Today is a ho-hum kind of day. Sure, it’s a beautiful Monday. It is, in fact, a terrifically bright and sunny Houston afternoon. The air is a bit cool, which means it actually feels like fall. For once.
But I haven’t gotten to enjoy any meaningful time outdoors today. I’m afraid Saturday’s lower body workout, coupled with yesterday’s ride, has left my legs feeling a bit, well, useless. And sore. Very, very sore.
While I’ll probably end up doing a little light jogging after dinner, I am officially chalking today up as a rest day.
And, I figured, what better way to spend a restorative autumn afternoon, nursing my overworked leg muscles back to health, than by cozying up to a rich, bubbly, freshly-baked gratin?
As for the benefits of gratin therapy, well, my friends, I’m afraid you’ll have to try this recipe yourselves to discover them. But, I’ll tell you, this comforting dish of sweet, golden beets and leeks cooked in coconut milk and velvety tahini sure brightened up my otherwise ordinary Monday.
Leek and Golden Beet Gratin
Makes 2 side dish servings
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium golden beet, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
1/2 leek, white and light green portions, sliced into 1/4 inch rings (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup light coconut milk
2 tbsp tahini paste
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp dried thyme, or 1 tsp fresh thyme
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400.
In a small bowl, combine coconut milk, tahini, thyme, nutmeg, and a dash of pepper. (You can use a blender to do this, if you wish. If whisking by hand, be sure all ingredients are thoroughly combined.)
In a saucepan, heat olive oil over low-medium heat. Add garlic and cook until soft, about 30 sec-1 min. Add leeks and sauce. Cook for 10-15 min, or until the leeks begin to soften.
While the leeks are cooking, lightly oil a small casserole dish. Place a layer of beets in an overlapping pattern, and season with salt and pepper. Remove leeks from heat. Then pour some of the leek mixture over the beet slices. Make 2 more layers the same way, finishing with a layer of beets, and coating the top lightly with sauce. Bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes.