Cauliflower Gratin

My husband refused to let me simply roast the special heads of cauliflower we received in our CSA share. When he agreed to eat this indulgent cheesy cauliflower celebration as a main dish, we struck a deal. I added a little bit of pasta to make it more substantial.

We enjoyed this dish with roasted potatoes, roasted carrots, as well as Toscano kale and watermelon radish greens sautéed with garlic, onions and leeks on the side. It truly was a CSA box feast. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home by Ina Garten. I used one and a half heads of my small CSA cauliflower, about two pounds total. The original recipe called for three pounds, so I added pasta to the gratin. I also drizzled olive oil over the top of the dish instead of butter.

Cheesy deliciousness. 🙂

  • 1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets (I used 2 pounds of cauliflower supplemented with 1 cup orecchiette pasta)
  • coarse salt
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyère, divided
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (I used Parmigiano Reggiano)
  • 1/4 cup panko or fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 to 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, preferably on convection.
  2. Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.
  3. Cook the pasta, if using, about 2 minutes less than the package directions for al dente.
  4. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.
  5. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened.
  6. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyère, and the Parmesan.
  7. Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish or another equivalently sized baking dish.
  8. Place the drained cauliflower on top (and the pasta, if using) and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top.
  9. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyère and sprinkle on top.
  10. Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over the gratin.
  11. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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Cheesy Corn Casserole

Simple and rich. This side dish is so quick to throw together it’s absolutely perfect for after Thanksgiving or another holiday meal when less side dishes and more turkey (or main protein) is leftover. I suppose it would also be a terrific side for the big day! We enjoyed it with our leftover turkey this year. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Sarah McLellan. She described this dish as “an easy, unadulterated combo of creamy, salty, and cheesy.” Spot on.

  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cans of whole kernel corn (not creamed corn)
  • 8 oz block of cream cheese
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese, to taste
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko or other breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs such as thyme, sage, and/or parsley, more to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Combine the jalapeño and garlic in a medium saucepan. Sauté until fragrant and just starting to soften.
  3. Add the corn, cream cheese, butter, 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese; stir through until melted.
  4. Season with salt and black pepper, as desired. Add more cheddar cheese, if desired, to taste.
  5. Pour it into a baking dish, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs, the remaining Parmesan, and the chopped herbs.
  6. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 15 minutes. Serve right away.

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Pear & Cranberry Pie

Hello, and Happy belated New Year! I hope that someone out there has not felt the need to modify their diet as I have quite a few recipes to share from festivities at end of 2016. 🙂 My kids have winter birthdays so we are still celebrating in my house!

This delicious pie was from our Thanksgiving feast. The recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Justin Chapple. It was originally a slab pie but I modified the recipe to bake it in a “new” estate sale pie plate that had to be used. It was absolutely wonderful with vanilla ice cream.

Yield: one 10-inch double-crusted pie

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • coarse salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 5 firm Bartlett or Anjou pears peeled, cored and cut into 3/4-inch wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
  • vanilla ice cream, for serving
  1. Day ahead: Freeze cleaned, fresh cranberries in a single layer on a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet.
  2. Make the Crust Dough: In a food processor, combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and pulse to mix.
  3. Add the butter and pulse in 1-second bursts until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. Drizzle the ice water over the mixture and pulse in 1-second bursts until the dough just comes together.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather any crumbs and pat into 2 rounds. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 45 minutes. (This can also be done a day in advance.)
  6. Preheat the oven to 425°, preferably on convection.
  7. On a floured work surface or between sheets of plastic wrap, roll out 1 piece of the dough to a 13-inch round. Remove one side of plastic wrap and line the bottom of a 10-inch pie dish with the crust.
  8. Roll the second piece of dough into a 12-inch round; keep between sheets of plastic wrap. Place second crust on a cookie sheet.
  9. Refrigerate both crusts for 15 to 45 minutes.
  10. In a large bowl, toss the pears with the cranberries, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of flour. Spread the fruit evenly in the dough-lined pie dish.
  11. Cut the chilled, 12-inch round pie crust dough into strips to weave into a lattice. Form a lattice over the pie filling.
  12. Fold under the edge and crimp decoratively all around to seal.
  13. Freeze for 15 to 30 minutes.
  14. Brush the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  15. Cover the edge of the pie with a crust shield. Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425 degrees and then lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue to bake about 45 to 60 minutes, or until filling is bubbling, crust is golden, and the pears are tender; rotate halfway through baking. Let cool.
  16. Serve with vanilla ice cream, as desired.

Note: The pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

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Christmas Cookies 2016

I always worry that I won’t be able to get it all done… but once again it just worked out. 😉

I had a few cookie recipes that I wanted to add onto my tried and true favorites, but was only able to make two new ones: German Lebkuchen and Dulce de Leche-Hazelnut Macaroons (posts to follow). I had wanted to make the Speculaas: Dutch Spice Cookies that I had tried last year… possibly even the Haselnussmakronen: Raspberry-Hazelnut Macaroons also from last year… Well, maybe it doesn’t all work out. :/ We still have quite a few yummy cookies to enjoy!

Happy Holidays!!

Center:

German Lebkuchen (1x recipe- I need to make more next year!)

Clockwise from Top:

Raspberry Meringue Kisses (2x recipe)

Haystacks (2x recipe)

Pecan Shortbread Cookies (4x recipe- two batches of 2x recipe)

Dulce de Leche-Hazelnut Macaroons (2x recipe)

Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps (4x recipe)

Lemon Butter Cookies (2x recipe)

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Duchess Baked Potatoes

Making a mashed potato dish in advance is beyond fabulous when preparing a holiday meal. This garlicky, fine-textured, “twice baked potato-esque” side dish was wonderful.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Ann Redding and Matt Danzer. I increased the garlic and used a garlic press in lieu of grating the cloves. Great.

