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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Summer Vegetable Gratin

This colorful dish used my entire CSA box in one meal! My husband accepted it as a vegetarian main because of the flavorful baguette-cheese topping (yay!), but it would also work well as a hearty side dish. We even had a green salad on the side. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Julia Moskin. Moskin recommended using a fresh baguette in the topping for the best crust. Great!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as a main dish or up to 12 as a side dish

Time: 1 1/2 hours

For the Base Layer:

  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced, or 2 additional onions
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed

For the Tomato-Bread Crumb Topping:

  • 1 ½ pounds plum or other ripe tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 baguette
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan or Gruyère cheese

For the Gratin:

  • ¼ cup olive oil, more for baking
  • 1 ½ pounds zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick (I used 2 pieces)
  • 1 ½ pounds yellow squash, sliced 1/4-inch thick (I used 2 pieces)
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped basil or parsley, more for garnish
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Make the base layer: In a large, heavy ovenproof skillet or enameled cast-iron pan (10 to 12 inches across), combine onions and olive oil and heat to a sizzle, stirring to separate.
  2. Add bell peppers, red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook, stirring, over low heat until peppers are very soft and onions are browned, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and leave mixture in the pan. (The garlic can be removed at this time, if desired.)
  3. Meanwhile, make the topping: Core tomatoes and slice them 1/4 inch thick. Lay on paper towels to drain for 10+ minutes.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add tomatoes and cook very slowly, turning once or twice, until liquid has bubbled away and flesh is cooked through, about 8 minutes. (Do not overcook, or tomatoes will fall apart.) Turn off heat and let slices cool in skillet; they will continue to dry out.
  5. Tear baguette into pieces and pulse in a food processor to make coarse, fluffy, pea-size crumbs. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the cheese and pulse to combine.
  6. Assemble the gratin: Heat oven to 425 degrees. (If your oven has a convection feature, use it, reducing baking temperature to 400 degrees.)
  7. In a large bowl, combine oil, zucchini and squash, and toss well until lightly and evenly coated. Add basil, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and toss again.
  8. On top of the base layer in pan, arrange squash and zucchini slices around the inner rim of the pan, standing on their edges in roughly alternating colors. Pat down into the pan so slices overlap and lie down, like shingles or fallen dominoes. Repeat to make another circle inside the first, and again if necessary, until pan is filled. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  9. Brush oil over the top of the gratin and transfer to oven. Bake 30 minutes. Raise oven temperature to 450 degrees (425 degrees for convection), or heat the broiler.
  10. Add the topping: Arrange tomato slices in one layer on top of the par-baked gratin. Spread bread-cheese mixture over tomatoes and press down gently.
  11. Bake or broil until vegetables are browned around the edges or crust is crisp and golden. 
  12. Let cool slightly and serve hot or at warm room temperature. Garnish each serving with herbs, if desired.

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Buckwheat Crepes with Asparagus, Gruyère, & Prosciutto

This is another yummy dish that I made while visiting my mom over spring break. It was a special recipe to try during our visit because my dad made amazing breakfast crepes every Sunday morning during my childhood and also because my grandfather was from Brittany; this is a classic dish from that region. I also absolutely love using my dad’s perfectly seasoned crepe pans! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. Due to technical difficulties, I substituted whole wheat flour for buckwheat flour in the crepes- they were still delicious! (I would make them with buckwheat flour, if possible, next time though.) I also substituted prosciutto for ham in the filling.

According to Tanis, these crepes are traditionally served with a glass of sparkling cider. We gobbled them up with red wine and green salad. Spring-time asparagus heaven.

