Rutabaga, Celery Root and Potato Gratin

This recipe is from Food and Wine Magazine,
David McCann


Ingredient Checklist


  • Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle position. Place rutabaga, potatoes, celery root, cream, and thyme sprigs in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium, turning vegetables occasionally, until cream just begins to bubble around edges of pan. Continue cooking, turning vegetables occasionally, until vegetables are tender on the outside but still crunchy in the center, 12 to 15 minutes, reducing heat as needed to maintain a very gentle simmer. Remove from heat; stir in salt and pepper.

  • While vegetable mixture cooks, lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish or 10-inch cast-iron skillet with butter, and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

  • Remove and discard thyme sprigs from vegetable mixture. Spoon half of vegetable mixture into prepared pan; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese. Top with remaining vegetable mixture, pressing down gently to even top layer. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cheese. 

  •  Place baking sheet with gratin in preheated oven. Bake until mixture is bubbling and vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Increase oven temperature to broil (do not remove gratin from oven). Broil on middle rack until golden brown in spots, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from oven; garnish with thyme leaves. Let cool 15 minutes. 

Make Ahead

Gratin can be assembled through step 3 and refrigerated overnight. Let gratin come to room temperature before baking.

Cherry Tomato Tart

Once I made this recipe, I knew I had to share it here! A great way to use up all those cherry tomatoes plus it’s super delicious!

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. sea salt

9 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small sections

1 egg

3 tbsp. cold water

1 tbsp. dijon mustard

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

2 tbsp. olive oil

pinch of salt and pepper

3 tbsp. tomato paste (optional)

Approx. 1 1/2 lbs. cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 1/2 tbsp. + 1 tbsp. olive oil

Combine the flour, salt, butter and egg with a fork or pastry blender until loose crumbles. Add the water and mix to combine. With your hands, shape into a flattened ball, wrap and chill for about one hour. 

Gently roll out the dough and place into a 10″ tart pan, cutting off the excess. 

Combine the mustard, basil, olive oil and salt and pepper. Evenly spread the optional tomato paste on the tart base then top with the basil olive oil mixture. 

Add the cherry tomatoes in a single layer as shown, pack them tightly. Drizzle with the honey and 1 tbsp. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in a 425F oven for one hour. Remove and let rest 10 minutes. 

Serve warm.


Dutch Indonesian Fried Rice

Served here with curry chicken.

1 cup uncooked white jasmine rice

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 large sweet onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. curry powder

1/2 tbsp. ground cumin

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce, plus 2-3 tbsp.

1/4 cup brown sugar

salt and pepper to taste

*toasted coconut with peanuts

Cook the rice according to package instructions. Set aside.  In a large fry pan, saute the bell pepper and onion in the olive oil and butter until soft, add the garlic and continue to fry over medium heat.  Stir in the rice and blend well.  Push the rice mixture to the sides of the pan so as to create a “well” in the middle.  Add the peanut butter and allow to soften until ‘melted’. Add the curry and cumin. Continuing to work in the center of the pan, add the 1/4 cup soy sauce and brown sugar.  Mix well.  Work the mixture into the rice so that it is all well incorporated.  Add the extra soy sauce over the rice.  Rice should be fully coated.  Can be made ahead and kept warm until serving. When serving, sprinkle the toasted coconut over as a garnish.  

*Indonesian rice is typically served with a side of toasted coconut and peanuts.  Simply place about a cup or more of sweetened coconut in a fry pan. Over medium heat and lightly stirring, toast the coconut until it is a golden color. Remove from the heat, allow to cool. Then mix in 1/4 cup spanish peanuts, if desired.  Can be done without the peanuts if that is preferred.  This toasted coconut can be stored in an airtight container for use another time as well.








Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

This casserole is a must-have at our Thanksgiving table. It is certain to be a family favorite for you as well!

  • 3-4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

For the topping

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325F. Place the sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until cooked through, approx 40-50 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool enough to handle. Peel the potatoes and place in a large mixing bowl. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Mix together the potatoes, white sugar, eggs, salt, butter, evaporated milk and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9×13″ baking dish.

For the topping – in a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potatoes.

Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned.

Serves 12.

Individual Mushroom Souffles

This delicious and relatively easy recipe is from
The Diplomatic Kitchen

This recipe is easily increased, you’re only limited by the number of ramekins you own.


