I come to you today to be redeemed — or, er, with a recipe for tonight’s dinner of brussels sprouts, caramelized red onion, and sliced almonds dusted with lemon juice in a vain attempt to prove that while my kitchen is definitely coated in a thin layer of sugar and maple syrup there are a lot of vegetables loafing around in it, too.
Are brussels still in season in the States (or wherever you happen to live)? Here in Casablanca I have found them consistently at Les Domaines, the organic/bio food market not too far from our house and where I make weekly or bi-weekly forays to load up on good-tasting fresh milk, leben (buttermilk), clementines, and whatever else they have in stock. Some Sundays I’m there early enough that there’s still a good selection of spinach or Japanese sweet potatoes and I eagerly fill my basket. If we are more motivated we’ll go into ‘town’ to the Maarif market which, frankly, seems to cater to the expat/higher income crowd and always has really beautiful, often imported, vegetables and fruit. But what I love about LD is that they only sell produce and products (for example argan oil, chickpeas, honey) that are grown in Morocco. All those years of visiting the San Francisco and Washington, DC, farmers’ markets have ingrained in me a need to seek out produce that’s grown close to where I live. So even if my little bio store doesn’t have everything all the time I don’t mind. Parsnips and potatoes and carrots and broccoli and leeks and red onions and cauliflower and brussels sprouts make many a fine meal ’til the summery crops roll in again. Not sure what I will find at our next post – organic dairy being high on that list but I don’t know – but I hope to be able to obtain at least some similar items.
We’re in a strange limbo period of leaving the place we’ve called ‘home’ for less than 2 years in 10 days. Two pack-outs (that’s what shuffling all your stuff from place to place is called in Foreign Service jargon) loom. One goes tomorrow and is shipped via air, meaning that you have a certain amount of weight allowance you can fill with whatever you like (in our case all of Sierra’s things, some kitchen items, bedding, and food-related dried goods). You send it off with crossed fingers hoping you’ll see it within 3 weeks (but as these things go it will probably be longer). The rest (furniture, books, clothes, etc. etc.) will go out on a slow boat next week and we’ll see it in 2-3 months. So we’re poised to move – and in my case rather dreading another life upheaval and transition – yet still need to cook, and eat, and live ‘normal’ life until everything is packaged up (plus my mind is constantly occupied with thoughts of what would I like to have ‘soon’ there/what will fit in a suitcase/yes I will bring my stick blender and one good knife in my checked luggage). I’m trying not to buy too many things but at the same time … we need our veggies.
So, brussels. I slow-cooked a thinly sliced red onion until it was sweet and melting and then added some halved brussels sprouts (the ones here are fairly small, so if yours are larger I’d consider quartering them), some lemon juice, some lightly toasted sliced almonds. Simple yet incredibly satisfying, especially when draped over quinoa to make a complete vegetarian/vegan main dish. I’ve also swapped pine nuts for the almonds and those are delicious, and you could probably get away with leeks or a sliced yellow onion in place of the red onion. What is really essential is the lemon juice, which lends just enough of a tart bite to save this dish from being sweet. If I’d had some tahini I might have stirred in a teaspoonful as well, and I will be trying that the next time I get my hands on a jar.
I’m hoping to post again before we leave Morocco as I have a recipe for some truly amazing vegan chocolate chip cookies I’ve been itching to share, but, we shall see. I’ve been promised the Internet works decently! in our new abode so I hope to be pleasantly surprised upon arrival. I will for sure be posting on Instagram, so if you’re not following me there already … please do!
I like this as a vegan main dish served with quinoa, long grain brown rice, or millet. You could also pair it with a piece of baked fish, some roasted potatoes, and a glass of white wine for a delectable Sunday dinner.
Makes 2 servings.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, peeled and thinly slices
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups small/medium brussels sprouts washed and halved
1/4 cup lightly toasted sliced almonds
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste (err on the side of ‘generous’)
2 large pinches of herbs du Provence (optional)
In a large skillet heat the olive oil. Add the sliced onion and sautee about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic, reduce heat to low, and sautee until the onion and garlic are very soft and slightly caramelized, about 5 more minutes.
Add the brussels sprouts and sautee until slightly soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the almonds and sautee a few minutes more. Stir in the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and herbs if using. Serve warm or at room temperature.