Cranberry Almond Gratin

IMG_9201At a recent event, I wanted to serve something not too sweet for dessert. As we had to work feeding a large group from limited ovens, I thought that if I could pull the dessert out just before putting the meat into the oven, it would still be slightly warm for dessert. I decided to use the old standard, a gratin.

Using cranberries for the fruit, and a ground almond batter, made a tart & light dessert, which we topped with Orange Creme, a couple of pieces of Candied Orange Peel, and put a few pieces of segmented oranges alongside. Once the guests have gone through appetizers, salads, and a main buffet, I really like to give them a dessert that refreshes their taste buds, and isn’t overly huge, or heavy. This little gratin is a perfect ending for either a fancy dinner, or as a weekend treat for family & friends. Continue reading

Butternut Squash Gratin with Baby Kale & Pecans

IMG_5686Back in the beginnings of our life on the farm, we used to grow squash in places where we’d had a burn pit.  We’d turn over all the ash, add some compost, and plant a few seeds.  Sometimes they were seeds that a friend had from the last year’s crop.  The biggest were Hubbards, and they grew to be huge, grey-green, miss formed globes.  If we had excess milk from the dairy that needed to be thrown out, it would go on the squash mounds to feed them even more.  I suppose seeing how big we could grow them was part of the charm, until we wanted to use them.  As we didn’t have a frost-free storage area to store them, we would cook, and then freeze them.

Cutting into a Hubbard squash is not easy.  I can remember swinging the splitting maul, just hoping to pierce it enough to pry it open.  When we finally did get it open, then we’d need to cut it into chunks that would fit into our trailer’s oven, to be roasted, and then frozen for use later on in the winter.  It would take about 3 roastings just to get it all done, from just one squash!

It’s been awhile since we’ve done any major squash growing.  It’s just so easy to go to the farmer’s market and buy lovely Butternuts, Acorns, Delicatas, and so many more.  They’re a manageable size, and I don’t have to worry about storing them in a frost-free space!

This is a wonderful gratin that really shows off the great flavour that Butternut Squash has.  It’s teamed with garlic and kale, with a yummy gratin topping.  Even though it is meant as a side, it could easily be served as a main.  You’ll just need more! Continue reading