Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gratin with a twist: garam masala, goat cheddar and sweet potatoes.

Ingredients (for 6 as a side, 4 as a vegetarian entree):
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups of shredded goat cheddar
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- garam masala, to taste
- shredded coconut (unsweetened), to taste
- salt, pepper

- preheat your oven at 375F (190C)
- with a mandolin, slice the peeled sweet potatoes thinly (about a 1/10th of an inch, or 2-3 mm).
Note: be careful with the mandolin! Use the guard!!!

- fill the baking dish with layers of sweet potatoes. Salt and pepper every layer. Add garam masala, coconut and shedded cheese only every other layer.
Note: I find that adding spice and cheese to each layer rapidly overpowers the flavor of the sweet potatoes. Garam masala is quite a potent spice mix so don't be too heavy handed with it.

- finish by a thick layer of cheese, and pour the cream over the cheese.

- bake at 375F (190C) for 1 hour. Then let rest and cool a bit in the oven before cutting into it.
Note: Waiting here is quite important, because the sweet potatoes release a LOT of moisture, and letting the gratin rest in the oven allows for the reabsorption of the extra liquid.

Serve as a side to grilled lamb chops for example, or as a vegetarian entree with a side of green salad :)
Bon app!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Butternut squash soup and sage brown butter drizzle

After a nice and cozy afternoon spent decorating my Christmas tree and playing around in the first snow flakes of the season, I was happily tired and I was not in the mood for a full fledged cooking session.
Rather, I was craving a quick and easy hearty creamy soup. I had a butternut squash and a few sage leaves lying around (Thanksgiving groceries leftovers) , and came up with this in a matter of minutes.

So easy, give it a try!

Ingredients (for 2):
for the sage butter:
- 10 sage leaves
- 1/2 stick of butter (4tbsp)
- salt
for the soup:
- 1tbsp butter
- 1 shallot (onion works fine), finely chopped
- 1 medium to large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced  in 1-inch cubes
- 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you prefer to keep this recipe vegetarian)

- make the sage butter first: melt the butter in a pan and fry the sage leaves until brown and the butter is a beautiful golden brown.

Drain the leaves on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt.

Reserve the butter in a small bowl.

- in a large soup pot, melt the butter and fry the shallot until soft and translucent.

- add the butternut squash and broth and bring to a boil. Cook until the squash is fork tender (about 20 minutes).

- with an immersion blender, puree the squash until creamy and smooth.

- serve with a slice of cereal bread, sourdough or (in my case) a whole wheat grilled tortilla. Drizzle the sage butter with a teaspoon on top of the soup. Decorate with a couple of fried sage leaves.

Bon app!