Three Cheese Root Vegetable Gratin

Thanksgiving week is upon us! I can’t contain my excitement!! My husband, Joshua, just returned home after almost 5 months of traveling to potential residency programs. Finally having him back means I have to start cooking for him again… but I could not be happier about it!!! Life is moving, fast. The older I get, the more real that becomes. Am I right? One day at a time, always. I am doing my best to slow down and enjoy each thing life throws at me. Big and small. Good and bad. All things work together for our good.

My wonderful friends at Sur la Table asked me to shoot a gratin recipe this month. I’ve always wanted to make one of these. All those crispy, cheesy layers. I’ve been itching to use my mandolin and this beautiful Staub pan. We made it happen! This gratin has everything going for it: three root veggies, three cheeses, all together perfect. Boring mashed potatoes, step aside.

Serves 6-8

  • 2½ cups whole milk
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 pound large parsnips, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • ½ teaspoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup shredded Gruyère cheese
  • ½ cup shredded white Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Rub the butter over the bottom and sides of a 2-quart gratin dish.
  2. In a large heavy pan, combine the milk, cream, salt, thyme, garlic and pepper. Place over medium heat and stir for 3 minutes, or until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Add the Yukon Gold potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips. Stir to coat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes, until the potatoes are partially cooked. Remove from the heat.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer half the vegetables to the gratin dish. Sprinkle with half each of the Gruyère, cheddar, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. Add the remaining vegetables. Use two forks to arrange the top layer of potatoes in a slightly overlapping design, evenly distributing the different-colored potatoes. Ladle the hot cream mixture over the vegetables and sprinkle with all of the remaining cheeses.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a skewer or the tip of a knife and the gratin is bubbling and golden. Let the gratin rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe by Sur La Table & Andrews McMeel Publishing.

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Quinoa Sweet Potato Burgers

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

There’s a small, organic, all-natural food market near my house. Once you sift past the tall aisles filled with pricey protein powder and every vitamin known to mankind, you’ll find a humble food bar in the very back. They sell a range of prepared foods that are all remarkably healthy and tasty. Split pea soup, mushroom quesadillas, strawberry walnut & baby spinach salad, curried quinoa and chickpeas. I’ve tried it all. The next thing is better than the last. My go-to item on the menu is the black bean and sweet potato burger. I’m a carnivore by nature but there are days I just want to skip it. It’s one o’clock at the office and I’m craving something that satisfies, without the heavy regret that usually follows. This burger does the trick: meaty black beans and a sweet potato binder that fill you up in a really good way. You might even lose that three o’clock sugar craving.

In a similar way, this Bon Appetite recipe dubbed the “Stellar Quinoa Burger,” is a lunch game-changer! A chance to make killer meatless burgers at home? Done and done. Topped with a healthy dollop of guacamole atop a toasted english muffin, this burger is a serious rival to its beef counterpart. So much lighter and much less guilt than greasy beef. Rainbow quinoa, zucchini, mushroom and sweet potato come together in a truly colorful, wholesome way. I doubled the recipe and I’ll be enjoying happy desk lunches all week!

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Yield: 4 burgers

  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 portobello mushroom
  • ½ small zucchini
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (from about ½ uncooked)
  • ¾ cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 English muffins, split, toasted
  • Guacamole for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prick sweet potato all over with a fork; rub with 1 Tbsp. oil, then season with salt and pepper. Roast directly on oven rack until tender, 30–45 minutes. Let cool. Remove and discard skin; mash flesh with a fork. Set aside.

  2. Remove stem from mushroom; discard. Pulse cap in a food processor until finely chopped. Coarsely grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater; gather up in a kitchen towel and squeeze out excess liquid.

  3. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet over low. Cook shallot and red pepper flakes, stirring often, until shallot is soft, about 2 minutes. Add mushroom and zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to release their liquid but have not taken on any color, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl; mix in quinoa and season with salt and pepper. Let cool.

  4. Add breadcrumbs, lemon juice, and about ¼ cup reserved mashed sweet potato to quinoa mixture and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. If mixture is too loose, add more sweet potato to bind.

  5. Divide mixture into 4 portions and form into patties, pressing firmly together with your hands. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet over medium and cook 2 patties until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side; season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and 2 patties.

  6. Build burgers with patties, toasted English muffins, guacamole, tomato chutney, and sprouts. Do Ahead: Patties can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine (Cafe Pasqual’s, Santa Fe, NM)

 

Sweet Potato Spoon Bread

1Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Spoonbread: it’s a southern American staple. Kind of like savory a bread pudding, kind of like a soufflé, kind of really delicious. Right now I’m imagining the menu for my perfect Thanksgiving Day meal… each guest with a tiny ramekin of this good stuff. I don’t have a big house or a large table to seat my family just yet, but I can dream! I think this is like if your sweet potato mash and cornbread had a baby. It’s soft and has wonderful flavor from the sweet potato and thyme combo. A fine cornmeal gives it just enough structure to hold up. I just love the idea of digging into this with a spoon. Warm, pillow-y goodness. It’s a home-cooked comfort side that’s sure to please!


Yield: 8-10 servings — Hands-on time: 1 hr — Total Time: 2 hrs

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground red pepper
  • 1 cup plain yellow cornmeal (I prefer the fine grain)
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 3 medium-size sweet potatoes, baked, peeled and mashed
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tsp baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bring first 5 ingredients to a simmer in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Whisk cornmeal into milk mixture in a slow, steady stream. Cook, whisking constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture thickens and pulls away from bottom of pan. Remove from heat, and stir in butter. Cool 10 minutes.

2. Place potatoes in a large bowl; stir in cornmeal mixture. Stir in egg yolks and baking powder, stirring until well blended.

3. Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form; fold into potato mixture. Spoon batter into a well-buttered 3-qt. baking dish (or small ramekins!)

4. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and puffy. (Edges will be firm and center will still be slightly soft.) Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Southern Living, www.southernliving.com

Roasted Sweet Potato Medallions

2

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

I love a good sweet potato. Growing up I devoured the traditional orange ones with a nice glob of butter. Got that image in your head? Mmm. Well recently I went to the store and picked up a white sweet yam. The white potato is fairly sweeter than the typical orange sweet potato. The combination of the two makes for a lovely composition. Bake with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and you’ve got yourself a pan filled with fluffy, sweet goodness. A simple and delicious side to any dish!

Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 large yam (white flesh)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet and rack with parchment paper or spray well with non-stick spray. I prefer Trader Joe’s coconut oil in a spray can.
  2. Clean and scrub sweet potatoes well. Leave the skin on. Cut into 1/2 inch medallions.
  3. Place medallions on lined sheet and brush both sides with olive oil. Be generous with the salt and pepper! Roast for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through. After the 30 minutes, raise the temperature to 400 degrees. Roast for another 15 minutes until the medallions are golden brown and just crispy. Enjoy!

1Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco