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Apples of the Earth {CtBF}

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Simple or dressed up, I love potatoes.  As the fall harvest ends, I placed a bulk order of root vegetables from a local farm, including a 10 pound bag of gold potatoes and a pound of garlic.   When I read through this week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays, I was excited I could enjoy my local vegetables in Scalloped potatoes with blue cheese and roasted garlic by adding only a few more ingredients: cream, sage from my garden (instead of chives), and the wedge of Jasper Hill Farm’s Bayley Hazen Blue in the fridge.

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First, a few cloves of garlic are roasted until they are soft and mellow, then mashed into a paste.  The garlic is infused into some cream (which I lightened with some half-and-half).  Layers of thinly sliced potatoes are seasoned, then scattered with chopped sage and chunks of the blue cheese: three layers of potatoes in all.  The fragrant garlic cream covers it all.  The casserole is then baked for an hour until the potatoes are tender.

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The potatoes were delicious.  They reminded me of the Pommes Dauphinois we made for French Fridays with Dorie back in 2010.  I served this one night with sous-vide turkey thighs confit that Howard and the next with roasted chicken thighs.  Both were a nice foil to the potatoes.  However, this one was a little rich for a weeknight dinner, probably more appropriate for a meal shared with company.

Read what my Cook the Book Fridays friends thought of the potatoes here.  You can make them yourself.  You can find the recipe here or on page 211 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.

As a side note, I’ve been working my way through the approximately 3 gallons of green cherry tomatoes I harvested before our first frost last week.  I love this recipe I found for Tiny Fried Green Tomatoes.  They are so cute and quite delicious.  Also loved this seasonal cocktail, Autumn Margaritas, with apple cider, fresh squeezed lime, and tequila served in a cinnamon-sugar rimmed glass.

Valentine’s Day Recap with Steak Frites {CtBF}

Steak Frites

People have strong feelings about Valentine’s Day, for or against.  On the one hand, the holiday was probably invented by Hallmark to sell cards.  On the other hand, I love celebrations of any kind.  Personally, I stand firmly in the “Pro” camp.  What could be wrong about tell the special people in your life that you love them?  I buy cards and send them to family and friends (don’t be offended if you didn’t get one – I limit myself to one package each year).  For Howard, I buy a special card, and we make a nice dinner that starts off with Champagne.

There are so many recipes to choose from, in the books on my bookshelves, the magazines in piles, the recipes I’ve clipped, recommendations from my sisters, and the resources across the Internet.  Now that I’m back on the “Cook the Book” train with Cook the Book Fridays, the choice for a few meals each month is simplified.

This week’s recipe from David Leibovitz’s My Paris Kitchen offered the perfect idea for a romantic dinner for two.  Steak Frites au Beurre de Moutarde  – in English, Steak with mustard butter and French fries.  Because I’m scared of deep-frying, I was wary of the accompanying French fries, but upon reading the recipe, learned they were oven fries.  Russet potatoes are cut in to French-fry-sized batons, tossed with olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh herbs, then baked until crispy.

Herby Oven Fries

Meanwhile, rib-eye steak is seasoned with smoked salt, chipotle pepper and fresh parsley, then seared to perfection in a cast-iron pan.  The piping hot steaks are served with dollops of compound mustard butter, made with both Dijon and dry mustard powder.  To round out the meal, I made this delicious recipe for tahini-roasted broccoli from Food52.

Rib Eye Steak

What a winning combination for a relatively simple, yet restaurant-worthy meal!  I’m excited to know how to make really great fries without frying too.  There’s some leftover mustard butter so I’m curious if anyone has suggestions to use it up.

I have to mention dessert too.  I’ve long been a fan of molten chocolate cake.  The recipe for Deep-Dark-Chocolate Pudding Cakes from Joanne Chang’s newest book Baking with Less Sugar is my new favorite recipe.  It’s to die for!!!!

To read all about my friends’ steak dinners, check out their links here.

Due to copyright considerations, I don’t share the recipe here.  You can find it on pages 206 (steak) and 219 (frites) of David Leibovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.  Or feel free to drop me a line and I’ll share it with you.