Monday, December 28, 2009

Butternut & pumpkin gratin

Mmm... perfect for lunch in winter. Warm, filling but not heavy, and delicious!

sliced, peeled butternut squash, about 1/2 inch thick
equal amount sliced, peeled winter squash or pumpkin, about 1/2 inch thick
crumbled country sausage or sliced cooked chipolatas (about 1/4 cup sausage for one butternut)
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup grated Trappista cheese
salt and pepper

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook sliced squash 3-4 minutes. Place in a baking dish.

Combine milk, broth, flour, rosemary, salt and pepper in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer. Cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk until thick. Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

Pour white sauce over top. Top with breadcrumbs. Bake in preheated oven at 400° for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Spinach and chipolata quiche

We at this at least once a week in winter. It's simple and hot, and also great leftover for breakfast!

1 pie crust (pâte feuilletée)
1/2 cup grated mild cheese (I used Gouda or Trappista)
1 chipolata sausage, cooked and sliced
6 eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups spinach, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper

Roll the crust out in a pie pan. Sprinkle the cheese and chipolata evenly on the bottom.

Beat the eggs, then stir in milk, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir in the spinach. Pour into the pie pan over the cheese and squash.

Bake in preheated oven at 350° for 30-20 minutes or until firm and golden.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cauliflower gratin

I made this for lunch the other day and we nearly finished it off in one sitting!

1 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1-2 cups milk
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup grated cheese (I used Emmental, which is similar to Swiss)
2 Tbsp bread crumbs

Heat water in a large pot to boiling. Add cauliflower and cook five minutes - tender, but firm.

Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain and place in a baking dish.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly for two minutes. Pour the milk into the butter-flour mixture and keep stirring until thickened, about two minutes. Remove from heat and add cheese, salt and pepper.

Spread the sauce evenly on top of cauliflower. Sprinkle bread crumbs over top. Bake in preheated oven at 375° for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Warm fennel and orange salad

I'd never had fennel before moving to France. And the description of 'celery and licorice' did not entice me at all. But it really is delicious!

2 bulbs fennel, sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 oranges, peeled and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
4 Tbsp Dijon vinagrette
chopped fresh mint leaves

Heat oven broiler. Brush the fennel with olive oil, then place in cast iron skillet or baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Broil for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until tips are just blackened and fennel is soft.

Place fennel in a bowl. Place orange pieces on top.

Whisk together the orange juice, zest and vinaigrette in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad. Sprinkle with mint and serve.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Spicy fish stew with greens

Oh wow. If you like fish - this is incredible. If you don't like fish, skip this one. Very quick to make. A perfect lunch on a cold day.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup of fresh chopped tomato
1/4 cup frozen spinach or other greens (thawed)
2 tsp of tomato paste
2 tsp fish bouillon
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 lb of fish filets (I used salmon, halibut, mackerel and cod), cut into 2-inch pieces
Tabasco to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pot or over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté four minutes. Add parsley, tomato, tomato paste and cook two minutes.

Add fish bouillon, red wine, spinach and fish and simmer until fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add Tabasco, pepper and salt to taste.

Serve hot with good French bread.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Vin chaud (hot mulled wine)

Vin chaud is the definitive drink of French Christmas markets and festivals. This recipe was served at an event at our church last weekend and it's the best I've ever had. So I snagged the recipe from the pastor's wife :)

one bottle of good red wine
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 lemon, sliced
zest of 1 orange
2-4 cinnamon sticks
1-2 cloves (optional)

Heat the wine, sugar and spices in a pot over low heat. Stir occasionally until it simmers (not boiling) and a foam forms. Add the zest. Pour the wine into glasses while hot. Serve with a slice of lemon in each glass or a stick of cinnamon.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Salmon baked with leeks and fennel

I was given this recipe this weekend and could not wait to try it. It was even better than I imagined when she told me about it! I had to make a few adjustments based on what we had on hand, so this really is a very flexible recipe - and so quick to make! The leeks and fennel worked together really well.

2 salmon filets
2 leeks
1 bulb fennel
1/3 cup crème fraîche (or sour cream)
1/2-1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp butter
freshly ground pepper

Trim the leek of the thick green stalks and the root end, then slice into thin rounds. Slice the fennel. Rinse both well. In a sauté pan or skillet on moderately high heat, melt the butter. When the butter foams, add leeks and fennel. Cover over a moderate heat until the pieces sweat and soften.

Prepare the fish by rinsing it and patting dry with a paper towel. Place in a ceramic, glass or cast iron baking dish. Sprinkle with a little salt and freshly ground pepper.

In a small bowl, stir together crème fraîche and Dijon mustard. Remove leeks and fennel from heat and stir in cream mixture. Pour over top of salmon.

Bake in preheated oven at 375° for 15-20 minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork.