What’s your recipe for a perfect weekend?!
This past weekend one of my best friends from home came to visit with her boyfriend. Each year for the past three years, Laura and her family come to Calgary for Dance Montage, a production put on by the University of Calgary in which Laura’s younger sister Hailey performs. It’s awesome because it means that I get to visit with Laura! And this time, I also got to meet Reg.
My recipe for a GREAT weekend = FOOD + FRIENDS + MOUNTAINS
On Friday, Laura, Reg and Sarah came over for supper. When I was looking up recipes, for some reason the only ones that jumped out at me had one common theme…fat. Which was ok with me (oh darn haha).
For supper we had Potato and Celery Root Gratin with Leeks and Kale, brocolini and bacon wrapped asparagus (which was supposed to be an appetizer but took too long) and for dessert we had Chocolate Brownie Torte with White Chocolate Mousse and Chocolate Icing. It was all great! However it was definitely all high fat. While I won’t be changing the dessert, I did try the gratin again (tonight!) to see if I could make it healthier and just as yummy. I didn’t think it would be hard, and I didn’t think that it would change the taste, so I did it all over again and made some modifications.
On Saturday, Laura, Reg, Keith and I headed out to the mountains for a hike. We did Nihahi Ridge, which was awesome because as soon as we were out of the trees there were AMAZING views. Reg has never been to the mountains so it was fitting that he got the full meal deal. The weather cleared up for us too, after a cold week, and it was sunny and beautiful.
The bonus about boys with long legs is that the girls with short legs end up falling behind; perfect girl talk time! Nihahi was only about four hours, so we had time for Christmas latte’s in Bragg Creek before showering, heading for supper with the McLeod’s and going to see Dance Montage. At Montage, Hailey is ALWAYS the star of the show (in my eyes) because when she is dancing I don’t watch anyone else (haha)! So it just seems like she is the main event!
Finally on Sunday, we took Reg for his first ever yoga class! Overall it was a great weekend! I wish that all weekends could be like it!
Potato and Celery Root Gratin (with a healthy spin!)
– Original recipe from Epicurious
3 cups milk
3 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp water
2 garlic gloves, peeled and chopped
5 tbsp thyme, divided
2 tbsp butter, divided
3 leeks, white and pale green parts only, chopped
1 bunch kale, washed and shredded
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 celery root, peeled and sliced very thinly
2 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded
Preheat the oven to 350. Melt butter in a large frying pan or wok at medium heat and add chopped leeks. Season with salt, stirring often until tender, 10-12 minutes. When the leeks are ready, reduce heat and add kale. Toss until wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat milk, 2 tsp thyme and garlic over medium heat. Once the milk is warm, mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl before adding to the milk. This will help thicken the mixture. Make sure that you whisk this often and keep an eye on it. You don’t want it to boil and don’t want it to burn. You should be able to see it thickening.
While the milk is heating, peel the celery root, slice and set aside. Slice the potatoes and set aside (if you don’t like potato peel you can peel them, but you really don’t need to, just wash them well).
Put remaining tbsp of butter in a casserole dish, preferably with a lid (I used a cast iron pot) and put in oven to melt. Once it is melted, pull the dish out of the oven and get all the ingredients together.
Layer 1/3 of the potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Then add 1/3 of the celery root followed by 1/3 of the leek and kale mixture. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over top and then 1 tsp thyme and a bit of pepper and salt. Repeat the layering, finishing with cheese.
Strain the milk mixture into a measuring cup and pour over top of layers. Cover the dish and place in preheated oven. Bake for 60 minutes covered, then take the lid off and bake for another 25-30 minutes until cheese is browned and liquid is bubbling.
Remove from oven and serve! Accompany it with a colourful vegetable since it’s a relatively colour-less dish. Asparagus and brocolini was perfect!
Note: The way I made this healthier was by adding the kale and replacing heavy cream with milk. If you want to make the full fat version just replace the milk with heavy cream and omit the cornstarch and water.