CCC -a ragout, a toastie, and a gratin

This month’s Cottage Cooking Club selections included quite a few yummy-sounding dishes. I have to say, I’m a bit proud of myself, since I committed to two, but made three. And I’m so happy I did!

Just as I am getting settled in to my house in Sedona, it’s the time of year when work starts ramping up as projects must get started – so that we can “deliver Christmas”! Of course, just when I thought things were cruising along at the beginning of the month, and I was enjoying the gorgeous snow storms that are so beautiful against the red rocks, I totally forgot about snow=cold=freezing temperatures=frozen sprinkler pipes. Oops!IMG_0113

The doorbell rang at 7am one morning, and my neighbor informed me that I had a huge water leak! Yikes. I also found out that my storage building had flooded – and it was completely stuffed, with stuff! Luckily, I have a good support system, and by 7:51, I had a crew arranged to come and completely pull everything out of the building, sort it out, clean it up and put it the remaining items back. They actually had it all done over the course of 2.5 days, with one day for the room to dry out a bit. Whew!

These guys were so awesome, that I ended up having them do a full clean-up of the yard, new sprinkler system, and a general overhaul! They are about to finish today, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Moral of the story – sometimes bad things happen and it turns out for the best. A couple of overly daunting projects behind me, and a new wonderful crew of guys that I know. Best disaster ever! (I am knocking on wood!)

A few other things went right this month too! The first recipe I made was the Mushroom ragout with soft polenta. This is the kind of warming, nice recipe that makes for a terrific vegetarian meal. I’ve made other versions. This was a bit simpler – the ragout is really some well-seasoned sautéed mushrooms in a wine reduction. And the soft polenta is a bit different version than I’ve made but delicious. I didn’t have quick polenta on hand, so it took a bit longer, but that really wasn’t a problem.

I used Parmesan and smoked gouda in the polenta, then topped the ragout with some additional shredded Parmesan. This was yummy, something that I liked pretty well, though other recipes I like a bit more. But for a quick dish, very tasty.

I also made the Apple and blue cheese toast. It was on my list of “want to makes”, though not on my actual list. But I found myself with some nice home-baked bread, some Stilton and apples, and since I needed a quick lunch this seemed to be the ticket.

This doesn’t look like much – I thought I had better photos. Not, but it was delicious, and I will make this again. Perfect for a quick meal. This happened to be the same day that I was first treated to a big family of deer making their way on the path outside my office window.


My final recipe for the month of February was Sweet potato gratin. I happen to love sweet potatoes, and was looking forward to this recipe. I love Thai flavors too, so I was intrigued by the peanut and lime layer. But, then I went to the grocery store. And they had gorgeous poblano peppers… so to go with my grilled-corn & shrimp chile rellenos, I made the gratin sans peanut better, and used some chipotle chiles in place of the fresh red chiles. I’ve made a similar recipe before, and I was certain that it would be great.

This was a great meal, and we loved the sweet potatoes along with the rellenos.

All of my dishes this month were terrific. I will certainly make some again when I get the chance. So February turned out a lot better than it started, all the way around!

I’ll be excited to see what the other members of the Cottage Cooking Club thought about their selections.

11 thoughts on “CCC -a ragout, a toastie, and a gratin

  1. You are such a marvelous “southwestern-mex” cook and I would be pleased to sit down at your table for grilled-corn & shrimp chile rellenos and any of Hugh’s recipes you want to pass to me. I pledged to make three recipes but only got two made. Blaming it on Melissa’s birthday which took a bit more effort than I had anticipated. I have all the ingredients for the toastie in my pantry and fridge so probably will get to it this week. I absolutely loved, loved, loved the polenta and mushroom ragout. You obviously make polenta more than I. I couldn’t find the quick cook so went with the true polenta and it was no trouble at all. I am sorry about your house woes. But, Candy, seriously, draining pipes and hoses is a Aspen, Colorado tradition, project and must-do. There were so many house responsibilities I had to assume when Michael got sick so I could have been a help if I were in Sedona. Kidding, actually, because a support staff to help, especially in an emergency, is at the top of my list, always. Glad your moved and getting settled and cooking delicious food.

