Day 2 of 14 Days of StreamingApple and I’ve found another amazing recipe in this out-of-print cookbook I’ve got that was published by the Culinary Institute of America in 1999. It’s called Cooking Secrets of the CIA and used copies are available on Amazon. You may remember that during 31 Days of Pumpkin, I cooked a Pumpkin Mascarpone Cheesecake from this book. Well a quick scan for apples yielded this whimsical recipe.
Day 18 of 31 days of pumpkin and I’ve decided to bring one of my favorite potato recipes into the world of pumpkin. The dish? Gratin Dauphinois or Potatoes Gratin. Thinly sliced potatoes baked in cream and Gruyére cheese. Surely pumpkin can adapt, but not on its own and so I’ve paired it with Garnet yams. One of my inspirations cooking this dish with pumpkins and yams comes from the fact that I always add a little nutmeg to dishes with melted Gruyére, like macaroni and cheese. It’s not a far jump from nutmeg to pumpkin, so I thought, maybe pumpkin and yams will stand up to the creamy cheesy sauce that is a gratin. I was right. This dish is great for confronting October’s chill.
Everything I know about Gratin Dauphinois, I learned from Jacques Pépin and his book, Chez Jacques Deluxe Edition: Traditions and Rituals of a Cook Awhile back, I did a blog post called, Gratin Dauphinois of Potatoes, Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes) and Leeks. If you’re going to get serious about making Potatoes Gratin at home, it’s worth investing in a mandoline. I purchased a simple one for under $40 that I like, but it doesn’t do really fancy cuts like waffle cuts. It is available at Amazon.
While making sweet potato chips the other day (see that post here), I decided to use one of the other attachments from my new mandoline and make french fries as well. Once again, I was surprised and delighted by how easy and quick it was to turn one giant yam into a pile of matchstick fries.
After hestitating for a long time (“Mandolines are too expensive,” I thought. “They’re too dangerous.”) I purchased my Swissmar Borner V Slicer Plus for only about $40 and I learned that it works great and has many built-in safety features. Click on the photo to learn more.
As usual, I was in a rush, so I didn’t salt these for the recommended 30 minutes. I just salted them and threw them into olive oil that I had pre-heated to nearly smoking. It only took about 5 minutes before they looked done.
With tongs, I transferred them to a paper-towel lined plate and dabbed them to remove the excess oil. I salted them again and enjoyed them with leftover roast beef from the night before. Scroll down to watch the recipe video I used for the roast beef.
Although they tasted great, the sweet potato fries weren’t super crispy, so I did a little research. There’s a thread on CHOW that recommends soaking them in water first, then dredging them in cornstarch and then frying. I’m definitely going to try that next time because several people who tried this method concurred that it was a big success. You can read that thread here.
Even without the extra cornstarch step, these fries were super yummy. The texture reminded me a bit of the French fries at In & Out Burger, not super crispy, but still good. And since they’re sweet potatoes, they’re packed with extra nutrients, right?
Now for the roast beef video. In this video, they coat the beef with grainy mustard before roasting it. Yum.
Today I decided it was time to use the mandoline I recently purchased and what better way to give it a test drive than to slice sweet potatoes for home-made chips? I waited a long time before purchasing a mandoline. I had always wanted one, but whenever I saw one in a store, it was too exorbitant. Not so anymore. I purchased my Swissmar Borner V Slicer Plus for only about $40 and I learned today that it works great. Click on the photo to learn more.