Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Imperfect Potatoes a la Boulangere

Recently, Mom brought me a couple bags of potatoes from her garden. I was quite pleased to get her potatoes since my potatoes failed thanks to bugs.  Darn it for trying to figure out organic gardening.

So what do you make with lots of potatoes?

A while ago, I was looking up French potato casserole recipes, like potatoes dauphinoise and potatoes a la boulangere. They are very similar in technique. Both require peeled, thinly sliced potatoes baked in a dish with some liquid.  Dauphinoise uses cream or milk, while boulangere uses stock or broth.

Now let me remind you, food does not turn out perfectly for me every time. I wish it did!

This was tasty, but a bit soupier than I wanted. I managed to use onions from my garden and they were so good! I added bacon because everyone loves bacon and it really compliments potatoes in general.

about 4 pounds of potatoes, I used Mom's red potatoes
4 slices of thick bacon, sliced into lardons
1 large onion, sliced
1 can low-sodium chicken stock, about 15 ounces
salt and pepper

1. Peel and slice potatoes. I used my mandoline slicer to get them about 1/8" thick. Set aside.

2. Sautee together the bacon and onion until the onions are caramelized.

3. Layer potato slices in a 9"x13" dish. Season with salt and pepper.  Add half of the onion-bacon mixture. Add another layer of potato slices, season again. Add the rest of the onion-bacon mixture. Top off with a third layer of potatoes.  Carefully pour the chicken stock into the pan. Season the top with salt and pepper.

4. Bake in a 400F preheated oven for about 1 hour.  The potatoes should be easily pierced with a fork when done.

5. Let it rest about 10 minutes before serving.  It will soak up some of the stock, but it's still pretty juicy. It may look a little runny, but it sure tasted good. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mystery Box Steak Tostada with Squash Apple Peach Taquito

Justin gave me a whole bunch of ingredients today for Mystery Box Dinner #3. There is enough leftover from tonight's meal to have a decent dinner tomorrow, too.

Today, I received fresh Brussels sprouts, green beans, beef top round steaks, pork ribs, corn tortillas, dill gherkin pickles, a chunk of banana squash, basmati rice, canned whole mild chiles, canned whole tomatillos, prosciutto, pancetta, fontina cheese, goat's milk cheese, pinto beans, and red kidney beans.

I raided the fridge and pantry for vegetable oil, lemon, white wine vinegar, a habanero chili pepper, mayonnaise, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, chicken bouillon, a green apple, agave nectar, a peach, and herbs and spices.

 I combined the tomatillos, half the can of mild chiles, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and a tiny bit of the habanero chili to make salsa verde.

The pinto beans got smashed with some diced mild green chili, oil, and spices to become refried beans.

The basmati rice, combined with chicken bouillon, salsa, and water to become Spanish rice.

I smeared the steaks with a spiced mayonnaise, then grilled them quickly. To serve, the steaks were sliced thinly.

I fried some tortillas to crisp them up for the tostada base.

To plate the meal, I started with a bed of Spanish rice. I smeared the refried beans on a tostada, topped it with sliced beef, crumbled goat's cheese, lettuce, sour cream and salsa verde.  I also added salsa verde to the plate surrounding the rice base.

Also, the banana squash went in the oven to roast. Then after peeling and cubing, I combined it with diced apple, diced peach, lemon juice, agave nectar, and cinnamon. This was rolled into a corn tortilla and fried into a dessert taquito. It was topped with cinnamon sugar and whipped cream.