A tiny head of fennel and one lonely leek languished in my crisper. To save them from the compost bin, I found a potato gratin recipe online that was ripe for a vegan make-over. I was so happy with the outcome that the first forkful brought an OMG to my lips.
1 small head of fennel, sliced very thin
1 leek, white part only, sliced very thin
1 tbs olive oil
2 fist-sized yukon gold, rose gold or other waxy potatoes, sliced very thin (use a mandolin if you have one, but watch your fingers)
2 tsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
1 large clove of garlic, thinly sliced
Silk soy creamer
salt & pepper
A medium-sized casserole dish with lid
Preheat oven to 375.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the fennel & leek until carmelized (browned, but don't let it burn). Spray a casserole dish with spray oil and place a layer of the potatoes, followed by about half the leek/fennel mixture and half the sliced garlic. Place another layer of potatoes, followed by the rest of the leek/fennel mix and sliced garlic. Top with a layer of potato. Pour the soy creamer in the casserole dish until it just peeks over the sides of the potatoes. Sprinkle the thyme, then salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle a thin later of nutritional yeast on top. Spray lightly with the cooking oil. Cover. Pop in the oven for 45 minutes.
The proportions aren't precise. Someday when I publish my vegan cookbook I'll be more exact, but I really don't think a little this way or that way is critical for most recipes. I'm going to try using vegetable broth instead of the creamer next time, but I wanted a super creamy outcome; a snowy day calls for it. Please note the artful cropping in the photos that obscures my first ambitious forkfuls. I put in the holiday backdrop as a nod to my brother, who told me this morning that it was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who wrote the poem Christmas Bells, which was later set to music as I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.
I cooked hard a good part of the day today, so I was ready for my martini come cocktail hour. I couldn't find my tipsy onions. (I guess I was making a Gibson.) I said a prayer to St. Anthony, though I suspect praying for cocktail ingredients is a sin. Ultimately, I settled for jarred jalepenos tossed into my vodka with good results, proving that God comes through even for sinners like me. From the photo, you see evidence that my support for organic products includes booze.