Sunday, June 12, 2011

Various Broccolis Gratin (with Questionably Long-Winded Personal Narrative)

I'm supposed to be at a birthday party right now. In fact, I believe I missed two birthday parties today. I don't have any real excuse.

See, sometimes my life is kind of like this. (Not really. But sort of.) I was totally kicking this particular weekend's ass. There I was, making it to the market before noon and doing laundry and going to yoga like a champ. The last big thing on my list of Functionality Indicators was going to a birthday party! But then my resolve sort of crumpled. There was a distinct chill in the air, and I couldn't stomach the idea of Muni-ing out to Ocean Beach to huddle 'round a fire in the fog. (Sorry, Katie! I'm sure you all had a lovely time without me.) I just wanted something warm. I just wanted to curl up under my freshly laundered comforter and eat a really good, somewhat decadent meal that I'd made myself.

Lately -- in addition to maintaining said Functionality Indicators with varying degrees of success -- I have been doing Other Things, which have mostly included neither blogging nor cooking. I have been camping. I have been swimming in creeks, in pools, and in the bay. I have been walking, and then walking some more. I have been breaking in the most fabulous pair of knee-high black boots you could ever hope to see. I have been falling in love. And I have, most recently, been eating a lot of kimchi. (Kimchi needs a post onto itself. Long story short: this was a first attempt and not entirely successful. But at least this ain't no white girl kimchi! This kimchi is the sort of hot that catches you in a never ending masochistic loop of kimchi eating, wherein eating more kimchi simply hurts less than not eating more kimchi.) And while all of these Other Things have been quite grand, today I needed something warm, home-cooked, chili-free, and cheesy.

Also, I happened to have a ton of various incarnations of broccoli in my overstuffed fridge. There was the somewhat wilted broccoli I'd inherited from someone heading out of town, and there was the broccoli I'd bought at the farmers market. Then there was the glorious Chinese broccoli cultivar we're growing at Alemany Farm right now, which is leggy and tender and sort of rabe-esque. And it turned out that in addition to Glorious Chinese Broccoli from yesterday, I also had Somewhat Less Glorious Chinese Broccoli from two weeks ago, which was literally going to seed in the crisper. (Summer at Alemany means an increasingly bounteous harvest, and everyone is expected to do their part in the eating department.)

What to do? Various Broccolis Gratin, that's what.

Chop various broccolis into bite size bits. Steam, then transfer to a greased casserole dish. Sautee some chopped leeks and red onions, and add to casserole. Meanwhile make a light butter roux. Season to taste -- in this case, Herbs de Provence, salt, and fresh black pepper. Stir in cream. Heat, but don't boil. Melt in cheeses of choice -- in this case, Asiago, another mystery hard cheese from the back of the fridge, and Mozzarella to fill it out. Pour sauce over vegetables and toss to coat. Lay thinly sliced red onions over the top for a bit more color, then sprinkle with more cheese and/or breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 until golden brown.

Warm. Easy. Cheesy. Comforting. And look! Finally posting to the ol' blog again was also on my to-do list. Check plus.

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