Today was a very dreary day. It rained on and off, overcast, high humidity but not hot, a perfect weather for a long long nap! But it wasn’t meant to be… no napping for me. I got wrapped in my obsession of trying out a recipe for French Macarons (pictured way down below), but I have a long way to perfect it. Then my mom came to visit (unannounced as usual) and have to sit and hear her complain about the healthcare system; then the kids came home and drove Anna so that she can get her trendy haircut. After that I didn’t feel like cooking!! My body and mind was seriously in rebellion, and of course the weather made my body heavy and groggy so I didn’t want to lift a finger! But my mission must go on, I have to cook something from this Moosewood cookbook!!
Green & White Bean Gratin: serves 4-6
2 cups frozen or fresh cut green beans
2 – 15ounce cans of white beans
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, sage, or thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of black pepper
1 cup grated Cheddar, Fontina, or Gruyere cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons melted butter
Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter an 8 inch square baking dish. Defrost the green beans (if you’re using frozen) by placing them in very hot water for a few minutes. Drain and spread to cover the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
In a blender, whirl one can of white beans, undrained, with the garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper until smooth. Pour over the green beans in the baking dish and sprinkle with the cheese of your choice. Drain the second can of white beans and spread the beans on top.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and melted butter. Sprinkle over the top of the gratin. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Uncover the bake until golden and bubbling, about 10 minutes more.
Beet Salad: serves 4-6
3 or 4 raw beets
2 Tablespoons vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 scallions, minced
2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoons sugar (optional)
Peel the beets and cut them in half. Place the beets in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until they are reduced to little chunks, or shred the beets with a food processor or by hand using the largest holes of a grater (you’ll need 2-1/2 to 3 cups).
In a serving bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, mustard, and salt. Add the beets, scallions, and parsley and toss well. Add sugar to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Baked apples: serves 2-4
2 firm tart apples
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the apples in half and core them. Place the halves cut side down in an oiled baking dish. Bake until tender, 15-20minutes. While the apples bake, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. When the apples are done, turn them over and sprinkle with the sugar mixture.
My opinion: I can’t say this was my favorite meal, but nevertheless it was a very good meal. I was kind of surprised how all these 3 dishes complimented each other – the savory, the tart, and the sweet! The gratin was filling, I don’t think I’ll change anything. I used Gruyere cheese for that and we liked it, next time I make this I’ll try different cheeses to see the taste difference. I also put thyme in this gratin. I’m sure the taste will change based on which herbs you put in. I love beets! During Winter I usually make pickled beets (recipes inherited from my dear friend, Lone, in Denmark). I loved this salad, however, next time, I will put less scallion and no parsley (or just a little bit). Ofcourse, baked apples were a hit with the kiddies. I kind of rotated around by eating gratin, beet salad and the baked apple. I just loved tasting the flavour changes:-)
As I mentioned before, my quest for perfecting the French Macarons will continue. This is Raspberry Mascarpone Macarons; it’s my first attempt in making this, and I know what NOT to do next time.
I ground my own almond, but next time I will use store bought almond flour. The dough became too heavy in my very humble opinion. As a result of this the top didn’t rise round enough and cracklings appeared too… I’ll put less sugar, and whip up the egg whites more. I will not post the recipes yet, since I’m still trying to get the right consistency.