Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Veggie Appetizer, Snack, or Side Dish


First of all, I am *very* excited to announce that we have a winner for Week #2 - congratulations to Rebecca who visited us from her Chow and Chatter blog and left a comment. Congratulations!

Rebecca won a $25 gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma. But don't despair, you still have an opportunity to win. Enter the contest for Week #3 by leaving a comment on any of our blog posts this week, or by sending an e-mail with your name and "Enter Me" to Mysteryloverskitchen@gmail.com It's that easy.

Last week I talked about homemade veggie burgers. Today I would like to continue with another veggie recipe. As always, this one has a story behind it.

In my first White House Chef novel, Ollie Paras is charged with facilitating an "official tasting" with the First Lady. One of the items on the menu was created by Ollie's colleague, Bucky. The First Lady loves the sprouts, but the tasty dish ultimately does not make the cut for the state dinner. (Good thing... one of the characters has a nut allergy, and this recipe calls for walnuts.)

The recipe did not appear in State of the Onion, but I've received lots of requests for it.

Bucky's Brussels Sprouts were originally envisioned as a side dish. After making them several times, however, I think they work better as an appetizer. Being small means they cool off rather quickly. When you're juggling several different courses and timing a meal, you don't want something tha gets cold too fast. But these are great on an appetizer table, or eaten as a watch-TV or do-homework snack as my vegetarian daughter likes to do.

Incidentally, I was extremely anti-Brussels Sprouts before trying this version. Call me a convert now!

Bucky's Brussels Sprouts

25 fresh Brussels sprouts
4 quarts boiling water
1 tsp salt
2 quarts ice water
Blanch the Brussels sprouts for roughly 4 minutes each by dropping the sprouts 5-6 at a time into a 6 quart pan filled with boiling salted water.

After four minutes, remove the sprouts with a slotted spoon, dropping them into ice water to stop the cooking process. Continue until all sprouts have been blanched. Remove the sprouts from ice water and let them dry.

Cut off stems from Brussels sprouts. Cut each Brussels sprout in half, beginning at the stem end and cutting down to the top of each sprout. Use a small melon ball to remove the middles of the sprouts. You can reserve these centers for a later use (they are great in soups and casseroles), or toss them. Lay the halved Brussels sprouts on their cut sides down on a paper towel covered surface and allow them to drain while you make the filling.

Arrange the drained sprouts rounded sides down on a large cookie sheet. You should end up with a tray full of hollowed out Brussels sprouts, hollowed side up. They are now ready to stuff.

4 oz. good goat cheese at room temperature
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 TBSP fresh dill, chopped (or 1 TBSP dried dill)
2 cloves garlic mashed and minced (or to taste)
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
1 TBSP of olive oil
Mix together ingredients in a medium bowl until combined.

Place a heaping tablespoon full of filling into each hollowed out Brussels sprout. Place the tray of filled Brussels sprouts into the preheated oven. Cook until filling is melted and sprouts are warmed through—about 12-15 minutes. Turn on broiler, cook until cheese filling bubbles and begins to brown—about 1-2 minutes.Remove from oven and serve warm.

***I've varied this recipe, using Laughing Cow brand Swiss or Garlic and Herb cheeses instead of the goat cheese. We like it both ways, but the Laughing Cow version is preferred in this house. A bit milder, a bit more flavorful. But no matter which way we make it, we never have leftovers!

I hope you have a chance to try this recipe out. I also hope you have a chance to meet Ollie, Bucky, and the rest of my White House gang as they feed the First Family and try their best to keep peace in the world.
Congratulations again to Rebecca and best of luck to everyone entering our contest this week!

PS - I just saw Julie and Julia Monday night. I'm partial to the title ;-) but it was wonderful. Fun, entertaining, and thoroughy enjoyable. Highly recommended.

Julie Hyzy’s White House Chef Mystery series features State of the Onion, Hail to the Chef, and Eggsecutive Orders (coming in January). All from Berkley Prime Crime.

Sign up for Julie’s newsletter on her website at http://www.juliehyzy.com/


  1. Congratulations to our new winner!

    Julie, this looks delish. Finally a recipe that will make my kids want to eat Brussels sprouts!


  2. Stuffed Brussels Sprouts? I didn't know you could stuff them! Great recipe, Julie!

  3. Brilliant idea to stuff the sprouts. (But that's why Ollie and Bucky work for the Prez!!) I also really like your idea of switching it up with the milder herb cheeses you find at the grocery. This is the kind of recipe that home cooks can really make their own. Thanks, Julie!


  4. Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorite foods! I know, I might be in the minority, but they're fantastic. Can't wait to try this recipe!

  5. I've heard I need to revisit the Brussel sprout
    -- this recipe will get me to do it!