September 25th, 2018


Cheese sauce

I am feeling proud of myself for successful kitchen improvisation tonight.

I bought a whole bunch of pattypan squash and kale at the farmer's market on Saturday. (I also got the four knives that we use most frequently sharpened. Totally worth it!)

I didn't have a firm plan for what to do with them, but later on while I was at the grocery story picking up the rest of our weekly provisions, I found a recipe for a casserole on my phone that sounded good. So I picked up extra Swiss cheese and some shredded Parmesan, but then started looking at the recipe a little more and thinking, hmm, I bet this is going to turn out bland and watery.

Squash releases a lot of water when you cook it, and the recipe called for sauteing onion and kale and then adding chicken broth and cooking it "until it's absorbed", and I'm like... kale does not really absorb liquid. There was a fair amount of brown rice and bread crumbs in it that could soak up a lot of the liquid, but I was planning on leaving those out anyway (because low-carb), and again, bland, so clearly some adaptation needed to happen.

So I cubed up the squash and roasted it separately first to drive off some of the liquid and get some browning going. Sauteed the kale with onion and a bit of chicken bouillon powder. Then mixed it all together and stuck it in the fridge.

And then instead of making it into a casserole, I made a Swiss-Parmesan cheese sauce to go over the top. I was able to find a number of keto-friendly recipes, which all amount to one part each butter and cream cheese to two parts heavy cream and four parts cheese. So tonight I whipped that up. It came together pretty well, then threatened to seize and break (I think that's too much butter), but I added more cream and whisked like mad and was able to recover it.

And the result is very satisfying. The sauce is thick and rich and the flavor complements the vegetables well. There's a little too much of it (next time I won't measure the amounts, I'll just eyeball them to match), but overall I'm pretty satisfied with it.

(Are there other, less banal things going on?  Of course, but I haven't got the energy for a catch-up post, let alone trying to engage with anything more substantial, and I figure sharing A Thing is better than nothing, even if it's inconsequential.)