Taste & Create: Rustic Potato Summer Gratin

Posted by on August 23, 2009 | 25 Comments

The week flew by, and I had an enjoyable, but rather uneventful weekend. We watched the movie There Will Be Blood. Has anyone else seen that? It was good, but totally mental! We also went out one night to one of our favorite restaurants, sat with a view of the giant fish tank, savored hearty sesame-ahi tuna wraps (I need to make those at home), and sipped on a couple of MGD 64’s. I know, woo! Don’t lose control there. Aside from that, there was a nice long walk, a good cardio workout, an hour of stretch, and … I made a delicous Potato Gratin, rich with tomatoes, onions, and garlic.

You didn’t think I was going to get to the food did you? Well, this dish is actually a take on my partner’s recipe from Taste & Create, food blogger Kendall at Res-O-Puh-Leese.

I had a doozy of a time picking a recipe, as there were so many to choose from buried within her blog, but I eventually settled on the Potato, Tomato, and Garlic Gratin.

Of course, since this recipe was already tested and approved as is, I decided to play around with it a little; within reason of course. Kendall isn’t a fan of onions, but I am, so I referenced the original recipe to add those babies back in. I took the fats down, as some of the oil seemed a bit unnecessary (no compromise there!), and I simplified a few of the steps (she is quite the gourmet!) for my simple kitchen style. In the end, I renamed it a “Rustic” gratin, because I like my potatoes unpeeled. The skin adds so much wonderful flavor and texture. The “Summer” part came from the use of fresh tomatoes, garlic, and herbs.

Here is a close-up just before I popped it in the oven …

rustic potato gratin close

Now, I ran into one little glitch. Those potatoes on top crisp up and start to blacken well before the potatoes are done. At 45 minutes, I took it out, turned those top potatoes over, and popped it back in. You can do this, or try the untested tip which I include at the end of the recipe. I think it will work just fine.

The end result was rich, delicious, and completely gone in one meal (Thank you Kendall!) …

rustic potato gratin

Oh yes, would you like the recipe?

 

Recipe: Rustic Potato Summer Gratin

Summary: ReAdapted from Res-o-puh-leese, which was adapted from Simply French by Patricia Wells & Joel Robuchon.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • Sea Salt, to taste (1/2 t is probably enough, but I went overboard with 1 t, and we loved it!)
  • Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 lb Ripe Tomatoes, cored, peeled, seeded & chopped (See note below. I used fresh, but you can substitute 1 14.5-ounce can of drained diced tomatoes in a pinch)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Honey (can sub agave nectar to keep it vegan)
  • 1.5 lbs Baking Potatoes (nice big Russets!)
  • 3 Teaspoons Dairy-Free Margarine, divided (I used Earth Balance Soy-Free, but you can substitute more olive oil)
  • 3/4 Cup Chicken, Beef, or Vegetable Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Flat-leaf Parsley, snipped
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low, add the garlic and saute for 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and allow it to cook and thicken for about 10 to 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Meanwhile, prep those potatoes! Give them a good scrub. I leave them unpeeled for that “rustic” effect, but peel them if you must. Thinly slice the potatoes (about 1/4-inch worked for me). Set aside about 1/4 to 1/3 of the potatoes in a medium-sized bowl to use as the topping.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the remaining potatoes with the sauce and toss carefully to blend.
  5. Liberally rub the bottom of a 9″ pie dish (or similarly sized oven-safe dish) with 1 teaspoon of the margarine, or oil if using instead.
  6. Transfer the potato-tomato mixture to the baking dish, smoothing it out with the back of a spoon. Add the broth to cover.
  7. Add the remaining 2 teaspons of margarine (or oil) and the parsley to the reserved potatoes for the topping. Toss to coat evenly.
  8. Arrange the “buttered” potato slices one by one atop the potato-tomato mixture in your baking dish (in an overlapping pattern), until the entire dish is covered with an even potato layer. Sprinkle with the thyme.
  9. Place the dish in the centre of the oven and bake until the potatoes are soft, most of the liquid has been absorbed, and the top is golden, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check in after 40 minutes. If those potatoes on top are crisping too fast, turn them over to cook the other sides, and return to the oven. Serve immediately.

