The Retro Mom

Bringing your grandmother's comfort food out of her recipe box and into your gluten-free kitchen

And Then There Were Brussels Sprouts. And Apples!

Can you tell Fall has landed here? It has! Temperatures may still be in the mid-to-high 80’s but with Halloween and Thanksgiving lurking just around the corner, I’m in a mood for all things Fall!

Like Pumpkin Spice Lattes made from scratch!

Like Pumpkin Pie!

Like “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”

Like Brussels Sprouts!

(crowd sighs….ugh…..)

And apples!

(crowd looks perplexed…..ummm…..)

Not together though.


Wait. There’s still brussels sprouts involved. And nothing says retro like brussels sprouts. Mushy, icky brussels sprouts. Who liked these as a kid? Or as an adult? Besides me….I mean I really liked them. Buttered or cheese-sauced, buttered and cheese-sauced. I still remember the little frozen packets of Green Giant sprouts, in the kind of bag that you would boil and everything was inside. I’m sure that was healthy, boiling a plastic bag and all……cut it open and all the goodness would pour out. Ahhhh, childhood.

OK, so why don’t most people like brussels sprouts? How many times can I say brussels sprouts in a post? Six times, so far. But why are these cute, little cabbages so maligned?

From Wikipedia, which is an internet authority on everything: “Overcooking will render the buds gray and soft, and they then develop a strong flavour and odour that some dislike.The odour is associated with glucosinolate sinigrin, an organic compound that contains sulfur: hence the strong smell.” I think most people would associate brussels sprouts with a strong smell and mushy taste. So there you have it, the key to enjoying brussels sprouts is not to overcook them. Wikipedialicious also says that: “Common toppings or additions for Brussels sprouts include Parmesan cheese and butter, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, bacon, pistachios, pine nuts, mustard, brown sugar, and pepper”. I say yes to all of them! Brussels sprouts may also have some cancer-fighting properties to them, so……you know……and yes, it is Brussel*s* sprouts, I’ve been wrong all of these years. Have you?

Brussels sprouts can be roasted, and they turn out beautiful! Lightly toasty on top, crunchy, but tender. Tossed with a big splash of balsamic vinegar and you have yourself a meal! And they are lovely that way! But not vintage food. Boiling is vintage. Boiling is just what you did back then. But even with boiling, you can still have sprouts like this:

The key is to not overcook. Just don’t. Note the simple recipe below, besides calling them a “strongly flavored vegetable”, suggests butter, cheese or Hollandaise. Cheese may also play a part as part of the key. Irish cheese. And butter.


So I got out my little bag of frozen brussels sprouts. Not the boil-in-a-bag kind either. The Whole Paycheck Food kind.

Here’s What I Did:

1. Put a pot of cold water on the stove.

2. Empty the brussels sprouts in the pot.

3. Bring to a boil and then turn down and cook for 8 minutes – NOT the 10-25 suggested by Betty……eeesh.

Meanwhile I saw this:


I chose the garlic butter. It was yummy poured over the sprouts! And Kerrygold Dubliner cheese. Crumbled, not grated. I can see how lemon butter would be great, and I would try the horseradish butter as well. And maybe some pistachios next time…..

Now, about those apples……

OK Retro Mom, first we suffer through Brussels Sprouts to get to the apples – and this is what we get????

 Yes. Yes it is. It’s an Apple Omelet!

A what?

An apple omelet. It’s really, really, really good. Really. Think of it as the perfect sweet, but not overly sweet, side dish for pork, chicken or turkey. It is, as the recipe suggests, a delicate dish. But, it compliments meat perfectly!A new Thanksgiving dish perhaps? Something for breakfast? It’s delicious hot or chilled, and it’s a snap to make! From The American Woman’s Cookbook, 1939.

apple omeletHere’s what I did:

1. I peeled and sliced my apples and then sautéed them in a pan until very soft.

2. Yes, I used bacon fat for my “fat”. What else would I use? Savory and sweet! Like kettle corn. But not. Not into bacon fat? Use butter. Just as tasty! And, I would definitely suggest greasing your pan quite well, just sayin’……

3. I only used 3 tablespoons of sugar, and sprinkled a little extra spice on top to make it pretty. I baked it at 350 until just set.

That’s it! I served mine, for dinner, alongside some spicy pork sausages and carmelized onions. I had some more for breakfast, cold, with a fork. I could even see this with a pie crust underneath, like a quiche. But not.

Enjoy both side dishes, and enjoy Fall!!!!!!! Only 65 more days until Christmas! Hee hee hee……and I said Brussels sprouts 15 times.

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