Season Premiere

I’m a total dork. I get so easily star struck. Like the time I discovered Cory Matthews (Boy Meets World? TGIF? Anyone?) was in my Econ 1 class and suddenly economics (?) was my favorite class to attend. Or when they were filming Free Willy 2 in my hometown and I waited outside the movie head quarters to get Jason James Richter’s autograph (there’s a good reason you don’t remember who that is…).

Sometimes I imagine I’m the star of my own sitcom. Aspiring food writer sits in trendy coffee shop writing blog post. (Yes, they serve coffee in a wine glass). She spies her food blogging idol down the length of the raw-edge wooden coffee counter. We both thought to get up and work in the same coffee shop! Maybe she’s working on her next book. Maybe she’s writing a blog post just like I am. I’ve made it. Her publisher will probably be contacting me soon to write my own memoir. What will I write about? Is she looking at me? Oh, I think she’s paying the bill. Maybe I’ll pay the bill, too. Maybe we’ll run into each other and she’ll notice me and say, “Hi Sarah. I loved your post on Brussels sprouts pasta. Brilliant! We should get drinks soon and swap brassica stories.” Oh no. She’s leaving. Go talk to her. Go. Talk. To. Her. 

And…cut. I think we’ll just leave it there and I’ll spare you the semi-awkward encounter that ensued. Let’s just say my star-struckness doesn’t do much for my social anxiety. Fade to black…

If my life were a sitcom, I’d totally be Monica from Friends. (Or maybe DJ from Full House). In this week’s episode, I’d have my ‘book’ club over to talk about the book that no one actually got around to reading. Instead we’d drink wine and hot mulled cider, pick at cheese plates, and talk about boys, birth control, and whether or not Reese Witherspoon with be able to pull off rugged-mountain-girl in the movie version of Wild. I’d split my time between meeting friends for a morning run around the lake, going to my guitar lesson with Dan the Musician, dining at a neighborhood cafe for a Ladies who Lunch series, and hosting the next batch of friends for Thursday Night Supper Club. 

On Sunday, I’d head down to the farmers market with my woven basket and fill it with the week’s freshest produce. I’d stop and chat with the vendors I know and marvel at how late the dahlias are lasting this year. I’d pick up some hearty winter vegetables to roast for dinner and some sustainably-raised, locally-ground, antibiotic-free sausage to make into a rainy-weather soup. 

If only life were as easy as it seems on TV.

Roasted beets and Brussels

You want to roast hearty vegetables in a hot hot oven so they caramelize and crisp up rather than slowly release steam and get mushy before they get brown. Be sure you don’t crowd the pan - each piece should have full contact with the metal surface and there shouldn’t be too many veggies piled onto each sheet. Overcrowding can also lead to steaming rather than crisping. Finally, it’s important to use generous amounts of oil and salt. 

3-6 medium sized beets (red or golden, though I prefer the mellower flavor of the golden variety)
1 pound Brussels spouts
Olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 475. 

2. Cut the bottoms off the Brussels and cut in half. 

3. Peel off just the rough parts at the top of the beets. I also chop off the very bottom tip. Cut beets in half and then cut each piece into thirds.

4. Spread Brussels and beets out on their own pan. (The Brussels will likely cook faster than the beets, so you want to be able to remove them separately). Toss with generous amounts of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Each piece should be fully coated in oil, but not so much that there are standing puddles on the pan.

5. Cook in oven until brown around edges and tender in the middle. Brussels 10-15 minutes, beets maybe 20.

6. Serve as a side dish or top with a poached egg for an easy dinner.