Having my toes done is one of the guilty pleasures in life. I guess you might call it getting a pedicure. I go every month in the summer, sit with my feet soaking, and allow someone to trim and paint my feet. And I love it. I do it in the winter, too, but not so often.
There've been a few toe-artists over the years, but the latest may be the best. She's great at what she does, but also likes to cook. Double dose of fun for me.
Over Christmas, when my toes always turn bright red (called "I'm Not Really a Waitress" though I was for years of high school and college), she described this gratin that's baked in a crust. In fact, she described it so well (after a story about her new pans) that I knew I could go right home and make it. Being able to describe a dish and its prep that well is a definite talent.
Still, by the time I got around to making it (after Christmas!), I thought I'd see if I could find the recipe online. Search, hunt. Well, well. The recipe came from SOUTHERN LIVING (which I knew), a notoriously fattening publication, but the award-winning food blog, The Bitten Word had blogged it and I got the recipe there.
|Clay Dunn and Zach Patton of The Bitten Word blog (photo-Chris Leaman/CC)|
I'll share it here, but note that it calls for store-bought pie crusts and I like to use my own. Si place, as my conducting instructor (Angie, Angie) at University of St. Thomas would say. It means, "Do as you like." I have nothing against store-bought crusts, but can make a crust at home faster than I can drive to the store. And I do like mine better.
This is a show stopper dish. Touted as a side for tenderloin or something equally luscious at holiday time, it could also be a brunch dish or a lovely vegetarian lunch with a big crunchy salad.
I'm leaving the pics all in a row for you to see...
While it was quite a process, it wasn't difficult, and was well worth the effort.
I agree with The Bitten Word that it needs to bake longer than the recipe allows, but then again, I'm at altitude. I've made notes for adjustments.
Just when I know you needed salads or stir fries (frys?)....here's something gooey, warm, heartening, and fattening. Sorry. Check out examiner.com (Colorado Springs Entertainment--Food and Drink) for a healthy Chicken Minestrone--quick version I published yesterday if you need something slimming. Meantime, this should be shared. Dave and I ate it twice and then I shared it with my book club. I froze a little bit just to see how it'd hold. I couldn't throw it out.
P.S. As is sometimes the case, the Gruyere was cheaper at Whole Foods than at King Soopers. (This is true of chicken broth, orange juice, other cheeses and other stuff, too.)Here goes... I forgot to photograph making the pate brisee (pie crust made with butter) in the food processor.
|I made my own version of pate brisee in the food processor. Carefully possible. You might want to wait to put the rosemary and cheese on until after you put the first crust in the pan. See pic below as I roll the crust onto the pin.|
|Do buy Gruyere.|
|Grate the cheese in the food processor if you have one. Save your hands.|
|This is one way to move a crust from the counter to the pan--wrapped very loosely around the rolling pin.|
|The edge of this crust is purposely quite thick and will be very crunchy. There's no way to get it looking perfect. (Though is will taste that way!)|
|Get a kitchen scale. Don't guess at weights. Scales at groceries are inconsistent. 3 potatoes can weigh 3/4# or 1.5#, depending on their size.|
|I slice most potatoes in the food processor. The mandoline, while perfect for some, is dangerous for me!|
|Warm the cream and garlic in the microwave. Buen idea!!!|
|After removing foil and before second baking. Looking yum already.|
|Ready for its closeup.|
|Once more for grins and giggles.|
Total: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Yield: Makes 10 servings
- 1 (14.1-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts* (I make my own--recipe at end.)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Gruyère cheese, divided (Grate in food processor)
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs
1. Preheat oven to 450°. Unroll piecrusts on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle rosemary, pepper, and 1/2 cup cheese over 1 piecrust; top with remaining piecrust. Roll into a 13-inch circle. Press on bottom and up sides of a 9-inch springform pan; fold edges under. Chill.
2. Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice Yukon gold and sweet potatoes. (Slice in food processor.)
3. Layer one-third each of Yukon gold potatoes, sweet potatoes, and salt in prepared crust. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layers twice, pressing layers down slightly to fit.
4. Microwave cream and garlic in a 1-cup microwave-safe measuring cup at HIGH 45 seconds; pour over potato layers in pan. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Cover pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet.
5. Bake at 450° for 1 hour. (I added 10 minutes here.) Uncover and bake 25 minutes (I added 5 minutes here) or until potatoes are done and crust is richly browned. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully transfer to a serving plate, and remove sides of pan. If desired, carefully slide gratin off bottom of pan using a long knife or narrow spatula. Garnish, if desired. Note: At altitude, I still though this could have used an extra 10-15 minutes.
Alyce's Double Pate Brisee Crust Made in the Food Processor
2 2/3 c unbleached white flour
1/4 t kosher salt
12 T salted butter, quite cold, cut into chunks
1/2 c ice water (you might need a tad more if flour very dry)
In the bowl of your food processor, blend flour and salt. Add butter and pulse until some pieces are pea-sized, some are smaller and some are bigger. With machine running, pour water through food tube and process until dough comes together. Stop machine and remove dough. Carefully pat together into a ball and divide in half. Sprinkle counter with some flour* and place one half of the dough on it. Sprinkle dough and rolling pin liberally with flour. Quickly (trying to keep it cold here), roll out into 12-13" circle. Roll the dough loosely around the pin and place crust in pan. Sprinkle crust with the cheese and rosemary. Refrigerate pan. Roll out other crust, roll it around the pin, and place on top of refrigerated crust. Press top crust into bottom briefly and turn edges under, trimming crusts if needed. Pinch edges of crust together quickly; don't spend long on this. Continue as above.
* You can also roll dough between two pieces of waxed paper (some of the crust will escape!) and leave out the floured counter entirely:
First--dampen the counter by wiping it well with a very damp cloth. This insures the waxed paper will stay put and not slip around.
-Place half of the dough between two sheets of waxed paper, place "package" on damp counter and, with rolling pin, roll out (start at center, roll to edge, and repeat- Go around the crust clock-wise) until crust is 12-13"...
- Flip the crust over, quickly give one roll with the pin on that other side, take off that paper, flip again and, as you gently ease the crust into the pan, peel off the second piece of paper.
- Throw that paper away, get new paper and repeat procedure.
Reading, Listening, Viewing, Whatever else and Cooking Currently:
I'm so late. I just finished THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein for book club. I love the idea of a dog talking, but wish he'd re-write this in 20 years. The club, over all, liked the book and, I think, all of them read it!
I am reading -all at once!- DEVIL'S TRILL by Gerald Elias (2009), THE APPRENTICE by Jacques Pepin (biography) and MATHILDA SAVITCH by Victor Lodato. I continue to read Dorie Greenspan's newest book, AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE, as well as Melissa Clark's In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite. Want cookbooks? Buy these gems.
I am listening to Hildegard von Bingen...a Christmas gift.
We saw "The King's Speech" last weekend and were bowled over. Stunning film. Go.
This week, I made a point to find out when "Glee" was on and watched an episode. Interesting, but I couldn't figure out what all the hoopla was about. Maybe because I'm a choir director.
I am playing things I haven't played in months. Did Advent intervene here? Maybe. But I spent an hour playing and singing last night before I read DEVIL'S TRILL. Singing your heart out is good for you. Remember singing around a camp fire? Or on a road trip?
I am not dreaming this week (I'm not a big dreamer), but I did wake up over and over one night thinking about a new job I've applied for. As I glanced out the windows in the dark, I saw (and I'm near-sighted) a white bird--a big one--fly into a tree in the wildwood between our house and Mike and Sara's. I laid there a minute or two, wondering if I'd imagined it and finally got up to put my glasses on and peer out into the gloom of early morning. No bird then, but there was a falling star!! I haven't seen one since Emily and I beat it up the road of the campground in Brown County, Indiana to hit the outhouse in the middle of one long night.
I talked to Tina from Prive (lovely, lovely Oregon winery) today about our upcoming shipment. While they did make wine, they made a lot less. Oregon weather just didn't cooperate for a large yield. A cool fall meant delaying and delaying picking, though they had pruned hugely in September and knew they might not get much, but they'd get tasty. And so it happened. She's concerned that the wine being shipped now (last year's) will travel through places with temperatures under freezing, thus not just compromising, but ruining the wine--blowing the corks for the cardboard to drink the fine Pinot. Tina and her husband Mark have a capital T Teensy vineyard in Oregon Pinot country, where they make boutique Pinot Noir (there's another name, I'm thinking) from their own on-site grapes and also a couple of other wines from grapes they borrow and whip into shape from Washington (a Syrah and a red blend). Between the pristine, reminiscent of France winery and their house is a comfortable patio replete with tables, chairs, plants, flowers and, the piece de resistance, an outdoor pizza oven. Now I envy Mark his vineyard and Tina her winery, but what I really covet is the pizza oven. Wineries like Prive sell pretty much on futures only; you must buy ahead (barrel tasting that vintage sometimes) or you get no wine. These wines don't appear in stores or restaurants often, though you might have a better chance in Oregon itself. So our wine, waiting for shipment in her cellar, is well worth the wait for good shipping weather. It'll keep just fine right there. Our Sunday weather promises a snow storm and -12.
Our friends (and students) Jacque, Tom, Joel and Miss Ellie moved this last week. Current cooking includes a big pot of bean soup (I do this a couple of times a winter and make 20 qts or so), a slab of corn bread and hazelnut brownies (with Valhrona chocolate frosting) I'll take to them tonight for dinner. A big, fat bottle of Cotes du Rhone goes with it, along with some sparkling apple cider for the kiddoes.
For dinner, I'm trying a halibut with pico de gallo in the oven in foil. Yes, I actually do have to stop eating things like Potato Gratin with Rosemary Crust. Let you know how it comes out.
Sing a new song,