Saturday, February 23, 2008

Truffled Potato Galettes

This year is a special one. The United Nations has dubbed 2008 the International Year of the Potato. En français, c'est l'Année Internationale de la Pomme de Terre. Sounds a bit more fancy that way, doesn't it? The idea is to draw attention to a food that is nutritious, flexible and integral to many cultures.

In an attempt to interact more with other food sites in the blogsphere, this year I had decided to participate more in blog roundups hosted by Is My Blog Burning. Eating Leeds is hosting one this month related to aforementioned tuber. The great thing about the recipe I chose for this, is that it let me take something that I hadn't made in a while and rework it completely into something a bit more elegant and suitable for a nice dinner à deux.

I did use the typical (for the U.S.) Yukon Gold potato as my base, which I really love for cooking. I know that Eating Leeds had wanted us to try to use a variety with which we normally don't cook, but that would make it probably too difficult for most of you to try. Having to locate truffle oil for this dish might be enough of a challenge. I had bought a bottle during my trip to Italy last year and was just looking for a good excuse to tap into my supply.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Flounder Florentine

When I chatted with a few of my siblings about the theme for the blog for these few weeks, a couple of them asked if I was going to add this dish to my list. Now that I've tried it again, I called around to find out their reactions to it to see if they matched my own. "Because it is disgusting," was one sibling's reaction as to the level of her distaste. Another one assured me that she had liked it when we were growing up, but agreed with me that it could use a little bit of work.

Again, I have no idea where this recipe came from originally. My mother said that it was published in a woman's magazine. When I tried to research it on Google, I got many versions of this dish, each slightly different from what I have written down on my notecard. I have to confess that I'd not actually made this, ever, but had pulled it as one of those fish/Lenten dishes that sounded like a good thing to have my repertoire.

In going through all the ingredients, it did seem a little bit bland-sounding to me. While waiting for the fish to cook, I was just wishing for an idea of how to jazz it up a bit more, flavor-wise. I'd planned to serve it alongside some boiled, small red potatoes. Then, it hit me - I needed to sauté the potatoes in olive oil and garlic to give the entire meal a bit more of an interesting kick. Sure enough, that did it.

This dish is very easy to cut in half which makes it a lovely (with the garlic potatoes and a glass of white wine) meal for mommy and daddy to have while the kids get to enjoy fishsticks and tater tots, which is really what they wanted for dinner anyway instead of something "disgusting" with spinach in it. Maybe it was just a bit too sophisticated for my sister's childhood palate. This is the child who, after all, survived for at least a year on hotdogs, applesauce and cottage cheese for dinner.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tuna Tettrazini

I didn't put this recipe up in time for this past Friday, the first Friday of Lent, because, like usual, it always takes me about a week to get myself in gear for this season. It's always a challenge to remember that I'm not supposed to eat meat the first week or that I was supposed to have given something up for the next month and a half.

My brain still hasn't activated the "You are banned from eating meat today" voice until at least the second week. In good years, this happens prior to my eating a chicken sandwich for lunch. In not-so-good years, I'll have already had bacon for breakfast before it occurs to me that I shouldn't have eaten it. This year, I felt pretty good about being on top of it, even having my first tuna melt on Ash Wednesday. Good thing that this is only once a year.

So, after the first Friday of pizza for dinner or fish sticks and tater tots (mmm, remember those from school lunches), it's time to dust off the tuna recipes. Tuna Tetrazzini was among the first of the dishes that I was put in charge of making. It was usually served with "salad" (aka iceburg lettuce with bottled Italian dressing). To be a bit more grown up, I opted for having my recipe for Freshly-Shelled Peas with Sautéed Shallots as the side dish.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Gettin' Ready for Fat Tuesday

As we were all reminded at Mass this morning, Lent is quite literally around the corner. This year, we have Super Bowl Sunday, when everyone eats and drinks lots of not-so-healthy game day snacks, back to back with Ash Wednesday, the start of the holiest season of the Catholic calendar and one that means fasting, abstinence and reflection. Fortunately, we have Mardi Gras in the middle to help us get from one to the other.

Jotted down in pen in the blank pages of a much-used cookbook that I found in my parents' house, is the recipe I decided to try this weekend: Shrimp Remoulade. If you do an on-line search for this recipe, you'll find as many variations on the theme as there are Cajuns in Louisiana (one of the places of origin of this dish). The version I copied down from the recipe file was an oil-based emulsion. Other remoulades (like those made with celery root) call for mayonnaise as the dressing base instead. This is the perfect, lightly spicy dish that, along with a small side of boiled white rice, would be a wonderful starter for any Fat Tuesday party that you might be having.

I'm keeping my post super short this weekend as the big game is getting ready to start. I've got to support the boys in blue of my adopted hometown. Let's hope they pull it off, otherwise, it will be kind of miserable in the office tomorrow, with everyone armchair-quarterbacking the loss.

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