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Remember when you used to shop on Wednesday for Thanksgiving and cook just on Thursday. Suzi and I have departed from that routine. It’s too hard. First of all, the grocery stores on Wednesday are a zoo, assuming you can find a place to park. And making the entire meal on Thanksgiving leaves you so tired by dinner time, that you cannot enjoy it. Too much work. Too little pleasure. No matter what wine is served.

Shop early. Cook early. And, cook well. Here’s a complicated but awesome sounding side dish from Adirondack Cuisine, a 2002 wonder by Armand C. Vanderstigchel and Robert E. Birkel. It is a regional book and you probably have not ever seen or heard of it — I’ll find my copy and do a Throwback Thursday review, if I can actually find it.

This gratinee of cauliflower is typical of the rich bounty in Adirondack Cuisine.

After the turkey, of course, this can be a center of attraction for you table. You can make this on Thanksgiving Day or do it the day before and reheat just before meal time.

Yes, that picture above a close up the cauliflower florets called for in this dish. I'm bribing Suzi to make this for us this year. I'll get a photograph that, next year, will appear a little less alien.

Smoked Gouda and Apple Wood Bacon Gratinee of Cauliflower

Yield: serves 4-6


  • 2 small heads or 1 jumbo farm stand-sized head cauliflower
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6 strips apple wood-smoked bacon
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 4 cups shredded smoked Gouda or smoked New York State cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives for garnish


Cut the cauliflower into medium-sized florets, discarding the leaves and core. Place in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and add the salt. Bring to a simmering boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until cooked but still firm. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat the vegetable oil over high heat and fry the bacon until crisp. Quickly add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes until softened but not brown. Remove from the heat. Fold the mixture into the reserved cauliflower, then fold in 3 cups of the cheese. Set aside and keep warm.

In a medium saucepan, place the cream and bring to a boiling simmer. Whisk in the sail nutmeg, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Turn off the heat.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until blended. Slowly temper the egg yolks b adding a little of the hot cream, a spoonful at a time, until all of the cream is incorporated with the egg yolks. (The tempering process avoids curdling the eggs.)

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Place the cauliflower in a greased 9 ½ " x 13" baking dish and spread out evenly. Pour the gratin sauce evenly over the cauliflower. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.

Place the dish in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese crust is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling.

Remove from the oven and garnish with the chives.

Source: Adirondack Cuisine with Armand C. Vanderstigchel and Robert E. Birkel [Countryman Press, 2002]