Yield: Serves 6

  • 1 cup/120 grams buckwheat flour
  • ½ cup/60 grams all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ pounds medium asparagus, trimmed and bottom parts peeled, if desired
  • 12 slices (about 5-6 oz) prosciutto or 6 cooked ham slices
  • 2 cups grated Gruyère or Comté cheese
  • canola or other vegetable oil, for the pan, as needed
  1. Make the batter: Whisk together flours, eggs, buttermilk and salt until well combined. Put the batter in the fridge for at least 2 hours or, preferably, overnight. Check the consistency after the batter has rested. If necessary, thin batter with a little more buttermilk or water, to the consistency of heavy cream prior to cooking.
  2. Heat a crepe pan or well-seasoned cast iron skillet, about 8 inches in diameter, over medium-high heat. (I used 2 pans.)
  3. Using a pastry brush, apply a light coating of vegetable oil to the pan(s), then quickly ladle in about 1/4 cup of batter. Swirl the pan to spread the batter all the way to the perimeter. Let crepe brown on one side for a minute or so, until crisp. Flip it over with a spatula (or carefully with your fingers) and cook one minute more. Don’t worry about browning the second side. Adjust heat if crepe browns too quickly; the pan needn’t be scorching hot. Remove from heat if crepe is cooking too quickly.
  4. Remove the crepe from the pan and set it aside while you continue to cook the remaining batter. Stack crepes on top of each other as they are finished. (Crepes may be made in advance.)
  5. Bring a medium pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook the asparagus for 1-2 minutes, or just until it is firm-tender, then drain and spread on a clean kitchen towel to cool.
  6. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  7. On parchment-lined baking sheets, fill the crepes by laying each one top-side down (the prettier side), place a slice of prosciutto on top, sprinkle generously with cheese, and lay 3-5 asparagus spears on top, off to one side. Fold over to make a half-moon.
  8. Drizzle the folded crepes with a little melted butter, then bake until they are crisp and the cheese is melted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Leek & Gruyère Tart with Prosciutto

I have a new favorite appetizer!! Perfect for any holiday or game day. It is quick to prepare and absolutely delicious- pretty too! This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Laura Chenel.

I made it to serve at our second annual Christmas concert where my kids and their friends perform for my friends, my husband, and me (aka their parents and grandparents!). This year we had many pianists, two cellists and a French horn player. The kids all did a great job, of course. It is quite a festive event! It was so warm this year we were able to have a glass of wine by the fire outside afterwards- so lovely!

I’m going to bring this deliciousness to share with my friends at my favorite blog party Fiesta Friday #102! (once again… better late than never!) This week two of my buddies are co-hosting the fun- Elaine @foodbod and Julie @Hostess at Heart. 🙂 Enjoy!!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer

  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1/2 pound frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium leeks, white and tender green—halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise and rinsed well
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound Gruyère cheese, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  1. Preheat the oven to 475° preferably on convection.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 13-inch square. Fold the corners in and lightly roll the pastry into a rough round. Transfer to a baking sheet; refrigerate.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the leeks and thyme, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the pastry, leaving a 1-inch border. Spread the leeks over the cheese. Cover with the prosciutto; sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Fold up the tart edge to form a rim and bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until golden and bubbling.
  6. Blot any excess fat with a paper towel. Cut the tart into wedges and serve.

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Sweet Potato Soufflé with Gruyère

I received SO many sweet potatoes in my CSA share this year. Unfortunately, I am the only real fan in my house, and, therefore, I have quite a stash!

So, for our Thanksgiving feast, where sweet potatoes are absolutely essential, I made this cheesy and nutty soufflé and made sweet potato biscuits to eat with our lunch as well. I baked the potatoes for both dishes at the same time. Genius. 😉

This recipe is from Food and Wine, contributed by Maria Helm Sinskey. Everyone enjoyed it! Yummy.

