Week 16: The homestretch

We’re getting a bit nostalgic over here. Potatoes have totally fallen off our weekly meal plan as I start to preciously guard the remaining few, in anticipation of one last great potato recipe. Even the apples are beginning to pull at my heartstrings. A chutney here, another round of Apple-ginger jam there, in no time their little crates will sit empty at the bottom of the stairs, the final remnants of an era. A simpler time when I already knew what we would have for dinner every day.

But then the spell breaks when I walk past those smug little sweet potatoes smirking at me from across the produce section or tempting me at our weekly market. When is the sweet potato farmer coming ‘round? (Actually, I ask that facetiously, not just because I am under a self-enforced embargo on any further front door purchases, but also because they don’t even grow sweet potatoes in France! They are imported from Egypt, South Africa, sometimes even the U.S.. The sweet potato is a relatively new fad here in Europe and one that is regarded with great suspicion. Most Europeans are astonished to hear that sweet potatoes are considered to be healthier than regular potatoes.)

Speaking of which, what better way to boost the nutritional value of some good old spuds than combining them with bell peppers and cream? Not convinced? Keep reading:

Kartoffel-Gemüse Auflauf (Potato-vegetable casserole)

Chutney de pomme (Apple Chutney)

Kartoffel-gemüse Auflauf (Potato-vegetable casserole)

I was skeptical too. Potatoes and bell peppers? That sounds more like the tex-mex food truck collided with a farmer from Normandy peddling last year’s potato harvest, than a scintillating complimentary taste combination. But I was getting tired of combining potatoes with bacon and cream, and then with cream and bacon, and then with cream and cream… so why not bell peppers and cream?

This dish is unexpectedly good. And it’s pretty too with the bright shades of bell pepper set against the white potato flesh. Credit for the recipe goes to those Landfrauen in Buchenberg, and that clever little Southwest-inspired vegetable clipart printed alongside the recipe.

Potatoes, 2 lbs (1 kg)

Bell peppers, 3 (pick your pepper colors wisely or you may find yourself inadvertently supporting the wrong football (soccer) club)

Onions, 3-4

Cheese, shredded, 1 cup (100 g)

Flour, 1-2 Tbsp

Parsley

Salt + pepper

Cream, 1 cup

Butter, some

  1. Preheat oven to 410°F (210°C).
  2. Slice the potatoes. Chop the onions and the bell peppers. Combine together.
  1. Add the flour, parsley and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Put into a buttered casserole dish.
  3. Pour the cream over (heated, if you like; as is, if you’re short on time and/or pots). Top with some butter pieces.
  1. Bake for 75 minutes. (Have you noticed how no-nonsense these Buchenberger women are? This is no finicky French recipe. No warning about the wrong kind of cheese, no multiple sauces to prepare, no difficult-to-find ingredients.)

Kartoffel-gemüse Auflauf (Potato-vegetable casserole)

This dish is unexpectedly good. And it’s pretty too with the bright shades of bell pepper set against the white potato flesh. Credit for the recipe goes to those Landfrauen in Buchenberg, and that clever little Southwest-inspired vegetable clipart printed alongside the recipe.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • Potatoes 2 lbs (1 kg)
  • Bell peppers 3
  • Onions 3-4
  • Cheese shredded, 1 cup (100 g)
  • Flour 1-2 Tbsp
  • Parsley
  • Salt + pepper
  • Cream 1 cup
  • Butter some

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 410°F (210°C).
  • Slice the potatoes. Chop the onions and the bell peppers. Combine together.
  • Add the flour, parsley and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Put into a buttered casserole dish.
  • Pour the cream over (heated, if you like; as is, if you’re short on time and/or pots).
  • Top with some butter pieces.
  • Bake for 75 minutes.

top

Chutney de pomme (Apple chutney)

We go through a lot of preserved fruit at our house, especially on the weekend. A weekend breakfast spread starts with 3-4 different jam varieties, a jar of spreadable honey, butter and then some wheat-based items to put it all on. Sunday lunch is a roasted chicken from the butcher, potatoes and chutney. Lots of chutney. (The chicken is always rather dry…) For dinner, whatever is left of the breakfast bread and a variety of cheeses with an accompanying jar of jam or confits.

I had never made any kind of preserves before this surplus adventure started, but as expected, it is indeed an excellent means to extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. Not only is it easier than I would have ever thought, it’s somehow extremely satisfying to twist the lids onto multiple jars brimming with beautiful preserved fruits. There’s already a number of jam recipes here at chez-Maureen and more are in the works, once I get my hands on some more canning jars. The following is a recipe for chutney which, for those who are less familiar with this delightful condiment, is a sort of savory jam generally including onions, hopefully ginger and lots of spices. Perfect for over-cooked meats, French cheeses, marinades, last-minute Christmas gifts, etc…

This is another recipe from Grand-mères’ collection. She (the collective grandmother “she”) suggests that it is an excellent use for apples that are no longer presentable at the table. That pretty much includes all our apples by now. (In fact the other day, a friend offered Franziska a fresh apple, by which I mean one that was recently purchased. Franziska ate half and gave me the rest. I had honestly forgotten how crisp and delicious fresh apples are! Another item for the “things to buy after the surplus has been depleted”: apples.)

