Cauliflower Au Gratin

A great side dish or even a meal if you add hard-boiled eggs.  This specific photo is without the eggs.

cauwlflower au gratin

The first step is to cut up one whole cauliflower and blanch the florets or steam for just a bit, don’t cook entirely.  Put the semi cooked cauliflower in a nice pan or casserole dish to bake.  Turn the oven on to 350 F.

Next make a home-made bechamel sauce.  This requires a lot of attention and stirring.  Once your bechamel sauce is done, pour it into the pan with the cauliflower.  Top off the dish with some grated Gruyère cheese and a bit of grated parmesan.  Bake for 30 mins and turn the heat up to 400 bake for 10 more minutes so the cheese gets browned.  If you want to turn this into a meal you can place 4 hard-boiled eggs cut in half on top of the cauliflower mixture and then add cheese.

 

Cauliflower
Cauliflower (Photo credit: Indiana Public Media)

Ingredients:  1 head of cauliflower

1 cup grated Gruyère Cheese

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Parmesan Cheese (or more accurately, Parmigian...
Parmesan Cheese (or more accurately, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

For the béchamel: 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons fresh grated nutmeg, 3 cups whole milk, 4 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons flour.

To make the béchamel.  Put the 3 cups of milk to heat in a pot keep warm and don’t let it boil, turn as heat as low as possible.  In a pot melt the butter and add the 3 tablespoons of flour, stirring constantly until you form a nice colored roux.  approximately 3 mins of stirring.  Add little by little the warm milk by constantly stirring. Once all the milk is mixed in, continue to stir and get the bechamel bubbling.  If it’s thin at first, don’t worry, it will eventually thicken.  Once it’s the consistency of heavy cream you can remove from heat.  Stir in the salt, Nutmeg and mix in about 1/2 cup of the grated Gruyère cheese ( or a good swiss cheese).  Poor it over your cauliflower.  Make sure all the florets  are covered.  Then add the remaining 1/2 cup Gruyère and sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese.  Bake!  It’s a great dish to bring to  pot luck, to have as a side with meat, fish, poultry, great for Thanksgiving and other holiday dinners.  And again, you can make this the main dish by added hard-boiled eggs cut in half.  Enjoy-yum

 

 

A smoked salmon dinner

This is so easy, yet so delicious.  I love simple dishes.  I bought some wild caught smoked salmon at the local market.  I made myself the easiest and not to mention healthiest dinner.  I wasn’t in the mood to cook, but I wanted something good.  I added some heirloom cherry tomatoes and some organic persian cucumbers on the side for some crunch appeal.  I cut up lots of lemon slices for my salmon.  There is nothing better than simple flavors with salt, I of course used Sel de Cali, for the taste and beauty appeal.  This is now one of my favorite, easy meals to prepare that can also transform into a great appetizer or  hors d’oeuvre platter.  I would however dress it up a bit more when serving it to guests.  I would add a few capers on the side, maybe some red onions, little crackers, blinis, or just simple pieces of  bagels or some type of vehicle to place the salmon and veggies on it.  A great cheese that goes with this is of course, cream cheese, but also a marscapone, ricotta, boursin or even goat cheese.  There are many possibilities.  And for those who are staying away from carbs, a great way to serve this is with Belgian endive leaves, they are a perfect little vehicles to serve the salmon.  You can also make it in advance by placing a bit of cheese, a piece of salmon and a few capers with an onion on a piece of endive… or play with the combinations.  I personally wouldn’t mix the lemon with the cheese, however.  If you don’t have time to prepare it,  in a rush, just add all the elements to a plate as nicely as possible and call it the deconstructed hors d’oeuvre.  Smoked salmon is something I always have in my fridge, you just never know when you will have an impromptu guest over.  Enjoy.  

L’omelette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I make a lot of omelette and usually make them with the same base, eggs, milk and cheese.  The rest just kind of depends what’s in the fridge.  This particular omelette was pretty basic, eggs, cheddar cheese, ham and spinach.  I like to saute some shallots and mushrooms, but really it all depends on what’s in the fridge.

I use about 3 eggs per person.  Add some milk and whisk for at least 1 minute.  In the meantime, steam some spinach and once cooked try and press out as much water as possible.  Chop the spinach and set aside.  Chop up some ham, maybe about 6 slices total and put on the side.  Grate or chop some cheese.  Today I had extra cheddar cheese, but goat cheese is lovely in an omelette as well as many other kinds.  Actually, I  think blue cheese is far too strong, but maybe you like that.  Anyway, use about a tablespoon, one good pat of butter.  Heat it up in a non-stick pan.  It’s very important to use a nonstick pan at the beginning as omelette are difficult to make or more like, difficult to keep beautiful looking.  Put your eggs in and let cook for about 20 seconds, start using a spatula to pull the eggs away from the center to the outside.  You need to let the liquid stream down to have a chance to get cooked.  Do this maybe 3 good times, leaving each a few seconds to give the newly added egg to cook.  You don’t want to do it to much, or it may just end up as scrambled eggs.  Lower the heat, if you’ve not already.  SAlt and pepper the eggs and start adding your ham, spinach, cheese or whatever you want.  Take a nice sized spatula and pick-up half the omelette to flip on the other side, making an envelope of deliciousness.  Let cook a bit, just for cheese and ingredients to heat up, but don’t over cook.  Place on a platter for individual servings or carefully plate.  Serve with a veggie or a nice, simple salad.

Great Omelette ideas:

Ham, cheese, tomato and spinach

Ham, Ricotta, Spinach and tomato

Asparagus, goat cheese and chives

Mushroom, shallots, ham and cheese

Tri-colored peppers, onions, cheese and ham

You can just imagine a bunch of different ones.  I think I really love spinach in my omelette as the main vegetable.  It’s so good.  You don’t have to steam your spinach ahead of time either, it worked just tossing in the leaves raw, but I like a lot of spinach and you can’t fit all the amount of raw leaves as you can steamed ones, and it reduces the liquid your omlette would get.