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Pomegranates add zing to this veggie

Recipe: Ruby roasted Brussels sprouts topped with pomegranate molasses

Pomegranate arils dress up Brussels sprouts. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)
This side dish was made for the holidays; the fresh pomegranate arils among the roasted Brussels sprouts look like little glistening rubies. The red and green combo is sure to be a conversation starter.

Most of our Brussels sprouts this time of year come from somewhere other than Sacramento, where this vegetable is notoriously hard to grow. As a cool season vegetable, the sprouts are common in stores and farmers market.
Here the dish is garnished with walnuts, which are optional.

This method is different from the Times' whole-roasted sheet-pan directions. This recipe also uses more pomegranate plus balsamic vinegar. The fruit's distinctive sweet-tart flavor contrasts nicely with the sprouts' nuttiness. (The Times added walnuts for extra crunch.)
The deep red pomegranate molasses adds more zing and color; a little makes a big impact.

Ruby roasted Brussels sprouts
Adapted from the New York Times
Makes 4 servings

Pomegranate and Brussels sprouts: Who knew?
1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, preferably pomegranate
Salt and pepper to taste
Arils (seed pods) from one-half pomegranate, about 1/3 cup
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place Brussels sprouts in a 9-inch square baking dish. Drizzle sprouts with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste, then toss again.

Roast sprouts in 350-degree oven for 40 minutes (30 minutes if quarters are small), turning once or twice.
Meanwhile, seed the half pomegranate; set aside the arils.
When the sprouts are fork tender, remove from oven. Add pomegranate arils, toss gently. Drizzle pomegranate molasses over top. Sprinkle chopped walnuts on top, if desired. Serve warm.


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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden needs nutrients. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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