Sometimes the best dinners are a mishmash — one of the great gifts of living alone.
Backing up: Whenever I have piles of potatoes languishing in a bowl on the counter, my thoughts inevitably turn to gratin. The new nighttime chill doesn’t help (nor does my general propensity for carbs and cream, no matter the weather). Everything in moderation.
Tonight the mission actually started with a giant bulb of fennel. Three potatoes, one bulb of fennel, the (oh!) mandoline, a bit of cream, and some shredded cheese, and a dish of golden goodness awaits…in an hour.
An hour! And I’m starving. So time for a little snack. Something light: a few carrots and a bit of Trader Joe’s tomato hummus (I like that stuff, and always forget to eat it…we’ll see if I let this tub go bad from neglect like the last one, sad).
Just a few. The gratin still needs some time to brown nicely and set. Putting away the hummus, I notice the cute little peppers I bought at the market this weekend — and I wish I remember the name. They’re like pimientos de Padrón but Italian and, the seller confidently informed me, always sweet. I’m fine with the hot, but why not try them? Goddammit, I wish I remembered the name….
Anyway, some hot olive oil, a large pinch of salt, and a few minutes later, and I’ve got a small handful of blistered little peppers for my second snack. Or second course. The little dose of vegetable that will prevent me from gorging on the creamy potato-fennel concoction, and you’d better believe it, finger-licking, scrumptiously delicious. Worth ever cent of that 5 bucks, and I’ve got some to spare in the unlikely event guests swing by.
Take a small break to lift some weights. Pre-countering the gratin (I didn’t even use all cream! it’s part milk! but we skipped the gym tonight).
And back to the gratin. There is nothing more beautiful than a pan of crusty, bubbling…well, anything food-related, honestly. I really should have invited someone over for dinner.