menu plan for week 1

this blog has helped me ... basically waste time that should be spent on school work :)

but, i should be fair ... this blog has also helped me focus on menu planning. i should also be honest ... the cooking is mainly done by mr. mimi, who is a cia-alum and professional chef. my creative part is the menu selection, the seasoning (i am kick ass at seasoning), the stirring, and a couple of select dishes that strangely come out better when i cook them (risotto being one of them). i also do the baking. but the dicing, the slicing, the combining, the sauteeing, and the broiling is all thanks to the wonderful talents of my other half, mr. mimi. so this blog (at least the culinary parts) is a labor of love between both of us.

here is our plan for the week, not including sides:
monday is boca chick patty with olives and raisins
tuesday is movie night! pizza topped with grilled eggplant, zucchini, and olives
wednesday is chard and onion trouchia
thursday is whole wheat pasta with gorgonzola and escarole
friday is, as always, dinner out

tonight was butternut squash gratin with onions and sage. we've made this before, but i am not feeling well (flu anyone?) and it didn't taste as yummy as i remember. way back when, i was just a youngin working at the bookstore. i had (and still have) a terrible weakness for good cover design, and i promptly fell in love with vegetarian cooking for everyone by deborah madison. at that time, i didn't cook one single meal, so i only admired this book for it's beautiful cover. when i met mr. mimi, this was the first cookbook we bought together, and for the past years it's been a staple for many of our dinners. there has not been one thing made out of this cookbook that didn't come out delicious. which, i believe, is a rarity with cookbooks. if i were to suggest a vegetarian cookbook to anyone, i would definitely pick this one. and no, i don't work for broadway books!

butternut squash gratin with onions and sage: serves 4
from vegetarian cooking for everyone (1997, p. 287)

4 cups onion, thinly sliced
6 cups butternut squash, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
4 thyme sprigs
2 tb sage, chopped
1/2 cup flour
salt + pepper
2 tb parsely, chopped
1/2 cup gruyere, grated
1/2 cup plus 2 tb whole milk
1 cup fresh plain breadcrumbs

1. preheat oven to 350f. lightly oil or butter a 2-quart gratin dish.

2. heat half of the oil in skillet over medium heat. add onion, thyme, and sage and cook until the onions are highly caramelized, about 15 minutes. season with salt and pepper to taste. spread in the gratin dish, return skillet to heat, and add remaining oil.

3. toss the squash in the flour, letting excess fall away. add to pan and cook until it begins to brown, about 7 minutes. add parsley, salt and pepper, and cook for 1 minute more. layer the squash over the onions, cover with cheese and add milk.

4. cover and bake for 25 minutes, then uncover, add bread crumbs, and bake until the top is browned and liquid absorbed, about 25 minutes more.

butternut squash gratin with onions and sage

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