Today is Friday. I feel as if it is Tuesday or Wednesday. Does that ever happen to you? There is a change in the way your week generally goes and the next thing you know, you don’t know what day it is! Adoring hubby and I took off for the hill country, Austin to be exact, on Monday late morning and returned home late Wednesday. When I woke up Thursday I thought it was Monday since it felt as if we’d just returned from a weekend jaunt. Ahhh, the joy of being “empty nesters”.
The weather was beautiful and fall like, brilliant blue skies, temps in the high 70’s and absolutely perfect for a late afternoon ride around Lake Austin. What a pleasure to hang with long-time friends, especially in my favorite season, in Austin, one of my fav cities, on a stunning cliff lined lake with what is possibly my favorite drink, a chilled glass of La Crema in hand.
For dinner we decided to enjoy the gorgeous autumn weather and grill steaks. I said I’d make this potato dish, you know, to be a gracious house guest and all. I’d made them just a few days before at home and my man, Dan went nuts for them. I thought since the guys outnumbered the girls that night they might be a big hit – I was SO right! The girls, however, went bananas too. This gorgonzola gratin is indescribable cheesy deliciousness.
The coolest thing about this recipe is, if you don’t have gorgonzola you can substitute with blue cheese. If you don’t have a predilection for those stinky, tangy cheeses you can replace with Fontina or Monterrey Jack. Our host had blue cheese in the frig so I went with that and we passed the dish around multiple times before dinner was over. Without the recipe in front of me I was still able to pull it off as it’s easy to recall the ingredients and one recipe where specific proportions aren’t imperative. This recipe is one that could easily fall under “holiday sides”, “pot luck dishes”, or “comfort foods”. If you choose to add it to your Thanksgiving or Christmas menu, or carry to your next pot luck be sure and leave me a comment about how well, or not, it was received!
We rounded out our visit to the capital city checking out the funky neighborhoods, restaurants, food trucks and a local bakery.
We took delight in having lunch at LuLu B’s a food truck on Lamar, a major part of Austin culture. Vietnamese noodle bowls and outdoor seating, just what we were looking for. Here’s my man with our grand pup, Vito. Isn’t he the cutest doggie you’ve ever seen? Austin is a dog friendly town. Most outdoor restaurants allow dogs and even provide water bowls for them to lap from. Can you guess what breed Vito is?
On Wednesday before heading home we stopped at Polvos on 1st Street for their salsa bar and Mexican breakfast. Popular with the locals and funky, they serve up a mean and spicy breakfast.
Our most dangerous stop was at Sugar Mama’s Bake Shop, also on 1st Street, where choosing precisely which cupcake or cookie to leave with was a huge challenge. After much debate adoring hubby selected his all-time favorite “german chocolate” and I happily settled on a “lemon” cupcake.
A quick drive north and we were home before dark, leaving behind friends and family. But, as Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home!”
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups fat-free milk
3/4 cup (3 ounces) Gorgonzola
1/3 cup Parmesan
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
3 pounds red or gold potatoes, cut into thin slices
Preheat oven to 375*F. Melt butter in a saucepan or skillet over medium high heat. Add flour and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in the thyme. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk and cook over medium heat until thickened. Stir in the Gorgonzola, cook about 3 minutes or until the cheese melts, stirring constantly. Stir in salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
Spray the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish. Arrange 1/2 of the potatoes in the bottom of the dish followed by half of the sauce, repeat with remaining potatoes and sauce. Top with Parmesan. Cover and bake at 375*F. for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven and allow to stand for about 10 minutes before serving.