This broccoli cauliflower parmesan gratin is topped with almond meal and almond milk to make it a healthy version of comfort food.
Let’s talk about the definition of comfort. For me, that word conjures up many things…sweatpants, chocolate, clean sheets and cheesy vegetable gratins that aren’t really all that bad for you to name a few. We’ll get to that last one in a minute or two.
Now let’s talk about the definition of discomfort. Prior to yesterday, I would’ve had many things on this list…allergies so bad you can’t see out of your tearing up eyes, 400m of burpees, breaking your big toe when the heaviest girl on the soccer team kicks it full force head on, stuff like that. Now however, I’m convinced that there is nothing that can define that word better than sitting through a 2 hour one on one sales pitch about time shares when you have absolutely no intent of buying one.
This little mini-vacation we’re on right now in Florida all started back in July when I was casually booking a Hilton hotel in Milan for a few nights for our Italy trip. At the end of the call, they asked me to listen to their Hilton Grand Vacation packages that were available to me for being “such a loyal diamond member” and I said yes fully anticipating to listen to the quick sales pitch, say my usual “thanks, but no thanks” and hang up 500 Hilton points richer. I’m a point whore and I’m cool with it.
But then I heard 4 nights for $150, 15,000 points and a $100 rebate and that passing dinner conversation between Ulysses and I that went something like “hey, we should try and go somewhere in October or November in case you (meaning Ulysses) get into the state police and have to be in the academy for 6 months” (which is officially happening after almost 5 years of waiting!) all came flooding into my mind at once. So there I was with Mr. Hilton salesman on the line waiting for my response (because it’s a book now or forever hold your vacation deal of a lifetime kind of thing) and I totally caved to the pressure and whispered out a “yes”.
Next thing I know, I’m being transferred, congratulated and made to feel like I just won the lottery when we get to the stipulations part.
Here’s what I heard: “blah, blah, blah, listen to a 2 hour marketing presentation on vacation ownership, blah, blah, blah…”
Memories of my parents making my brother and I sit through that torture in Williamsburg, VA as kids all for the sake of free tickets to Busch Gardens came flooding back and I knew I should’ve backed out right then and there. But for some stupid reason, for once in my life I didn’t speak up (impeccable timing on that one) and ended up with what I justified to myself as “still a pretty good deal even if I have to listen to some time share crap”.
Fast forward to Nov. 6 12:30pm at Mr. Porter Metcalf Jr’s desk at Hilton time share headquarters in Orlando, Florida and that “pretty good deal” is looking like it got run over by a train.
I’m in sales. I get the “sales pitch”, really I do. But if someone were to tell me no, to my face, 7 (yes, 7) different times I’m pretty sure I’d say “well, thanks for your time” and move on. Actually, I’d run away after the first no because the uncomfortable sales pitch part is my least favorite thing in the world and makes me want to hide. Somehow, I do actually sell shit. It amazes me.
Anyway, Porter was not me. Nope. We sat there for 2 hours, politely declining “our chance to give our future kids (which we don’t plan on having) the vacations they deserve” over and over and o.v.e.r. again. We were brought in front of sales managers, “diamond member” managers and then closing managers as if our “no, thanks” was a “YES, YES, YES! Pretty please, we want in” and it was the most uncomfortable 2 hours of my life.
I felt like I was released from jail after a 10 year prison sentence when we got in that elevator at the end. We both just looked at each other and all I could say was “I’m sorry, I swear I’ll never even listen for the 500 points next time”.
But comfort…comfort is good. And gratins are hella good. Especially when that cheesy, crusty topping isn’t a calorie bomb that defeats the purpose of the underlying vegetables. Do comfort. Don’t do time shares. Just don’t.
- 1 small broccoli crown
- 1 small cauliflower crown
- 1/2 head of garlic
- 2 + 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons almond meal
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut broccoli and cauliflower into bite-size pieces and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil plus salt & pepper. Transfer to a baking dish.
- Cut off top of garlic head and drizzle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Wrap in aluminum foil and place directly in oven on rack.
- Roast garlic & vegetables for about 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and set aside.
- In a small sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Squeeze the garlic out of the cloves into the melted butter and mash with a wooden spoon.
- Add the flour and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the almond milk and whisk until the mixture thickens.
- Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese until melted.
- Pour mixture over the top of the roasted broccoli & cauliflower.
- Sprinkle almond meal on top and bake again for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve warm.