  • 5 ounces of button mushrooms, coarsely chopped, and a couple of extra ounces, sliced, for arranging on the tops of the souffles
  • 4 Tablespoons of butter, and some for greasing the baking sheet and browning the extra sliced mushrooms
  • 4 Tablespoons of flour
  • 1 and 2/3 cups of milk
  • 3 ounces of grated Gruyere, Emmentaler or a combination of them, and some extra to sprinkle on the tops of the souffles
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 8 teaspoons of creme fraiche or heavy cream


  • a frying pan
  • a large baking sheet
  • Parchment paper (also known as baking paper)
  • 8 half-cup size ramekins
  • The First Baking: it may be done up to two days ahead:

    1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut 8 circles from the parchment paper to fit the bottoms of the ramekins.  Butter the ramekins well and line them with the circles of paper:

  • 2.  Heat a little butter in the frying pan and fry the sliced mushrooms that will go on top of the souffles until they are golden.  Cool, cover and refrigerate them to use for the second baking of the souffles.  In the same pan, heat the 4 Tablespoons of butter and cook the chopped mushrooms for several minutes until they brown a little.  Add the flour and cook it for a minute, stirring.  Add the milk and continue to stir until a sauce forms and thickens.  Add the 3 ounces of grated cheese, reserving some extra for the second baking.  Add some grinds of salt, pepper and nutmeg and cool the mixture:
  • 3.  Beat the egg whites until they are stiff and don’t slide up the side of a tilted bowl:
  • 4.  Beat the egg yolks a little, stir them into the mushroom mixture, and fold in the egg whites:
  • 5.  Divide the mushroom mixture among the 8 ramekins and place them in a roasting pan.  Fill the pan with cold water to reach half way up the sides of the ramekins:
  • 6.  Bake the souffles for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until they are puffed and browned.  Remove them from the roasting pan and let them cool:
  • 7.  The souffles will sink.  When they are cooled, cover and refrigerate them until you are ready to bake them a second time and serve them.  (The souffles may be made up to this point a couple of days ahead.):
  • The Second Baking:  arrange them on the baking sheet a little ahead of time and bake right before serving:

    1.  Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Cut out 8 4-inch squares of parchment paper.  Streak the baking sheet with butter to hold down the paper squares and place the squares on the sheet:

  • 2.  Unmold the souffles, peel off the paper rounds, and place the souffles right-side up on the paper squares.  Over each souffle pour a teaspoon of heavy cream or creme fraiche, sprinkle on some grated cheese and arrange mushroom slices on top:
  • 3.  Bake the souffles for about 15 minutes, or until they rise slightly and the cheese bubbles.  Serve them on the parchment squares.  They look nice garnished with Green Onion Curls and fresh black pepper ground over each plate:

Zucchini Wraps

These are served chilled and uncooked. A perfect refreshing summer side!

Serves 6

3-4 narrow approx. 6″ long zucchinis

1 pkg. garlic and herb Boursin cheese, room temperature

fresh marinara sauce (optional)

Cut the top and bottom off the zucchini. Using a cheese slicer or mandolin, slice a thin layer off and discard.  Continue to slice as many thin layers as you can get from each zucchini, discarding the “top” and “bottom” slice, these are the slices with the peel. Lay the slices out on paper towel lined cookie sheets and salt lightly.  Allow to “sweat” for about 10 minutes.  turn the slices over and repeat. This draws out the excess moisture from the zucchini. Dab any extra moisture with a paper towel.

Using 4 slices for each serving, weave the zucchini slices together as shown.

Place a small amount (approx. 1 tbsp.) of the softened boursin cheese in the center and fold the slices over as shown to form a neat package. Gently turn the package over and place on serving dish. Serve chilled.

I spread a small amount of chilled fresh marinara sauce and a light drizzle of basil pesto on a platter and placed the zucchini packets on top of that. You can also present these on individual plates for real some real “wow” factor.

Asian Slaw

3 cups finely shaved and chopped green cabbage

1 cup finely shaved and chopped red cabbage*

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp. sesame oil

1/4 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. black sesame seeds

Mix all ingredients together and chill for about 45 minutes.  Serve.

TIP:  If a creamier consistency is desired, add 2 – 3 tbsp. plain greek yogurt

*if your not a fan of red cabbage, you can delete and just add another cup of the green cabbage.


Scotch Eggs with Curry-Lime Mayonnaise

I have always wanted to try making scotch eggs.  I found this very easy recipe in Victoria Magazine.  Typically, they should have a runny yolk.  I find it is difficult to get the timing right to make that happen, regardless, they are delicious either way.

My tip – I used a deep fryer, I it easier to control the temperature and the mess!  See my link below.  Also, make the mayonnaise ahead of time, it is an easy recipe and stores very well.

