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Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin With Caramelized Onions



Prep: 45 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Serves: 3-4 as a side, 1-2 as main


1 medium spaghetti squash

1 medium onion, diced

2 tbsp butter

3/4 cup plain greek yogurt (or sour cream: let your conscience be your guide)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 + 1/3 cup sharp white cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp salt (+/- to taste)

1/2 tsp black pepper


Preheat oven to 375.

Cut squash lengthwise, scoop out seeds, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 45 minutes.

While squash is baking, caramelize onions.

Heat a heavy skillet and add butter and onions to the pan. Cook on medium, stirring frequently, until onions are brown and caramelized. Add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in spices.

Once squash is cooked, cool and using two forks, scrape out the strands of squash.

Stir the greek yogurt into the onions and then add the squash and 1 cup of the cheese. Stir until combined.

Top with the remaining 1/3 cup cheese and pour into a baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. If the top isn’t browned, broil for a few minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly.







Taffy Turns Twelve



A dog comes to you and lives with you in your own house, but you do not therefore own her, as you do not own the rain, or the trees, or the laws which pertain to them ...

A dog can never tell you what she knows from the smells of the world, but you know, watching her, that you know almost nothing. . .
Mary Oliver



A Ferry Ride to a Walled City

St. Malo is a walled port city in the Brittany in northwestern France, sitting defensively along the English Channel.  It is a mere 50 minute ferry ride from the island of Jersey.  Karen dropped us off at the Condor Ferry terminal at 8:30AM and we were stepping off in France before 10:00AM.  The weather was not the most hospitable and we certainly had a bit of a bumpy ferry ride across the channel. I was fairly relieved to get there. It was half-term break and the ferry was full of crying children. As St. Malo came into sight, I decided the ferry ride was worth it.

We were foot passengers so had to wait for all the car passengers to get into their vehicles and then for all the vehicles to be driven off the ferry. The terminal in St. Malo was small but very modern, just like the terminal in Jersey. We had only packed one small bag as we were spending only two nights and two and a half days. We decided to walk to our hotel which we determined was at the far end of the city and through the last gate. The sun was shining and as we trudged along it was warm enough to remove our jackets and scarves.
Our hotel, Hotel Cartier turned out to be perfectly located at the corner of Rue St. Vincente and the main shopping street. We were able to check in early and go exploring for breakfast.
We decided upon Cafe' L'Ouest for our breakfast. It is on a major pedestrian street surrounded by tens of other restaurants. It was very crowded compared to most of the others. We interpreted this as a good recommendation. We were not disappointed.
We each ordered Petit De'juner Continental, mine with Cappuccino anf John's with tea. What total bliss to be eating again in France.
We spent the rest of the morning exploring the city, including a long long walk around the premiter of the city via the top of the ramparts.

About Those Potatoes


OK...I spelled it wrong in yesterday's journal entry...shame on Me! It's Dauphinoise. And, the real true name for the dish is Gratin Dauphinoise. The name gratin dauphinois refers to the Dauphine' region of France, where this method of preparing potatoes is a specialty. The ingredients composing a typical gratin dauphinois are thinly sliced and layered potatoes and cream cooked in a buttered dish rubbed with garlic.

The link below is to the BBC TV cooking section. It is a video showing how to make Dauphinoise Potatoes. That being said, I make mine in a much easier way. I offer the video because the chef is adorable and he sounds almost exactly like my husband. My recipe follows :

Dana's Dauphinoise Potatoes

Serves 6

2.5 pounds potatoes (6 very large - I use Yukon Gold)

3-5 cloves finely diced fresh garlic

butter for gratin/casserole dish

half and half or light cream

salt and pepper


shredded cheese, Swiss, Gueyere, etc (OPTIONAL)

Peel potatoes and slice (unlike the BBC chef, I slice mine about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick. This keeps the slices firm and from mooshing up)

Put potato slices in large sauce pan and just cover with cream or milk. Add nutmeg, about 1 Tablespoon

Bring cream to gentle boil and cook potatoes for 10 - 15 minutes, just until slightly done but still firm

In the mean time, brush the casserole dish with softened butter. Sprinkle with the diced garlic

Remove potatoes from cream using slotted spoon and place in gratin

Sprinkle with salt, pepper and shredded cheese

Pour cooking cream over to almost cover. Do not completely cover potatoes, but bring cream up sides of potatoes. Top with a bit more cheese and add a couple of tablespoons of cream on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

The reason I love these potatoes more than American Scalloped Potatoes is that it is so much easier than making the traditional white sauce (bechamel). In this recipe, by pre-cooking the potatoes in the cream before baking, the starch from the potatoes is the natural thickening agent for the sauce. Also, these are just as rich, tastier and less fattening.




Regular Life Stuff

In the Dawg Daze Section:

Rico has owned our hearts for exactly eighteen days.  After Taffy's initial snubbing of him, they have bonded and sorted out the pack hierarchy.  I am Alpha female, which is as it should be.  The dogs know that.  Husband is still fighting the notion of it.  He's been fighting it since we met.  Taffy and Rico have had two dust ups.  The first when we were still in the RV.  Rico decided he would join Taffy in eating dinner out of her bowl as she ate.  She disabused him of that notion firmly and quickly.  He lived to remember his first lesson.  The second lesson was a bit harsh.  One evening last week, Taffy initiated play, butt up in the air, front end down and tail wagging woofs.  Rico had been begging her to play for days and she always ignored him.  Upon her initiation, they played for 30 minutes, running, chasing, barking, tails wagging, fun.  It was just wonderful.  The next day, Rico initiated play, butt in air, tail wagging, begging to play.  Taffy ignored him.  She walked away and he trotted behind her and sort of jumped on her back end. Oh, No, No, No, No No!  Again, Taffy let Rico know who was in charge of canine life around here.  As they say, "The wind blew and the fur flew."  I thought Taffy was killing Rico.  He was screaming like a girl.  I began screaming, husband grabbed Taffy and it was like a whirlwind.  Well, Rico didn't have a scratch on him.  I checked him carefully, fully expecting a trip to the emergency vet.  Nope.  Since then. over a week, it's been cool. 

It works like this.  Each dog has their own food and water bowl.  When dinner is served, Taffy goes to her bowl and eats.  Rico sits a respectful distance away and watches her.  She finishes her bowl and then walks over to Rico's bowl and takes one mouthful while he watches her.  She always takes just one mouthful, chews it and then walks out of the kitchen.  It's as if she takes that one mouthful just to show him that she can and will and he needs to accept that.  Once she has left the room, Rico goes over and eats his dinner.  Then he goes out and joins her.  That Taffy is one kick ass alpha female!  As long as she's in charge, it's all good.  She's a benevolent dictator and Rico gets it.  I wish he'd explain it to Husband...Look...This is what the three critters I live with do all afternoon...

In the Regular Life Department:

We're having guests over for dinner this evening;

Green Salad

Cassoulet with Cannellini Beans, duck breast, garlic sausages, pork and lamb

Dauphanoise Potatoes

Steamed Mixed Vegetable with Brown Butter Sauce

Golden Peach Cake with Whipped Cream