A focus on side dishes 

 December 20, 2020

By  Tatiana

What a week it was in Casa de la Vida! All the main courses from last Monday have been finished during the week. I gave some to my in-laws, but it’s a good thing Luis and my father have such a big appetite, otherwise the rest would never gotten finished. I just can’t cook small. For some reason, I always cook large quantities. Maybe that’s a holdover from the time when I worked in restaurants. The ingredients that were left over from the main courses created new left-over recipes. For a while I felt the need not to eat meat or fatty things, which of course I can never keep up. That’s why I wanted to share not one, but two delicious recipes with you today!

In France potatoes are very common as a side dish, but you will see that the potatoes are made in a fancy way so that they have more flavor. They are often cooked and seasoned to complement a particular dish. And so we did in this case. My menu for the evening was something that we like to eat often: a delicious stew with a tasty gratin dauphinois.

I’m really not fond of potatoes at all. Maybe I just never learned to eat them because we had too much variety in side dishes growing up. Anyway, to this day I still don’t love them, but this is one of the dishes I do like them in! A gratin dauphinois naturally contains milk, eggs and cheese, so you still crave vegetables. Of course I already shared a vegetable dish last Wednesday, but this pan always steals the show!

So when making this meal I thought, let me share a really healthy side dish with you now: my vegetables with butter pan!

To be honest, I don’t really remember what my family always put on the table. It was often a lot of vegetables and small dishes, but I can remember that there was always a wide choice of tasty dishes. Why do you forget a side dish more easily than a main course? Side dishes can also be really amazing and memorable, just like sauces!

That’s why I actually filled this table with all my favorite dishes and side dishes. That way you also get a small taste of what I am going to put in my cookbook. I am really happy that I was able to make these richly set tables for you this festive month. It is always a puzzle how I can prepare everything again, because it’s all real dishes that I don’t just prepare to photograph. First thinking about which dishes it should be is a feast for my mind every time, no matter how difficult it is. All the dishes that I present to you have to be special and traditional. Otherwise they will not stand out! A lot of French recipes are known to you but maybe those are not the dishes I grew up with!

That is also what is so special about France: There are so many different regions with their own delicious dishes, easy dishes or really traditional royal or family dishes. And a small selection from this wide range is also what I want to give you all. Of course I cannot give you all my recipes, because then I’d no longer have to write a cookbook at all. That cookbook is really coming along nicely. There is a lot going on behind the scenes at Casa de la Vida.

Shall we start cooking then, friends? First we start with the gratin, because the potatoes have to cook in the oven for a long time. And oh, by the way, these two dishes go really well together on a table. Potatoes and vegetables are a natural combination!

Le gratin Dauphinois


For 4 persons

  • 1 kilo of potatoes
  • 400 ml of milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • nutmeg, grated
  • ementhaler or a processed cheese, grated
  • garlic
  • butter


You can make a gratin with cream or with milk, as long as there is a liquid in which the potatoes can cook in the oven. The most important thing is that the potatoes are sliced thinly, otherwise the gratin will take much longer in the oven. You can use a large medium deep oven dish or several smaller oven dishes so that everyone can eat from their own dish without having to scoop the gratin onto plates from the bigger dish.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Wash and peel your potatoes, cut them into thin slices, but don’t wash the slices. Grab an oven dish, crush the garlic and rub it against the sides of the baking dish. Then butter the dish well and place your potato slices in it as if you were laying tiles or place the slices diagonally and overlapping each other up in the dish.

Sprinkle the grated cheese over the potato slices. Mix the eggs, milk, grated nutmeg, and salt and pepper together in a bowl and beat this mixture until well combined. Then pour it over the potatoes and cheese. The potatoes should not be completely covered with milk, there should be about a finger of space are left at the top. Cut the butter into cubes and divide them over the protruding potatoes.

Put your gratin in the oven for about 30 minutes. You can test if the potatoes are done by poking them with a knife now and then, but I always set the timer for 30 minutes and sometimes I let it cook in the oven for up to 40 minutes. After that long, the gratin will definitely be done.

Serve the gratin straight from the oven to the table with freshly ground pepper and chives sprinkled on top. Beware, gratin can stay hot for a long time!

And now the second recipe that I have enjoyed for years!

The vegetables in a butter pan


It’s hard to say how many people this is for.

  • 3 carrots, in thicker slices
  • 1 broccoli, cut in pieces
  • 1 aubergine, cubed
  • 1 zucchini, cubed
  • mushrooms, in cubes
  • 100 gr butter, or how much you want
  • salt
  • pepper
  • nutmeg
  • 1 onion or 1 leek, in rings
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil


Bring a pan of water with salt to a boil. In the meantime, cut your broccoli smaller. Let the broccoli blanch in the boiling water for 5 minutes.

In a deep pan over medium heat, melt 1/3 of the butter with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the leek or onion with the garlic and let it simmer until translucent.

Drain the broccoli in a colander and rinse under cold water. Drain the broccoli well. Add the mushrooms, eggplant, carrots and zucchini to the onion (or leek) and garlic. Add a little butter to this pan and stir well. Let this bake for 10 minutes while stirring and gradually add a little more butter, salt and pepper.

Add the broccoli to the other vegetables, along with the grated nutmeg. Stir well and let it stand for a few more minutes. Then serve it with freshly ground pepper and a bit of butter on top!

The result

When you’re done, you’ll have two of my favorite side dishes on a table full of goodies! They are really simple dishes with a delicious taste. They are healthy and also a way to impress your guests with your cooking skills!

And about what I wrote earlier: it is true that we forget side dishes or sauces more often than the main courses, because nobody goes to a restaurant especially for side dishes. But I am someone who is always very careful what restaurants serve! That’s me, the crazy French lady!

And now it’s time again to start preparing the fourth table in December. Do you already have an idea of what goodies will be online tomorrow?

What do you actually like to eat as side dishes when you go out for dinner? Or what do you like to prepare yourself? Let me know. As you know, I am always very curious about your experiences, opinions or recipes!

Tatiana Tor

I hope you enjoyed this blogpost and if you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

Wishing you a great day, love Tatiana.

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