Do you remember the moment when you overcame your childhood aversion to Brussels sprouts? I don’t. I remember hating them, and then I remember loving them. I’m not sure what meal was the turning point, or who served it up.

It wasn’t Sean, who made me this sprouts and sweet potatoes dish at his home in San Francisco, where I regularly go on weekends to hide from life, binge watch Netflix and re-organize his kitchen without his permission so it makes more sense. I usually arrive from the San Francisco airport late on a Friday night from Los Angeles.  I climb the three flights of stairs and I walk in the door, and he always has a meal on the skillet waiting for me.

Cooking seems to come naturally to Sean. Even while in the middle of making a dish that’s colorful and savory, and seemingly made up in his head on the spot, he always comes across as a little unchallenged by it all. He might lean lazily against the counter while he blandly pushes the ingredients around in the pan, distracted by his cat or thinking about his next work trip out of the country. I of course, must make a big production number out of anything I create in the kitchen, but not Sean. I suppose that’s why I have a food website and Sean doesn’t. He cooks to make people happy, while I’m desperate to impress. Despite the differing approaches to food and its purpose, we manage to maintain a friendship pushing thirty years.

Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes
Serves 2

8-10 medium sized Brussels sprouts
1 medium sweet potato, cubed, 1/2 inch
1-2 andouille sausages, sliced (I used this, but Sean used prosciutto, chopped)
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
2-3 Tablespoons fig compote
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350° F

Heat pan with one tablespoon of olive oil. Reduce to low heat and add sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, sausage, salt and pepper. After about a minute, pour over the rest of the olive oil and mix the ingredients. Keep skillet cooking until the sweet potatoes are well-seared. Remove from stove top and stir in fig compote. Place in oven for approximately ten minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

More Democratic Profiles, Fun and Discussion at: