Week 13: Lucky us

Breaking news! I’ve just received word that the farmer is back in town peddling his wares…

He hasn’t yet rang the bell at chez Maureen but I’m sincerely hoping that, should he return to the scene of the crime, I will be at home. No, not to buy more potatoes. Despite the plethora of delicious dishes we’ve enjoyed over the past four and a half months, we are all very much looking forward to a spud-free diet for a while.

I just want to be able to tell him “no, no thank you, we don’t need 50 kilos of potatoes”, like what I should have said the first time around. Would I tell him about the blog? I could be wrong, but I’m not certain he would really “get it”. Although his wife might be interested in the following:

Cabbage and Potato Gratin

Rhubarb-apple Crumble

Spargel-Kartoffel Salat, dazu Guacamole (Asparagus-potato Salad with Guacamole)

Turbot aux pommes (Fancy fish with apples)

Cabbage and potato gratin

I had high hopes for this recipe. Another forwarded from a loyal reader hailing from the greater Cincinnati area (a.k.a. Dad). The author really talked it up: the way the cabbage would caramelize and bring out the finer nuances of the potato; how the cheese and cream would unite to elevate two lowly winter vegetables to culinary superheroes resulting in an unprecedented taste explosion; how guests would be compelled to take a second, and perhaps even a third, serving while extolling the ingenious prowess of the house chef. Being completely innocent of such promotional hyperbole myself (see Apple-ginger marmalade), I took in earnest the rave review and eagerly began preparation of the gratin.

It was a tough sell. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad dish. Too many potatoes lying around? Cabbage is on sale this week? Want to try something a bit different? Why not? In retrospect I bet if you mixed in a couple of sliced sausages or some bacon, it would improve your chances of a memorable knock-out taste combo. (Again, universal truths. It strikes me that I am struggling to think of a dish off the top of my head that couldn’t be improved by the addition of fried greasy meat…unless you’re a vegetarian. In that case, add mushrooms. Preferably fried.)

I’ve traced down the credits for this dish from the aforementioned newspaper clipping. You can find a link to the original recipe, poetic introduction included, here.

Cabbage, large, green, approx. 2 lbs (1 kg), quartered

Potatoes, peeled and sliced, 1 lb (500 g)

Garlic, cloves, 2, peeled

Milk, 2 cups

Crème fraiche, ½ cup

Salt + pepper

Gruyère, grated, 1 cup (approx. 4 oz/110 g)

Parmesan, grated, ¼ cup (approx. 1 oz/30 g)

Sage, fresh, finely chopped, 2 tsp.

  1. Cook quartered cabbage and potato slices in salted boiling water over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Let cabbage cool. Then cut the core out of each wedge and cut in half lengthwise. Slice into ½ inch-wide ribbons (1 cm wide). Drain in a colander for 5 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter a sizeable baking dish and rub with a halved garlic clove.
  4. Slice remaining garlic and combine with cabbage and potatoes.
  5. Mix together milk, crème fraiche, salt and pepper. Add into cabbage and potatoes along with the cheeses and sage.
  1. Place all ingredients into the baking dish.
  1. Bake 75-90 minutes. During the first 45 minutes press the vegetables down every 10-15 minutes with the back of a large spoon. Let rest 10-15 minutes before serving.

Mine turned out nothing like the picture in the newspaper! To be honest, I probably didn’t follow the recipe quite as closely as I ought to have. I don’t recall slicing the cabbage quite as precisely as described, and I most likely skipped the garlic rubbing exercise. It is possible that my inattention to detail may have cost us our gratin (plus some perfectly good crème fraiche and gruyère…)

Cabbage and potato gratin

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • Cabbage large, green, approx. 2 lbs (1 kg), quartered
  • Potatoes peeled and sliced, 1 lb (500 g)
  • Garlic cloves, 2, peeled
  • Milk 2 cups
  • Crème fraiche ½ cup
  • Salt + pepper
  • Gruyère grated, 1 cup (approx. 4 oz/110 g)
  • Parmesan grated, ¼ cup (approx. 1 oz/30 g)
  • Sage fresh, finely chopped, 2 tsp.