    1. As I recall, there were multiple hummingbird cakes and a last minute dinner party involved, certainly reason enough to miss another recipe!!

      I can’t always find the instant polenta, but it is super handy to have around. But I’m with you, no problem to make the regular kind, just a bit more time.

      I really should have known better, but it got a project done that I have been dreading for years, totally overwhelming. So that was a great up side. And to have the entire yard done, and new, correct watering system? Over the top terrific.

      You are always welcome Mary. I would happily cook for you anytime. I really need to catch up to you one of these days. It would be so much fun.

  2. I’m so glad the emergency was resolved quickly and relatively painlessly. And your views and wildlife! Commenting on everyone’s posts is making me want to run out and get all the ingredients for the polenta right away. It looks wonderful and I’m sorry I skipped it. I love your versatility in the kitchen – changing direction with the sweet potato gratin was a great idea. Those peppers look fantastic alongside them. And the toasties are making me want to get some non-gluten-free bread as a treat, along with non-vegan cheese. Mmm…

    1. Oh, Teresa, I think you would like the toastie as a treat. And I’m always drawn by cheesey polenta or grits!

      It has been a nice surprise to have the wildlife view! Of course they’ve always
      Yes been there, but just no one was looking. It’s a nice visual break during the day.

      Hope you have a fabulous day!

  3. Oh, what a great way to mod the recipe for the gratin, Candy! Looks and sounds fabulous! I had the toastie on my want to make list, too, and then forgot about it and didn’t have bread anyway. Yours looks delicious even if the photo isn’t the quality you wanted. 🙂 I was sorry to hear about the flooding and was relieved to see it all worked out. That’s the best when it galvanizes you to do something that was needed, but lower on the radar screen, and then to meet a great work crew…hey–that’s worth it’s weight in gold!

    1. You are so right Katie. Ended up getting rid of a burden! And now I have more time to cook!!

      Loved the toastie, and I think the different variations I’ve read about sound great too. I’m afraid living in the southwest, I can’t pass up nice-looking chiles! Ha!! The gratin was great with it, and would be wonderful with other things too.

      Hope your weekend is wonderful!

  4. I’m glad that you and your work crew managed to get through the difficulty. Your food looks great but I particularly like the view from your office. How wonderful is that!

  5. I’m glad your emergency had a happy ending! I love the dishes you chose. You’ve inspired me to add the mushroom ragout to my running list. You know that I didn’t love the blue cheese, but did like the toasties with cheddar. Your Stilton version sounds like a happy medium. I’ll pick some up for next time. And I really like your twist on the sweet potato gratin. It didn’t appeal to me because of the peanut butter, but your SW version is something I would happily eat. Hope you have a great week, my friend!

  6. Hi Candy, so happy to see the beautiful photo of the red rock mountains of Sedona, a special memory to me, and too, especially happy that all went off with little hitch in your winter and pipe and storage accounts! The toastie was delicious I thought too, although I prepared mine with cheddar cheese. Looking forward to preparing the sweet potato and peanut butter gratin as all of the members I’ve read thus far have found it delicious! Your mushroom ragu and polenta look lovely too BUT your grilled-corn & shrimp chile rellenos, oh how they are making my mouth water!

  7. I am glad that you found yourself a great emergency fall-back crew! That toasties with home baked bread is simply awesome, that mushroom ragout with polenta looks top-notch and I enjoyed the gratin with peanuts, but yours sans the peanut sounds fantastic!

  8. Hi Candy, Sedona is such a wonderful place, so sorry about your storage unit. Love all the dishes you prepared, we loved the polenta dish as well. Have not started on this months pics yet.

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