Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Food.


This was the BEST meal ever, ever, ever.

So, I kept seeing this cookbook being touted over and over again:

My sweet mama bought it for me because she is the best mama in the world. (Mama, I will make this for you next time we dine together!)  When I first got it, I was a bit overwhelmed by all the vegetable ingredients.  Lots of vegetables.  Seemed hard and complicated.  And, for some reason, I always kind of balk at vegan recipes.  I'm not sure why I do, but I do.  That's really ridiculous though when you think about it.  It's just food.  You just go to the store and buy it like everything else.

Well, fast forward to us starting to do the juice fast and then the post-juice fast stuff.  I quickly realized that I needed more veggie dishes in my repertoire (lots more) so, I pulled it out again.  Hmmm, maybe not so hard after all.  I will admit that I do get overwhelmed by too many ingredients and too many steps, but I am working hard to overcome this because no recipe is really too hard if you just slow down and try.

Last night I decided to try the Roasted Potato and Mixed Greens Gratin.

All I can say is, OH MAH GAWD you must try this.  I followed the recipe exactly mostly and I would recommend that.  The flavors are all so incredibly sublime together that I wouldn't miss a beat by changing things up.  I served it with Tomato Bisque soup from Central Market, Ho Cakes, and some chipotle aioli.  It was such a hit that I got no pictures except the aftermath:

 (How 'bout that loud-ass table cloth? I love, love, love it!)

Cleaned the hell OUT.  
All of us ate every single thing.  Even FinnigantheCurious who is a notoriously discriminating (ahem) eater.  I was shocked that he even tried it.  He  ultimately thought it was too spicy, but he did give it a thumbs up and that is enough to bring tears of joy to my eyes.

Please tell me you'll try it.  Just try it.  It's insanely good.  Beyond good.  We could not believe it was vegan.  Well, mine wasn't vegan because I didn't have any rice milk and I used a teensy bit of butter to cook the ho cakes with, but it was almost vegan. I took me awhile to make it, but it would not take that long again.  I think I could even make it from memory next time, it really is common sense cooking.

Here's the recipe for the casserole:

 3-4 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4 rounds (I used red potatoes because that's what I had.)
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
Coarse sea salt (any salt is fine, really)
1 bunch collard greens, trimmed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 bunch mustard greens, trimmed and chopped into bite-size pieces ( I used swiss chard cuz that's all the store had that was similar.)
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup panko bread crumbs (you could use very finely ground bread crumbs, but panko is easy to find in most stores and I highly recommend using it.  It's just a kind of bread crumb.)
1 1/2 cups unflavored rice milk (I used regular)

*Preheat oven to 450 F
*In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, the chili powder, red pepper flakes, thyme, oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon salt
*Transfer potatoes to a parchment lined baking sheet (I did not have any parchment so I just lightly sprayed the pan with Pam stuff), spread in one layer, and roast for 20 minutes. Gently turn the potatoes over with a fork and roast for another 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and browned. (Mine were done after the first 20 minutes and I did not put them back in.)
*While the potatoes are roasting, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.  Add 2 teaspoons of salt and the greens and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes until shrunk down.  Drain in a colander.
*In a heavy, wide saute pan, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic.  Turn the heat to medium and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute (don't burn the garlic!). Add the greens and 1/2 teaspoon salt, raise the heat to high, and saute, stirring often, until the greens are well coated with oil and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.
*Transfer the greens to a colander and press them gently to extract their excess liquid. Remove to a cutting board and coarsely chop. (They'll be hot. Go ahead and let them cool a bit.)
*In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs with 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
*Lightly oil a casserole dish (I used a small, square, glass one).  Arrange one layer of the potatoes on the bottom. Spread half of the greens over the potatoes and repeat.  Pour the milk over the top of the whole thing.  Spread the bread crumbs evenly on top of the gratin, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes.
*Remove the foil and place under the broiler for just a few minutes (very few) to brown the top.
*Add pepper to taste and serve immediately. (I forgot to do this. The pepper, not the serve.)
*Scarf down like a wild animal and ask for more.

Ho cakes are just your favorite unsweet cornbread recipe made soupy and cooked on a griddle like pancakes.
Chipotle aioli is made by cutting up 3 or 4 garlic cloves and throwing them in a blender or food processor with 2 or 3 canned chipotle peppers and  several globs of mayonnaise.  Blend it all up and adjust to taste.  You can't go wrong; those are the ingredients, make it like you like.  Slather that on your ho cakes.
You'll need beer (or milk or water or beer) as both the casserole and the aioli are a tad spicy.  Good spicy, not ulcer spicy.

