Thursday, December 11, 2008

Surprise Pepperoni Bread...

I forgot to mention, this past Monday morning, Jeff told me that a potluck was happening at work on Tuesday and asked if there was anything I could make that he could take along. Short notice (thanks to someone's forgetful memory!) I know, but after looking through the pantry and refrigerator, I asked if he thought a batch of that Pepperoni Bread we made last year over Christmas would work? His smile got real wide and it didn't take him two seconds to say "I like that!". Because we made the dough by hand, I had to stay up a little later than usual to get it done, but I got it finished and he was able to bring it in to share!

With all the holiday baking happening, the house is getting filled with tempting delights (we'll get to our wrap up soon of what we made - if all goes well, we might top last year in the number of goodies made!)... and since we both end up sampling a little too much, now is probably a good time to get an extra dose of vegetables in during dinner!

If you're looking for a side dish that can be prepped ahead of time and just takes a few minutes to throw together once you need it, you should give this Gratin of Cauliflower with Gruyère a try!

For this dish, a whole head of creamy white cauliflower is broken down into florets and roasted in the oven until they are almost tender. Time depends on the size of your pieces, but don't let them get too soft - take this veggie out when a knife almost slides through easily, but you still get some resistance in the middle... just short of crisp-tender. While that rests, a lightly thickened milk sauce, flavored with onion and garlic, is prepared - once combined, nutty Gruyère is stirred in, along with parsley and a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg to give the sauce a more rounded feel. Good as is I'm sure, I wouldn't think of skipping the final part - the crunchy topping! Crisp panko breadcrumbs, that we tossed with a pats worth of melted butter, were then perked up with more shreds from our block of Gruyère. Sprinkled over the coated cauliflower, all that is left to do is throw them under the broiler just long enough that the sauce bubbles back up to temperature and the top takes on a wonderful golden shade.

As you can see, I opted to divide this out into single serving dishes before that last step for individual portions - however, a regular baking dish would work just as well for a more family-style approach. If you are making this a day or so ahead of time, go ahead and do all of the steps, but keep them separate - wait to toss the cauliflower with the sauce and top with the crumbs right before you want to finish this off. Flavorful and filling, I did add a bit more cheese than called for in the original recipe, however, Jeff and I thought another handful or so of cheese would have been welcome, without losing the cauliflower's essence.



  1. I'm so tempted by your bread. I will have so takers in the house. Can't wait to read about all those treats. I wish I was the neighbor.

  2. I have never made bread before, but I think I have to make that pepperoni bread. My husband is the pickiest eater alive, but he would actually love it.

    I linked you up on my blog.

  3. Oh dear...when I first read it, I thought you were serving year-old pepperoni bread.

  4. My grandma makes a very similar bread every christmas eve with italian sausage. Yum!

  5. Helene - You should move here... at least the weather is similar!

    DA - I bet he would love it!

    Alice H - Oh my!

    Jen - I've heard of the sausage variation! I need to try that.