Recipe: Pumpkin Gratin

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The only way I ate pumpkin as a child was in a savory gratin, so the first time I had it in the United States -- sweet, in a pie -- I thought it was a mistake. I've come to love pumpkin pie and I still enjoy pumpkin in the gratin of my youth. The combination of Swiss cheese, eggs, and cream comes together into something like a smooth and creamy soufflé, capturing the flavors of fall. Canned pumpkin speeds things up.

4 servings

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spoon the pumpkin puree into a food processor and add the eggs, cream, cheese, salt, and pepper. Process for 10 to 15 seconds to combine.

Coat a 6-cup gratin dish with the butter. Fill the dish with the pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until set and lightly browned on top. Serve.

Episode 206: Chockfull of Surprises

Surprising tastes, tricks, and techniques abound in this show as Jacques checks the labels on canned ingredients to make Pumpkin Gratin. He hides treasures inside Tomato Surprise and naps the Grilled Striped Bass with Romesco Sauce. To complete the menu, some of the best Californian brandy made makes its appearance in Cherries in Armagnac Sauce with Pound Cake.

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Minute Recipe: Asian Chicken Livers

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These livers, which are poached and served in a hot sauce, are a fabulous appetizer. The sauce, which can be made ahead, is also good with steamed fish, as a seasoning for salad, or sprinkled over steamed vegetables. The livers take only about 2 minutes to cook.

Cut about 5 chicken livers in half. Remove and discard any sinew that was connecting the halves. Cut the halves in half again. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Put the liver pieces in a sieve. Meanwhile, in a bowl large enough to accommodate the livers, mix 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce with 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, 2 tablespoons water, and 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro. When the water in the pot is boiling, lower the sieve containing the liver pieces into the water and cook for about 2 minutes. The water will have barely come back to a boil. Remove the livers; they should be pink inside. Add to the bowl of sauce and mix well. Serve with chopsticks or forks.

4 to 6 servings (20 pieces)