Category Archives: Home Meals

2018 Cookery Project — Parsnip Gratin with Gruyère and Thyme

http://atelierchristine.com/archives/6902/recipe/parsnip-gratin-with-gruyere-and-thyme-by-silvia-fountaine

Parsnip Gratin with Gruyère and Thyme

Parsnip Gratin with Gruyere and Thyme

Lately I’ve been sampling James Peterson’s book, Vegetables, reading up on all the things I don’t know about turnips and rutabagas and bok choy. Somebody must use them, because even the sadly understocked Safeway near my condo, which routinely runs out of exotic products like milk and ground beef, always seems to have them in stock. But they’ve never been part of my repertoire.

Same with parsnips. I’m sure I’ve had parsnip purée, but I’ve never cooked with them myself, until now. I wanted to try something new, and I found a recipe for Parsnip Gratin with Gruyère and Thyme at Atelier Christine

Peterson describes the taste of a parsnip as being somewhere between a carrot and a potato, and I think that’s right on the money. My Parsnip Gratin, which required a lot of peeling and chopping and grating, tasted very much like good old scalloped potatoes. It was fine, but considering how much effort went into it, I was hoping for something more exciting.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

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2018 Cookery Project — Garlic Butter Steak and Potatoes

Garlic Butter Steak and Potatoes

Garlic Butter Steak and Potatoes

Another kitchen success story! I am really on a roll these days.

I got this recipe from Eatwell 101, where it’s called “Garlic Butter Steak and Potatoes Skillet”, because you cook the entire meal in a single skillet. A big single skillet. The lighting in my kitchen makes for lousy photographs, so here’s an image I grabbed from the website.

Like so many good things in life, it all begins with a marinade. This one was made with soy sauce, olive oil, Sriracha, and cracked pepper. Gonna be hot stuff. I cut flank steak into strips and marinated them overnight.

The next day, I heated olive oil and butter in the skillet and cooked quartered baby yellow potatoes for about five minutes on each side. When they were golden, I shifted them to a platter and made a quick run to my building’s roof deck, where I clipped some thyme, rosemary, and oregano from our little communal herb garden. Can’t get much more fresh, seasonal, and local than that.

The herbs went into the skillet, along with more butter, some crushed garlic, and red chili pepper flakes. I added strips of flank steak, and, after they had browned, I poured the reserved marinade into the pan. The only thing left to do was return the potatoes to the skillet for reheating, and sprinkling more of those very fresh herbs over the pan.

The meal looked and tasted great, and clean-up was in cinch.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2018 Cookery Project — Berry Cheesecake Fruit Salad

Berry Cheesecake Fruit Salad

Berry Cheesecake Fruit Salad

I wanted to try something new and different, to take advantage of all the fresh ripe fruit that’s at its best this time of year, and this is what I came up with. It’s Berry Cheesecake Fruit Salad, from a recipe on Cooking Classy, one of my go-to sources for all kinds of interesting culinary ideas.

This one was basic. The “cheesecake” part was just whipped cream folded into whipped cream cheese, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract. It’s a stretch to call it “cheesecake“, because it wasn’t baked, and had the same texture and pourability as batter. It was more “pre-cheesecake” or “aspirational cheesecake” or “hope to turn into cheesecake someday if I keep practicing cheesecake” than the dessert we all know and crave.

I poured the mixture over a bowl filled with a pound of hulled and quartered strawberries, 12 ounces of blueberries, some blackberries, and some raspberries, then scattered crushed graham crackers around the edge of the bowl. I stuck a few mixed berries on top as a garnish, and I was set to go.

Note: This Berry Cheesecake Fruit Salad can’t be made in advance—you have to eat it the same day it was made. I left some of it in the refrigerator overnight, and by the next morning, the “batter” had started to break down and liquify.  While that wasn’t enough to stop me from having a nice, fruit-filled breakfast—it still tasted fine—I wouldn’t have served it to a guest.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2018 Cookery Project — Sea Scallops on Sweet Onions

Sea Scallops on Sweet Onions

Sea Scallops on Sweet Onions

On my way out of the Maine Avenue Fish Market, I bought a pound of Sea Scallops.

That recipe for Hanger Steak with Red Onion Toast from Jonathan Waxman’s book, A Great American Chef, turned out so well that I wanted to try another. The one for Sea Scallops on Sweet Onions looked interesting.

I cooked the sea scallops in butter, over medium heat, for about three minutes to a side, until the tops and bottoms had developed a golden crust. Standard stuff.

The onions were what made this dish so good. I sliced Vidalias and cooked them in butter—yes, more butter—over a very low heat, making sure they didn’t brown. Meanwhile, I minced an uncooked scallop and put the pieces in a cup of white wine, which I simmered for 20 minutes. When the onions had cooked for 45 minutes, I added the strained, reduced wine to the pan and let it continue to cook for another 10 minutes.

A little Maldon Sea Salt, a little freshly-ground pepper, a little parsley. and it was ready to be served on a heated plate.

The onions tasted fantastic. The whole dish rocked.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2018 Cookery Project — Hanger Steak with Red Onion Toast

Hanger Steak with Red Onion Toast

Hanger Steak with Red Onion Toast

I got this recipe from Jonathan Waxman’s modestly named book, A Great American Chef, where it appears under the title “Skirt or Hanger Steak Marinated in Soy, Ginger, and Lime with Red Onion Toasts”.

I always marinate overnight, even when the recipe says you can get away with just doing it for a couple of hours. Grating the ginger was a chore, and in addition to the lime juice and soy sauce, I crushed some garlic cloves for the marinade. The sauce for the steak was made with chopped shallots in a red wine reduction.

After removing the steak from the marinade the next day, I broiled everything. I started with the onion rings, which I first doused with the reserved marinade, sans the ginger and garlic. After 10 minutes, I removed them from the broiler and set them aside. Then came the steak, broiled for about five minutes on each side. The last step was toasting both sides of four slices of sourdough bread.

The onions went on the toast, the re-heated wine sauce went on the steak, and the meal was ready to serve.

It was brilliant.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2018 Cookery Project — Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie

The difference between Cottage Pie and Shepherd’s Pie is that Cottage Pie is made with ground beef and Shepherd’s Pie is made with ground lamb.*

I used a recipe from a hugely likable food blog called RecipeTin Eats, which was created by a well-traveled young woman named Nagi, who was born in Japan and raised in Australia. She says her “…blog reflects my philosophy on food and cooking – fast, creative, clever and fresh.

The Cottage Pie recipe is uncomplicated, but it did require a lot of peeling and slicing and dicing and mashing. In addition to writing easy-to-follow directions for making the dish, Nagi included this short video.

The RecipeTin Eats site is loaded with good stuff like this. I’ll be using it a lot in the months to come.

Cottage Pie Slice

Cottage Pie Slice

Here’s a slice of the finished project. My potatoes-to-beef ratio was a little high, but not bad for a first effort.


*Unless the Shepherd’s Pie was prepared in Mrs Lovett’s Pie Shop on Fleet Street. The shop, once known for the worst pies in London. was recently renovated, and introduced a new, very locally sourced menu featuring an impressive selection of custom-made meat pies.

And avocado toast, of course, To bring in the Millenials.

Once the Millenials discovered it, its Yelp ratings went through the roof, and Mrs Lovett is scheduled to compete on next season’s Top Chef.

MRS LOVETT:
“It’s fop.
Finest in the shop.
And we have some shepherd’s pie peppered
With actual shepherd on top!”

 


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.