Monday, December 6, 2010

Warm White Bean Dip

Dear readers, I lied to you.  I told you the cauliflower gratin was the best dish on my Thanksgiving plate, but that was only part of the story.  As a girl who grew up with crazy pre-dinner spreads, having a selection of cheese, nuts, crostini, and olives is way important.  And we knocked our pre-dinner munchies out of the park.

There was a dip, an epic dip, which shall henceforth be known as The Only Dip That Matters.  White beans.  Roasted Garlic.  Olive Oil.  Herbs.  Buzzed together into silky perfection, served warm, with little slices of french bread.  You may be thinking this sounds like hummus, but trust me it's not.  This warm white bean dip is hummus' sexy roommate from the big city.  Elegant, smooth, sophisticated...  Watch out, this dip might steal your boyfriend.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Vegucating Robin

I'm not a regular listener of the Howard Stern show, but I have a growing girl crush on his news woman Robin Quivers.  First she ran the NYC Marathon the same year I did, and now she's doing a web-based cooking series called Vegucating Robin.  Robin has been a vegan for the last four years, but nearly set her house on fire trying to boil water.  She and chef Gavan Murphy created Vegucating Robin as a way to share her cooking journey with her fans.  Robin's sense of humor in the kitchen is infectious, and their food looks amazing.  As someone who's flirting with going fully plant-based, I can't wait to see what other recipes Chef Gavan comes up with.  For now, check out their cannelini bean concerto.  White beans and kale?  Yeah, I can get down with that.

Cauliflower Gratin

Hello!  I hope your Thanksgiving was fabulous, and that your pants are being friendly to you this week.  We had a wonderful day in the kitchen, and I could not be more thankful to my BFF and sister-from-another-mister Nicole for steering the ship.  We were triumphant in the kitchen, even if our guests did eat a bit later than we had planned (did any of you manage to get your Thanksgiving dinner on the table at the time you had planned?  If so, you're my hero). 

As my little household has transitioned to meatlessness (all the time for me, at home for John), we have a lot of conversations about satisfying food. While I could probably munch happily on brown rice and pureed soup for dinner, whether we consider a new dish a success or a failure often depends on that heft, that oomph, that weightiness that makes you feel warm and full on a cold (ok cold for Los Angeles) winter night.  Our Thanksgiving meal was the most satisfying I can remember.  Soft blistery sweet potatoes, a rich and savory stuffing, velvety mashed potatoes, and some zingy little cranberries .  Turkey who?

If Thanksgiving is my Superbowl, then it needs an MVP, and this cauliflower number is it.  If you've never made gratin before, let me offer a ringing endorsement.  Gratins have a base vegetable that cozies up with a rich bechamel or cheese sauce.  The whole thing gets topped with a crumbly savory topping and baked like a casserole.  It's winter perfection.  Potato gratins are very common, but cauliflower, sweet potato, and even parsnips are great variations.
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