His and Hers

June 27, 2008


Hi everybody, the husband here. Tonight was my pleasure to cook a special meal for my wife since she’s had a busy week and of course, more studying to do. As you’ll note from this morning, we have quite a zucchini to consume, combined with a couple squashes from our garden, and a few more squashes from the CSA. I saw a recipe in Cooks Illustrated for Squash Gratin that served as the inspiration, but I ended up creating my own version.

Summer Squash Gratin

  • 2 medium squash
  • 2 medium zucchini (or one giant one!)
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2/3C shredded cheese
  • 1/4C panko bread crumbs
  • basil, salt, pepper, oil

In Cooks Illustrated , the goal was to reduce the moisture in this dish, but they also wanted to keep it a relatively quick dish to prepare. Z&S and tomatoes can be so watery, so their solution was to heavily salt and drain them for at least 45 minutes. I decided to grill the Z&S, mostly for flavor reasons, but I’m so glad I did because I think grilling reduces the moisture even more than a quick salting, and the final product was pretty much at the maximum juiciness I would have wanted to eat.

Begin by slicing the Z&S into 1/4" slices. Wish I had a mandolin! I sprinkled them with salt and a spritz of oil and onto the grill they went. You could certainly sautée them, but broiling would be even better. When they’re done they should be medium-crispy little chips.

While the Z&S cook, slice the tomatoes into 1/4" slices as well. I used the same method as we used with eggplant: a fair amount of salt and a rest above the sink. I’d say they sat there about 25 minutes throughout the prep of the recipe.

Preheat the oven to 350* at this point. Heat a small skillet and sautée the garlic in 1/2t oil until slightly brown. Combine with 1/2C of the shredded cheese and 1/4C chopped fresh basil and mix well.

To assemble, use a 9X9 baking dish. Anything larger and you’ll have to increase the recipe – anything smaller and you’ll just have more layers! Give it a quick spray and begin layering the Z&S. Allow each "chip" to slightly overlap its neighbor. Once you have a complete layer, sprinkle with some of the cheese, garlic, basil mix. Everything should be salted enough, but I recommend a healthy peppering.

Continue layering the Z&S and cheese until you run out – then layer the tomatoes on top. Combine the rest of the cheese with the panko and sprinkle over the entire dish.

Bake for 25 minutes, and then broil for ~5 minutes more (watch it closely!)

Yum! And the whole recipe is just under 500 cals!


WELL DONE, my husband! The gratin turned out wonderful. A bit cheesy, a bit crunchy, and very filling. We’ll definitely be making this again – with all kinds of variations.

In addition to the gratin, he cooked another one of my Bob’s Red Mill new grains: amaranth . Loved it!! It was kind of like grits – small granules with a whole wheat couscous taste. He put in some basil and I drizzled honey and a sprinkle of Parmsean cheese on top. It was the perfect side dish! And there’s more…breakfast!?

When was the last time we sat down to dinner together in the dining room!?! It’s been TOO LONG, chemistry, too long!

In between my workout and dinner, I munched on some trail mix and dried garbanzo beans from OhNuts.com

And had two sips….er….gulps (!) of the husband’s Manhattan

I knocked out another big assignment and one small one this evening. Woo hoo!! I’m really making progress. I’ve got one HUGE project to do tomorrow and two smaller ones. Hopefully I’ll be done in time for cocktail hour :)

For the icing on the cake to his fun dinner, I was delivered a goblet of Neopolitan ice cream :mrgreen:


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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alicia June 27, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Scrumptious looking dinner and glad that you have a supportive husband who can cook! :)

I should send my fiance for cooking lessons. It’s always great to have a nice and relaxing dinner at home and relieved that you finally have a chance to wind down and not gobble up your dinner before chem.


2 Jessica June 27, 2008 at 9:37 pm

Nice job Matt! The squash gratin came out awesome and the grilling verses salting method was a great idea! Looks like a perfect evening you two had – yea!


3 Melissa June 27, 2008 at 9:40 pm

your hubby did a great job with dinner! that gratin looks scrumptious! you’re a lucky woman to have snagged a man who can cook so well!


4 Justy2003 June 27, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Mmmmm…that gratin looks so good. I love veggie-filled dishes! I wish I had a grill for my apartment :( Sadly, my George Foreman is NOT the same as a real grill.
Love the ice cream goblet. I was craving ice cream earlier but never got any…maybe tomorrow! :)
Enjoy the rest of your night!


5 salty June 27, 2008 at 9:55 pm

I just read somewhere that we can get our whole consumption for the day of sodium by either eating a slice of pizza or a couple of dill pickles :(
And we have no idea how much is used in restaurants.
Any ideas that are quick and easy for cutting back on sodium Kath?Thanks…..


