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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pommes Anna

I'm going to Paris in October and have been obsessed with trying recipes and reading French cookbooks. I had extra potatoes this week and made Potatoes Anna. I used my mandoline to slice the potatoes thinly (using the guard of course!) The mandoline is a great tool and perfect for potatoes.

I have a wonderful collection of well-seasoned cast iron pans and one of them worked great for this recipe. I began by painting the bottom with softened butter.

Then you just start layering the potatoes, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper and butter as you go. You use 1/2 stick of butter for the whole dish....not too bad! I did improvise a bit....I had leeks left over from another recipe so I added a layer of leeks.

You start by browning the bottom layer in the cast iron skillet before you put the potatoes into the oven to finish baking. This gives you the nice crispy crust when you remove them and invert onto a plate. Then you place another heavy iron pan on top so it gets "smushed" and makes a nice slice.

You finish by baking in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes.

This was really simple and delicious! I'll definitely make this again. And I'll be looking for Pommes Anna on menus when I get to Paris.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Got Short Ribs?

One of the vendors at the new Chamblee Farmers Market is West Wind Farms. I bought a pack of their short ribs and wanted an interesting way to cook them. I record both Giada deLaurentiis programs on Food Network and this recipe caught my eye from a "Giada At Home" episode. The short rib dish was very tasty and was great with a green salad as the side.

The recipe was easy to execute and did not take a lot of hands-on cooking time. First, I browned the ribs, added and cooked the vegetables for the sauce and put the whole pot into the oven for about 2 hours.
I then removed the meat, pureed the vegetables, and shredded the meat from the bones (Haven got three great bones out of this!).

I then added cooked pasta and shredded parmesan and mixed it all together. It was really good and a great new recipe for using short ribs.

Here's the link to the full recipe on Food Network


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Peach Butter and Cooking

Thankfully, I've been really busy lately with personal chef cook dates and yesterday was the first day in several days that I've been at home. I voted, did laundry, did errands, made a cake, cooked dinner, and made peach butter. My Aunt Tootsie got me a box of Alberta peaches from the same peach orchard as before. Sunday I made 15 pints of peach jam. With the rest of the peaches, I wanted to try peach butter.

I found a recipe online that said to make it in the crockpot. It was very, very simple. I filled the crockpot almost to the top with fresh sliced peaches, added cinnamon, allspice and ground cloves, then about 3 cups of sugar.

Set the crockpot on high and let it cook for about 6 hours. I then blended it with my immersion blender and filled the jars. Then a quick water bath in the canner and it was done.

Notice the crock pot I have from the 70's. It's a hand-me-down from my mother in law. Seriously, it still works great! Don't you love the avocado green color?This morning I had some peach butter on a piece of toasted bread. Delish! I have about another 16 peaches or so and am going to make another batch today.Last night we had a vegetable plate for dinner. Last weekend at Lake Burton at the Osage Farms market I bought some beans I'd never heard of...Peanut Beans. I shelled them and cooked them yesterday. They were very good, almost like a small pinto bean. We had those with fresh-shelled butter peas, corn that I cut off the cob, fresh tomatoes and cornbread. Yum!
Yesterday I also made a pound cake for new neighbors across the street. There was a June Cleaver moment when Lindsay came in the door from work and said, "wow, something smells good!" It was the cake. After the cake cooled, we took it over and met our new neighbors. They are very nice, have a two year old and another on the way.

It was nice to get a lot done yesterday. Hopefully another productive day today!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lake Burton and Snakebit!

My husband and I spent a somewhat relaxing last weekend at Lake Burton. One of Lindsay's clients generously offered one of their lake houses and we took them up on it. Lake Burton is really beautiful and a complete getaway.

On the way, it had been suggested that we visit a local farmer's market called Osage Farms. I was thrilled and we went back again the next day. Everything was of exceptional quality and freshness. We loaded up on corn (delish!), heirloom tomatoes, beans, peas, watermelon, and anything else that would fit in the car.

Our dog Haven had quite a different experience at Lake Burton. She was bitten by a copperhead snake Friday night. We thought it was a beesting and treated it with Benadryl. However, the next morning, she was very swollen and was drooling and more lethargic so we luckily found a wonderful vet in Clayton. She received three injections and was sent home with pain pills and antibiotics. She's completely recovered but we certainly felt very lucky that she survived it.
Here she's showing the effects of the pain pills.

Once we had Haven taken care of, we continued to enjoy the rest of the weekend and both came home a little sunburned. What a beautiful place!