Fall is here. Pool season seems to be over and the only last hope is cool nights with bourbon, chili and good cashmere. This year the summer season caught up to me. I’m left with few regrets – just longing for a couple more warm nights in the garden with rose and a fired up grill. But so it goes. It goes to gratin – potatoes, cauliflower broccoli, squash, throw in some kale this year to make yourself feel better. He is a good starter recipe for your fall meal. It pairs well with a simple roasted pork loin or quick seared piece of red meat.
Cauliflower & Kale Gratin
1-1/2 to 2 pounds curly or *Tuscan kale (about 3 bunches)
2 small heads or one large head of cauliflower (3-4 lbs)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk*
1 cup half & half *
1 3/4 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (about 3 firm slices of whole wheat* or white sandwich bread)
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg*
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup Parmesan
Strip kale leaves from stems and center ribs (discard stems and ribs). Tear or cut leaves into 2-3 inch pieces.
Cut and discard greens and core from cauliflower, then cut cauliflower into 1 1/2-inch florets.
Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Butter the baking dish.
Cook kale in a pasta pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, in 2 batches until almost tender, about 3 to 5 minutes per batch. Transfer with a slotted spoon to ice water to stop cooking, then transfer with tongs to a colander to drain. Gently squeeze excess water from kale by handfuls and transfer to baking dish. NOTE: If using Tuscan kale do not squeeze too hard. Press on dishtowel or paper towels to remove moisture.
Cook florets in 1 batch in pot until crisp-tender, about 3 to 6 minutes, then transfer with slotted spoon to ice water to stop cooking and drain well in colander. Nestle cauliflower in kale.
Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in lower third.
Melt butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour, then cook roux, whisking frequently, 3 minutes. Whisk in milk and half & half and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer béchamel sauce, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes, then stir in 1 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 cup (of the 3/4 cups) of grated Parmigiano cheese. Pour sauce over kale and cauliflower.
Toss together bread crumbs, oil, rest of the cheese, and 1/8 tsp each salt and pepper, then sprinkle evenly over mixture and bake gratin in oven until sauce is bubbling and crumbs are golden, 40 to 45 minutes.
If you wish the crumbs to be more golden, broil gratin under a preheated broiler, about 6 inches from heat, watching carefully, 1 to 2 minutes.
Growing up, we always made pommes anna together as a family for special occasions. We had them for birthdays and graduations, all sorts of milestones. I still reserve this dish for these types of celebrations. So I decided to serve Pommes Anna – with an even fancier twist – for a housewarming of sorts at my friend’s Jamey and Phil’s new mountain condo. It was also a fun group activity peeling potatoes, slicing with a mandolin and arranging layers. I put the hardest part of the dish on Phil – flipping the pan before serving.
You can certainly skip the truffle butter and salt but its an over the top addition that will knock the socks off any guest. Truffle butter is easily available at The Fresh Market and you can purchase truffled salt at The Savory Spice Shop.
Truffled Pommes Anna
- 3 to 4 pounds, potatoes
- 1 small container, truffle butter
- 1/2 stick, salted butter
- truffled salt (optional) and pepper
Melt butters together. Brush the bottom of a nonstick pan. Meanwhile, peel and slice potatoes into thin and even slices (1/8 inch). Try to make the first layer as pretty as possible. After each layer, brush the potatoes with butter and season with salt and pepper. Once the pan is full, cover the top with foil and put something heavy and heat proof on top of it (heavy cast iron pots work well). On the stovetop, brown the bottom layer of the potatoes for about 5 to 10 minutes on medium high or until the bottom is brown.
Then, transfer the entire thing to the oven for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Once the potatoes have cooked through, let the dish cool down a bit and then flip onto a large platter.
I hope you’re eating enough fresh corn right now. If not, you’re going to regret it. It’s so delicious raw, cut off the cob and sautéed or grilled and slathered with compote butters. I highly suggest getting creative. Or just using this simple recipe for a warm salad of corn, onion, feta and lime juice.
