Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy Potato Dance

My love for potatoes is long-standing and deep-rooted. I've never met a potato I didn't like. Powdered instant mashed potatoes don't count. Those are gross.

We invited a friend for dinner for her birthday on Saturday. Matt cooked lamb chops, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to catch up on the Potato Gratin recipe (pg 360 from Around My French Table) that French Fridays with Dorie cooked last winter. I'm really glad that I recently purchased a mandoline, because there is no chance I'd have sliced potatoes consistently and thin. The mandoline earned its keep this weekend.

Everyone loved this gratin. Garlic-steeped in heavy cream and a gruyere topping gave it a rich, subtle flavor that perfectly accompanied the lamb. I forgot to take a picture until after dinner was over. This is all that was left of the entire pie plate of potatoes...
Matt asked if we could have this for dinner every night. We'd all die of a heart attack if I did that, but this will definitely become a go-to potato treat.

Conclusion: Loved it. Wow--I just realized that this is the 70th recipe I've cooked from AMFT. That's a lot.

Delicious as dinner was on Saturday, I feel like I'm still digesting it. I need veg, so I decided to make the Caesar Salad (pg 72) from The Family Meal. I'd reserved a bit of anchovy from the pissaladiere with the dressing in mind. I probably could have used more of it. Matt commented that the dressing was good, and "tasted like caesar salad," but that he thought it needed more anchovy. I was afraid to be too heavy-handed, after my pissaladiere's results.

One problem I'm having with this book is that I haven't found a good way to blend the things that need blending. I'm cooking the recipes according to the "for 2" guidelines, and the outcome is spot-on with a reasonable portion size, but they use such a small quantity of ingredients that the blades on my immersion blender (which is what the book instructs you to use) don't reach what needs to be blended. My food processor is way too big. Because of this, I had a really hard time making this dressing. There's no way to "very gradually pour in the sunflower oil while blending" when the blender won't reach the oil. I don't think this came out as well as it could have. It never reached the mayonnaise consistency that I was supposed to be looking for, but it was still good.
Yep. That's a bowl of lettuce.
Conclusion: Liked it. It's a salad. Nothing special.

I needed to use up some leeks that I had, so I made Vichyssoise (pg 92) to go with our salad. Very tasty, but I think something went wrong. The book's photos show that the soup should be loose. By the time it sat in the fridge for a few hours, it had solidified into mashed potatoes. Delicious mashed potatoes, but I don't think that's what I was going for. Matt asked why anyone would want cold soup, and after tasting it both hot and cold, I had to agree, so I heated it up and thinned it out with some water. It still was thick, though. Matt said that if I thickened it with another potato instead of thinning it with water, they would have been the best mashed potatoes ever. Good enough for me, soup or not.
Adria serves it with a soft-boiled egg, but I opted out of that. If we were just having soup, I would have tried the egg. It seemed like too much for dinner, when combined with the salad. 

Conclusion: Liked it. Easy and tasty. It looks nothing like the pics in the book, though.


  1. I can see why you did the happy potato dance! What a DROOLABLE dish :)

  2. Ooh, I loved the potato dish when we made it the first time around. It might make another appearance for Thanksgiving!

  3. hhmmm... Vichyssoise calls for quite a lot of light cream,milk,AND heavy cream and its always a very creamy white color. Your soup looks more like the very classic and more typical potato leek soup. If you add cream and blend it, you will have a vichyssoise soup though it sounds like you like it just fine as is.

  4. had some cream, but not a lot. Just 2 tb for the whole thing. The pic in the book looked how you described.

  5. 2TB is not nearly enough. Can you copy the recipe and send? I bet you it is a recipe for a potato leek soup, not a vichyssoise. this is Ferran AdriĆ  right? Anyway... I am curious about this. BTW your blog has inspired me to KEEP COOKING! I was getting kind of tired of it but am being creative again. My neighbor gave me a big bag of mini sweet peppers and I stayed up late last nt making roasted pepper cream soup! She was stunned (and happy) when I gave her some today.

  6. I am going to wager that what you made is really potage parmentier- Julia Child has a recipe for it that is quite popular.