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Newfangled Brussels Sprouts {CtBF} #EverydayDorie

I’ve recently started cooking through Everyday Dorie with my friends from Cook the Book Fridays.  I adore Dorie Greenspan’s recipes and encouraging voice.  She makes me open to veering from my tried-and-true way of cooking a familiar ingredient.

I’m a devotee of roasted Brussels sprouts.  Sure, when I first starting eating Brussels sprouts, I steamed or boiled them, but once I had them roasted, I never looked back.

It’s Friday, so it’s time for another recipe challenge.  This week’s selection is Maple-syrup-and-mustard Brussels sprouts.  The sprouts are streamed, then sautéed.  Not roasted, but something new.  The flavors here are layered, one after another.

The Brussels sprouts are not simply steamed, but first tossed with sliced shallots and garlic and seasoned with salt and pepper before steaming.  An interesting twist. The flavors infuse the Brussels sprouts making them instantly more complex.  Next the veggies are sautéed in a blend of olive oil and bacon fat to brown them up a bit and add even more flavor. Next, the sprouts are glazed with maple syrup and Dijon mustard (I used both seeded and smooth).  If that isn’t enough, crumbled bacon is stirred in.  Lots of complex flavor but not a lot of work.

We mostly liked this recipe.  However, we both found it a little too sweet.  Dorie mentions that one could add a splash of cider vinegar.  I didn’t do that, but maybe that would have cut the sweetness.  Dories also suggests balsamic vinegar as an alternative to the maple syrup, so I might try that next time.

I served the Brussels sprouts alongside a reprise of David Lebovitz’s chicken pot pie, this time with biscuits.  Verdict on the pot pie: we like the potato topping much better.

Brussels sprouts are a given on my Thanksgiving table, so this version could make another appearance very soon.  If you want to try it, you can find the recipe on page 212 of Everyday Dorie or on-line here.  To see what my friends from Cook the Book Fridays thought of the sprouts, follow their links here.

 

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A New Adventure #EverydayDorie

It’s hard to contain my excitement.  This week, Dorie Greenspan published her newest cookbook, Lucky #13, called Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook.  It’s not a baking book this time.  It’s an all-round cookbook with enticing pictures.  As I browse the pages, so many recipes jump out and say “Make me! Make me!”  As always, Dorie’s kind and encouraging voice guides you through the headnotes and instructions.

From October 2010 until May 2015, I cooked each and every recipe from Dorie’s previous all-round cookbook Around My French Table.  It was an enjoyable and educational journey.  Along the way, I met and bonded with a virtual group of cooks who were doing the same.  A subset of us have continued to cook together under a group we call Cook the Book Fridays.  Sticking with the French theme, we’re currently working our way through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.  With this week’s new book launch, we’re adding Dorie’s book to the mix.  We’ll cook one of Dorie’s recipes each month until we finish up David’s book then continue until we make all the recipes in the new book.  Hopefully, more of the original gang will join this new venture.

So, we begin….

The inaugural recipe I made from Everyday Dorie is My Newest Gougères.  “My” is Dorie’s voice, not my own.  For those not versed in French food words, gougères are best described as savory cheesy cream puffs.  They are made with the same pâte à choux dough as cream puffs with the addition of grated cheese, and in this “newest” version, toasted walnuts and some Dijon mustard.

On paper, pâte à choux could seem intimidating, but it’s not that hard.  You bring milk, water, butter, and salt to a boil.  Then, you add flour, and stir, stir, stir, over low heat to dry out the dough.

Next, you beat in eggs (a stand mixer is best) one at a time, leaving you with a sticky dough.  Finally, you add the cheese, mustard, and nuts.

Finally, scoop the dough onto parchment- or silicon-lined baking sheets.  I used a small scoop which yielded 6 dozen puffs.  We didn’t have any guests, so I baked one dozen to snack on before dinner. The gougères were light and airy.  The nuts added a welcome bite.

Dorie suggests keeping frozen unbaked puffs in the freezer, leaving you prepared with appetizers when friends stop by for an impromptu (or planned) visit.  That’s where the remainder ended up.

What a fitting start as the first recipe I made from Around My French Table was also gougères. I must admit that I haven’t made them since.  I’m not sure why.  Hopefully I remember to make these again before Dorie publishes her next book.  You should try them too (recipe below or page 8 of Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook).  Or give me a call that you’re stopping by and I’ll pull some from the freezer and bake them for us to share over an aperitif.

Also follow my Cook the Book Fridays friends’ links here to see what they thought of Dorie’s Newest Gougères.

And last, but not least, GO RED SOX!!!!!

excerpted from Everyday Dorie © 2018 by Dorie Greenspan. Photography © 2018 by Ellen Silverman. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

MY NEWEST GOUGERES

Makes about 60 gougères

Gougères are French cheese puffs based on a classic dough called pâte à choux (the dough used for cream puffs), and it’s a testament to their goodness that I’m still crazy about them after all these years and after all the thousands that I’ve made. Twenty or so years ago, when my husband and I moved to Paris, I decided that gougères would be the nibble I’d have ready for guests when they visited. Regulars chez moi have come to expect them.

Over the years, I’ve made minor adjustments to the recipe’s ingredients, flirting with different cheeses, different kinds of pepper and different spices.

The recipe is welcoming.  This current favorite has a structural tweak: Instead of the usual five eggs in the dough, I use four, plus a white—it makes the puff just a tad sturdier. In addition, I’ve downsized the puffs, shaping them with a small cookie scoop. And I’ve added Dijon mustard to the mix for zip and a surprise—walnuts.

1⁄2 cup (120 grams) whole milk

1⁄2 cup (120 grams) water

1 stick (4 ounces; 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

1 1⁄4 teaspoons fine sea salt

1 cup (136 grams) all-purpose flour

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 large egg white, at room temperature

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (preferably French)

2 cups (170 grams) coarsely grated cheese, such as Comté, Gruyère and/or sharp cheddar

2⁄3 cup (80 grams) walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted and chopped

WORKING AHEAD

My secret to being able to serve guests gougères on short notice is to keep them in the freezer, ready to bake. Scoop the puffs, freeze them on a parchment- lined baking sheet or cutting board and then pack them airtight. You can bake them straight from the oven; just give them a couple more minutes of heat.

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat and immediately start stirring energetically with a heavy spoon or whisk. The dough will form a ball and there’ll be a light film on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring for another 2 minutes or so to dry the dough. Dry dough will make puffy puffs.

Turn the dough into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or work by hand with a wooden spoon and elbow grease). Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one, followed by the white, beating until each egg is incorporated before adding the next. The dough may look as though it’s separating or falling apart but just keep working; by the time the white goes in, the dough will be beautiful. Beat in the mustard, followed by the cheese and the walnuts. Give the dough a last mix-through by hand.

Scoop or spoon out the dough, using a small cookie scoop (11⁄2 teaspoons). If you’d like larger puffs, shape them with a tablespoon or medium-size cookie scoop. Drop the dough onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each mound. (The dough can be scooped and frozen on baking sheets at this point.)

Slide the baking sheets into the oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 375 degrees F.

Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougères are puffed, golden and firm enough to pick up, another 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately—these are best directly from the oven.

STORING : The puffs are best soon after they come out of the oven and nice (if flatter) at room temperature that same day. If you want to keep baked puffs, freeze them and then reheat them in a 350-degree-F oven for a few minutes.