Yield: Serves 12

  • 3 pounds large sweet potatoes
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°, on convection.
  2. Bake the sweet potatoes for 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. Raise the oven temperature to 425°.
  3. Peel the sweet potatoes as soon as they are cool enough to handle; transfer to a bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the sweet potatoes with the butter until smooth.
  4. Beat in the cream, Gruyère, brown sugar and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Transfer the sweet potato puree to a buttered 8-by-11-inch baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Reduce the oven temperature to 400° and bake for 30 minutes longer, or until the sweet potatoes are lightly puffed and browned. Let the sweet potato soufflé rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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Classic Potato Gratin

I think that this is all my son ate during our Thanksgiving Feast! (BOTH days…) I loved that the russet potatoes were left unpeeled. 🙂 Not only did it make the dish easier to prepare, the presentation was prettier and it was more healthy too! Well, at least it had more vitamins….

This recipe is from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I set the mandolin to 1/8″ to slice the potatoes. Starchy side dish perfection. 🙂

Yield: Serves 12

  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered through root ends
  • 2½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, plus more
  • 4 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed, very thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 3 ounces Gruyère, finely grated
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, finely grated
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Cut 1 garlic clove in half and rub the inside of a 3-qt. shallow baking dish with cut sides. Smear butter all over inside of dish.
  3. Bring shallots, cream, salt, pepper, 1 Tbsp. thyme, and remaining 4 garlic cloves to a simmer in a small saucepan over low heat; cook until shallots and garlic are very soft, 15–20 minutes. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a blender; blend until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.)
  4. Arrange potato slices in prepared dish, fanning out a handful at a time and placing in dish at an angle (this ensures every scoop will have tender potatoes from the bottom and crisp edges from the top). Shingle as you work until bottom of dish is covered. Tuck smaller slices into any gaps to fill.
  5. Pour cream mixture over potatoes and cover dish tightly with foil. Bake potatoes until tender and creamy, 60–75 minutes. Let cool.
  6. Place rack in highest position; heat broiler. Remove foil and top potatoes with Gruyère and Parmesan. Broil until cheese is bubbling and top of gratin is golden brown, 5–10 minutes. Serve topped with more thyme leaves, if desired.

Note: Gratin can be baked 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before broiling.

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  • Mashed Golden Earthworm Organic Farm Potatoes

Garlic Parmesan Chicken Lasagna Bake

I love dishes that use rotisserie chicken meat. Not only is it a time-saver, but the meat is really flavorful. This cheesy casserole is a cross between a lasagna and a chicken pot pie… basically combining the two ultimate comfort food dishes. It was great! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from A Pinch of Yum, via The Richmond Avenue. I used Herbes de Provence instead of poultry seasoning, increased the amount of garlic and chicken, and used panko instead of seasoned breadcrumbs.

It would be wonderful with a green salad on the side. We ate it with roasted asparagus!

Yield: Serves 8

For the Lasagna:

  • 15 no-boil lasagna noodles, or more, if necessary
  • 3 to 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken meat
  • 12 ounces frozen organic peas
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup coarsely grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • fresh thyme or parsley, for the topping, optional

For the Sauce:

  • 6 T butter
  • 8 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 T all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp Herbes de Provence
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt, or more to taste
  • 5 cups milk (I used a combination of 1% & 2%)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. (Stir continuously to avoid burning because burnt garlic will taste bitter.)
  4. Add the flour, Herbes de Provence, and salt. Whisk and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the milk, one cup at a time, whisking after each addition and allowing it to thicken slightly each time before adding the next cup. When the sauce is smooth and thick, remove from heat and set aside. Taste and adjust seasoning, as desired.
  6. Grease a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. (I used a ceramic pan.)
  7. Cover the bottom of the pan with (about 5) broken lasagna noodles, half of the chicken, half of the peas, ¼ cup Parmesan, ⅓ cup water, and 1 1/2 cups sauce.
  8. Repeat this layer once more.
  9. Lastly, top with a third layer of broken noodles, ⅓ cup water, 1½ cups sauce, and ½ cup Swiss cheese.
  10. Spray the underside of the foil with cooking spray. Cover the casserole with the foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  11. Remove foil, sprinkle evenly with breadcrumbs, and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
  12. Sprinkle with fresh thyme or parsley, if using. Let stand 10 minutes or more before cutting and serving.

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