Golden Potato and Mushroom Gratin
Roast Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
Our holiday table from years past
It’s eight days and counting until Christmas and my son, Mike, and I who are the holiday cooks for our family, still haven’t decided on the menu! Since he is traveling quite a bit before the 25th, I’ve begun to make some choices and am starting by anchoring our meal with a superb potato and mushroom gratin. It is layered with thinly sliced Yukon Golds and earthy porcini mushrooms, covered with crème fraîche, and finished with a sprinkle of white cheddar and toasted bread crumbs.
This gratin would pair harmoniously with almost any traditional holiday main course. You could make it the star accompaniment to golden roasted turkey, a glistening glazed ham, succulent leg of lamb, or a regal standing rib roast or beef tenderloin.
The dried porcini mushrooms (or a combo of both porcini and chanterelles) can be reconstituted ahead, the cheese grated, and the bread crumbs toasted up to two days in advance. Peeling and slicing the spuds and an assembly is all that is necessary on serving day. You can even bake the casserole several hours ahead and then reheat it when Continue reading
A few days ago Ann and Peter Haigh, long-time hosts of Pittsburgh’s popular “On The Menu” radio show, talked with me about my new book, Soup Nights. Enthusiastic about the soups in the collection, they mentioned that they had tagged several to try. One that really grabbed their attention was Chicken Noodle Soup with Sautéed Mushrooms and Parmigiano, a new version of the comfort food classic. I wasn’t completely surprised by their singling out this soup because the testers for Soup Nights all marked it as one of their favorites. And, now that I am in full publicity mode for the book, I’ve noticed how often this recipe surfaces in conversations.
Since the chill of autumn makes all of us crave rich, warming soups, I’m happy to share the recipe. So, for all of you readers who are longing for a bowl of piping hot, soothing chicken noodle soup, here’s that familiar dish with some delicious creative touches.
Unfortunately, due to a production error, the final two steps of the recipe did not print properly. Below you will find the complete text. Continue reading
Earlier this month on a picture-perfect summer evening, my husband and I and a good friend ate outside on the terrace of Amherst’s Lord Jeffrey Inn. Our group of three looked at the interesting menu, and surprisingly all ordered the corn risotto as our main course. (If you knew what a carnivore my spouse, Ron, is, you’d be as stunned as I that he by-passed the handsome steak offering for this vegetable main course.). The waitress assured us that we wouldn’t be disappointed, and she was right.
The chef had made a delicious risotto by cooking arborio rice (the classic short, starchy grain used for this Northern Italian specialty) in simmering stock along with fresh corn kernels. As garnishes he had topped each serving with a spoonful of pickled piquillo peppers and some sautéed hen mushrooms. One bite and we were all smitten.
At home, I couldn’t get the dish out of my mind, and set out to create my own version. I sautéed chopped shallots in butter, along with corn and rice. Then for the next 20 minutes I slowly added ladlefuls of simmering broth to the pot, stirring constantly until each addition was absorbed before ladling in more. Continue reading
Recently I read an article about zero-waste in commercial kitchens. The gist of the story was that many chefs have adopted a philosophy of using not just some, but all the food scraps and leftovers in their kitchen. One chef confessed that a dish he made with leftover broccoli stems was better than the original he had prepared with the crowns, and was now a staple on his menu. When I looked in my fridge later that day, and found a sizeable collection of partially used ingredients, I realized that a little zero-waste attitude could be applied at my house.
I spotted a half full container of mascarpone, a chunk of white cheddar, and some smoked kielbasa, as well as a package of mixed mushrooms and some butternut squash (remainders from some recipe testing). In a “eureka” moment I realized these could be the makings of a delectable winter pizza.
The only ingredient I purchased was an extra thin pizza crust. It was spread with mascarpone, sprinkled with grated cheddar, and topped with a mélange of sautéed mushrooms, onions, and kielbasa. Garnishes included roasted cubes of butternut squash and a final dusting of cheddar. Continue reading
In Paris, my local cheese store, Quatrehomme, always has an array of savory tarts ready to be sliced and taken home for reheating. Recently, I noticed one made with mild, lovely Cantal cheese topped with sliced tomatoes, another prepared with extra creamy Reblochon cheese and ham, and a new combo of brébis (sheep’s cheese) with smoked ham. A few steps away at La Grande Epicerie, a spinach and fresh salmon torte encrusted in a rich golden pastry shell was equally tempting. All were inspiration for the mushroom and scallop tart I made for lunch a few days ago.
Baking this tart was a breeze because I used plenty of convenience ingredients. For the crust, I bought puff pastry sheets already cut into circles so that all I needed to do was mold one into a tart pan. The cheese store sold grated Gruyère, and it wasn’t a problem to find a box of fresh, sliced mushrooms. On the other side of the Atlantic, puff pastry is sold in most markets, but you will need to cut a sheet to fit your pan. Pre-sliced mushrooms are common too, but you may have to take a few minutes to grate the cheese. Continue reading