Then you can bow your ass down to me as the goddess who introduced you to this bounty.   Bow down, I say.

Oh, and buy that book because if everything in here is as good as this...holy crap, it's a brave new world, Aldous! 
(You can buy it over there on the right hand column in the section called My Favorites.  I get about 2 cents if you click through and buy it from here. )


  1. This sounds and almost looks great. I will "let" you make this for me the next time I come to eat off your gorgeous wild-ended tablecloth.

  2. I started increasing our vegetarian meals since I was laid off. (It's always cheaper) I found Heidi Swenson who does some nice recipes. (Her blog is 101 cookbooks) Thanks for the new top and the recipe. I have one of his books he co-wrote that's on my to read pile. Doesn't everyone have a to read pile? I'll try it when it's cooler we try not to use the oven in the summer.

  3. I'm going to have to check out that cookbook. I love me some veggies. Finding a vegan recipe that is good can be a challenge. Yes... I'm bowing down as well;)

  4. Give me taters and oil and greens and I'm happy. I'm disguising vegies so Mr.H will eat them and not know in spaghetgtieeisi sauce. He kinda knows it but he eats it. I'd go vegetarian in a flash but for Mr. Man.
    ms mdd

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  6. I'm going to try this one but as I just came back from the grocery store sans the greens bit, it will have to wait a week. Sounds delish.

  7. Well it sounds good in theory, but I usually avoid things with too many steps too. Why would it not all bake and come together like a regular au gratin? Hmmm, I'll experiment when it's cooler out. My oven heats the house up somethin' fierce!

  8. I luuuhhhhh me some Bryant Terry! This sounds so good, we will try it for sure.
    By the way, thought of you and Sonja tonight as I made my first stew in ages, the yummy lentil one!

  9. I've become almost vegan (I eat eggs) the last few months. Always at home, and when eating out if possible. Exceptions are meals at friends' homes (expecting someone to cook vegan for me is too much, I think.) and the trip we're making to the Yucatan, where I will eat fish. I'm much better without dairy!

  10. I made it the day after I read your post. Holy mother, that is a fantastic, FANTASTIC gratin. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. I'm glad you did it first and shared your substitutions cuz I'm always afraid to stray from recipes. I used collard greens and chard and the red potatoes. I didn't use all the milk cuz it sounded like too much. My mistake. It needs all the milk. I used 2%. This recipe is a keeper!

  11. Oh, I'm SO glad you tried it, Roberta. Wasn't it just divine? I thought the same thing about the milk. I almost didn't use it all, but decided just to try it. With the 45 minute bake time, I did think it might need that much.

    Kat - I'm telling ya, I wouldnt mess one bit with it. It's perfect and worth every step. The steps sound intense, but it is very easy. I made it again this morning and only looked at the spices. did it all by heart/brain.

    Ms. Mudd - you know one of my best tricks? mincing tiny tiny tiny mince of squash and zucchini and putting it in ho cakes or pancakes. They never know what hit em! That and stuffing spinach into all our smoothies.

    Zoomletta - you've always been a fantastic cook and eater!!! I've loved every meal shared with you. We're practically vegan over here too these days. Except for cheese. But we get it from the coop so I justify that way. ; )

    Hils: I almost made that the other night too. That damn soup is crazy easy, isn't it? OMG it would be so good with this casserole. But, damn, the kitchen would be a wreck. Maybe we could potluck it?

    Nancy: I LOVE 101cookbooks!! Man, can that girl cook or WHAT? I just discovered this blog called 5 Second Rule and I'm loving her recipes too.

    Wren: Did you try it yet? huh? huh?

    Jenny: I was just on your blog checking out your pomegranate posts. I'm going to get a couple of trees later this month.

    MerryMerry - I guarantee you and CC would BOTH love this.

    Danielle - you gotta get this book! xoxox

  12. Hi Michelle- I'm a former Crestview neighbor who's moved to Seattle. Made this tonight and was it ever yummy! Thanks for sharing. Just wanted you to know that someone in the Pacific Northwest is following your blog and loving it! ~Heather C. Formerly of Princeton Avenue

  13. Awwww HI Heather!!! Wanna trade places? hahaha. I was born in the wrong state; the stork was supposed to drop me off in Seattle. Thank you so much for reading...I'll say Hi to Princeton for you. M

  14. I'm so glad this post is still available because I'm gonna make it again for Thanksgiving. Happy holidays to you!

  15. PS: You should just re-post this for anyone who may have missed it the first time. It's just that good!

  16. Roberta, you're right, I should!!! I will! Thanks.


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