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Friday, August 18, 2006

Cheater Pants

I got a chain email from B. the other day.

Normally I don’t respond to that type of thing, but this was a recipe exchange chain. It seemed like a good opportunity to get back into cooking. It has been so long since there was anything in my fridge but olives, capers, yogurt, cheese, half and half, nine rolls of film, and that giant jar of bean salad my mom got me a year ago.

I know it’s not going to be as easy to just pick up a falafel or burrito for dinner when I move. I have to get my act together, and the recipe exchange seemed like a great motivator. I passed on my recipe to the top person on the list within an hour of receiving the email.

Here’s the recipe I shared:

Cauliflower Gratinée in Honor of MFK Fisher

From Pedaling Through Burgundy Cookbook

"I put some fresh pepper on the top, and in a way I can't remember how the little tin oven heated the whole thing and melted the cheese and browned it. As soon as that happened we ate it. The cream and cheese had come together into a perfect sauce, and the little flowers were tender and fresh. We cleaned our plates with bits of crisp bread and drank the wine, and Al and Lawrence planned to write books about Aristotle and Robinson Jeffers and probably themselves, and I planned a few things, too." The Gastronomical Me

1 medium head cauliflower
1 cup mascarpone cheese
sea or coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
4 ounces of gruyere cheese

Preheat the over to 375. Butter a shallow, 1 and a half quart round or oval
gratin dish (I think I've sometimes used just a glass pie pan if I can't find
anything else).

Trim the cauliflower and break it into bite-size florets. Steam the cauliflower over boiling water until cooked halfway through, 3 to 5 minutes; remove from the heat immediately. Season the mascarpone with the salt, white pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Add the cauliflower and mix it gently but thoroughly into the mascarpone. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.

Grate the gruyere as finely as possible. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top of the cauliflower (I think I've used more gruyere and mixed some up with cauliflower, as well as on the top). Bake until bubbling and golden brown on top 40 to 45 minutes. Serve at once with a baguette and a good bottle of wine.

B. was worried the chain would break before she got any recipes, and requested that we email her our recipes, in addition to the person on the top of the list who was really supposed supposed to receive them. I thought this was a great idea, sent her the above recipe, and asked the ten friends I sent the chain to to do the same thing for me. Less than an hour later, I got this response from J.


That's cheating ... and, you know it ....

You can't share in the bounty of the person at the top of the list ...
Or everything will be ruined.

Sorry Pal.


Wow. I had obviously struck a nerve. I actually really hadn’t realized it was cheating, I was just trying to do a nice thing for myself, just find some new recipes to tempt me back into to cooking.

As much as I usually respect J.’s advice, I wasn’t fully convinced that cheating on the chain was a bad thing. I even thought about sending the chain out again to out to ten totally different people, just to increase my odds of getting recipes.

While I was in the middle of contemplating this, a recipe for curried chicken sandwiches was sent to me. It gave me hope…maybe I’ll try to play by the rules after all. I'll let you know what happens.

Meanwhile, I am still looking for new recipes….please send them my way. You can post them as a comment. It’s not part of the chain. It won’t be cheating.

Projects_,Bon Appetit_



Blogger Su Pantalones said...

this is a recipe from my sweetheart's cookbook that he gave out last xmas. it was so good! I have been pestering him to make it again, but to no avail. i hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

1.5 lbs seedless grapes (red or white)
3 lbs assorted other fruit, chopped – apricots, plums, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, or other pulpy fruit. NOT apples, pears, or oranges / citrus.
1 large yellow onion, diced
25 cloves garlic, diced
4 oz basil, julienne
1 large sprig rosemary
5 large leaves fresh sage, or ½ Tb dried
Teeny pinch oregano
1 ½ Tb salt
½ Tb red pepper
1 Tb black pepper
½ c olive oil
½ bottle full bodied red wine – like a cabernet or merlot.
½ stick butter
2 bay leaves

Combine garlic, onion, sage, oregano, salt, red pepper, black pepper, bay leaves, olive oil in large sauce pot. Simmer until onions start turning clear, then add grapes.
Mash all the grapes and everything else together.
Add half red wine and bring to boil.
Add other fruits, butter, basil, rosemary and the rest of the wine.
Bring to boil again and then reduce heat to low. Simmer until thick.
Sauce should be sweet and spicy, but not too sweet. Modify to taste if needed.

Serve over large-surface area noodles, like bowties, or farfalle. Add shrimp if you want, and garnish with parmesan.

6:09 PM  

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