A gratin that won’t weigh you down.
Usually smothered in heavy cream and copious amounts of melty, gooey cheese, gratins are both comfort food and festive special occasion fare.
They’re also rich, heavy, and total gut-busters.
But what if they could be lightened — without sacrificing the luscious quality we love about them?
Leave it to the geniuses behind America’s Test Kitchen to do just that — at least with cauliflower gratin.
Meet “Modern Cauliflower Gratin,” an inventive take on the classic. It’s one of more than 700 innovative recipes in the new cookbook, “Vegetables Illustrated: An Inspiring Guide with 700+ Kitchen-Tested Recipes” by America’s Test Kitchen, of which I received a review copy.
If you’re familiar with Cook’s Illustrated magazine, then you know all too well how meticulous these recipes have been tested until perfected. Although the book is called “Vegetables” illustrated, it doesn’t mean this is a vegetarian cookbook. While vegetables are dominant, many recipes feature meat or seafood, or make use of chicken broth.
All the flavors of Kung Pao chicken in vegetarian form.
There are many theories as to why Jews flock to Chinese restaurants on Christmas Day.
Some say this affinity, which dates back to the early 19th century, started because Jews and Chinese immigrants shared the commonality of being outliers in a new land.
Others say it’s because these were the only establishments open on the holiday, as Chinese restaurants famously never shut their doors.
I think it’s because who wouldn’t want to celebrate with family and friends around a big round table laden with winter melon soup, steamed dumplings, roast duck, a heap of chow mein and the like?
Whatever the reason, Chinese food definitely deserves a place at the holiday table. “Kung Pao Cauliflower” makes it super easy to inject a little Asian spice, no matter what else you’re serving.
The recipe is from the new “The Staub Cookbook: Modern Recipes for Classic Cast Iron” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. It was written with Nashville-based Amanda Frederickson, a former recipe developer for the Williams-Sonoma test kitchen.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting New York Chef Suvir Saran, no doubt you reveled in his bold, colorful and magnetic personality.
Not surprisingly, this dish is very much like him — it makes a big impression from the get-go.
“Roasted Manchurian Cauliflower” is from his cookbook, “Masala Farm” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. Suran, owner of Devi restaurant in New York, wrote the book with Charlie Burd, his long-time partner. It includes recipes and stories about their time shared in their upstate New York farmhouse situated on 67 acres with three ponds, goats, chickens and an abundance of fruits, vegetables and herbs.
The recipes are farm-to-table, but done often with Indian flair.
This cauliflower dish has been a signature one since his restaurant opened. It’s sort of like Chinese sweet-and-sour, but with cauliflower, not pork, and boasts a spicy kick.