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Pomegranates add zing to this veggie

Pomegranate arils brighten a dish of roasted Brussels sprouts -- perfect for a holiday dinner. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Recipe: Ruby roasted Brussels sprouts topped with pomegranate molasses

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.

Pomegranates are at their peak availability -- especially if you have a tree. Since I made the
pomegranate molasses last month, I've been watching for new ways to use it. This combination of sprouts, pomegranate and walnuts was suggested by a recent recipe in the New York Times.

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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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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