I have to admit, sometimes I make something with trepidation and fear, just knowing that it will fail as soon as it comes out of the pan or the oven. Other times, I am extremely disappointed with a meal because I go into it thinking the end result will blow my socks off. Today was definitely a case of the former, for which I'm thankful, because I hate wasting food or eating lots of disgusting leftovers in the interest of saving money and the earth. Anyways, I was going through the weekly food section of the newspaper, looking through the articles and recipes, when I came across a recipe for Potato Gratin. I haven't had that in forever, plus I have only ever seen it with mounds of cheese and cream, so noticing that it only called for half-and-half (which can easily be veganized by using coconut milk instead), I hopped on it. I also decided to eat some tempeh with my meal as well as some Kale Raab that I picked up at the local farmers' market last Saturday. For the tempeh, I sauteed it (sprinkled with salt, pepper, and rosemary) for about 10 minutes in olive oil, then added some mushrooms to the mix and kept sauteeing. To that, I added the Kale Raab and eventually, added some fresh spinach that soon wilted into what became an amazing accompaniment to the potatoes. The reason I spent so much time on the tempeh is that the potatoes took forever to bake (see the recipe below), so I had nothing better to do with my time. But at the end of all of it, it was definitely worth it, and I am so pleased that I took the time and effort. While I was preparing and creating and cooking, I watched the recent version of As You Like It, so the evening just was basically amazing.
Potatoes Gratin (Veganized!)
3-4 stalks green garlic (I used half a yellow onion; supposedly the tastes are similar enough they can be interchanged)
2 c. cream/half-and-half (I used one cup each of vanilla almond milk and coconut milk)
6 sprigs fresh thyme (I used 1 1/2 T. dried thyme)
3 lbs. potatoes (I used Yukon Golds)
salt and pepper
Chop the onions (garlic) and put into a saucepan with the cream and thyme. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat just to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover the pan and let infuse for about 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400'. Butter a 9x13" oval or other 2 qt baking dish. Slice the potatoes about 1/8 inch thick.
Arrange a layer of potato slices along the bottom of the dish, overlapping slightly so the bottom is completely covered. Season with salt and pepper and then ladle a bit of the cream over. Repeat these layers, finishing with a layer of potatoes. Cover with the remaining cream. Cover the top with aluminum foil.
Bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil and increase the oven temp to 450'. Bake for 10-15 more minutes, or until the top is well browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let stand for about 15 minutes before serving.
I finished off this evening's dinner with veganized chocolate molten lava cakes. They turned out okay (I used silken tofu in place of the many eggs that were in the recipe), but they aren't perfect yet; I will have to try again before I share my recipe with an audience.