I am very much in love with gratins. When I first realized gratins exist and that I could actually make them at home instead of going to some fancy French restaurant, I was a very happy little lass.
So now it’s one of those dishes I make a lot now and have a lot of fun cooking as well. Certain recipes are very therapeutic as they take a little longer to make but not too long where you are breaking your back in the kitchen. And also putting together all the beautiful ingredients to make something even more wonderful is really rewarding and bittersweet in the end.
Usually when I make gratins, I jam pack them with a decadent cheesy sauce (like my beloved gruyere potatoes au gratin, you are so delicious my friend). But lately I have realized that dairy is doing nasty things to my stomach and I thought it was time to give my gratin a makeover.
And thank the universe for cauliflower! You wonderfully white cruciferous vegetable. Oh how you have made my life so much easier! I can still enjoy my creamy vegetables and not feel the pains of my stomach playing a symphony of embarrassing gurgles and growls!
My stomach has been really cranky lately. I don’t know what is going on with Gertrude (my stomach’s name?). She has been really fussy and sometimes I feel like she’s an old aunt nagging me.
Basically I just simply can’t handle certain foods anymore. I don’t want to get into the complicated (and rather unpleasant) subject on digestion but I just have to accept that my stomach is not the same as it used to be (and eating a bag of starbursts at a sleepover in middle school are days long gone).
So I have given up and started listening to Gertrude (I know it’s weird naming my stomach but I feel our recent involvement has now resulted in a first-name basis). I am learning to eat food that my body really wants rather than what my mind wants. And I am really trying to bridge that gap between mind and body so that they can live harmoniously.
Somedays of course you want your spaghetti in a box from the supermarket or you pass by the frozen section and there is your favorite mushroom pizza all perfectly and sneakily prepared for your convenience. But I’m now learning that somedays you want food that nourishes you, food that is fresh and food that gives your body energy and doesn’t leave you bloated and binge watching How To Get Away With Murder on a Friday night.
Oh man. I just started going to spin class. WHAT did I get myself into. Everything from my belly button down is just sore. I get out of class and from 54th to 68th street and my cheeks are bulbous and puffy red like a chipmunk with hives.
Clearly I am not very attractive when I exercise. But it feels great knowing the strength of your body and what it is capable of. And lately when I’ve come home from my 45-minute intensive class I’ve had myself to thank for making this yummy dishes and saving lots and lots of leftovers to fill my guilty post-workout carb cravings.
As with pretty much ALL of my dishes, let’s start with the herbs. Other than the Simon & Garfunkel song, there are other reasons why I fell in love with rosemary and thyme. I mean would it be awful if I named my two daughters after them? “Thyme dear, could you help your old mother open up this pickle jar?” I don’t know I think it works.
But other than the salty taste that most gratins have, I love adding these two herbs because I feel it gives the potatoes and cheese and really wonderful aroma and more of a distinctive taste.