I made a Carrot & Béchamel Gratin. I felt compelled to do it because there was a mighty chill in the air this morning at the Hollywood Farmers Market. The kind of cold that makes you hunger for “real food”.
I blame Noelle Carter for both the weather and the hunger. You see she wrote an article for this week’s LA Times Food section about the simplicity, versatility, and comfort of gratins. Noelle made a very convincing (or do I mean conniving??) case in favor of the humble gratin. Which she described as, “Aromatic vegetables suspended in a rich sauce, maybe a little melted cheese, all of it hidden under a crisp golden brown crust. Behold the glory that is the gratin.”
I think she chose those words very carefully. Especially that word “glory”. Because what’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “glory”? Yep. The Big Guy (or Gal) upstairs.
My theory goes like this. Noelle’s article caused all of Los Angeles to crave something hot and creamy. When millions of people start yearning for the very same thing– all at the very same time, I believe God listens and sends (in this case) snow. Because there was snow in Studio City! Snow anywhere in Los Angeles County is mind-boggling. Snow in Studio City seems like nothing short of a miracle.
Besides. Her name is Noelle. That can’t be a coincidence, can it? I bet she’s got a direct line to powers that be…hmmm. At least she is using her powers for good and not evil.
Carrot & Béchamel Gratin serves 6 CLICK here for a printable recipe
- 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 T shallots, minced
- 2 T all-purpose flour
- 2 c milk
- salt and pepper as needed
- 2 T unsalted butter
- 1⁄2 c panko breadcrumbs
- 2 lb carrots, sliced crosswise into thin rounds
- 2 t fresh marjoram leaves, minced
- 2 t chives, minced
- 1⁄2 c gruyère cheese, cooled then grated
Prepare the béchamel. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the shallot, and cook, stirring, until softened, about three minutes. Stir in flour, and cook, stirring, for about three minutes until smooth and bubbling but not browned. Whisk in the milk all at once, and bring to a simmer, whisking continuously, until the mixture begins to thicken. Turn the heat to very low, and simmer, stirring often with a whisk and scraping the bottom and edges of the pan with a rubber spatula, for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened and lost its raw flour taste. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat set aside.
Prepare the topping. Melt the butter in a small saute pan set over medium heat. Add the panko breadcrumbs and stir to coat. Continue stirring occasionally until the breadcrumbs are light golden brown. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon marjoram.
Make the gratin. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil a 2‑quart gratin dish. Fill a medium saucepan with water, and bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and then the carrots. Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer the carrots for 4 minutes or so until just tender. Whisk 1/2 cup of the cooking water into the reserved béchamel, then drain the carrots. Transfer them to a large bowl. Stir in the remaining marjoram, chives, salt and pepper to taste, the béchamel and Gruyère. Scrape into the baking dish.
Place in the oven, and bake 20 to 30 minutes until the top is lightly browned and the gratin is bubbling. Remove from the heat, allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes and serve.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD
Mmmm lemon and coconut is heavenly, especially with those chocolate decorations! And I love mini bundts! I have a bundlet pan (is this a word or did I coin it?) and use it as often as possible. Mini bundts are just too cute and make everything taste better! Gotta try this fab recipe!
Wish I had a hot, crazy psychic living next door. Wait, that would suck because she’d always know when you’re stealing fruit from her trees. You’d better be careful Greg 😉
Envious of your soiree.
This was an inspired post… from the recipe to the video. I’m in love.
Aww…I wish I were closer- a food blogger supper club…my kind of evening
I just don’t believe you are short on inspiration Greg!
Love the party, holding it as a 24X24 is a bonus. Fresh menu! Great little cakes!
I also adore your tableware 🙂
lol…oh i just wish i lived closer to ya’ll. fun times, good food. good memories you know?
Need a pastry or personal chef next time?!!!
Aw! I soooo wish I could have been there to meet y’all! I bet it was an enchanting evening with lots of cameras snapping! Now… I DO have to say…the dessert would have been my fav. Total and complete YUM! 🙂
These look so cute! How I wished I lived near other food bloggers. I’m filled with envy.
…inspiration, but it sure looks like you guys had a great time puttering around in the kitchen! Every dinner party sould be that fun!
What a great time. I wish I lived near other bloggers and could host a get together. Good food, good wine, now that’s my kind of evening!
got your mojo back, it looks like you had a great meal and a terrific time. Be honest, which one of you licked the spilled martini off the table top? — S
Very playful, neat looking little bundt cakes! Thanks for sharing the awesome video too!
These are just fabulous, the garnish is beautifully done. Sounds like an amazing evening.
boys to the… well, you get the idea. from the garnish alone, i knew i was missing out, and lo and behold, i was. please make them for me next time we convene! xx, L
I confess I am still trying to get past the I don’t like bundt cakes part. Heresy! Practically my favorite dessert. But anyway. How cool must it be to actually live near (and therefore know) other bloggers? I’m jealous. This was a very cool idea and the baby bundtlettes are gorgeous.
These baby bundts are awesome! Lots of butter and coconut are my kinda thing.
what a great video! It looks like everyone had too much fun at this party! I wish I was closer I would have loved to come by for that dinner!
But I gotta say I became a bit distracted after the ‘fortune teller’ spilled that martini.
Beautiful dessert, btw!
Looks like it was a fun time and I look forward to seeing all the posts. You certainly set out an attractive dessert.
P.S. No more mathematical equations to solve to get to comment page? Yay!
I snacked on your reject bundts with my herbsaint sabayon all day yesterday! That may even be all I ate. These were seriously so superb. Yum!
These cakes are a revelation. I especially like the twiggy choco/coconut garnish.
And what a fun and inspirational party!
Thanks so much for sharing — I love your blog!!
I think my head would have popped with inspiration to be in the same room with Joy TB. These bundt garnishes have me speechless.
A lot of inspiration in one room. That was so fun watch. Love the lemon-coconut bundt cakes.
I had to visit all the blogs and read everybody’s account of the dinner party. Now I feel as if I crashed it in a most wonderful way (minus the real food and booze, of course:)
All of you did an amazing job and every dish looked superbly prepared. And the video was hilarious:)
How fantastic! I only live near one of my foodie friends. Oh, to get together with all of them… Seriously fun. FUN. And I would have no problem being in charge of dessert. Or making that lemon/coconut mini bundt cake.