Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin and a New Year's Eve Dinner Menu

Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin, from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table, p. 362
I decided "why wait?" and dove in to this week's recipe from Around My French Table, Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin.  As DG mentions in the recipe, it is almost like a quiche with the number of eggs involved, and it was the star of our quiet New Year's Eve dinner for two.  The recipe calls for boiling the cauliflower florets for 10 minutes, draining them and then patting them dry.  Dorie also suggests steaming as an alternative, and I think next time I make this I will do that because after 10 minutes of boiling time my cauliflower was a bit too tender for my and my husband's tastes.  In addition, I will be more dilligent about removing as much moisture as possible from the cauliflower before baking because the finished gratin was a bit soupy out of the oven.  Perhaps I could have baked it a bit longer, as well.  That said, we loved this dish.  Bacon and cheese and cream and eggs, what is not to love here?  I did add sauteed onions as suggested in the bonne idee, because to me the recipe just seemed to call out for them.  The general recipe could easily be used with broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach or a combo of these and other veggies. 

New Year's Eve Dinner for 2: Scallops with Caramel-Orange
Sauce, Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin and roasted asparagus.
The rest of the NYE dinner menu included Scallops with Caramel-Orange Sauce, also from AMFT, p. 317, roasted asparagus and, for dessert, Marie-Helene's Apple Cake, p. 432.  I am not a seafood eater and this was honestly the first time I have ever cooked it.  My husband loved the scallops and said that they were perfectly cooked  (thanks to Dorie's directions on this)  He thought that the citrus-infused sweetness from the sauce provided a nice foil to the salt and white pepper crust. 

Marie-Helene's Apple Cake, from P. 432 of AMFT
I had made Marie-Helene's Apple Cake several times before and it has become a favorite in our house.  It is incredibly easy to make, and delicious.  The key to this recipe really is choosing 4 different apples to get the most interesting texture and flavor.  This time I decided to play around with the recipe a bit and add some cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and lemon zest.  While these additions were excellent, the recipe is so simple and delicious as written, I think I will go back to making it without these extras next time.  The key to a good looking cake here is to use a springform pan, which I could not find yesterday when I made it, so my cake wasn't especially beautiful out of the pan, but it was still delicious with a little whipped cream and a glass of Veuve Cliquot. 

Extra cardio in the gym this week, for sure, but a special, delicious dinner for the start of the New Year.   Happy New Year to you and your families, and all the best in 2012! 


  1. I'm so happy to see the cauliflower gratin. We had the spanish version at Si Tapas in Dallas last week. I always forget about it, I think it would make a wonderful Thanksgiving dish.


  2. Everything looKs great. I'm always pleasantly surprised by how good cauliflower is in recipes. That apple cake sounds wonderful! -Helen A.

  3. @Helen...thanks! You may be seeing the gratin or the cake at movie night. :)