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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

winter greens gratin-- you should probably make this right away.

i tried and tried to get this post out yesterday, but i simply could.not.focus. i'd add a link, type three or four words i thought might eventually make it into a sentence, and wander away from the computer. i'd come rushing back thinking, "just write it! just get it done!" and then find myself in the dining room again. this continued until i gave up and did laundry.

rob theorizes my trouble came from having half of a bottle of coke rather than "a good breakfast." i'm sure he's exactly right. this morning i've had a cup of herbal tea and a shower, which is as close as i've really ever come to "breakfast" in the last 36 years, so i'm ready to go!

i've been digging around in the PCC market recipe collection and have found several dishes that will be great for the winter crops now available at the farmers market. we started sunday night with this one-- organic winter greens with caramelized leeks parisienne. basically, a scrumptious kale gratin that will almost certainly make it into the rotation!

there's not a lot to say about this dish. it's a gratin. it scratches a similar itch as would a goopey, cheesy casserole or a mac n' cheese (especially with that buttery crunch on top), yet is much lighter and packed with the some of the heartiest and most healthful greens any season will produce. 

i followed the recipe almost exactly, with these minor changes and observations:

recipe link again: organic winter greens with caramelized leeks parisienne
  • i didn't have any chard, so substituted with more kale, using both purple and lacitino kale. (kale from nash's, winter spinach from willie green's organics, and leeks from full circle .)
  • the kale was some of the woodiest that i've ever seen, even with the stems removed. i therefore cooked it down closer to 30 minutes than the 3-5 the recipe calls for before adding the cream mixture and baking.
  • for the topping, i separated the cheese from the butter and panko, sprinkling the cheese on top of the greens, then topping with the buttered crumbs.
  • because i had so much kale, the leek and spinach were completely lost. i'll add more of each next time, and cut back a little on the kale.
  • the recipe calls for beecher's flagship which has become one of my favorite all-purpose cheeses of all time. use any cheese you like, anything you'd add to a casserole-- cheddar, mont jack, swiss, gruyere...
  • leeks require a thorough cleaning (come to find out)! a good tutorial on leek prep here.

i served the gratin with sweet potato gnocchi from the freezer, tossed with a little butter. and it was DELIGHTFUL!

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