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Blog Housekeeping

Upcoming Holidays

I’m busy trying to get things wrapped up in the lab today – I’ll be taking the rest of the week off after this, and posting here irregularly, if at all. After Thanksgiving I’ll be getting into some of the scientific gift ideas posts and book recommendations as well.


Thanksgiving will be pretty much our standard menu around the place: a roasted turkey (we buy a kosher one just to save on the trouble of brining it ourselves), stuffing (my mother-in-law’s own recipe, which features seasoned bread, apples, onions, celery, and pepperoni sausage), mashed potatoes, home-made turkey gravy, creamed onions with sage, marinated mushrooms, pan-roasted Brussels sprouts, green beans with country ham, and Iranian “jeweled” rice (with saffron, pistachios, almonds, sour zereshk berries and orange zest, which looks like this). Man, here I am with a sandwich in my computer bag for lunch today, and what I want to eat is all this stuff.


What I’ll be doing tomorrow, though, will be this year’s run-throughs of these thoroughly checked preparations: chocolate pecan pie and key lime pie. I can vouch for both of these as absolutely reliable and full of nutrients as well. I mean, the lime one is bound to have a lot of Vitamin C in it, and the chocolate pecan one, well. . .I wouldn’t want to put it in a calorimeter, actually, because it’s about as energy-dense as this stuff, although surely tastier. I’ll try to add some photos of these to this post once they’re made, but once they’re cut into they tend to get scavenged pretty quickly.

24 comments on “Upcoming Holidays”

  1. Anchor says:

    If you have time, may I request you to post us your pan-roasted Brussels sprouts recipe? Is there anything special? Just curious.

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      My wife usually makes them, but I can tell you how it’s done – nothing too unusual. We cut each of the Brussels sprouts in half, to give them a flat surface, and steam them a little in the covered pan with some lightly salted ater. Then you drain any remaining water, add some oil, and cook them over medium heat, not stirring them too often, so that they eventually get fairly browned (but not burnt, of course). You can add some minced garlic to the later parts of the browning process, if desired (if you put it in too early, it’ll probably get burnt for sure).

      1. Mark Thorson says:

        For those of you interested in cooking Brussels sprouts, always buy the littlest ones you can get. It’s the big ones that are bitter.

        1. Me says:

          I find the roasting a bit like Derek’s method sweetens them all up – you get a very different flavour than the bitterness you get when you steam them.

        2. BK says:

          Wild speculation. The bigger ones are great for flash frying into single leaf ‘chips’ and are great when quartered (or cut into ‘medallions’) and roasted.

    2. Peter S. Shenkin says:

      In the spirit of sharing, here’s an alternative that saves a pot. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half and lay them flat-side down in a frying pan. Add water (or you can mix in some chicken stock) up to about half-way the height of the sprouts. Sprinkle with salt. Add butter. Cover pan and cook over a medium flame. When the water has evaporated, the flat faces of the Brussels sprouts will brown in the butter. You may have to uncover the pan at some point in the process if the sprouts threaten to get mushy, or add a little water if it all evaporates before the sprouts soften sufficiently.

      Happy Thanksgiving, Pipeline readers (and Writer!)

      1. oldnuke says:

        Chicken stock is the ticket!

  2. Hap says:

    The stuffing sounds interesting. If it isn’t proprietary, could you post a recipe for it at some point?

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. johnnyboy says:

    I like to sex up my sprouts by adding bits of pancetta at the sauteeing stage.

    1. Me says:

      Me too – and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

      Had veggies over once between Xmas/NewY and we cooked it with halloumi instead – just as good!

    2. BK says:

      My favorite is tossing the raw sprouts melted coconut oil, heavily peppered and a good amount of salt, then drizzle with a balsamic reduction/glaze after they’re done.

  4. Mark Thorson says:

    Maybe one of you could answer a question I’ve had for years. I’ve noticed there is an anti-nutritional factor in raw Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and parsley. It manifests as sores which occur at the corners of the mouth (where the upper lip meets the lower lip). It is destroyed by cooking, so any of these vegetables when fully cooked does not cause the problem. What is this factor, and what is the mechanism by which it exerts its effect?

      1. Mark Thorson says:

        I know what fever blisters are, and these sores are not them. Fever blisters have a viral cause. These sores have a dietary cause. They do not resemble fever blisters. Fever blisters are generally round, warm, and occur spontaneously often in clusters. These sores are slit-like and occur singly (or symmetric pairs on each side of the mouth).

        1. Josh says:

          Angular cheilitis. It’s commonly caused by yeast. A little antifungal on it, will wipe it out quickly.

          1. Mark Thorson says:

            It can’t be an infection. It’s entirely reproducible by diet. If I eat a head of raw parsley today, I’ll have one or two of these sores within one or two days. An infection would not be reliably reproducible, nor 100% preventable by avoiding the dietary cause.

    1. Ursa Major says:

      You could be extra sensitive to allyl isothiocyanate, which is formed from sinigrin when the plant is damaged ( Sinigrin is found in brassicas, although parsley is not closely related to them and in a very quick survey I can’t reference to it containing sinigrin (maybe it has an analogous defense compound?).

      1. Mark Thorson says:

        If that were the cause, then mustard and horseradish should cause it too. I have never had this problem with either of those.

        1. Ursa Major says:

          Some other compound then? The non-relationship between parsley and brassicas seems like a problem though. Can you eat other plants of the parsley family uncooked (e.g. celery, fennel)?

          Could be a localised environmental cause, but seems unlikely if it’s been going on for years. Do you grow your own of those plants or get them from the same supplier?

          Mustard and horseradish use different parts of the plants to the leaves and stems of the ones you mention, and are prepared and eaten in different ways, so those could be reasons for the difference between species if it’s something other than sinigrin.

          1. Mark Thorson says:

            Yes, it has gone on for many years before I discovered the cause, and no I don’t grow my own plants. I have never noticed the problem eating raw Napa cabbage, even though that’s a member of the same family with broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Celery doesn’t cause it, nor does cilantro, lettuce, or spinach. I’ve only rarely had fennel, but I do not recall it as a culprit.

            The parts of mustard and horseradish which are eaten contain allyl isothiocyanate, so I’ve definitely been heavily dosed with no ill effect.

  5. bhip says:

    From my perspective, the best way to prepare brussel sprouts is to toss them….out & replace with something that doesn’t smell bad & resemble disembodied martian heads. 🙂

  6. bhip says:

    And Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  7. Anon says:

    Solanezumab just crashed and burned as everyone expected.

    Good time to put a big short on ACIU.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  8. oldnuke says:

    I got home from work early (started at 0330 this morning!) and made two pans of buttermilk cornbread for stuffing tomorrow. (Cooked up a pound of bacon too, since I was out of bacon grease to lube the pans.)

    If I could get good turkey stock for dressing and gravy any other way, I wouldn’t even bother with the bird. Dressing and gravy are my kryptonite! 🙂

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