Thursday, April 12, 2012

Smashed Potato Gratin

Today's post is another one that has been hanging out in my drafts for several months waiting for a new photograph. I served these potatoes alongside the Standing Rib Roast and Roasted Brussels Sprouts for my dad's birthday dinner. 

Smashed Potato Gratin
recipe courtesy of Anne Burrell

3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
3 garlic cloves, peeled
Kosher salt
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
2 cups grated Cheddar
¾ cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 bunch chives

Cut the potatoes into quarters and place in a large saucepan with the garlic cloves. Fill the pot with water and season generously with salt. Taste the water, it should taste salty. Bring the pot to a boil over medium heat and cook the potatoes until they are fork tender. (A fork, not a knife should slide in and out easily.)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

When the potatoes are tender, drain the water from them and return the potatoes and garlic to the pan. Add the milk and sour cream. Using a potato masher or big spoon, gently mash the potatoes. Stir in the Cheddar, then taste and season with salt, if needed. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Combine the panko, grated Parmesan and the cayenne in a small bowl. Sprinkle it over the top of the potato mixture and bake until hot all the way through and is crispy and brown on top, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven, garnish with chopped chives and serve.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Standing Rib Roast

I'm still without my computer so today's post is another one that has been hanging out in my drafts for several months waiting for a new photograph. 

For me, the most difficult part of flood blogging is photography. Yes, I struggle finding time to post, tweet, and follow up on Facebook and blogs but taking pictures will always be my greatest challenge. One reason can be attributed to lack of skill and equipment. I know these are things I can improve with time and practice. My other reason is lack of patience, no not mine but those that are waiting to fill their bellies with yummy food. 

I originally made this roast for my dad's birthday dinner. Dinner was right on schedule and I didn't want to make people wait so I could take the time to stage a photo. Thus the photo you see below is the roast resting on my kitchen counter before it was carved.  It was rushed and it shows. I have a similar problem during the week trying to take photos before getting the meal on the table for some very hungry diners. Typically I will get everyone settled with their plates then use my plate to photograph. Sometimes I am too tired and hungry and I won't bother, hoping I can take photos of the leftovers the next day.

So tell me, how do you hold off the ravenous masses so you can take all those tantalizing food photos? Any advice for taking photos without natural light?

Standing Rib Roast
recipe adapted from Anne Burrell

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
6 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 (5 to 6½ pound) bone-in standing rib roast
Kosher salt
1 onion, cut into ½ inch dice
1 pound baby carrots, tops trimmed
3 ribs celery, cut into ½ inch dice
1 cup red wine
2 cups rich beef stock
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 450ºF.

In a small bowl combine the thyme, rosemary, oregano and garlic. Add enough olive oil until it becomes a loose paste. Rub the roast with the herb-garlic paste and really massage it into the meat. Season generously with kosher salt.

Put the onions, baby carrots, and celery in the bottom of a roasting pan. Toss with a little olive oil and salt, to taste. Add the wine, 1 cup of beef stock and the bay leaves. Put the roast on top of the veggies and put into the preheated oven until the roast is really brown and lovely, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Reduce the heat to 350ºF for another 1 ¾ to 2 hours. Occasionally during the cooking time, spoon some of the juices over the meat. If the liquid level in the pan goes down too much, add the remaining 1 cup of stock. It also would be a great idea to rotate the roasting pan about halfway through the cooking process.

Check the temperature of the meat by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the center of the roast. For medium-rare it should be 125°F and 130°F for medium. Remove the roast from the oven to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

Pour drippings from roasting pan through a fine mesh strainer into a fat separator or large measuring cup, pressing on the vegetables with the back of a wooden spoon to extract any liquid.  Discard the solids and fat, saving the pan juices.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in flour until smooth and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in pan juices and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook until the gravy thickens, about 5 top 6 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Keep warm until serving.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Light and Creamy Asparagus Soup

Despite my best intentions I have failed to keep up a regular posting schedule. There are a variety of reasons but the one that has hampered me the most has been the loss of my computer. I am so thankful that I regularly backup my data files! While I wait for the prognosis from my tech guy, I am trying to figure out posting from my iPhone and failing miserably! The only reason I was able to get this post up is because it has been sitting in my drafts waiting for a better picture. I figure you will forgive me for the less than steller picture once you taste this delicious soup.

If anyone has any tips for posting from their iPhone or any suggestions on a new laptop please leave them in the comments. Thanks!

Light and Creamy Asparagus Soup
recipe courtesy of A Spicy Perspective

2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 pounds asparagus (2 bunches)
6 cups chicken stock
14 ounce can cannellini beans, drained
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1-3 pinches of cayenne
1 lemon
3-4 slices of bacon, chopped

In a large pot, warm the oil/butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Cut the tops off the asparagus and reserve for garnish. Cut the rough ends off the bottom.
Chop the rest of the asparagus into short segments and add to the pot.

Sauté asparagus for another 3-5 minutes–until the asparagus in bright in color and tender. Add the beans, stock and cayenne to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Add the yogurt and puree again. Salt and pepper to taste, and add a squeeze of lemon.

Place a small skillet over medium heat. Brown the bacon; then add the asparagus tops to the bacon. Sauté for 1-2 minutes. Drain and garnish the soup with the bacon and asparagus.