I went to the Co-op today to pick up vegetables for tonight and Christmas dinner. I picked up root veggies - parsnips, rutabagas, sunchokes, and baby sweet peppers - to roast and toss with local goat cheese, to serve with wild rice and the fresh ham I picked up from Miller Farm. My parents aren't big on winter vegetables, but I think they will like this.
To go with steak tonight, I picked out tiny brussel sprouts and oyster mushrooms; I will sautee the mushrooms with shallots I already have, microwave the brussel sprouts, and toss them together before serving. The sprouts and mushrooms led to conversation at the check-out stand, when the young man checking me out asked what I was doing with the oyster mushrooms and how they were different than criminis or shitakes. He likes mushrooms and cooks with them regularly, but hasn't tried oyster mushrooms because they are pricey (and shitakes aren't?). I pointed out that I had enough mushrooms for 6 people, at a cost of $2.50, and enouraged him to try them. When I mentioned that I was going to mix them with the sprouts, we then had a long discussion about not liking brussel sprouts and how to cook them so that they aren't so bitter (microwave in a covered bowl with a little water until they are JUST tender, before the flavor get strong). He sounded game to try them now that he is older; he may never like them, but at least he will have a better idea of what they really should taste like. I can't say that brussel sprouts are my favorite, either - I get them because my husband loves them and they are at their best this time of year - but they aren't bad when they are cooked with mushrooms, shallots, and butter. And they are one of the easier choices this time of year, when I am still missing the summer vegetables.