Who had a good Christmas? I did – and surprisingly, for as much as I jam-packed into those two days, it was relaxing and fun. I was tickled to watch my family open their presents, even if I did over-spend my Christmas budget. You know you may have gone a little overboard when TD Bank calls you because they think you have fraud on your card… and it turns out all the purchases were yours 😦
I got some fabulous kitchen goodies, so you know what that means! NEW RECIPES! I’m happy as a clam with my new KitchenAid hand mixer, my new Cuisinart food processor and a few other fun things. They’ll be making their appearances in my recipes in due time.
I also got a nice gift of one HaloTherapy session to the Salt Cove – it’s a new-ish place that hosts Halotherapy rooms – basically, the room is filled with Himalayan sea salt and is heated to a temperature warm enough to engage the flow of negative ions. Sounds counterintuitive, but negative ions are actually a good thing. To keep it simple, ions are invisible charged particles in the air. Back to middle school science class, some molecules are positively or negatively charged. If one loses one or more negative ions, it becomes positive – the more negative ions, the greater the negative charge. Negative ions are found mots abundantly in nature… some of people’s favorite places. Have you ever gone to the beach and just couldn’t tear yourself away? Have you ever walked through a forest, took a huge breath, and just felt really energized? Trees, bodies of water, rainstorms, earthen landscapes… welcome to the land of negative ions.
Why are they so good, though? Here’s a few reasons:
- They neutralize free radicals, which can prevent cancer
- They promote cell metabolism
- They enhance the body’s immune function
- They purify the blood
- They balance the autonomic nervous system, promoting deep sleep and healthy digestion
If you’re stuck in an office filled with hundreds of computers, cell phones and Bluetooth devices like myself all day, finding a place like this is a real treat. I highly recommend you check out one in your area – they’re popping up all over the map! It’s a great place to meditate, clear your mind and enjoy some relaxation.
Back to food… while I have been doing my darnedest to stick with the paleo grind, I couldn’t help myself with Christmas. I made the most delicious Potato Gratin… for those of you who can appreciate a little starch and a lot of flavor, please check this out J I will have some healthy recipes back on deck for you guys later this week… stay tuned!
Creamy Potato Gratin with Sage and Fontina (Vegetarian, Gluten-Free)
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min
- 6 tablespoons ghee, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
- 4 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut in half
- 1/2 cup organic crème fraiche
- 1 heaping tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 heaping tbsp chopped fresh sage, plus 10-12 large whole sage leaves
- 1 large block (approx. 8 oz) Fontina cheese, shredded
- Himalayan sea salt, to taste (I used approx. 1 tsp plus a bit more)
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup plain gluten free breadcrumbs (these are delicious)
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- ~ 3 tbsp Olive oil, for frying the sage
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large but shallow baking dish with some ghee and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
- Mash the potatoes, along with 4 tablespoons of the ghee. Add the crème fraiche, parsley and chopped sage. Once mixed evenly, mix in the fontina and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Spread the potato mixture in the prepared dish in an even layer.
- Separately, in a small bowl, use your fingers to blend the rest of the ghee with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add a pinch of salt if you feel the mixture needs a bit more flavor. Top the potatoes with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden and crisp on top.
- Meanwhile, as the gratin bakes, heat olive oil in a small skillet until shimmering (but not smoking!) Add the sage leaves and cook until crisp, in both sides, about 1 ½ minutes per side.
- Transfer the sage to paper towels to drain. Once the gratin is finished cooking, scatter the fried sage over the top and serve.