Quick notes

Peeling Tomatoes: Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water large enough to hold all the tomatoes. Cut a slit in the skin of each tomato from top to bottom, and drop them all into the boiling water. Leave them in the boiling water for approximately 1 minute before removing each tomato with a slotted spoon and placing it immediately in the bowl of cold water. As soon as the tomato is cool enough to touch, remove the skin, which will now slide away easily.

Variations

Alternate Baking Method: If you run into the potato crisping problem I had, try this … reduce the broth to 1/2 to 2/3 cup, and bake for just 45 minutes to 1 hour. I think this timing will work well, since the potatoes are definitely done by 1 hour but with 3/4 cup broth, it isn’t all absorbed.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 90 minute(s)

Diet tags: Dairy free, Egg free, Gluten free, Nut free, Peanut free, Soy free, Wheat free, Low Sugar, and optionally Vegan and Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 4

Copyright © Alisa Fleming.

rustic potato gratin uncooked

Blog Events: I submitted this recipe post to Friday Foodie Fix (Thyme) at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang.

Taste & Create: Indian Potato-Stuffed Flatbreads

Posted by on July 20, 2009 | 13 Comments

tasteandcreatelogoThis month on Taste & Create I was paired up with Divya Vikram of the blog Dil Se. Though her baked bread recipes seriously tempted me, I thought I might be missing the whole experience if I didn’t trial an Indian recipe from her blog. I decided on the Aloo Paratha recipe, or personal-sized, Indian potato-stuffed flatbreads. Yes, it was still technically bread, but no oven required, bonus!

Though my ratios need to be perfected, this multi-step recipe was surprisingly simple, and it really flowed.  I kneaded the no-yeast bread within a few minutes, set it aside to rest, made the potatoes (while the potatoes were boiling I put the soup on – see next paragraph), rolled the dough out, plopped in the potato, bundled them up, flattened, pan-fried, and viola! A nice, flavorful, whole-grain, and dare I say, adventurous vegetarian meal.

Okay, so mine aren’t quite perfection … yet. But that doesn’t take away from the taste. Though this flatbread making does take practice, you should have some tasty and doable results on the first try.

alooparatha

Divya says that this is an authentic North Indian breakfast, but we decided to have them for lunch, alongside the creamy Lightly Curried Cruciferous Soup from my book, Go Dairy Free. It seemed fitting since both recipes used garam masala, so I could just make one little batch of the quick garam masala spice mix from my book, and I was good to go!  You can use a homemade version such as the one I used, or store-bought if you wish.  

As she mentions, these flatbreads are definitely best hot, but I did read on another site that they freeze well and can be reheated later.  They are certainly unique and full of good flavor. Enjoy!

Indian Potato-Stuffed Flatbreads (Aloo Paratha)
Recipe adapted from Dil Se ..

This recipe is Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, and relatively Low in Fat

  • 1 Cup Warm Water, plus additional as needed
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil (I used grapeseed), plus a little extra (or a little bit of dairy-free margarine) for pan-frying
  • 3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour, plus additional as needed (use white-wheat or half wheat / half white for a lighter bread, if desired)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt, divided, or to taste
  • 1 1/4 lbs Potatoes (about 3 medium), cut into 1/2-inch chunks (your choice – I used baby russets, but white, red, or yukon gold will work – no need to peel in my opinion)
  • 1 Teaspoon Garam Masala

Place the warm water and 1 tablespoon of oil in a large bowl. Add in the flour and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and combine, kneading to bring the dough together into a ball. It should be just a little sticky but fairly firm; add more water or flour as needed. Lightly cover the bowl, and set the dough aside while you prepare the potatoes.

Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes, or until they are fork tender. Drain well and mash them with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and garam masala. Taste test, and season to taste with additional salt and/or pepper as desired (Divya adds a little cilantro, but we are an anti-cilantro household).

Divide the dough into twelve equal portions, and one at a time, roll the dough out into a circle that is about 6 to 7 inches in diameter (use additional flour as needed to prevent sticking). Place a potato ball in the center, and bring up the dough to enclose the potato mixture, pinching the seams at the top to seel (almost like a “purse”). If the potato balls are too large, just take a bit out so that it fits – you may end up with some leftover potato mixture. Turn the ball seam-side down, and gently roll it out (some potato mixture may appear or escape, nothing tragic), until it is fairly thin – maybe 1/4-inch high. Repeat with remaining dough and potato mixture.

Heat a little oil (maybe 1/2 teaspoon) or dairy-free margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Add a couple of the flatbreads and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it just begins to brown. Flip and cook for another minute or so. Remove to a plate, and repeat with remaining flatbreads, adding more oil to the pan if needed. Consume while hot!

Yields about 12 hearty flatbreads

alooparatha2

Taste & Create: Balsamic Chicken with Vegetables

Posted by on May 20, 2009 | 13 Comments

Last week our favorite “farmers” market (a grocery store, but focused on produce, bulk foods, fresh items, etc.) had boneless, skinless chicken breasts on for $1.67 per lb. Since we are using more lean protein, we stocked up. Okay, that is an understatement. We packed our tiny little freezer right to the ice maker!

So, when my Taste & Create partner was announced, I ♥ Food 4 Thought, I went straight to the categories on her site and selected chicken. One dish immediately caught my eye, the Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms. Let me tell you, it is delcious! In fact, I have already made it a few times. The first time I followed the recipe exactly, and then I added in some of her suggestions and a few of my own tweeks.

Thank you Clara – this is a great light and easy dish! So light in fact, that you should be able to justify some dessert from her other blog, I ♥ Cuppycakes.

balsamic chicken

Balsamic Chicken with Vegetables
Recipe adapted from I ♥ Food 4 Thought
This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, and Soy-Free

This dish can be made on the fly, but it is best if you plan ahead, and let the chicken marinade for at least 4 to 24 hours.

  • 1 lb Chicken Breasts
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Crushed Garlic or 4 Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 8 Ounces Mushrooms, halved or quartered (depending on size)
  • 1 Small Onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 Medium Zucchini, sliced

Spread the chicken out in a dish. Combine the vinegar, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Pour 3 Tablespoons of this mixture over the chicken, flipping it to coat, and cover. Cover the leftover marinade. Place the chicken and leftover marinade in the fridge for at least 4 hours if you have the time.

When ready to cook, heat the teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat, moving it around to cover (can use cooking spray instead). Add the chicken along with all of its marinade (not the reserved marinade) and cook until it is cooked through (no pink left in the middle) – I cover it to retain moisture – flipping only once. Remove the chicken and divide it among your serving plates.

Add the onions to your skillet, and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add the zucchini and reserved marinade, and cook for 2 more minutes, followed by the mushrooms, cooking until all the vegetables reach your desired doneness. Serve the vegetables alongside the chicken. If desired, this dish goes nicely with a grain, such as brown rice or quinoa.

Want some Broccoli?: Instead of the zucchini use 6 to 8 ounces of broccoli florets. Add the florets after just one minute of cooking the onion, along with 1 tablespoon of broth, wine, or water. Cover, and allow the broccoli to cook for a few minutes, before removing the lid and adding the reserved marinade and mushrooms.  Proceed cooking until the vegetables are done to your liking. Since the mushrooms will release some additional liquid, you may want to sprinkle on a little flour to thicken the sauce.

Note: If there is any leftover sauce that looks a bit runny, I like to thicken it for a minute or two after I plate the vegetables, by sprinkling in just a little bit of flour (your choice) and whisking over the heat then drizzling it over the chicken and veggies.

Yields 2 to 4 servings (depending on your appetite, and if you serve it with a grain)

Balsamic Chicken

 

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