There Appears To Have Been A Struggle

Click here to print Potato Fennel Gratin.

We moved into our current home about 5 years ago, this kitchen is really not a “cooks kitchen”. It could be better described as “cozy” or “compact”, maybe even “space saving”. Definitely not for someone like me who has every machine and kitchen gadget known to man. So when I do any sort of cooking or baking, things are spread out all over everywhere and it looks like a struggle over the last bottle of milk and bag of flour in the universe has occurred. The place explodes with sugar and spices and dairy products, mixers and spoons and bowls! Well, you get the idea….

This cooking adventure was no different, especially since I NEEDED perfectly sliced veggies and mounds of freshly shredded cheese for the gratin. Not to mention preparing the chicken to go on the Big Green Egg, seasoned, rubbed with herbs and skewered with a temp probe. “All gadgets present and accounted for. Kitchen to Control – it’s a go on cooking explosion! Commence cooking!”

It is so disappointing when I think about the kitchen I left in my old house. We had decided not to do any remodeling because we didn’t think we would stay in that house. After 15 or so years we had resigned ourselves to always being in that home and started remodeling a bit at a time. The kitchen remodel had been the one thing we never thought we would do and yearned for. We opened up the outer wall and put in a large bay window with a low counter below to be used for a breakfast bar or desk area. It was surrounded by beautiful cherry cabinetry with pull out shelves, and all sorts of specialty cabinets so no space had to be filled with a spacer. There was a ceiling to floor pantry, and an enclosed cabinet with a large overhead space above and enclosing the refrigerator. I miss it BUT that is the only thing I miss about the area, home, town, etc…

This kitchen is not even close in size or countertop space so it is a struggle to have enough space to cook. It always looks like a herd of cattle have stampeded through the kitchen when I get done. Ah well, it is what it is. So I make do and still give thanks every day for the move to this place and home.

Last week we took a little trip for a much needed break, we came back on Sunday and I had taken Monday off so I decided I would pull the Egg out since the weather had somewhat broken and it wasn’t 40 below 0. Meier’s had organic whole chickens on sale so I picked up 2, one for now, one for later. Prepped that bird, put her on the grill and started on the potatoes.

These potatoes are rich with cream, butter and cheese. I never thought I would like fennel because I am not big on licorice/anise flavor, but you don’t really get that flavor when it is cooked (especially when covered with cheese and cream). See how nice those slices are? I love that! And that perfectly grated cheese? YUM!

Everything turned out beautiful and OH. My. Goodness. TASTY! The bird was gorgeous and crisp, the gratin tender and cheesy. Neither really lasted long, bird picked clean and only a few servings of potatoes left. Sometimes I think my family hasn’t eaten in days. Maybe next time I should cook both chickens….

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