Tuesday, October 27, 2009

In the Spirit - Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Butternut Squash & Hazelnuts

With Halloween coming up this weekend, I'm feeling the pressure of putting a costume together. Something I haven't done in several years. Probably not since 2006, when I made Lauren take BART over to Berkeley in her costume around 4pm.

Her: "Are you sure I should take BART in my costume? It's so early, no one else will be dressed up!"

Me: "It'll be fine, everyone is in costume all day here!" (Lie.)

Needless to say, she was a bit ticked off at me when she got off the train, having been the only one in costume among the commuter suits and high heels. But, in my defense, I hadn't realized her Cleopatra costume would be so...ummm...sheer, shall we say.

She was also less than pleased that I wasn't yet in costume.But needless to say, she was very popular on BART. Especially with the guys in suits.

This year, with Friday and Saturday off from rehearsal, I should have some time to put a costume together. I'm thinking this will probably involve a trip to Michael's craft store, a trip that is always simultaneously terrifying and fascinating. Much like roaming around the city on Halloween night. Gone are the days of the giant Castro Halloween celebration. Now we're left to our own devices and house parties.

Is it just me, or has Halloween reached the kind of pressure usually associated with New Year's? Where are you going? Who are you seeing? When will you be there? What are you wearing? What if I just want to stay inside, watch Rocky Horror Picture Show for the umpteenth time and eat macaroni n' cheese straight out of the pan! How about THAT Halloween?

At least tonight's dinner reflects the spirit of the holiday. I am so in love with this dish. I wasn't even sure what to call it. The truth is, it's roasted, glazed and caramelized, all in one! I mean, how delicious does that sound? I first had it at Luna Park in San Francisco. It was pretty easy to recreate at home. The honey adds a sweet note, and it's a wonderful combination with the crisp and roasted edges of the sprouts and the nuts. Be warned, this stuff goes fast!

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Butternut Squash & Hazelnuts
adapted from Luna Park Restaurant

1/2 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
Cayenne pepper to taste
sea salt

Bring a small pot of water to boil and heat the oven to 450. Once the water is boiling, blanch the trimmed and cut brussels sprouts for about a minute. Drain and run cool water over them to stop them from cooking further. Toss the sprouts (loose leaves and all) and squash together on a large cookie sheet with the olive oil, honey, cayenne pepper and salt. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until sprouts and squash are nicely caramelized and brown. Shake pan once or twice during cooking.

Once the sprouts are in the oven, toast about 1/4 cup hazelnuts in a toaster oven or on the stove. Once the nuts are browned and fragrant, use a paper bag or paper towel to rub the skins off. Or, if you're lazy like me, you can leave most of the skins on.

Once the sprouts are done, toss the mixture with the hazelnuts. Serve while hot.


  1. THANK YOU for this recipe! I cannot wait to make it. I love love love brussels sprouts and butternut squash and roasting things and mmmmm this looks good.

    Also, I agree with you about Halloween. I'm not a huge fan of it, and I always feel this crazy pressure to dress up and go out and do something, when really I just want to stay home and hand out candy to trick or treaters. Not that we get any in my neighborhood.

  2. ooh, this is one of my favorites! hope I can find good brussels sprouts...

  3. Mark Bittman had a post on his blog today abou how Brussels Sprouts are so popular right now. He's got a recipe for sprouts with bacon and figs that looked amazing!

  4. There was also a feature in Real Simple this month on the delectable "mini cabbages"!