cauliflower gratin, and bechamel sauce

when i asked (or gave her a few limited options i should say) my daughter what she’d like for dinner last night, she (rather reluctantly) chose cauliflower gratin. i had about 25 minutes before i had to be somewhere, but i was feeling (or more like she was making me feel) a bit guilty about going out while she studied- so i decided to make it. let me tell you, it is possible to prepare this dish (ready for baking) in about 20 minutes. you may run out of breath, but it’s doable!! this makes a really nice meal with a green salad, or can be served as a side dish. you can add any other vegetables to it (i often add broccoli or fennel). the gratin recipe includes a bechamel sauce, which is a good sauce to know and make-it is used in many dishes (such as lasagna), and is the base for many other sauces. my bechamel sauce is an adapted version, as i have reduced the amount of butter and replaced the all purpose flour with organic whole wheat. for bechamel sauce (about 2 cups):
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp organic whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups of organic milk
  • 1 to 2 tsp sea salt
  • a hint of ground nutmeg
1. melt the butter in a sauce pan and add the flour whisking together continuously until the mixture becomes a light brown (sandy) color. 
2. heat the milk in another saucepan at the same time, then add it slowly to the butter/flour mixture (on medium heat) a little at a time while whisking vigorously (otherwise it will get lumpy). once you have added all the milk, add the sea salt and nutmeg, and keep whisking softly until the sauce has thickened.
gratin ingredients:

-1 organic
cauliflower, trimmed and divided in to pieces
-2 cups bechamel sauce
-sea salt 
-freshly ground pepper
-1/4 cup freshly grated gouda cheese
-1/4 cup freshly grated gruyere cheese 
(or 1/2 cup gruyere only)
-good quality bread crumbs (optional)
1. boil (salted water), add the cauliflower and cook until tender- just about 7-8 minutes (do not over cook), drain well, then add the cauliflower to a baking dish. 
2. pour the (warm) bechamel sauce over the cauliflower, then add as much (or as little) cheese as you like to the top. you can replace the cheese with good bread crumbs dotted with butter or drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. 
3. bake in a 350 to 375 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes until the top is a golden color.
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