Red Cabbage Gratin

Not long ago, I went on a gratin-pinning spree.   If you don’t know what that sentence means, you’re probably reading the wrong blog.  Just kidding, mom!  To my Pinterest page of recipes, I added kale and sweet potato gratin, Brussels sprouts gratin, and the beauty I’m featuring today: red cabbage gratin.  In case you’ve not had the pleasure of knowing a gratin, it’s a food preparation “in which an ingredient is topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, butter, and grated cheese” (Wikipedia).  Random aside: in grade school, the cafeteria served a mysteriously orange offering called “potatoes au gratin.”  All the kids called it “potatoes o’ rotten.”  ‘Nuff said.

head of red cabbage

Any gratin worth making is a vegetable one, in my humble opinion.  And this why when I discovered a slideshow featuring just these sorts of dishes over at the Saveur website, I went on the aforementioned pinning spree.  At the time I found these recipes, the trees had just begun their wardrobe change and the air was only beginning to resemble a Honeycrisp apple.  Now it’s full-fledged comfort food season, and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, there’s nothing more welcome in my oven or my tummy than a casserole dish of cheesy, crispy, gooey vegetables.

Lest you be nervous to try a dish starring cooked cabbage, let me just tell you that the flavor of this dish is sublime, thanks no doubt to the Parmesan and breadcrumbs.  But even more special is the tender chew and sweet, nutty aroma of the red cabbage after being bathed in paprika-spiked cream for an hour or so.  Saveur recommends serving this eye-catching purple beaut’ alongside roast pork, turkey, or lamb (perhaps as awesomely out-of-the-box Turkey Day fare), but I think it would stand up just fine as a meal with a green salad and some seedy crusty bread.   This is the type of dining I like to do the night after Thanksgiving: something healthy, yet naughty enough to gently ease you off that gluttonous cliff that is the holidays.   Cheers!

sliced red cabbage

Recipe modified slightly from Saveur

Red Cabbage Gratin

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

7 cups shredded red cabbage (about 1 small head, medium shred)

1 ½ cups half and half

2 tsp. Hungarian (sweet) paprika

1 tsp. sugar

½ tsp. freshly grated pepper

salt to taste (go easy; you can always sprinkle on more just before eating)

topping:

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup finely chopped almonds (hello, food processor)

½ cup toasted whole wheat bread crumbs (props if you make your own; I used Gia Russa brand)

 Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Grease a 3-quart baking dish with one tablespoon of the butter.  Put the shredded cabbage into the greased pan and set aside.

2.  In a 1 quart or larger saucepan, combine the half and half, sweet paprika, sugar, salt and pepper.  Heat mixture over medium heat until it just begins to simmer and steam.

3. Pour hot cream mixture over cabbage and stir to distribute evenly.

4. Toss together Parmesan, chopped almonds, and breadcrumbs in a bowl; sprinkle evenly over the creamy cabbage.  (It may seem like a lot of topping, but trust me, use all of it.) Dot the top of the gratin with remaining one tablespoon butter.  Feel free to drizzle with olive oil if it seems a bit dry.

5.  Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake the gratin until the cabbage is pleasantly tender and most of the half and half is absorbed, around 45 minutes.  Then, take off the foil and turn the oven up to 400°F and bake 10-15 minutes more, until the breadcrumb-cheese-nut mixture is thoroughly browned and crispy.  Let the gratin cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

sliced red cabbage 2

red cabbage gratin

red cabbage gratin 2

My Granola Brings All the Boys to the Yard.

And they’re like, it’s better than yours.
I could teach you, but I’d have to charge.

granola1

Nah, I’m just kidding. I won’t charge you for my awesome granola recipe.

I’ve been making my own granola for about as long as I’ve been cooking for myself. Cereal + milk is one of my most favorite comfort foods. It’s a meal or a snack or a midnight munchie. Unfortunately most cereal, even those posing as healthy, aren’t so great for us. They’re chock full of sugar, GMO corn and soy, and artificial colors and flavors, a few things I’d rather keep out of my body. (Unless of course it’s Halloween – then it all goes out the window for one night. Hello fun size pack of Skittles, blueberry Tootsie Pop and Reese’s peanut butter cup.)

I started making my own granola so I have could that satisfying bowl of sweet, milky, nutty, crunchy goodness at a moment’s notice. Since crafting my first batch, based off a recipe in Louisa Shafia’s “Lucid Food,” I’ve always just eyeballed my ingredients. Well, my pops recently “hired” me to make him big batches of granola to have at his office desk for healthy out-of-hand snacking. Score! Now it’s just a matter of slotting the time to churn out 4 pounds of granola every couple weeks. On behalf of this new “business agreement” I decided to finally measure my ingredients and write down the recipe. This helped me figure out cost as well as ensure a consistent product every time. And now, I get to share my “secret” method with you!

granola2

Ashleigh’s Granola

Ingredients:

4.5 cups oats
3 to 4 cups nuts and seeds, depending how nutty or seedy you are
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp coarse salt

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup canola or olive (non-virgin) oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extraxt
1/2 cup maple syrup

add-ins:
coconut flakes
chia or sesame seeds
dried fruit
chocolate, etc.!

granola3

Method:

Preheat your oven to 275ºF.

Mix the dry ingredients (oats, nuts, spices, salt) together in a large bowl.

In a small sauce pan, combine the wet ingredients (oils, extracts, maple syrup) and stir together over low heat.  Continue heating just until coconut oil is completely melted.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir well until all the oats are moistened.  If the some of the oats are still a little dry, add a bit more olive oil or maple syrup to the mixture.

Distribute the granola onto two parchment-lined baking sheets (with raised edges is best) and spread evenly.

Bake at 275ºF for 15 minutes, remove the pans and stir the granola well. Return granola to the oven, rotating the pan positions.

Bake another 15 minutes (30 min total so far).  Remove the pans and add about a tablespoon of olive or melted coconut oil to each of the pans of granola. Stir in chia or sesame seeds, shredded coconut or other non-meltable mix-ins.

Bake 5-10 minutes more depending on how the browning is coming along. (35-40 min total bake time)

Remove granola from oven and place on cooling racks until totally cool.  Mix in any chocolate, etc. at this point.

Store your beautiful homemade granola in an airtight container and enjoy for up to a month, if it lasts that long.

granola4

Ashleigh's Granola Label