Hop on it. Pronto.
Sweet Summer Corn Salad
- 5 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut off
- 3 tablespoons (or more), olive oil
- 1/2 red onion
- salt & pepper
- parsley, chopped
- feta cheese crumbles
- 1 lime
Sauté onion in olive oil. Once tender, add corn and cook until bright yellow and sweet. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, feta and a good squeeze of lime juice.
My friend Margaret knows a thing or two about potlucks, lentils and leafy greens. I’ll let you make your own conclusions – but it’s why we all love her so. For Jessica’s party, she made the most massive mountain of coleslaw. She had to make it at her mother’s house because of the need for a more serious food processor and kitchen! While this recipe is called “Not Your Mama’s Coleslaw,” her mother did remind her that coleslaw was always left over at potlucks. She was, indeed, correct. But the slaw was just as good the next day for a hangover brunch!
The addition of blue cheese is so delicious. Make sure to try this!
Not Your Mama’s Cole Slaw, Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from Ina Garten
1/2 small head green cabbage
1/2 small head red cabbage
4 large carrots, scrubbed or peeled and shredded
1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 cups (16 ounces) mayonnaise, low-fat is fine, as is swapping half with yogurt
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) blue cheese (optional)
Prepare the vegetables: Halve the cabbage halves and cut out the cores. Slice the cabbage as thinly as you can with a sharp knife. Alternately, you can use a mandoline to cut the thinnest slivers or use your food processor’s slicing blade (lay the cabbage horizontally in the feed tube) to do the job in just seconds. Transfer chopped cabbage into a large bowl, discarding any very large pieces. Stir in the shredded carrot and parsley, reserving a few tablespoons of parsley for garnish.
Make the dressing: Mix the mayonnaise, mustards, vinegar, celery seed, salt and pepper in a smaller bowl. Stir in blue cheese, if using. Toss the cabbage mixture with dressing to taste –- you will probably not need all of it, but it keeps in the fridge for weeks (even longer, but I’m embarrassed to admit how we’ve tested this theory) –- and adjust seasonings as needed.
Do ahead: Vegetables can be prepped and dressing can be made days in advance. Mix them an hour or so before you’ll serve them to allow the flavors to meld
I saw this recipe in this month’s Bon Appetit magazine and knew I had to make it. I love spicy foods and my friends can sometime get angry with me for going overboard with a jalapeno! This recipe has a kick but it perfect for a casual night with hamburgers or hotdogs!
Jalapeno Roasted Potatoes, Bon Appetit July 2014
- 3 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved crosswise if large
- ½ cup olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced into rounds, seeds removed if desired
- ¼ cup (lightly packed) torn flat-leaf parsley leaves
Preheat oven to 450°. Toss potatoes with ¼ cup oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until golden brown and tender, 30–35 minutes. Let cool slightly, then lightly flatten.
Meanwhile, whisk vinegar and mustard in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in remaining ¼ cup oil until emulsified; season with salt and pepper. Add potatoes, jalapeño, and parsley and toss; season with salt and pepper.
Nothing says spring like bright green sweet peas. I’m sneaking these little guys into lots of meals. Pasta with salmon or bacon, on crostini (coming soon) and even into these most dense and decadent twice baked potatoes. They were the perfect side for a grill party. Make them in advance and just warm during cocktail hour. I can see these on your Father’s Day menu this summer!
Spring Pea and Parmesan Twice Baked Potatoes
- Baking potatoes
- Frozen peas
- sour cream
- salt and pepper
Prick the the potatoes with a fork and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 under tender. Allow to cool and carefully scoop out the potato (leaving the skin in place). Combine potato with sour cream, Parmesan cheese, scallions, frozen peas and salt and pepper. This is all up to your taste.
Refrigerate until about thirty minutes before you’re ready to serve. Return to the 350 oven until hot.
