Potato and Leek Au Gratin for Two

Cooking for two people sounds easy peasy, but in reality, it’s something altogether different. My three kids have been out of the house for a while now, but I still find myself cooking cisterns of soup and medium-sized farm animals for dinner. My default habit. Leftovers are a “thing” at our house these days, but I do keep trying.

I had some salad stuff in the fridge for a side, one russet potato, two leeks, a hunk of Gruyere, and heavy cream in the fridge, so I decided to try to pull off an au gratin for two. It worked! It was so yummy that we ate the WHOLE thing. We were using our fingers to wipe up every last smear of goodness. After we practically licked the dish clean, we thought maybe cooking this for two was a big mistake? You could always double the recipe J  

Preheat the oven to 425-degrees

Here’s the recipe:

1 ½ cups heavy cream

2 oz. grated Gruyere cheese

2 leeks, light green/white parts only

1 large russet potato

2 thyme sprigs

1 tbsp. EVOO

Kosher salt

Slice leeks in half and then julienne.

Rinse leeks well.

Saute leeks in EVOO until brown around the edges. Remove the thyme leaves from the sprigs and add to the leeks. Mix well. Remove from heat.

Peel the russet potato and slice with a mandolin (best to have uniform slices of potatoes or they’ll cook at different times).

Begin layering the potatoes in a small-ish pyrex dish (the size will depend upon the size of your potato). Sprinkle the salt between each layer.

Cover the top potato layer with the leeks and pour the heavy cream over the top. Slowly move the dish back and forth so that the cream migrates to all of the layers and to the bottom.

Cover the top of the leeks with the cheese.

Tent the top of the dish with aluminum foil so it’s not touching the cheese.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour.

Remove the aluminum foil and cook until the cheese is golden brown. Let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting into the cheese-y goodness!

Eat well!



Turkish Meatballs in Yogurt and Tomato Sauce


I have a thing for the richness and tang of Greek yogurt. I use it all the time. It’s a healthy, tasty alternative to sour cream. It’s wicked awesome on baked potatoes with a little, salt, pepper, butter, and chopped chives. I put it in a bowl, so the kids don’t know that I’ve tricked them. I’ve got one, in particular, who would think it was heresy to put yogurt on his tacos (sour cream on tacos is a New England thing…don’t hate). What they don’t know won’t hurt them. And it’s mmm mmm good.

Yogurt’s also a frequent guest star in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. You can’t pick up a nutrition book or magazine these days without reading about the copious health benefits of a Mediterranean diet. I wonder, is it the yogurt or the red wine? I vote for the red wine.

This is a riff on a recipe I jotted down in one of my notebooks some time ago.

Feeds 4-6 (depends on who you’re feeding!)

1.5 pounds grass-fed ground beef

1 medium onion

1.5 tsp. cumin

1.5 tsp. dried oregano

1/3 cup chopped parsley

2 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. grated fresh ground pepper

1.5 cups Greek yogurt

1 tsp. grated fresh garlic

½ tsp. kosher salt

1-28 oz. carton of crushed San Marzano tomatoes

2 tsp. smoked paprika

3 tbsp. salted butter

Chopped cilantro for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees


Grate the onion with a cheese grater.


Mix the ground beef, onion, cumin, oregano, parsley, 2 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper in a bowl.


Roll meat mixture into 2” meatballs. Roast the meatballs on a cookie sheet until cooked through.

Mix the yogurt, garlic, and ½ tsp. salt in a bowl.


Melt the butter in a large skillet and add paprika. Heat until the paprika is fragrant. Add the tomato sauce. Mix the butter and tomato sauce well, heat, and add the meatballs to the hot sauce.

I served this dish over basmati rice. First I put rice on the bottom of the dish, then yogurt, tomato sauce, the meatballs, chopped cilantro garnish, and topped with some roasted baby zucchinis. Those baby zucchinis are so dang cute! 

Serve with a generous glass of Burgundy and reap those health rewards. Enjoy.

Eat well!


“Either give me more wine or leave me alone.” -Jalaluddin Rumi







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