Sunday, December 28, 2008

How I saved Christmas (vegetables)

Christmas at the in-laws' was potluck this year, and I signed up for vegetables. Not a very exciting choice, but considering that Christmas vegetables are often an afterthought — often originating from the freezer or (shudder) a can —I decided to raise the bar.

I made my (inherited) cauliflower gratin recipe, and tried a new Brussels sprouts recipe. Here they are:



1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 1/4 cup grated sharp cheese
1/4 tsp ground pepper
pinch nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350˚.

Steam cauliflower for ~10 min, then transfer to a casserole dish.

To make cheese sauce, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the flour to form a roux. Continue stirring for about 3 min until flour has cooked.

Slowly whisk in the milk. Once the sauce has thickened and no lumps remain, turn off the heat and add 1 cup of the cheese. Stir until cheese is incorporated. Season with pepper and nutmeg.

Pour the sauce over the cauliflower in the casserole dish, and top with a mixture of breadcrumbs and the remaining cheese. (I pulsed sandwich bread and cheese in the the food processor to make the topping).

Bake for 30 min.



2 lb Brussels sprouts
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup butter (room temp.)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp lemon juice


Steam sprouts for 10 min (until tender). Meanwhile combine butter, mustard and lemon juice in a small bowl to form a paste.

Drain sprouts well. With pot on low heat, add butter mixture and stir in drained sprouts. Toss to coat for 1 min. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.

Left – If you cannot find small sprouts, slice off bottoms and cut a small X in each (pictured left). After cooking, I immersed the sprouts in ice water to stop the cooking process so that I could finish off the dish with the sauce at the party (right). (That made for a smelly care ride through)

I'm happy to report that both dishes were a smashing success!




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