November 11, 1992

Dear Emily,

We had a wonderful supper last night.  You made wonderful tacos.

Maybe we should turn our house into a restaurant.  You could be the hostess, waitress, cook, and dishwasher.  I could sit by the cash register and take the money!

Love,

Dad

Last week, my coat closet flooded.  My “holy crud a hurricane is coming” water supply somehow exploded, soaking boxes full of hundreds of Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines as well as one full of old school projects.  It was not a good discovery right as we were trying to head out for work.  In the flurry of trying to salvage stacks of notebooks and presentations, a soaked folder tumbled out of the mess.  I quickly opened it to see what lay inside and discovered a pile of letters my dad wrote me between November 1992 and March 1993 (I was in second grade).  Surprised, since I do not remember getting these letters let alone keeping them, I started reading them, including the letter above.

I guess my culinary aspirations span decades (just kidding…kinda).  Hopefully my dad was on to something.  If things go my way, there will be a restaurant (not in my parent’s house) and I will be the chef.  Hopefully someone else will be the hostess and I know a dishwasher will be the first person I hire (worst job in the whole business).  And, unless the padre wants to come work for me, I better be the one by the cash register taking the money.

“The restaurant” might not have tacos, but I hope there will be Brussels sprouts, lot of Brussels sprouts!

I love that Brussels sprouts pack all the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables and still sing “comfort food” in my ears with their nutty notes.  Roasting brings out this nuttiness and pairs nicely with caramelized cauliflower.  A unique twist comes from adding some orange juice during roasting and finishing the dish with bright parsley and orange segments.

Fact:  I ate half a pan of this today for lunch.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower with Orange

Makes 6 servings (or two if you are me…)

From The Bon Appetit Cookbook

Note:  If you can find it, I recommend buying Brussels sprouts on the stalk (the cashier at the grocery store asked “Why you buying a tree of these thingys?”  I obviously wasn’t at Central Market).  Brussels sprouts on the stalk are fresher.  If you can’t find them, you can buy normally packaged or even frozen (thaw before using) Brussels sprouts.

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets

1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, halved

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup mined shallot (about 1 large)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsely

Orange segments (from 1 orange), for garnish

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat.  (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead.  Let stand at room temperature.)

Preheat oven to 450°F.  Spread vegetables on large rimmed baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast until lightly browned and almost tender, stirring once, about 12 minutes.  Pour orange juice over.  Roast until vegetables are tender and juices evaporate, about 8 minutes longer.  Stir in 1/3 cup parsley.  Transfer to serving dish.  Garnish with orange slices and serve.