Monday, March 21, 2011

Cookware love

(First, I would like to thank everyone who said such nice things on my last post. We are thrilled to report that Andy’s biopsy was negative. What a relief!)

I am addicted to cookware. Actually, I am addicted to any and all types of kitchenware. I don’t discriminate. If my kitchen were ten times bigger, I would have no problem filling up all the cabinets and shelves with knives, pots, pans, dishes and serving pieces.

Going to Sur La Table just to browse makes me happy. I always find myself lingering in front of the Le Creuset display, imagining a kitchen full of these colorful pieces. I already have many pieces from their enameled cast iron line, and they are among my favorites to cook with.

So when CSN Stores asked me to do a review of any product from any of their sites, I jumped at the chance. When I saw that they offer Le Creuset, I knew immediately that I wanted to try a piece from the stoneware collection. After browsing a bit, I selected the 10 1/2 x 7 inch rectangular stoneware baking dish, which happened to come with a bonus 7 x 5 inch baking dish. Score!

For my first test, I wanted to make something that would be really baked on, hard to take out of the dish, hard to clean up after. A cheesy baked gratin seemed like a good choice.

Tomato-Goat Cheese Gratin

24 slices campari tomato (about 1/4” thick)
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 leek, chopped (about 1/2” cup)
3 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg
1 1/2 tablespoon panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons grated parmesan cheese, divided use
olive oil

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pan and add the fennel and leeks. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until soft. Remove from heat and reserve.

In a small bowl, mix together goat cheese, cream and egg until smooth.

In another small bowl, combine panko and 1 1/2 tablespoons parmesan cheese.

Using a 7 x 5 inch baking dish, spread 1/3 of the fennel and leek mixture on the bottom of the dish. Lay 8 tomato slices on top, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon parmesan cheese. Pour 1/3 of the goat cheese mixture on top. Repeat twice more. Sprinkle the panko mixture over the top and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, until puffed and brown on top. Let cool slightly before cutting. (It will deflate while cooling.)

This gratin is pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. I’m generally my harshest critic, but I had to do a little happy dance with this one. It’s light and fluffy, but not eggy…there is still a creaminess to it. The tang of the goat cheese is well balanced by the sweetness of the cooked tomatoes, fennel and leeks. And best of all, the top and sides get browned and slightly crunchy.

What I like most about my new Le Creuset dishes is their size. I often find that my other standard size baking dishes are just too big when cooking for two. I don’t always want a huge pan of lasagna or enchiladas that will last three weeks. By using the 10 1/2 x 7 dish, we have one meal’s worth with leftovers for the next night, which is plenty for us. Even the smaller 7 x 5 dish is the perfect size for one meal.

My next favorite feature: Ease of use and cleanup. The stoneware is almost non-stick. If something does stick, it wipes clean easily. No scrubbing is required with these. And even that first piece of gratin came out of the dish with no problem.

What can I say? I love these dishes. I love using them; I love the size; I love the color. I foresee many more pieces from the stoneware collection joining my kitchen soon.

Disclaimer: Although CSN Stores provided the product reviewed here, the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by CSN Stores or Le Creuset.


  1. Your gratin looks so good with crunchy top, and all the cheese. I ahae a Le Crueset French oven, which is so easy to clean. I love it. I don't have any of the stooneware yet, but I would like some.

  2. This gratin looks so cheesy and delicious, I'm also super jealous of your new stoneware, so pretty!

  3. Oh I love your baking dishes and the yellow my favorite :) Now onto the yummy food, it looks so delicious and good! Can't wait to try it!

  4. So nice to meet you! I'm right there with you about finding happiness in a simple browse at Sur La Table... it makes my heart race just thinking about all the wonderful finds there. This Tomato-Goat Cheese Gratin elicits similar jubilation. The cheese, cream and panko, oh my!

  5. Hi Karen, my name is Mario and I wanted to thank you for requesting me as a friend on FB. I stopped by to say hello and visit your blog. Awesome! I love it's bright and cheerful look. I also like your personal style of writing. I'm glad that the biopsy came back negative. I appreciate your Julia Child quote on fat. Her attitude on butter reflects mine! I am from the Sacramento area. Today we have lovely sunshine. Karen, I write a blog on relationships and food. Sometimes vice versa. Please stop by and visit it. Maybe consider following. That would be great. Thanks.

  6. Oh my, I love that dish, the yellow is lovely! I have a huge cookware addiction as well, which is troublesome with our teeny kitchen. Gratin looks great too!

  7. What a great gratin! Love the fennel! And Le Crueset...well- I love mine. I got a tiny gratin dish in Paris, and it's my fave. Coveting a big dutch oven.. Glad the biopsy was negative!

  8. Great looking gratin! I have been eyeing up the same dishes at a store here...they look so nice with that bubbly, cheesey gratin!

  9. Hi Karen,
    Thank you for stopping by. Glad to know that the biopsy is negative. With all the loving care and pampering, Andy must be OK now!
    I love kitchenware too! The only thing that is stopping me from buying more, is budget! Kitchenware and cookbooks have always been on my wishlist of Christmas and Birthdays! LOL!
    I love your new baking dish, yellow has always been my favourite colour, your dish looks so vibrant and cheerful. It would brighten up any kitchen! And your gratin looks perfectly baked, really delicious. I have not baked gratin before, should really give this a try. Have a lovely week!

  10. Yum, yum and YUMMM!!!
    I love anything with goat´s cheese!!! Unfortunately my husband doesn´t like it at all...But i might have to do a mini portion!

  11. Me too crazy about different cookware, both cookware and recipe looks awesome.

  12. You have got some very pretty bake ware out there! The cheesy Gratin look yummy!

  13. Hi! I love cookware too. I just wish I had more room to store it! Your gratin looks and sounds wonderful. So glad to here the biopsy was negative. Have a great day and looking forward to sharing!

  14. I wish I had more space for the kitchenware.
    The gratin looks yummy.

  15. I am a fan of this dish, printed and on the menu for the weekend.

  16. Love the gratin, so comforting and delicious.Also love your bake ware as well!
    So glad your hubby's biopsy is negative!

  17. My favorite cookware for sure! I can honestly say I use my 6 quart Le Creuset almost every day! It's one hard working pot! This gratin looks fab!

  18. I think we suffer from the same thing... the more kitchenware, the better! I could wander around Williams-Sonoma for hours. I love Le Creuset as well!

  19. I'm glad to hear Andy's biopsy was negative. And your gratin looks delish!

  20. HAppy to hear about the good news for Andy; trying times for sure.
    You really have good taste when it comes to cooking ware. I know what you mean; those stores are kind of addictive.
    Great gratin!

  21. i like all dishes that is above in the pitchers.