Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pine Nuts
My husband and I had a tiff the other night because of Mitt Romney’s tax return. Wha??!! Yes. Mitt Romney tax return. Why do I give a damn? Because he’s running for president; and his views on policy matters – including taxes – may have direct implications for me as a citizen.
According to the returns, he only paid about 13.9% of of his $20+ million/year income in taxes. When asked about his low tax rate during a debate, Romney answered that it was “fair” and legal. I don’t fault him for the low rate. It’s legal. And face it; no one will go out of their way to structure their assets so that they could pay more in taxes. But it disturbs me that he believes this is FAIR.
Romney received a good chunk of income from his partnership interest in Bain, a private equity firm. His tenure at Bain ended in 1999; yet, he still derives millions of dollars in income as “carried interest.” This income is treated as capital gains for tax purposes and the tax rate is capped at 15% even though the tax rate at his income bracket for earned income is around 35%. This tax treatment is very specifically targeted and is not available for most people. In fact, for the most part, it’s only available to private equity millionaire/billionaires. Needless to say, this tax treatment is innately unfair and unequal. People who earn significantly less, pay taxes at a significantly higher rate. In fact, according to Warren Buffet, his secretary pays at least 25% in taxes – about twice Romney’s tax rate. And, as with most tax shelters for the ultra-wealthy, it is complicated and difficult to explain in a commonsensical manner.
My husband didn’t really see a problem with this. Hey life isn’t fair, right? Yeah, life isn’t fair. Some people are better off than others; it’s capitalism at work. But I would prefer that the unfairness didn’t come from government-instituted policies.
When my husband realized I was getting worked up a bit, he called a truce by paying me compliments on my food. So the tiff ended amicably with “hey, these brussels sprouts are amaaaaaazing – the best I’ve had, EVER!” And you know what? They really were delicious.
I don’t have much time or energy to cook an elaborate dinner every night. Sometimes my dinner consists of many side dishes that can easily be prepared. It was one of those nights. Lucky for me, most hearty vegetables taste great simply by roasting them with some olive oil and salt.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Optional Balsamic-Honey Drizzle Recipe
1 lb Brussels Sprouts
1 small red onion
3 garlic cloves
1/4 – 1/3 cup pine nuts
salt & pepper
2 TB olive oil
drizzle of balsamic vinegar and honey (2:1 ratio): optional (for tangy/sweetness)
- Toast the pine nuts for about 3-5 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean and trim brussels sprouts. Cut them in half length-wise. Peel and cut red onion into wedges. Peel and smoosh the garlic cloves by wacking it with flat part of the knife. Combine brussel sprouts, red onions, garlic, olive oil, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/2 tsp of pepper in a large bowl. Mix well.
- Spread the contents onto a roasting pan in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the brussels sprouts are nicely browned. Shake or toss the brussel sprouts midway to achieve even browning.
- Remove from oven and add in the toasted pine nuts from step one. Add more salt to taste. If you choose, drizzle with honey/balsamic vinegar (1:2 ratio). Toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature.