Friday, December 31, 2010

ham and root vegetable au gratin

My CSA vegetable deliveries are over, but I still have a variety of root vegetables languishing in the frig. I don't *love* some of them like beauty heart radishes, turnips, or parsnips so I like to try recipes that will mellow their flavor a bit. I got a delicious Christmas ham from Prairie Pride Farms and didn't want to make the standard ham and bean soup with the leftovers, so I went looking for gratin recipes and this is what I came up with:

4 medium carrots
2 medium parsnips
1 medium turnip
2 medium potatoes
1 medium sweet potato
3 cups ham, diced
1 medium onion
1 large clove garlic, minced

Peel and thinly slice all the vegetables. Set aside. Saute sliced onion and garlic in butter on low heat. While sauteing, make the sauce in a separate pan.

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used a super tasty Gouda from Whole Foods)

Melt butter and add flour and salt, whisking your roux until it's nice and bubbly. Pour in milk and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.

Mix vegetables, ham, and onions and garlic together in a large baking dish. Pour sauce over mixture and stir well. Season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes, until bubbly and you can pierce the vegetables with a fork. Add a bit more shredded cheese on top towards the end.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Eggnog pots de creme

Baked Mashed Potatoes

I made these for a work party last year, A- and I made them for a family gathering, then I completely forgot about them. but they are worth remembering.
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Coarse salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup milk, warmed, or as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Paprika for garnish
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and add cold water to cover by at least 1 inch. Add a good pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, partially cover, and cook until the potatoes are very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan over medium heat. Cook, shaking the pan and stirring so the potatoes don't stick, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the potatoes are floury and have formed a film on the bottom of the pan.
Remove from the heat and break up the potatoes with a handheld mixer on low speed. Gradually drop in 6 tablespoons of the butter and beat until it is absorbed. Refrigerate the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Gradually add the cream cheese and sour cream, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk a little at a time. You want the potatoes to be fluffy and light. If they seem to be getting too wet, don't add all the milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (If you don't have an electric mixer, use a hand masher to start and then use a wooden spoon to beat in the butter, cream cheese, sour cream, and milk. Beat the milk into the potatoes one third at a time, beating vigorously after each addition.)
Butter a 9-x-13-inch baking dish and spoon the potatoes into it. Smooth the top, then use a spatula or fork to swirl or score the surface to leave little peaks that will brown nicely during baking. Refrigerate, covered tightly with plastic wrap, for up to 2 days before baking.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Dust the top of the potatoes with paprika. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons butter into small pieces and scatter them over the top. Bake until the potatoes are heated through and the top is lightly golden, about 1 hour. (Expect it to take only half the time if the potatoes haven't been refrigerated.) Serve hot.

From epicurious- the recipe originally appeared in One Potato, Two Potato by Roy Finamore with Molly Stevens. It was reprinted, along with the introductory text included here, in The 150 Best American Recipes by Fran McCullough and Molly Stevens. They're light and fluffy because they're whipped with an electric mixer, and they're incredibly luscious because they have sour cream and butter, plus cream cheese to give them a little edge.

how cute are these?

Of course I love the bright colors, and yellow, red, and aqua are my favorites in the kitchen!


Perhaps it's my librarian-tendencies, but I've got recipes in my bookmarks, on my computer, written down on cards and in books, and I need a better way to organize my life in the kitchen. Cooking with my CSA vegetables means I only use certain recipes seasonally, I forget about something I've made and really liked, or I just can't find where I've saved something. So I'm finally succumbing to the blogosphere. I hope it will be an easy way to catalog my recipes, share them, and it will give A- a place to post the pictures he takes of our food. Oh, and to me, vanilla is nothing but plain.