels Sprouts

4 cups Brussels sprouts

1 cup thick-sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup toasted almonds, crushed

1 cup maple-sherry vinaigrette

Vegetable oil for frying

For the maple-sherry vinaigrette:

1 cup sherry wine vinegar

1/2 cup bacon fat, warm

1 cup maple syrup

1/2 lemon, juiced

2 teaspoons honey

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Cut Brussels sprouts in half; set aside. Cook bacon over medium heat until crispy, set aside, reserving fat for vinaigrette. Toast and crush almonds.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together sherry wine vinegar, bacon fat, maple syrup, lemon juice, honey, red pepper flakes, kosher salt and ground black pepper.

Heat oil in a large, high sided pot to 350 degrees. Carefully fry Brussels sprouts until dark brown around the edges, remove from pot and set in a medium bowl. Toss sprouts with almonds, bacon, a little salt and pepper and maple-sherry vinaigrette, to taste. Serve immediately.

Note: Brussels sprouts contain a good amount of water in their leaves which will expand quickly in the oil, creating a lot of oil splash. It is very important to keep a safe distance when first adding sprouts to oil.

100 Dinner

Tickets are now on sale for Crabtree Farms’ annual 100 Dinner, held in the fields of Crabtree Farms with music, wine, beer and local food on Saturday, June 28, at 6 p.m. The meal features local food from within 100 miles of Chattanooga, with dishes grilled onsite by Chattanooga’s top chefs. Entertainment includes live music from Lou Wamp and Swing Shift and a silent auction of arts and services from area businesses. Beer, wine and nonalcoholic beverages are provided. Tickets are $100 per person and may be purchased online at crabtreefarms.org, by email at ajaeger@crabtreefarms.org or by phone: 423-493-9155.

“The 100 Dinner is a true celebration of local food,” Joel Houser, Crabtree’s executive director, notes in a news release. “Guests enjoy a wonderful farm-to-table experience in the fields of Crabtree Farms, one of Chattanooga’s hidden treasures. All proceeds from the event will be used to further our mission of connecting Chattanoogans with our local foodshed.”

The farm is located at 1000 E. 30th St.

Firefighter honor

Steak-umm Co. announces the launch of the “Steak-umm Firehouse Challenge 2014,” a campaign designed to recognize and give back to firehouses and the dedicated firefighters who serve our communities. Firefighters who enter their favorite recipes using Steak-umm sliced meats have a chance to win $20,000 and other prizes for their firehouses. Entries will be accepted through July 5 at firehousechallenge2014.com.

Contact Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com.

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