Oh, hi! I'm back. I missed you. And, like the nice person/flaky friend that I am, I brought you a little gift to show you've been on my mind these many moons. It's a bouquet! A brassica bouquet. I made it, but then I ate it. Sorry about that. Good news is, you can make one yourself, and it takes about three minutes of work. But don't let the ease with which these gorgeous gemmifera come together deceive you. These are spectacular sprouts -- sophisticated, succulent, and a surprisingly striking supplement to your Sunday supper or smorgasbord spread.

First -- and this is the most challenging step by far -- you must find a fecund frond of Brussels sprouts. I got mine at Trader Joe's. So, actually, it wasn't hard at all.

Once you have procured your produce, brought it home and given it a thorough wash 'n' dry, set your oven to *400. While it's heating, massage that bulbous baton with a enough evoo to cause the complete cruciferous caduceus to coruscate. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and pop it in the oven. Keep an eye on your scepter of sprouts for about 45 minutes, and pull it out when the tips of the outer leaves get a nice rich char. Serve the cute little cabbages hot or room temperature, with a sharp knife or wee kitchen snips. You'll be so glad you did.