After the work frenzy that was December, I was hoping for a lull. A bit of managed space where I could re-focus, make notes and find time away from work. I was hoping to find inspiration, to get a grip on the reins, to take charge of my destiny (even just in the smallest ways). But instead of finding the quiet, I went to my friend’s weekly dance night where I danced in the dark on a recent Wednesday night and let loose for an hour. Afterwards I walked to a tiny neighbourhood pub where I chatted with old friends, talked to new people and realized that I’m pretty decent with a set of darts. One Sunday night, I walked to an actual movie theater, ate delicious popcorn covered in real butter while watching the new Tarantino film. So far this month, I’ve taken every opportunity to meet up with friends while laughing out loud over dinner, board games and beers. It’s something I need to do more. Reconnecting! Friends! More spontaneous opportunities for fun!
This isn’t a boisterous meal you’re looking at. It’s not spicy or decadent and it would make a lovely brunch dish. I made this on a weeknight when it was just Cornelius and I. It was cozy, delicious and simple to put together. It reminds me a bit of a crustless quiche and it’s healthy and the kind of comforting food I crave in January. While it’s nice on those quiet times, it would make a charming meal to serve alongside a couple of good friends. Glasses of wine, a great new record on the hi-fi, and maybe a decadent, billowy dessert? Yes to all!!
I took liberties with the recipe, making it less fussy in my opinion. I sautéed the kale, I threw in a bright red pepper and skipped the cream. Use whatever green you have on hand: chard, spinach, mizuna, mustard. I used some beautifully gigantic dark green Dinosaur kale from the co-op down the street. I loved the millet, but quinoa would be a good substitute here too.
elsewhere: Over at Poppytalk I make a Keeper Greek salad & vinaigrette….which basically means a salad you can turn to all week long. No mush, no fuss.
kale & millet gratin
(adapted from A Sweet Spoonful)
The original recipe called to soak raw millet in warm water and then add it uncooked to the dish, resulting in a slightly crunchy & chewy texture. I cooked the millet since I didn’t think the texture would go over too well with the other person in the room. It turned out beautifully. Whatever method you choose, I’m sure it will be lovely.
1/2 c millet
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red pepper, diced
1 large bunch of kale, ribs removed & leaves sliced
1 t herbs de provence
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 c grated Parmesan (I used a mix of Parmesan and a bit of extra sharp cheddar)
1 1/2 c milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t chili powder
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Cook the millet in 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for another 10 minutes until the water is absorbed and the millet is fluffy.
Heat oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add in the onion, garlic, red pepper and herbs and saute for 3-4 minutes or until soft and fragrant. Add in the kale and cook until bright green and wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the millet.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, nutmeg, salt, black pepper and chili powder. Pour the liquid over the kale mixture and stir well to combine. Top with the Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes, then increase the heat to 400 F and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted and lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4.