Photo: Rene Comet / USA WEEKEND. Food styling by Lisa Cherkasky.
Stump the Cook
It's 6 p.m., hunger has taken over, everybody's cranky, and there are only odds and ends in the refrigerator. Enter Lynne Rossetto Kasper and her culinary supper game, Stump the Cook.
How It Works: You tell us about five ingredients in your refrigerator, and Lynne has to come up with a dish that you could make. In her dish, Lynne gets to use salt, pepper, one type of fat and three additional ingredients the challenger has on hand.
This Month's Player: Cheryl Ahuja is a mother of one from Marietta, Georgia, who owns more than 200 cookbooks. With all those cookbooks, Julia Child still "rules the roost."
Cheryl's Challenge to Lynne: Cucumber + onion + cream cheese + Brussels sprouts + celery. "I love Brussels sprouts -- just can't get enough."
Lynne's Idea: Crispy, roasted Brussels sprouts and celery drizzled with a creamy, tangy cream cheese and browned onion sauce with crunchy, fresh cucumber garnish. (She added fresh lemon, garlic and sugar.)
Brussels sprouts: Thinly slice one stalk of celery, dice one medium onion and slice 1 1/2 pounds of Brussels sprouts into three pieces each, cutting from top to bottom. Toss with generous amounts of olive oil to coat; add salt, pepper and the grated zest of half of a lemon. Spread the mixture on a large baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees until the sprouts are golden brown.
Sauce: Mince half of a medium onion and three cloves of garlic. Slowly brown the onion in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute. Then stir in 1 tablespoon sugar and remove from heat. Immediately stir in 8 ounces of cream cheese, stirring until melty and creamy. Squeeze in enough lemon juice to make it sweet-tart, and add salt and pepper. Add water if you need to further thin the sauce -- you want to be able to drizzle it.
Pile the Brussels sprouts and celery on a large platter and streak the sauce in a zigzag pattern over the vegetables. Top with diced pieces of cool cucumber and serve.
Cheryl's Response: "That Lynne is good! She is inching her way right up there next to Julia. The sprouts that don't get a drizzle of that sauce are going to be jealous! It's a combination of all the ingredients I love."
This Stump the Cook was produced in collaboration with the newspaper magazine USA Weekend.