This weekend, my friend April and I hosted a small gathering of friends to celebrate the re-definement (retirement) of our friend Judy. It was the hottest day of 2014 and perfect for champagne cocktails, fried chicken and waffles, fruit salad and asparagus deviled eggs. As Judy likes to say, “yum, yum, yum!”
I love things that can be made in advance for brunch celebrations. These were perfect because they were portable and delicious. I always forget how much labor is involved in deviled eggs -but these are so worth it and perfect for the season!
Asparagus Deviled Eggs
- 12 large eggs
- 1 bundle, asparagus spears
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup smooth Dijon – or more to taste
- white pepper, to taste
- old bay seasoning, to taste
Hard-boil eggs using whichever method you prefer.
Roast asparagus spears until bright green and tender. Cut 1/2-inch off the tips of each spears. Puree remaining asparagus in food processor. Smear on a paper towel to remove some moisture.
Peel your eggs. Cut each in half lengthwise . Remove the yolks and add to a stand up mixer. Whip together remaining ingredients and asparagus puree. Season.
Spoon our pipe the mixture into each egg half, or use a piping bag with a star tip for a fancier presentation. Decorate each stuffed egg with a reserved asparagus tip (you’ll be a little short of what you need), and the remaining with the extra shallot, scallion or chives. Wrap tray in plastic and keep in fridge until ready to serve.
You know you have friends that know where almost everything in your kitchen is? And will eat all the potatoes with their hands straight from the pan before dinner? These are them. They are the best kinds of friends. Unless your a friend waiting at the table for the potatoes they have already eaten.
Lemon Smashed Potatoes
- small new potatoes
- olive oil
- lemons, zested
- garlic, minced (optional)
- salt and pepper
Assembly: Wash potatoes. To speed the process up, microwave the potatoes in a covered dish for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add them to a large cookie sheet. Smash them with the your hand or the bottom of a glass. Add the lemon zest, a splash of olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Taste! Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Roast the potatoes until crispy.
Looking for an easy new side dish? This recipe is shockingly delicious. Just a couple ingredients and it pairs well with just about any protein or other roasted veggies. I served this with steaks for Sunday supper (see below) this weekend as a substitute for potatoes. It was a huge hit.
Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
Preheat oven to 425°. Cut 1 head cauliflower into florets; toss on a large rimmed baking sheet with 1 sliced medium onion, 4 thyme sprigs, 4 unpeeled garlic cloves, and 3 tablespoons olive oil; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until almost tender, 35-40 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, toss to combine, and roast until cauliflower is tender, 10-12 minutes longer.
My friend Margaret makes a mean collard green. She actually converted me to the winter green a couple years ago. Somehow, without any pork product, she can make the green salty and with a great kick.
So, in the spirit of cooking healthy this January I asked Margaret to share her notorious recipe. It turns out it’s a Cooks Illustrated recipe that can be used for anything from kale to collards.
I made this Sunday night after yoga and it left me more balanced since before Thanksgiving. You’ve got to try this recipe – the lemon juice and red pepper flakes make it to-die-for. Cheers to a healthy and delicious 2014!
Margaret’s (Cook’s Illustrated (February ‘09) BRAISED HEARTY GREENS
I slice the stems and include them along w/ the leaves.
- 3 T olive oil
- 1 med onion, minced (about 1 C)
- 5 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 5 t)
- 1/8 t red pepper flakes
- 2 lb collard greens or kale (about 24 loosely packed cups)
- 1 C chick broth (obviously substitute veg broth)
- 1 C water
- 2-3 t juice from l lemon
- black pepper
Heat 2 T oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Cook onion, stirring, until softened & beginning to brown, 4-5 min. Add garlic & pepper flakes; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add 1/2 the greens (this is when I add the stems) & stir until beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Add remaining greens, broth, water & 1/4 t salt; quickly cover & reduce heat until low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 25 to 35 min for kale & 35-45 for collards. Remove lid & increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated (bottom of pot will be almost dry and greens begin to sizzle), 8-12 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in 2 t lemon juice & remaining oil. Season salt/pepper & lemon juice to taste.