6 Hil June 27, 2008 at 10:00 pm

Gratin looks great. I think it’s definitely a husbandly job to cook tasty food for their stressed out wives. My husband always does for me, and it makes me really happy!


7 suzanne June 27, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Hubby rocks!! What an awesome dinner 😉


8 yaz June 27, 2008 at 10:53 pm

Yummy!!! Must try ASAP.


9 Kim June 27, 2008 at 11:05 pm

Basil and honey in your amaranth? Good call! I have a bag and have tried making it a few times, but always end up underwhelmed (though just today I ground some into flour for a bread recipe… not bad!) If you try it as a breakfast cereal, you must let us know the verdict.


10 magpie June 28, 2008 at 1:13 am

Great recipe! Very descriptive. Yay for wife pampering :)


11 Christie June 28, 2008 at 5:15 am

This gratin looks great, I think I will make it tonight. We are having friends over for dinner and I think this will make a great side dish to my homemade black bean burgers!

Enjoy your rest, Kath!


12 Trish June 28, 2008 at 5:29 am

It all looks realy good. I think it is awesome you both cook and share that passion.


13 Kath June 28, 2008 at 6:29 am

I believe the recommendation is 2300 mg per day. If you’re eating out, yes that can easily be reached in one meal, but if you don’t salt food you prepare at home you’ll probably come in near the recommendation. Canned/boxed soups are probably the #1 high sodium food that most of us could easily switch from to lower sodium amounts. But unless you have high blood pressure or another medical reason to be concerned, you don’t have to buy low-sodium everything – because it is often more expensive.

Hope that helps?



14 Sami June 28, 2008 at 6:59 am

I hope Matt reads this. [It’s Matt, right?]
I said it earlier but not sure if he got the message.
I made the 50-50 ratio whole wheat bread.
It turned out amazingly!
I used a pizza stone and sprayed the oven and got a really beautiful,crusty, loaf of bread.
Thanks a lot..

[This version was quick too.]


15 PS June 28, 2008 at 8:10 am

Zucchini and squash, my favorites. That looks wonderful.


16 Brittany June 28, 2008 at 8:34 am

I just received some squash and zucchini from a lady at work who has a garden. This will be the perfect recipe to try! So sweet that the husband cooks for you.


17 Melanie June 28, 2008 at 8:50 am

I rarely post on your site but I had too because that veggie casserole looks delicious !!! Great cooking Matt!


18 Sweetsandsweats June 28, 2008 at 9:05 am

What a wonderful and sweet dinner from Matt! Sounds like the perfect Friday night!

I adore a good manhattan and that one looked quite tasty!

Have a great weekend!


19 Suzanne June 28, 2008 at 9:08 am

props to the husband! that gratin looks so good. It looks kind of laborious though…but great for people who enjoy the whole process of cooking.

we’d love to see some more ‘husband-pampering-the-wife meals’ on here. :)

Have a wonderful weekend! Stay cool It’s so hot here already and it’s only 10am. yucky.


20 Em June 28, 2008 at 9:18 am

wow that looks amazing.

Hey, is it weird that I have “Need to do-ist my to do list” stuck in my head?


21 Kelsey June 28, 2008 at 9:33 am

Hi Kath! I just wanted to comment about how much I love your blog and the content is great. The meals you and your husband create are real creative and it’s given me so many idea for my own meals!!
Also, I read your post on the food bank (drama!) and I didn’t find it offensive. On the contrary, I found it quite interesting to read and personally, I would have wondered the same things you wrote about. Some people just like to argue and be jerks :/
Keep up the really good work!!!!!
PS your dinner looks wonderful!


22 Kath June 28, 2008 at 10:58 am

I told him – he was pleased!

Em ,
Perfectly normal! I get phrases in my head all the time. One time I had myocardial infarction in there for about a week!

Kelsey ,
Thanks so much :)



23 CourtneyS June 28, 2008 at 11:18 am

What a pleasure to read this post! Matt has a very nice way of explaining each step of the recipe. (Whenever I try to explain or email recipes to people, I always skip steps because I do a lot of things automatically.) I’m glad you were able to have a relaxing evening together….there’s nothing like dinner at home. Good luck with your work this weekend and definitely enjoy a glass (or two) of wine!


24 Little Black Dress June 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Matt, you are fantastic! Kath really deserved to be a little “pampered” and I know you made her feel really good. You guys don’t just set a wonderful example for healthy eating, but for a healthy marriage. Thank you!


25 Karen June 29, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Way to go husband. That looks so good!


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