Summer Meal: Beets and Potatoes

We had company this past weekend, and for some special recipes, we picked up a liter of whipping cream.  Although we eat a lot of cheese, we don’t actually eat much other dairy, so this whipping cream has been whispering to me all week.  “What will you do with me?”  It asks each day.  “Pavlova?  Shortcake?  Chowder? Pasta?  Where will we go together?” (What? Cream doesn’t speak to you? :))

Meanwhile, back in the garden, we have beets to eat.  Beautiful greens with a few reasonable Early Wonder Tall Top beets have been waiting patiently under the ground.  Now the Skipper is fickle when it comes to beets.  He loves them pickled, he loves the greens, but he’s iffy on the bulbs themselves.  I love beets–borscht, roasted, raw grated, juice…I could go on.  Back in the spring, I wasn’t planning on planting many beets, though, just some to use for greens.  But then, in June when they started to come up so much earlier than other things, Skipper asked me why we hadn’t planted more!  So I did!

So I went looking for beet recipes, and found this beautiful beet and feta salad. We’ve got lots of feta on hand, so that was a plan.  Then I needed a starchy/proteiny thing to eat with the veggies, and I started thinking about the potatoes.  And the cream.  You can see where I’m going with this.  Yep; scalloped potatoes.  Or as the foodies refer to it: the gratin.

I looked at lots of recipes, and finally made up my own to simplify:

All the new potatoes I had in the fridge (enough for 3-4 of our usual servings–2-3 lbs?)

2 cups cream

1 onion

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

salt, pepper, and some fresh sage leaves, chopped

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

I mixed all of this together, and baked at 390 for about about 45 mins, until the potatoes were tender.  But then I thought it looked a bit plain, so I followed a tip from a French recipe and mixed an egg with a few more tablespoons of cream, a dash of salt, and some freshly grated Parmesan.  That was poured on top, and then the pan went back in the oven for 15 minutes.  I’d already turned the oven off before changing my mind, so I just put the broiler back on a few minutes later, so it got a little brown on top.

Gratin Potatoes with Souffle Topping

It was rich! (Not a surprise with those ingredients!)  But most delicious.  And went very well with the salad, which I will definitely make again and highly recommend.  I just steamed the beets, rather than roasting them, I added a little more vinegar to the dressing, and served the lukewarm beets over some salad greens.  Don’t skimp on the feta, though, as it really does transform the flavour of the beets (as goat cheese probably does too, which is another regular combination).  The Skipper gobbled up as much as he could before I grabbed the salad back for my share.  Aah..summer.

Beet Salad for Non-Beet Lovers
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