Saturday, October 27, 2007

What we're eating: Squash and Rice Gratin

I've been meaning to add a new section to my blog called "What we're eating." I cook a lot and am always trying new recipes so I thought I'd keep track of them online. Unfortunately the pictures never look as good as the food. For example, this one looks like vomit. Whatever-- I'm going to do it anyway. This recipe is from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Suppers. It's a book I've had out of the library for a LONG time now and I'm enjoying pretty much everything I've made. Unfortunately, Deborah Madison must have someone else to clean up her kitchen for her because many of the recipes use every dish in my kitchen. I guess you have to get messy to eat well. Ron and I have something called the goodness to dish ratio. Basically you rate the tastiness of a meal and compare it to the messiness of kitchen (with the difficulty of preparation as well). If the goodness outweighs the dishes, you've got a winner. This was a winner. It was pretty good, (maybe a 4 out of 5?) and not a lot of dishes were used (maybe a 2/5?). I think I even cleaned up most of the meal while it was cooking-- something I rarely do. Decently healthy too-- without the cheese the meal is vegan!

Crookneck Squash and Rice Gratin with Summer Herbs from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Suppers

1/2 c long grain rice (I used basmati and I made it in the rice cooker)
salt and pepper (fresh of course)
fresh parsley, a handful
marjoram and thyme (I used dried)
2 garlic cloves (I might recommend more)
2 tbl olive oil (I probably used more)
2 large leeks (white and some green, cut into thinnish moons)
2 pounds crookneck squash (I used two yellow squash and two zucchini, cut into thin rounds)
2 ounces of Gruyere (I probably used more like 5 ounces, grated)
1 tsp lemon zest

1. preheat oven to 350
2. make the rice (1 cup water to 1/2 cup rice, of course!)
3. chop the herbs and garlic and set aside
4. heat 2 tsp oil over medium low heat and saute the leeks for about 12 minutes. add some dry white wine if it starts to brown (I wanted to do this but was out of white wine! I think I added a tiny bit of water after a while)
5. add a bit of the garlic/ herbs and generously salt and pepper the leeks. saute a little longer and then scrape the mixture out.
6. return the pan to the stove and switch to high heat. add 4 tsp oil. saute the squash until golden brown. I thought I would never get a good result because the squash filled the pan but it shrinks a bit and all of the squash eventually made contact with the pan to brown. add more garlic and herbs, salt and pepper and saute a little longer.
7. turn off heat. add the leeks and rice and cheese. toss, season with salt and pepper and the rest of the garlic and herbs (I didn't have any left at this point!)

8. put the food into a pyrex or whatever you have and drizzle olive oil over the top (I didn't read about the oil until just now so I didn't do that). bake for 25-30 minutes.

9. sprinkle lemon zest on top just before serving. YUM! the recipe says serve hot or cold.

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