Everyday Dorie: Balsamic Vinegar and Mustard Brussels Sprouts

I straight up yelped and clapped my hands when the votes in Cook the Book Fridays revealed Maple Syrup and Mustard Brussels Sprouts to be November’s selection. I’m currently on Day 16 of my Whole 30 (and feeling fantastic! It’s such a great reset for when your Sugar Dragon takes over), and this was the only recipe of those selected to vote on that I could make Whole 30 compliant. Dorie suggests swapping out the maple syrup for balsamic vinegar, so that is what I did. Other than that, all I had to do was read some labels and buy bacon and mustard that did  not have sugar in them (they usually do. It’s in EVERYTHING.) I’ll be good to go with non-compliant recipes in the future. I’m just keeping it strict before Thanksgiving, because the way I was downing sweets, I would have taken down an entire pie by myself.

I love Brussels sprouts, though I’m always wary when cleaning them, because there are so often bugs and eggs tucked up in the first few layers. We grew Brussels sprouts when we lived in Italy, and the sight of entire plants wriggling with–I don’t know what. Aphids? But bigger, and white–and giant leaves drooping under the weight of eggs, turned me off of them for a while. I’m back at the point where I’ll buy them, but I always get anxious when I’m prepping them. Is there such a thing as PTSD for terrible gardeners?

These sprouts were, thankfully, bug-free, and DELICIOUS. You steam them, then brown them up in bacon grease, and glaze with mustard, balsamic, garlic, shallots, and bacon.

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It’s going to be a few months of badly-lit food pics around here. It’s too dark in this house.

Nugget asked for seconds.

Batman whined that he doesn’t like Brussels Sprouts, then conceded that “the bites with bacon taste better.” I’d say that’s true for just about anything.

Matt, who got home from work waaaay late (sad face), said, “OH MY GOD. These are GOOD. I could eat a whole pan. Let’s have this again. SOON.” Just imagine if he’d had them fresh. ha!

 

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Back to the Beginning

When I started cooking Around My French Table, Gougeres were one of the first recipes I’d made. My kiddo, hereafter referred to as Batman, was a picky eater, but liked cheese, so I gave these “cheesy poofs,” as we came to call them, a shot. He loved them, and they became the thing I made for parties, or when traveling, or anytime I wanted a food available that I KNEW he’d eat.

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So little and squishy!!  Note the flat gougere.

Funny enough, Gougeres were also the first recipe that the cooking club had made from AMFT.

Because it felt like a nice, full circle, we decided that My Newest Gougeres would be the first recipe we cooked from Everyday Dorie. There are a few tweaks–one less egg yolk, which Dorie says makes the puff sturdier, and the addition of toasted nuts and Dijon mustard.

I don’t know if it was because of that one missing yolk, or if I’m just a better baker/cook than I was in 2012, and executed these differently, but these poofs were crispier, and held their roundness more than the ones I’ve made in the past. They were toasty-cheesy delicious, and I loved them.

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Because these were rounder and crispier, Batman wouldn’t eat them. He’s 8 now. Still hard to feed, though not as bad as he used to be. He said he wished they were softer.

It’s been a while since I made the old recipe for gougeres. I think I need to bring them out to play soon, just to make sure Batman still likes them. I might cry if he doesn’t, because they loom so large in his childhood. I’m really curious to see if that one egg yolk really made that big of a difference, or if the difference is me. Or something mysterious. Temperature? Humidity? The NEED to conduct a series of experiments seems like a pretty good reason to work cheesy poofs back into our normal lives. Ha! At least I know he’ll still eat Dorie’s cauliflower soup…

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Less squishy. Still a sweetheart.

(Folks who follow me on instagram may see that I’m currently doing a Whole30, and be like, “Wait! Cheese and grain are off limits!” True. The leaders of the club kindly emailed me the recipe ahead of time, and I  made it last week, as a last hurrah.)

I’m so happy to be back with the Doristas, and working on this new book. Check out Cook the Book Fridays to see how everyone else’s gougeres turned out!