8 large eggs

12 ounces ground sausage

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

vegetable oil, for frying

Place 6 of the eggs in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium high het, cover, remove from heat and let stand for 3 minutes. Drain, and return eggs to pan. Fill with ice and let stand for 10 minutes. Peel eggs and pat dry. Wrap a thin layer of sausage around each egg. Place flour in a bowl. In a second bowl combine the panko crumbs, salt and pepper.  In a third bowl beat the remaining two eggs. Dredge eggs in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in beaten egg, then roll in panko crumbs to coat. In a saucepan, pour oil to a depth of 4 inches and heat over medium high heat until temp. reaches 350.


Fry eggs in batches, if necessary until deep golden brown, about 6 minutes, turning frequently. Let drain on a wire rack.  Serve immediately, or let cool and serve at room temperature with Curry-Lime Mayonnaise.


Curry-Lime Mayonnaise

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup plain greek yogurt

2 tsp. curry powder

2 tsp. stone-ground mustard

1 tsp. lime zest

1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 tsp. hot sauce

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients well.  Cover and refrigerate up to 4 days.



Oven baked fresh tomatoes with caramelized onions and fresh herbs

3-4 medium tomatoes sliced into 1/2″ rings

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1 medium onion sliced into rings

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

small bunch fresh herbs – basil, parsley, rosemary, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese

1/4 to 1/2 cup cubed fresh mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.  Place the tomato slices on a baking sheet covered with paper towels.  Sprinkle with salt and let stand for about 15 minutes to “sweat” out excess moisture.

Meanwhile in a fry pan, melt the butter and add the olive oil.  Add the onions and sauté on medium heat until glossy and softened.  Sprinkle the sugar over the onions evenly and continue to sauté until golden in color.  Add the vinegar and cook until moisture is absorbed.  In a 9″ round baking dish sprinkle the panko bread crumbs evenly.  Layer the tomato slices as shown.

Spread the onions over the tomatoes.

Sprinkle over the chopped herbs, then the parmesan and mozzarella cheese.  Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.  Remove and serve.

Can also be served at room temperature with crusty baguette slices!

Stuffed Grape Leaves – Dolmas!

Stuffed grape leaves or dolmas are a traditional middle eastern delight!  My very good Lebanese friend makes these regularly.  I was always a little intimidated to make them myself, until one day another good friend, my Greek neighbor, inspired me!  I never realized that you can use the wild vine-growing grape leaves that I regularly curse because of how they grow so prolifically all over my property threatening to choke out anything in their path! She gave me a brief tutorial and I had an aha moment!!  I set off on my mission. 

If you plan on using the wild grape leaves, be sure they are not torn, have any lesions, etc.  They should be the size of an average hand.  Be certain to cut out the stem before blanching, see pictures.  I you’d rather skip that step you can always buy prepared grape leaves ready for stuffing.  Amazon does sell them, and I will provide the link at the bottom of this post.

I found this recipe from Olivia’s Cuisine, which is a meat and rice recipe.  Some dolmas are just rice, I suppose it is a matter of preference.  I like to serve mine with a side of tzatziki.

Meat & Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves
Author: Olivia’s Cuisine
Cuisine: Lebanese
Serves: 50 stuffed grape leaves
  • 50 to 60 grape leaves (fresh or jarred)
  • 6 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, cut into large rings
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • ½ tsp all spice
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a skillet, heat 2Tbsp of the olive oil over medium high heat and sauté the chopped onion and garlic until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the spices and let them sweat for a couple more minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the meat, the rice, the onion mixture and the parsley. Mix everything together with your hands until everything is incorporated. Reserve.
  3. Drain and rinse the grape leaves.
  4. Take the stems off of every grape leaf and blanch them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and reserve.
  5. To roll the grape leaves, place a leaf with the vein side up on your work surface. Add one tablespoon of the filling mixture to the center of the leaf. Fold the edges in and up and roll the grape leaf until it looks like a cigar, tucking the edges under the roll. Proceed with the other leaves until you’ve run out of filling or leaves.
  6. Line a heavy bottomed pot with (unrolled) grape leaves. On top of that, add the onion rings.
  7. Proceed to arrange the stuffed grape leaves in rows, alternating the direction of each layer of rows
  8. Fill the pot with the chicken broth (enough to cover the rolls) and the remaining olive oil.
  9. Place a plate on the top to prevent the rolls from floating.
  10. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.
  11. When it boils, lower the heat to low and cook for 40 minutes, until meat is cooked and rice is tender.
  12. Remove the rolls from the broth and serve warm or at room temperature.