Not that Halloween was very much of anything for the kids this year, but at about 5:30 on October 31, Abby, outfitted in a Walter White costume that involved a white mini skirt, announced she was heading out to some kind of outdoor get-together.
Did you have dinner? I asked her.
Nah, she said. There’s gonna be candy.
She’s 17. It was Halloween. I probably should’ve just let her bolt. But old habits die hard, I guess.
Sit down at the table. Let me get something healthy into your body. I promise it will be fast.
We had a tumbleweed refrigerator situation on our hands, but I ended up making her something I knew instantly I was going to have to tweak and make again in a proper way. I scraped up a dozen Brussels sprouts, a single leek, and scored a bag of Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice from the back of the freezer. I roasted the vegetables while heating up the rice, planning to toss everything with a little soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, until Abby walked over, now in full-on Heisenberg sunglasses and hat, and said, How good would this be with teriyaki sauce? Americanized teriyaki sauce is, of course, probably just as sweet as the pack of Skittles she would likely later inhale, but since no one wants to argue with Heisenberg, I searched for a homemade recipe I could make fast. Morimoto’s fit the bill (scroll all the way to the bottom; I swapped rice wine vinegar for the sake; UPDATE: there is a simplified teriyaki on page 211 of The Weekday Vegetarians) and it was done before the Brussels were out of the oven.
It was so good, we made it for dinner a few nights later, and I just made it again today for lunch so I could take a good photo for you and be reminded how much I love it. That part worked, but I was also reminded that it took more pots and more steps that I thought, especially because I topped mine off with a seven-minute egg.
So, here’s what I recommend if you are on the clock: Try to have one of the components be store bought or made ahead of time. We always have Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice in our freezer. It’s not like it’s so complicated to make rice (although, sometimes it low-key is) but it’s liberating to open a package and empty the contents into a pot without any measuring or stressing. You can make both the teriyaki and the seven-minute eggs ahead of time, too. Or you can just make everything from scratch and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Teriyaki Brussels Bowl
2 cups brown rice
4 cups vegetable broth (optional)
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 small yellow onion or 1 medium leek, cleaned and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
dash red pepper flakes
Teriyaki sauce (store bought or homemade << I halved Morimoto’s recipe, and omitted the ginger because I didn’t have any)
4 seven-minute eggs (instructions below or 4 fried eggs if that’s less stressful)
hot sauce to taste
Preheat oven to 425°F. Prepare brown rice according to package directions, using vegetable broth in place of water if you have it. While rice cooks, toss Brussels, leeks with the olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet, and roast for 15 minutes until sprouts look golden and crispy. (It’s ok if some leaves break off and get very dark.)
Prepare Teriyaki sauce and eggs.
Add a cup of hot rice to each serving bowl and toss with a little more than 1 tablespoon of teriyaki sauce. (It’s sweet, so you don’t want to overdo it.) Top with roasted vegetables, eggs, and hot sauce to taste. Serve with extra teriyaki for more drizzling if desired.
Seven-minute egg instructions: Fill a medium pot with water about 2/3 of the way full, and bring to a boil. Reduce to an aggressive simmer and, using a slotted spoon, slowly lower your eggs into the water, releasing gently. Set your timer for exactly 7 minutes. (In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that I usually go 6:45 here, but recently, I’ve been favoring seven minutes exactly, to avoid any remote chance of runny whites.) While your eggs simmer, prepare a bowl of ice water and plunk the eggs directly in there once the timer goes off. Remove after a minute — the ice water stops the cooking, but if they’re in there too long they get cold, which I don’t like. Remove the shell, and carefully slice in half.