Sunday, July 25, 2010

Catch You By The Collar

During our trip to Central Market today, I had to momentarily pause and ask myself a pivotal question. Is it really essential to have all of my children accompany me to the grocery store? Sure I have always enjoyed the opportunity to educate them on the joys of fresh froods as we peruse the produce section, but trying to maneuver a shopping cart, and manage a 5, 3, and 1 year old is beginning to be a little much. There are only so many times I can mutter, "We need to use our EYES, not our HANDS", before I am not listening to me either. I am comforted however, by the fact that children's behavior always looks worse to the parent than to the onlookers (descent parenting skills permitting). Their little acts of mischievousness, like sneaking a dried apricot out of the bulk bin, or conveniently getting lost in the candy section, are for the most part, met with knowing looks from other mothers and fellow patrons uttering the phrase "You sure have your hands full" (which I swear I hear at least twice a day), while I am secretly mortified that they are not behaving with the utmost proper decorum. Don't they realize we are in a sacred place?? And wouldn't children 50 years ago be given the finger wag and then be promptly sent to bed without supper once they returned home? The lines are so blurred these days- it's difficult to know what to do.... other than cook. And that we did! For dinner I decided to lightly flour and pan fry some very inexpensive (which means my husband automatically likes it) cuts of beef (the type usually reserved for chicken fried steak) and saute them with onions, which paired delectably with a dish it is impossible not to love... gratin. Most commonly made with potatoes, a gratin is a breathtaking culinary concoction that can take even the humblest of vegetables and turn them into a mass of bubbly, creamy, crunchy goodness. My vegetable of choice- cauliflower, or, Collar Flower, as it is called by my mini foodies. This member of the cruciferous family, which is frequently passed over for it's more popular cousin, broccoli, is loaded with vitamin C, phytochemicals, and other cancer fighting properties, and what can I say, I have a soft spot for the underdog. It was so delicious that the entire confection disappeared from the pan- even Samuel had seconds of his pureed version. Then it was off to work on dessert, which, in all of it's brilliance, will also double as tomorrow morning's breakfast. A sort of coffee cake on crack, it is like a bread pudding, only not, and like the most decadent oatmeal you might imagine, only not. It's better. And whether with ice cream at night or with yogurt in the morning, it is a delicious (and simple) treat!

Collar Flower Gratin

5 TBS butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup small diced onion
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
tiny pinch of nutmeg
1 cup cheddar cheese (preferably raw milk)
1/4 cup cream
one head of cauliflower (or one bunch of broccoli) broken into small florets and pieces
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup pecorino ramano cheese
2 TBS olive oil

-preheat the oven to 375 degrees and butter an 11x7 baking dish
- heat the butter in a medium to large pot over medium heat and once melted add the flour, whisking for 1 minute before slowly adding the milk 1 cup at a time, whisking constantly
-bring the sauce to a boil (whisking almost continuously) and add the onion, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and nutmeg
-reduce heat to low and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes
-meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to boil and blanch the cauliflower for two minutes, thoroughly drain, and set aside
-remove the bay leaf, stir in the cheddar and cream, stir in the cauliflower, and pour into prepared pan
-in a small bowl stir together the bread crumbs, pecorino romano cheese, and the olive oil and sprinkle on top
-bake until golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes

Raisin Breakfast Pudding

1 cup plus 2 TBS self rising flour
1/3 cup brown sugar1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup raisins

3/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBS unsalted butter, diced
2 1/4 cups boiling water

-preheat oven to 375 and butter a 2 qt square baking dish
-in a large bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar
-in a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the wet ingredients thoroughly and then stir into the dry with a wooden spoon
-fold in the raisins and pour into prepared dish
-sprinkle the sugar on top and dot with the butter, then pour the boiling water on top and pop in the oven for 45 minutes

you could add a TBS or 2 of rum with the boiling water for a little extra zing

1 comment:

  1. It was great to see you all shopping yesterday! I was so impressed when I saw your husband pointing out the broccoli to one of your kids -- that's a true teacher/dad/mentor. Way to go -- keep it up!

    Carol Ritchie