Yield: Serves 8

  • 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
  • coarse salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pink or black peppercorns, finely ground
  1. Place potatoes in a large pot and pour in water to cover by 2″; season with salt.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat and simmer until a paring knife very easily slides through potatoes, 25–35 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°, preferably on convection.
  4. Whisk egg yolks, garlic, cream, sour cream, butter, and peppercorns in a large bowl; season generously with salt.
  5. Peel potatoes and pass flesh through a ricer or a food mill (or mash them by hand if you don’t mind a few lumps) directly into bowl with egg mixture.
  6. Fold in gently, being careful not to overmix.
  7. Transfer to a 3-quart baking dish and decoratively shingle or swirl surface.
  8. Bake, rotating once, until golden brown and slightly puffed, 30–40 minutes.

Note: Dish can be assembled 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Increase bake time by 5–10 minutes.

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Skillet Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic & Balsamic Vinegar

A friend had recommended this recipe and I knew I was going to save it for my Thanksgiving dinner menu. I always select Brussels sprouts as one of the vegetables to serve because my mom, mother-in-law, and I love them.

It was nice to have such a simple, and relatively healthy, side dish as part of the feast as well. One side dish should be void of cheese and/or cream! 😉 I also served roasted rainbow carrots. Two clean and fresh side dishes.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Mark Bittman. I doubled the recipe, using an entire stalk, and was only able to roast half in the skillet; I roasted the remainder on a rimmed baking sheet. I also decreased the balsamic vinegar.

  • 1 Brussels sprout stalk (about a 2 pints or 2 pounds)
  • 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, to coat bottom of pan
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, to taste
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Trim Brussels sprouts off the stalk, and slice each large sprout in half top to bottom.
  3. Heat half of the oil in cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers; put sprouts cut side down in one layer in pan. Put in garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook, undisturbed, until sprouts begin to brown on bottom, and transfer to oven.
  5. Roast, shaking pan every 5 minutes, until sprouts are quite brown and tender, about 10 to 20 minutes. Coat remaining sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet in oven with the skillet.
  6. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Combine all roasted sprouts in the skillet.
  7. Stir in balsamic vinegar, and serve hot or warm.

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Southern Cornbread Dressing

Okay… back to my belated Thanksgiving feast posts…

I struggle selecting a “stuffing” for our Thanksgiving Menu. This version was simple and perfect. I loved that it was a traditional Southern recipe and that it incorporated an unsweetened cast iron skillet cornbread.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Kim Severson. I used medium grind cornmeal. The cornbread is made the night before so that it can harden slightly. I let the cubed white bread sit out overnight as well. We ate it without incorporating meat, but this base recipe could easily be modified to include sausage or even nuts and/or apples. The author suggested eating leftovers mixed with shredded leftover turkey as well.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

For the Cornbread:

  • 4 tablespoons/56 grams butter or bacon drippings
  • 2 cups/340 grams yellow cornmeal, medium grind (use the freshest, best quality you can find)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups/473 milliliters buttermilk, preferably full fat (I used low-fat)

For the Dressing:

  • 3 cups soft white bread, crusts removed and torn or cut into 1-inch pieces (do not pack)
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick), plus more for the pan
  • 2 cups chopped sweet onions
  • 1 ½ cups chopped celery (4 or 5 stalks)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¼ tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 to 5 cups rich chicken or turkey stock, preferably homemade

Optional Additions:

  • 3/4 pound pork sausage (such as spicy Italian sausage, fresh andouille or spicy Southern-style sausage)
  • 2 1/2 cups of toasted pecans, chopped
  • chopped apples
  1. Make the cornbread: Heat oven to 450 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Put butter in an 11-inch skillet. Cast-iron is best here, but any ovenproof skillet will do. Heat butter in oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until butter has melted and is just starting to brown.
  3. While butter melts, whisk together cornmeal, salt and baking powder.
  4. In another small bowl, lightly beat eggs, then add buttermilk and stir until mixture is combined.
  5. Pour egg mixture into dry ingredients and stir well.
  6. Remove hot pan from oven, pour butter into batter and stir until batter looks uniform.
  7. Pour batter back into the pan and bake for 20 minutes or until the top has begun to just brown.
  8. Remove cornbread and let it cool on a rack.
  9. Tear or cut it into large pieces and place in a large bowl. Let it sit out overnight to dry out slightly.
  10. Prepare the dressing: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cornbread and white bread in a large bowl, tossing to mix, and breaking cornbread into smaller pieces.
  11. Melt butter in a large skillet, and add onions, celery and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté until vegetables have softened, about 6 minutes.
  12. Add vegetables to bread mixture and combine.
  13. Lightly beat eggs and add to bowl.
  14. Sprinkle in herbs, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper and toss together.
  15. Add 4 cups broth and stir well.
  16. Using your hands, work the mixture to get a very lumpy, thick, batter-like consistency.
  17. Add another cup of stock if needed. The mixture should be very wet and pourable but without standing liquid.
  18. Butter a 2-quart ovenproof dish. (such as an 8-by-11-inch baking dish. A deeper vessel could take longer to bake; a more shallow dish less time.)
  19. Pour the mixture into the baking dish and bake until dressing puffs slightly and has browned well around the edges, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  20. If you have drippings from a roasted turkey, spoon some over the top about 30 minutes into the baking time.

Notes:

  • To Add Sausage: Brown 3/4 pound pork sausage in a pan, crumbling it into small pieces as it cooks. Add to the bread mixture along with the vegetables.
  • To Include Nuts: Add 2 1/2 cups of toasted pecans, chopped, to the vegetable and bread mixture.

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