Instructions

  • Cook quartered cabbage and potato slices in salted boiling water over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Let cabbage cool. Then cut the core out of each wedge and cut in half lengthwise. Slice into ½ inch-wide ribbons (1 cm wide). Drain in a colander for 5 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter a sizeable baking dish and rub with a halved garlic clove.
  • Slice remaining garlic and combine with cabbage and potatoes.
  • Mix together milk, crème fraiche, salt and pepper. Add into cabbage and potatoes along with the cheeses and sage.
  • Place all ingredients into the baking dish.
  • Bake 75-90 minutes. During the first 45 minutes press the vegetables down every 10-15 minutes with the back of a large spoon.
  • Let rest 10-15 minutes before serving.


top

Rhubarb-apple crumble

Here’s the perfect recipe to make if you fulfill most, or any, of the following criteria:

  1. You are busy.
  2. You have 20 kilos of apples in your cellar.
  3. You have dinner guests arriving.
  4. Your children need you.

The ingredients can be put together well in advance so that the dish need only be baked in your already hot oven before serving. I fulfill all of the above requirements on a regular basis and this dish has on multiple occasions come quite in handy. The apples even are optional and can be replaced by whatever else you have in surplus and/or in season.

My recipe for crumble changes each time but is based loosely on the recipe found here. Don’t be shy about doubling, tripling, completely neglecting to measure the fruit. Leftovers are your best friend. And leftover crumble of any variety makes fantastic breakfast fare. It has less sugar and more actual fruit than most breakfast cereals anyway.

Rhubarb, fresh, frozen, whatever’s most convenient, chopped, 3 cups

Apples, 2, medium, peeled and chopped (it makes me laugh to see a recipe that requires only 2 apples. It has been months since I used only 2 apples at a time! Be generous here and throw in at least 4 or 5.)

Sugar, ¾ cup

Maple syrup, ¼ cup

Nutmeg

Cinnamon

Flour, 1 cup

Brown sugar, ½ cup

Salt

Butter, cold, ½ cup (115 g)

  1. In a bowl combine the fruits, sugar and syrup. Season with nutmeg and cinnamon. ((Cook’s note: I just realized that the original recipe includes mixing an egg in with the fruit filling. Interesting… If you’re adventurous, give it a go. But let me assure you that regardless of whatever magic role the egg has in the finished product, it is entirely optional.)
  2. Pour fruit mix into a greased baking dish.
  1. Combine flour, brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Add in some rolled oats if you’d like. Cut the cold butter into the mixture until it’s crumbly.
  1. If you’re preparing the dessert ahead of time, stop here.
  2. When you’re ready to bake the crumble, sprinkle the butter-flour-oat mixture onto the fruit.
  3. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 45-55 minutes.
  4. Serve hot with ice cream.
  5. Serve leftovers reheated with milk for breakfast. No leftovers? Next time, make double.

Rhubarb-apple crumble

My recipe for crumble changes each time but is based loosely on the recipe found here. Don’t be shy about doubling, tripling, completely neglecting to measure the fruit. Leftovers are your best friend. And leftover crumble of any variety makes fantastic breakfast fare.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • Rhubarb fresh, frozen, whatever’s most convenient, chopped, 3 cups
  • Apples 2 or more, medium, peeled and chopped
  • Sugar ¾ cup
  • Maple syrup ¼ cup
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Flour 1 cup
  • Brown sugar ½ cup
  • Salt
  • Butter cold, ½ cup (115 g)

Instructions

  • In a bowl combine the fruits, sugar and syrup. Season with nutmeg and cinnamon.
  • Pour fruit mix into a greased baking dish.
  • Combine flour, brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Add in some rolled oats if you’d like. Cut the cold butter into the mixture until it’s crumbly. If you’re preparing the dessert ahead of time, stop here.
  • When you’re ready to bake the crumble, sprinkle the butter-flour-oat mixture onto the fruit.
  • Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 45-55 minutes.
  • Serve hot with ice cream.
  • Serve leftovers reheated with milk for breakfast. No leftovers? Next time, make double.

Notes

Cook’s note: I just realized that the original recipe includes mixing an egg in with the fruit filling. Interesting… If you’re adventurous, give it a go. But let me assure you that regardless of whatever magic role the egg has in the finished product, it is entirely optional.

top

Later this week:

Spargel-Kartoffel Salat, dazu Guacamole (Asparagus-potato Salad with Guacamole)

Turbot aux pommes (Fancy fish with apples)

Keep up on the latest recipes from chez Maureen. Sign up for new posts by email below. And send us your thoughts and comments too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating