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Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

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Gastronomically yours,

Brussel Stalks

Brussel sprouts are ranked as the least liked vegetable the world over. As a kid I remember staring down Brussel sprouts on my dinner plate until past my bedtime in my stubborn refusal to eat these nasty little camouflaged orbs under the ethos of “you can’t leave the table until you cleaned your plate”.

As I grew older I realized that most people did not know how to cook Brussel sprouts and boiling or steaming them into a state of sourly flavoured gobs of mush is not one of them. It wasn’t until I began to understand them that I could appreciate them fully.

Brussel sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable of the cabbage family. They are related to broccoli, kale, kohlrabi and of course cabbage.

Brussel sprouts look like miniature cabbages growing in a spiral around the side of long fibrous stalks. When purchasing sprouts; choose ones that are small, firm and a vivid green colour. Avoid those that are puffy or soft and they should be free of yellowed or wilted leaves. If the leaves have any perforations in them; be wary of pests waiting inside. When buying sprouts individually; be sure to choose ones of equal size to ensure that they will cook evenly. Brussels sprouts are available year round, but their peak harvest season is from autumn until early spring. The smaller sized sprouts taste best and they are sweetest after a good hard frost or two.

Keep Brussels sprouts in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator unwashed and untrimmed. They are best stored in a plastic bag with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture for up to 3 days. If stored longer than 3 days they will begin to develop a strong flavour which undesirable.

Preparing sprouts is done by trimming any excess stem from the sprouts base. Then peel and discard any of the exterior leaves that have been loosened by the first cut. Many people prefer to cut a cross in center of the stem to aid in evenly distributing heat during the cooking process.

The simplest way to work with sprouts is to buy them on the stalk prepare Brussel sprouts for cooking is first to remove the sprout buds from the stalk and

Regardless of your chosen cooking method, great care must be taken not to overcook the sprouts. Overcooking them will result in their sulfur smelling compounds to be released. This is why most people profess to dislike Brussels sprouts; as they have only ever tried them overcooked with a sulfuric taste and smell.

Ontario grown Brussel sprouts will be popping up at local farmers markets in the coming weeks. The early harvested ones can be bitter compared to those harvested later in the season as a good frost or two causes the Brussel sprouts to become sweeter. The following recipe uses balsamic vinegar to help balance out the off flavors that are sometimes found in sprouts and maple syrup to make them more naturally sweet. The flavorless boiled version of the veggie you may remember from your childhood is now more likely to be served roasted, fried, or even raw and shaved into salads. I suggest trying them roasted on the stalk in the following recipe.


Maple Balsamic Glazed Brussel Sprouts


1 Brussel Sprout stalk

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup, balsamic vinegar

¼ cup maple syrup or honey


To make your own glaze, mix together the balsamic vinegar with maple syrup or honey, in a small saucepan. Over low to medium heat simmer the mixture until it thickens up. You may want to open a window or vent the kitchen as boiling vineagar can make breathing a bit of a challenge.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse stalk well in fresh water and trim any unsightly parts.

Brush olive oil over sprouts. Wrap sprouts in parchment paper, and wrap parchment covered sprouts in aluminum foil. Place in oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove parchment and foil; brush on glaze, season with salt and pepper and return to oven.

Tent sprouts with foil to prevent burning.

Roast for about 30 minutes or until sprouts are fork tender. Rotate and brush on more glaze halfway through roasting. Remove foil and glaze once more during the last 15 minutes of roasting. Brush on more of the glaze just before serving.

Brussels Sprouts on the stalk http://www.specialtyproduce.com/

Brussel Sprouts on the stalk http://www.specialtyproduce.com/

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