A blade shines in the darkest of the nights
Cauliflower Gratin (Gratin de Chou-fleur) is one of the classic French gratin dish - a casual dish in every French family. It's another great way to eat this veggie besides eating it simply boiled, fried, steamed or even raw.
Cauliflower has very high nutritional density: obviously low in fat, it's also high in dietary fiber and an excellent source of vitamin B5, B6, C and folate. It also contains sulforaphane, which has anti-cancer properities. So to make it short, it's supposed to be healthier than fries and you should eat some. There, I said it
How to Select and Store
Season: December to March. Look for clean, creamy white and compact curd, while avoiding spotted or dull-coloured ones or those that have small flowers on them. Uncooked cauliflower can be stored up to a week if kept in a paper or plastic bag, preferably upside down to get any moisture out of it.
To prepare the Béchamel sauce
I'm a big fan of cauliflower, I love the naturally sweet, milky and slightly nutty flavor of the plant. Combine this with the béchamel sauce and grilled cheesy top and you get some extra 'oomph' that will encourage children (or adults who aren't keen on eating vegetetables) to give it a go. My picky 1 year old loves it very much.
For an additional crunch, sprinkle some bread crumbs on top of the grated cheese before baking it in the oven.
Heat up the leftover in the oven at 180°C for about 10 minutes. I usually do it the lazy way - just pop it in the microwave oven.
We were at the supermarket doing our usual weekly shopping. I paused by the vegetable section trying to figure out what to cook and buy... Finding something that both Pierre and I likes and that is a bit new isn't easy since he doesn't like most of the vegetables and our taste are so different. Suddenly Pierre came by and suggested : 'how about we make gratin d'endives au jambon?' ... I wasn't very enthusiastic about it at first as I don't like anything bitter and endives have a very bitter taste however Pierre assured me that it wasn't that bitter once baked and drowned in sauce. OK, why not?
Endives (Cichorium endivia) was, like so many other things, invented by accident. The technique for growing endives was discovered in the 1830s by a Belgian farmer, Jan Lammers in Schaerbeek, Belgium. Upon returning from war, he found his stored chicory had sprouted white leaves, and that it still tasted OK.
Nowadays the plant is grown underground or indoors away from sunlight, to prevent the leaves from turning green and opening up. As such, it is also often sold wrapped in a protective opaque paper or plastic to protect it from the light. The whiter the leaf, the less bitter the taste; but to make it easy in the mouth it's recommended to cut out the harder inner-part at the bottom before cooking. Today France is the largest producer of endives (yay!).
Rich in vitamins, minerals, especially in folate and vitamin A & K, the endives are also high in fiber. They can be eaten raw as salad (great with dices of blue cheese and walnuts), or cooked in various ways: stuffed, baked, boiled, steamed or fried.
Select those that have crisp, firm, tightly pack heads no longer than 15 cm (or 6 inches). Good endives are creamy white with a yellowy green tinge to the leaf edges. To avoid them from turning green and becoming bitter, store them in the refrigerator wrapped in kitchen paper and placed in a plastic bag.
All I can say is that this one is a keeper. I love it - the taste of the ham and endives with béchamel sauce is delicious - salty, creamy ... the endives just melt in my mouth. There was no taste of bitterness at all except at the base - just a tint of bitterness. Even my little daughter loves it, it looks like a great way to get kids to eat some veggies.
Bibimbap (literally means "mixed rice" or "mixed meal" ) is one of most popular dish in Korea - a simple yet highly nutritious meal incorporating a variety of different vegetables along with beef and egg. In many parts of Korea, they also serve a vegetarian version, as well as another variation called dolsot bibimbap ("dolsot" meaning "stone pot" ) - served in an iron or stone pot or bowl with a raw egg on top of it. The bottom of the pot is then coated with sesame oil making the layer of the rice touching the bowl golden brown and crispy.
My Korean friend Sol-Yi, who introduced me to Gochujang Bulgoki, also prepared Bibimbap for my Japanese friend Yumi and I for lunch in her tiny student apartment. It was simple yet filling, nutritious and delicious. Both of us loved this dish immediately. Since then, I have made it a few times at home and as I change the ingredients, each time the taste of my Bibimbap is unique and different.
Hehehe... when you mix it up, it really doesn't look that appetizing but it is truly delicious. Normally I always put some bean sprouts in my Bibimbap but this time, I decided to try out with the bell pepper. It gives a different taste but still delicious. I have yet to try it with mushrooms and other chinese vegetables.
What I like about this dish is its versatility - you can use any type of vegetables. You can turn this dish into totally vegetarian or you can include some meat. Some of the vegetables commonly used in bibimbap include julienned cucumber, zucchini, carrot, mu (white radish), mushrooms, doraji(bellflower root), and nori, as well as spinach, bean sprouts, and gosari (bracken fern stems). Dubu (tofu), either plain or sauteed, or a leaf of lettuce may also be added, and beef can be substituted with chicken or seafood.
This is another French recipe from my mother-in-law, Michèle. This big potato pie is rather delicious, and as often in this case, not the best thing for your diet ! It goes well as a side with some meat, but we also like to eat it as a main course (with salad) since you are unlikely to end up hungry after downing a portion
Well my first attempt at it turned out to be a masterpiece, although a bit by accident: I added a bit more bacon then normal (the "official" recipe use only 150 g) to finish a box, and the potatoes were well cooked to the point of melting in your mouth. With the cream, the result is a very delicious (and rich) texture, smooth in the mouth and with that tasty smoky bacon flavour. Yummy ! The crunchy crust around makes the whole experience even better. This is definitely one of Pierre's favorite recipe as well
Some variants skip the bacon but use a lot of parsley to enhance the flavor. We are not a big fan of parsley but if that's your thing, you might like to have a go at it.