Veggies dress for the occasion

Posted: Wednesday, December 23, 2009

When I brought home a stalk of fresh Brussels sprouts from the market, almost three feet in length, it was an immediate curiosity. Although the cute miniature cabbage look-alikes were easy to identify, seeing around 40 Brussels sprouts attached to their stalk, by what appeared to be something like wooden pegs, was something none of us had seen before. And, when the stalk was placed in a bowlful of water filled with fresh cranberries, we couldn't decide whether to pick the Brussels sprouts for cooking, or to leave the stalk stand as a novel tabletop decoration.

Photos By Sue Ade
Photos By Sue Ade
Brussels sprouts, attached by what looks like small wooden pegs, grow in rows on stalks. A towering stalk of Brussels sprouts, studded with fresh cranberries, can make a dramatic arrangement for the holiday table.

Other vegetables, like spinach and broccoli, know how to dress for an occasion, too, and combine well with other ingredients for molding into something called a "timbale." Timbales are also very versatile and are good served for lunch, or a light supper, unmolded from either a large charlotte-type mold, or individual ramekins.

If a simple entre, like roasted chicken, or baked ham, is planned for a holiday meal, some additional thought may have to be given to the side dishes. Vegetables will love the extra attention and so will anyone who eats them, perhaps even those who think they loathe all green vegetables, save for lettuce.

While I can't promise that any amount of attention will turn a Brussels sprouts hater into a Brussels sprouts lover, but 'tis the season for miracles, and even little ones are nice.

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at

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