Friday, February 27, 2015


How many of you think you hate Brussels sprouts? Well, I'd be willing to bet that, like me, you've only ever had them boiled into a reeking ball of slime, or having sat for hours on some cafeteria's steam-table.  I don't blame you for being hesitant to try them again, but you simply must. First, however, you have to get your hands on some really fresh ones, which usually come like this.

According to my favorite cookbook, Serving Up The Harvest by Andrea Chesman, the sprouts grow on thick stalks that reach 2 to 3 feet tall, and they ripen from the bottom up. If you dislike strong flavors, try cooking some that are less than an inch in diameter. I'd always heard you had to cut an x into the bottom of each whole sprout to ensure even cooking, but Chesman says that really isn't necessary. It is, however, a good idea to cook sprouts of the same size, so if your sprouts vary in size, cut the larger ones into halves or quarters, to even things out. They will keep several weeks in a cool place, but their flavor is best when they are freshly harvested. Store, unwashed, in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator.

There are lots of ways you can cook them, and lots of things you can add, such as bacon and mustard and cream, but I think most of those recipes were developed in order to hide the flavor of overly ripe or frozen versions. If you can get them fresh from a local grower, nothing can beat a simple roasting. Chesman recommends roasting for about 15 minutes at 425, but I've always found, with my oven, 400 F. is plenty hot.

For four servings, start by popping or cutting about 6 cups (1 to 1 1/2 lbs.) of them off the stalk, then trim off any loose or discolored outer leaves. Wash and pat dry, then cut the larger ones in half. Lightly grease a baking pan with oil, then toss the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl with a tablespoon or two of extra-virgin olive oil to coat. You can also add in a bit of fresh lemon juice or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, some coarse sea salt or some freshly ground pepper at this stage, or you can wait and sprinkle any of these on after cooking. Arrange in a single, uncrowded layer in pan, pop into a preheated oven, and roast until lightly brown and easily pierced with a fork, shaking the pan occasionally for even cooking.

Trust me, if you haven't had them prepared like this...

then you haven't really had Brussels sprouts.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


I have never really participated in the Throw Back Thursday tradition on Facebook -- where people post pictures of themselves or loved ones, in days gone by, each Thursday. I do, however, occasionally stumble across a blog I like so much that I am curious about how it all started. With one or two I even went back to the beginning and read every post, from start to finish. For some reason I woke up in the wee hours this morning, thinking maybe I should do that with my own blogs, to remind myself of all that has happened and how our lives have evolved since purchasing this place we call "Seasonality." But, sheesh, that's a LOT of blog posts to read!

So, instead, I decided to do my own version of TBT. I thought perhaps that, once a week, I would pick out a series of posts that happened on or around that same date, and then I'd read through them chronologically. I think it will be a good way to see how things have changed, how much we have learned, and to remind myself of that which may have been forgotten. After all, this blog is all about "embracing change", is it not?

In case you are interested in joining me on this journey, and seeing just what was going on here around this date in years past, here are a few posts to get you started:

2008 -- The Rule of Three

2009 -- Back to Synchronicity

2010 -- Weaving Together A Good Life

2011 -- Just Doesn't Get Any Better 'N This: Wimberley Hike & Bike

2012 -- A Budding Passion

2013 -- I Got My Baby Back

2014 -- 'Tis The Season


Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Miss Bella
We had plans to meet up with friends -- some old, some new -- at Fall Creek Vineyard's new tasting room this Sunday, but when the weather went from balmy to frigid in the blink of an eye, I feared they would all back out. I should have known better! 

I figured we'd be the only ones there, but I was wrong! Fortunately, we got there early and were able to snag a couple of tables indoors before it got too crowded.

And, as it turns out, a cold, dreary day is the absolute best time to go to The Salt Lick for barbecue afterwards.

Instead of the usual hour-plus wait outside, our party of ten was shown directly to a table!

Monday, February 23, 2015


There's just something about Austin's S. Congress Avenue on a balmy Saturday afternoon.

Reminds me of Guadalupe St. (better known as The Drag) back in the early 70s, when I first arrived at UT.

A Bit of Sidewalk Art
We were there this weekend to meet up with our four favorite people at a place John and I had somehow overlooked, called Botticelli's Italian Beer Garden.

These two below had some surprising news.

First of all, Mr. Austin has a new job! Looks like he and Mr. Nate will soon be working at the same company again. Nate is the one who got him interested in computer security in the first place, and talked him into leaving Houston for a job at Spider Labs. A short time later Nate got whisked away to Rapid 7, and now it looks like Austin will be joining him there.

Second, it seems he and Areej have pushed their stateside wedding date back from this October to the following March. Turns out the original date they had reserved happens to coincide with Austin's annual ACL festival, and there wasn't a hotel room to be had anywhere! We are actually quite relieved, since that gives us more time to recover from big sister's wedding, more time for planning, and the Sudanese portion of the wedding can be moved from August to December, when it won't be so frickin' hot in Khartoum! Now all we have to do is make sure the new date in March doesn't overlap with SXSW -- another epic annual event the sucks up hotel rooms for miles around!

Speaking of big sister and Nate...

guess where they stopped in before dinner? Did you happen to notice the darling little hat shop next to Botticelli's in the photo up above? Awesome choices, don't you think? Also, see that t-shirt Lex is wearing? A souvenir from yet another Ray Wylie Hubbard concert, a few years back.

S. Congress, balmy weather, good food, favorite people...does it get any better?