Potato

Potato and Leek Au Gratin for Two

Cooking for two people sounds easy peasy, but in reality, it’s something altogether different. My three kids have been out of the house for a while now, but I still find myself cooking cisterns of soup and medium-sized farm animals for dinner. My default habit. Leftovers are a “thing” at our house these days, but I do keep trying.

I had some salad stuff in the fridge for a side, one russet potato, two leeks, a hunk of Gruyere, and heavy cream in the fridge, so I decided to try to pull off an au gratin for two. It worked! It was so yummy that we ate the WHOLE thing. We were using our fingers to wipe up every last smear of goodness. After we practically licked the dish clean, we thought maybe cooking this for two was a big mistake? You could always double the recipe J  

Preheat the oven to 425-degrees

Here’s the recipe:

1 ½ cups heavy cream

2 oz. grated Gruyere cheese

2 leeks, light green/white parts only

1 large russet potato

2 thyme sprigs

1 tbsp. EVOO

Kosher salt

Slice leeks in half and then julienne.

Rinse leeks well.

Saute leeks in EVOO until brown around the edges. Remove the thyme leaves from the sprigs and add to the leeks. Mix well. Remove from heat.

Peel the russet potato and slice with a mandolin (best to have uniform slices of potatoes or they’ll cook at different times).

Begin layering the potatoes in a small-ish pyrex dish (the size will depend upon the size of your potato). Sprinkle the salt between each layer.

Cover the top potato layer with the leeks and pour the heavy cream over the top. Slowly move the dish back and forth so that the cream migrates to all of the layers and to the bottom.

Cover the top of the leeks with the cheese.

Tent the top of the dish with aluminum foil so it’s not touching the cheese.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour.

Remove the aluminum foil and cook until the cheese is golden brown. Let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting into the cheese-y goodness!

Eat well!

April

 

Gnocchi

If prepared correctly, gnocchi can be transcendent. Pillow-y soft, potato-y, and the perfect vehicle for whatever sauce you decide to dress them in. If not prepared correctly, they’ll sink to the bottom of your gut like a lead sinker. I’ve made both, and it was several attempts before I finally came up with a consistent recipe. I believe the King Arthur pasta flour blend (you could try 00 flour, too, but then you’d have to finagle with the measurements) that I use is the key to a tender gnocchi. It’s softer and finer than all-purpose flour.

The most memorable gnocchi dish I have ever had the pleasure of tucking into was many years ago at The French Laundry in Napa Valley. They were fried crisp on the outside and exquisitely tender on the inside. Sort of like a well-made Belgian fry. The gnocchi were sharing their plate with summer squash, globe artichokes, crispy squash blossoms, and Greek basil. I’m sure the reason I recall the dish so vividly was not just because it was so darn delicious, but because of where we were, and who we were dining with on that magical night. Sigh.
Here’s what you’ll need –
Preheat oven to 425-degrees
3 russet potatoes
1 egg
2 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
2.5 oz. King Arthur pasta flour blend
Poke a few holes in the potatoes and roast for 1 hour, or until a knife pierces easily.

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Cut the potatoes in half and let some of the steam out for 5-10 minutes.

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Scoop the flesh out of the potatoes and put through a ricer into a big bowl.Add the salt, pepper, flour, and mix well.
Make a well in the center of the potato mixture.
Crack the egg into the middle of the empty well and scramble with a fork.
Integrate the egg with the flour mixture until you form a dough.
Make a log with the dough and sprinkle some flour on a cutting board.

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Place the log on the board and begin cutting off segments and rolling them into smaller logs.

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Using a knife, cut 1-inch segments off the smaller log and roll them across your gnocchi board, or off the ends of fork tines.
Boil in salted water (salty like the ocean) until they float to the top. Remove and add to whatever sauce you’re using. Heat the gnocchi up in the sauce so they soak up all that goodness like a sponge.

I dressed the gnocchi with a very simple tomato sauce and garnished it with a generous amount of grated Parmesan cheese and a chiffonade of basil. Yummo!
Eat well!
April
“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.” – Thomas Keller