Living Your Best Life North of Forty and Fifty Plus

Duchess Potatoes A recipe for a luscious side dish for the holidays, and Duchess Cauliflower its slimmed-down, vegan version

Duchess Potatoes by Cook’s Country

3 ½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced ½ inch think

2/3 cup half and half

1 large egg, separated, plus 2 large yolks

Salt and pepper, to taste

Pinch of fresh ground nutmeg

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Grease 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Place potatoes in large saucepan and add cold water to cover by I inch. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Adjust heat to maintain gentle simmer and cook until paring knife can be slipped into and out of centers of potatoes no resistance, 18 to 22 minutes. Drain potatoes.
  2. While potatoes cook, combine half-and-half, 3 egg yolks, 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg in bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place now-empty saucepan over low heat; set ricer or food mill over saucepan. Working in batches, transfer potatoes to hopper and process. Using rubber spatula, stir in 8 tablespoons melted butter until incorporated. Stir in reserved half-and-half mixture until combined. Transfer potatoes to prepared dish and smooth into even layer.
  4. Combine egg white, remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter, and pinch salt in bowl and beat with fork until combined. Pour egg white mixture over potatoes, tilting dish so mixture evenly covers surface. Using flat side of paring knife, make series of 1/2 -inch deep, 1/4-inch-vvide parallel grooves across surface of casserole. Make second series of parallel grooves across surface, at angle to first series, to create crosshatch pattern. Bake casserole until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking. Let cool for 20 minutes. Serve.

TO MAKE AHEAD: At end of stop 3, wrap dish in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. To serve, top and score casserole as directed in step 4 and bake in 375-degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes

Vegan Low Carb Duchess Cauliflower

2 medium or 1 large head cauliflower, cored and broken down into florets (can be large)

2/3 cup rice or soy milk cold, mix in 1 teaspoon of cornstarch (or gluten-free cornstarch) just before adding to the mashed cauliflower

10 tablespoons vegan butter (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons)

¾ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Pinch of fresh nutmeg

Here are the Egg replacement choices for three yolks, and one egg white. Choose from the following and make the selection that works for you best.

Egg yolk replacements

  • 3 tablespoons Aquafaba (3 yolks)
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of soy protein powder with 3 tablespoons of water, per egg (3 tablespoons soy protein powder with about a ½ cup of water = 3 yolks)
  • Puree ¾  cup silken tofu plus ½  teaspoon baking powder (3 yolks)

Egg White Replacements

  • 1 tablespoon Aquafaba (1 large egg white)
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Grease 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Place cauliflower in large saucepan and add cold water to cover by I inch. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Adjust heat to maintain gentle simmer and cook until soft enough to be pierced with a fork or a paring knife.  About 18 to 22 minutes. Drain cauliflower
  2. While the cauliflower cooks, combine rice or soy milk with the vegan equivalent of 3 egg yolks, 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg in bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place now-empty saucepan over low heat; set ricer or food mill over saucepan. Working in batches, transfer potatoes to hopper and process. Using rubber spatula, stir in 8 tablespoons melted butter until incorporated. Stir in reserved half-and-half mixture until combined. Transfer potatoes to prepared dish and smooth into even layer.
  4. Combine egg white, remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter, and pinch salt in bowl and beat with fork until combined. Pour egg white mixture over potatoes, tilting dish so mixture evenly covers surface. Using flat side of paring knife, make series of 1/2 -inch deep, 1/4-inch-vvide parallel grooves across surface of casserole. Make second series of parallel grooves across surface, at angle to first series, to create crosshatch pattern. Bake casserole until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking. Let cool for 20 minutes. Serve.

TO MAKE AHEAD: At end of stop 3, wrap dish in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. To serve, top and score casserole as directed in step 4 and bake in 375-degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes

Living Your Best Life North of Forty and Fifty Plus

Veggies- Got to get more into our lives…deliciously

Eat your vegetables. Perhaps as a kid, you heard them from your mother, father, or grandmother. I believe we knew veggies were good for us, but there wasn’t much focus on finding a way to play veggies up. They were always boiled, steamed, and on occasion, roasted.

Then there was a Renaissance for vegetables that I credit to Julia Child and Mastering the Art of French Cooking. France, like many other European countries made vegetables stand out whether as a part of a dish or on its own. Veggies could go from being good for us, to being good to eat. YUM!

Now that being a vegetarian isn’t just for health nuts and kooks, chefs and home cooks are doing more to honor vegetables by giving them a starring role for dinner. Veggies aren’t just supporting players, vegetables are stars. To that end, we have seen a number of celebrity and television chefs incorporating more veggie focused meals in the programs and cookbooks. One of the chefs is Jamie Oliver. It’s obvious that Jamie enjoys cooking, and I am sure that as a dad, he loves to make good food for his kids to eat. For his program Jamie’s Ultimate Veg, he kicks up vegetables a couple of notches by focusing on bringing out their inherent flavor with spices, herbs, and cooking techniques that won’t leave the family looking for a steak.

When I saw the episode with Green Mac-n-Cheese, I was intrigued by the flavor profile. Leeks, garlic, and thyme, are all flavors that appealed to me. Combine it with cheese and broccoli, and you have a recipe for a party in my mouth. I decided to make it and share with my dad and vegetarian uncle. Everyone was happy. Although, I have to admit, presentation wise all that green, isn’t as pretty as some dishes, but it certainly is delish.

In the interest of being inclusive, I’ve tested different ingredients for vegan and dairy-free diets too.

Green Mac-N-Cheese by Jamie Oliver, Ultimate Veg (adapted by C. Canton)

Ingredients

1 large leek

3 cloves of garlic

(1 3/4 cups) purple sprouting or you stem broccoli

40 g (2 1/2 tablespoons) unsalted butter (vegan butter, margarine)

½ a bunch of fresh thyme , (15g)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, brown or sweet rice flour)

4 1/4 cups of 2% milk (rice or soy milk)

450 g (1 3/4 cups) macaroni elbows (gluten-free elbows)

30 g (3/8 cup, 6 tablespoons) Parmesan cheese (Daiya parmesan cheese or Daiya provolone slices)

150 g (5.29 ounces) Cheddar cheese (Daiya Cheddar Shreds)

100 g (2/3 cup, 4 ounces) baby spinach

50 g (1/2 cup, 1.3 ounces) flaked almonds

Method

Preheat the oven to 350ºF

Trim, halve and wash the leek and peel the garlic, then finely slice with the broccoli stalks, reserving the florets for later. Place the sliced veg in a large casserole pan over a medium heat with the butter, then strip in the thyme leaves and cook for 15 minutes, or until softened, stirring regularly. Stir in the flour, followed slowly by the milk, then simmer for 10 minutes, or until thickened, stirring regularly. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then drain.

Grate the Parmesan and most of the Cheddar into the sauce, and mix well. Tip into a blender, add the spinach and blend until smooth – you may need to work in batches. Season to perfection with sea salt and black pepper, then stir through the pasta and broccoli florets, loosening with a splash of milk, if needed. Transfer to a 25cm x 35cm baking dish, grate over the remaining Cheddar and scatter over the almonds. Bake for 30 minutes, or until beautifully golden and bubbling.

Jamie Oliver’s Greens Mac-N- Cheese