Saturday, January 7, 2012

Brussels Sprout Gratin

Welcome to the first post of 2012!

So glad you could join us for a new year of adventures.

Jon and I were looking back on 2011 a few days ago while sitting on the beach together. It was a very crisp day as old man winter finally showed up in GA. But, it worked out well for us. We went to a popular stretch of beach that we normally don't frequent. It's a beautiful little spot on the coast- soft white sand, salty sea breeze, and a great view of not only the coastline, but the edge of the city as well. We like it because we can watch the sun set from the beach. The problem is that many of the locals and most of the tourists like it for the same reason. So, on nice days it can become a bit crowded for my taste.

But, since there was a nip in the air, the beach was very sparse. And that's just the way I like it. Mostly, we had the beach to ourselves save the masses of fluffed up sea gulls and the occasional bundled up runner. We sat in our little chairs and soaked in the sunshine.

We talked about how many challenges we've overcome in the past year and half- we moved across country, got new jobs, changed our dietary lifestyle, and have grown closer to God through out the entire process. It was a great time of reflection, laughter, prayer, and meditation. And, Jon played a bit of Angry Birds on his phone. I informed him there were actual angry birds on the beach to look at, but he was less than interested in those...At any rate, we are very thankful for the blessings that we were given in 2011 and have no doubt that our Father will be faithful once again this year.

In fun new food news- We can resume the cooking light project! Well, with a twist. But it's back nonetheless. My parents gifted me with a copy of The Cooking Light Gluten Free Cookbook. Yippee! I am very excited to have some new ideas and recipes. And I always enjoy the cooking light books.

Also in food fun- Jon bought me a juicer for Christmas. I've been having fun making fruity juices for my breakfast and veggie juices for snacks. Which helps with our "Year of healthier us!" plan.

First off, let me say- I don't do resolutions. I personally think they set you up for failure. And no one wants to feel like a looser. So, periodically through out the year I make mini goals. Last year, going gluten free was a big thing. For the longest time, I was struggling with what I could eat and not feel sick. Now that I have that under control, I wanted to move to the next level. Healthier gluten free, on a budget.

So, after discussing this with my husband he purchased the juicer as a fun surprise. It's a great way to get a lot of good, healthy nutrients in a tasty drink. After I had been making my own juice for a few days I found myself less likely to grab a handful of m&m's and more apt to grab an apple or pear. (I must admit, I was startled the first time I realized I chose fruit over chocolate, by choice...) Upon this realization, I decided it was time to add the next goal- incorporate more veggies and less meat into our diet.

I say less meat because A. Jon LOVES meat and B. I enjoy a good, thick, medium rare steak or some salty ham on occasion.

I have eased our suppers into this by making more veggie side dishes that I know Jon does enjoy (cucumber & tomato salad tossed with a little Italian dressing for example) or by reducing the amount of meat in a recipe. We had a "clean out the fridge" veggie soup a few days ago- it was completely meatless. (We love this sort of soup and it's so easy- a can of veggie broth, a can of diced tomatoes, a few seasonings, and whatever raw veggies you've got in the fridge. Simmer together until the veggies are tender.)We both enjoyed it so much that we just about had to rock-paper-scissors for who got to take the last cup for lunch.

I am very impressed with the way that Jon has embraced the increase in veggies. He's even making better snacking choices- light popcorn, almonds, string cheese.

So, here we are. A new year of culinary adventures. Lots of exciting new side dishes and main dishes coming our way. I must say, I am looking forward to the tasting of it all!

I will be sharing an easy side dish today. We had it as an accompaniment to some grilled chicken and fresh sliced tomatoes. It made for a great looking plate and a great combo of different flavor profiles.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Brussels Sprout Gratin

24 oz Brussels sprouts
1 ½ TBS butter
1 ½ TBS gluten free flour
1 cup milk, warmed
salt and pepper to taste
3 oz Gruyere, Jarlsberg, or Gouda cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Using a sharp knife or a mandolin, thinly slice the sprouts. Simmer in a pot of lightly salted water until just tender. Shock in an ice bath.

Make the sauce by melting the butter and flour together in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until smooth and bubbling, about 1 minute; slowly whisk in milk and continue to cook, whisking frequently, until thick and creamy. Season the sauce well with salt and heavily with pepper. 

Spread the sprouts in an even layer in a 2 quart baking dish. Pour the sauce over the sprouts and sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top. 

Bake in the center of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling.

No comments:

Post a Comment