Apples, 2,2 lbs (1 kg) (It is recommended to weigh the fruit after you have peeled and cored the apples to ensure that the fruit to sugar ratio comes out right. That said, if you are missing .2 lbs of apple or .1 lbs of onion I wouldn’t sweat it.)

Onions, 1,1 lbs (500 g)

Apple cider vinegar (50 cl) (All out of apple cider vinegar ? Use white wine vinegar instead.)

Lemons, 2

Currants, 1 cup (150 g)

Sugar, 1 cup (200 g)

Ginger, 1 3-inch (5 cm) piece

Cinnamon, 1 tsp.

Salt, 1 tsp.

  1. Peel, quarter and core the apples. Finely slice the quarters. Peel and finely chop the onions. Wash and dry the lemons. Thinly slice. Remove the seeds and then chop each slice into multiple pieces. Peel and grate the ginger. Peel and crush the garlic. (It’s deceiving, all this in just one simple step. I started out thinking I could whip up this chutney in the time it would take Noah to realize that I had sneaked away from the Duplo pile and back into the kitchen. 45 minutes and one wailing child later…)
  2. Place the apples, onions, lemon, garlic and ginger in a wide-bottomed pot.
  1. Add in the vinegar and bring to a boil. Let it simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are no longer opaque but a bit transparent-like, you know, the way apples get when they’ve simmered for a while. (About 15 minutes.)
  1. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Let simmer until the sauce thickens, about 25 minutes.
  2. Add the raisins, salt and cinnamon. Bring quickly to a boil and then remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Pour into your prepared, sterilized pots. (I’m not going to go into sterilization because for sure my techniques fall way short of USDA standards. It’s probably worth the bother to make certain that your pots are safe and suitable recipients for your delicious apple potion, but I’ll leave that up to you.)
  1. Close the lids and turn the pots upside down to cool.
  2. Wait one month before opening. (No, unfortunately I cannot tell you whether “Chutney de pomme” is worth making or not. On July 10, 2016, as part of a ceremonious melo-dramatic ritual I will open the first jar of Chutney de pomme and issue an authoritative verdict on this recipe. Until then our last jar of Caramelized red onion chutney from Marks and Spencer’s will have to do.)

Chutney de pomme (Apple chutney)

The following is a recipe for chutney which, for those who are less familiar with this delightful condiment, is a sort of savory jam generally including onions, hopefully ginger and lots of spices. Perfect for over-cooked meats, French cheeses, marinades, last-minute Christmas gifts, etc…
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • Apples 2,2 lbs (1 kg), see Note below
  • Onions 1,1 lbs (500 g)
  • Apple cider vinegar 50 cl, see Note below
  • Lemons 2
  • Currants 1 cup (150 g)
  • Sugar 1 cup (200 g)
  • Ginger 1 3-inch (5 cm) piece
  • Cinnamon 1 tsp.
  • Salt 1 tsp.

Instructions

  • Peel, quarter and core the apples. Finely slice the quarters.
  • Peel and finely chop the onions.
  • Wash and dry the lemons. Thinly slice. Remove the seeds and then chop each slice into multiple pieces.
  • Peel and grate the ginger.
  • Peel and crush the garlic.
  • Place the apples, onions, lemon, garlic and ginger in a wide-bottomed pot.
  • Add in the vinegar and bring to a boil. Let it simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are no longer opaque but a bit transparent-like, you know, the way apples get when they’ve simmered for a while. (About 15 minutes.)
  • Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Let simmer until the sauce thickens, about 25 minutes.
  • Add the raisins, salt and cinnamon. Bring quickly to a boil and then remove the pan from the heat.
  • Pour into your prepared, sterilized pots.
  • Close the lids and turn the pots upside down to cool.
  • Wait one month before opening.

Notes

Apples: It is recommended to weigh the fruit after you have peeled and cored the apples to ensure that the fruit to sugar ratio comes out right. That said, if you are missing .2 lbs of apple or .1 lbs of onion I wouldn’t sweat it.
Apple cider vinegar: All out of apple cider vinegar ? Use white wine vinegar instead.

top

When Week 17 actually starts (the weeks are starting to blur together around here—vacation must be coming soon!):

St Helena Fish cakes (a favorite of Napoleon)

Salmon and Pea Toss (a House Specialty)

And two exotic desserts (the names of which I am struggling to translate into anything less than a wordy descriptive phrase):

Morillenknödel

Crousti-moelleux aux pommes

Comments, corrections and ideas are always welcome below, where you can also sign up for email notifications of new posts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating