Find us on Google+ cooking lounge * FOOD * LIFESTYLE * MUSIC *: April 2014

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Peeling Onions

Worth the Tears
Peeling Onions
an essential element to lots of great cooking
Check out LIVESTRONG for more about onions.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Potatoes Dauphinoise Topped with Crispy Onions

The trick with the French classic Potatoes Dauphinoise is layers of thin, evenly sliced potatoes. A traditional cheese sauce with bechamel can be a bit of work, but you can improvise and get creative to find shortcuts for a cheese sauce to suit your taste, time and kitchen skills. Topped with onions crisped a tad, adds another layer of flavor and texture to this classic dish that is good to eat any time of the day. Try a warm slice for breakfast with eggs and bacon - wow, so comforting and filling. If you are watching calories and fat content, have on a cheat day and relish every luscious bite. 

Here is a guide to making this favorite dish that is always a winner. Remember get creative, experiment; there are so many variations on this classic dish. Create your own signature version.

Heat oven to 350 while prepping dish. 

Start with 2lbs of Russet or Idaho potatoes that have been washed and scrubbed with a vegetable brush. You can peel them or leave the skin on.

Use a mandolin(e) slicer, food processor or a really sharp knife to make thin even slices. You can blanche the potatoes or use them raw. Classic preparation uses raw potatoes.The cooking time is twice as long with raw potatoes but creates deeper, more complex flavor.

Cheese (Semi-Hard or Hard Cheese like aged white cheddar, asiago, creative)
Salt and Pepper
Finely chopped garlic (optional)
Chopped fresh herbs (optional)

A bechamel base for the cheese sauce adds sublime richness. It takes approximately 20 minutes to make this rich, classic french sauce. Remember to slowly stir in the grated cheese for smoothness. Season with a dash of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste, and a little garlic if desired. There are easier, quicker ways to make a cheese sauce. It is as simple as slowly adding and stirring grated cheese to gently warmed milk to prevent scalding.

In a buttered or oiled baking pan, line the bottom and sides with sliced potatoes. Alternate between layers of cheese sauce and potatoes. You can add a middle layer of lightly sauteed onions and chopped fresh herbs. Continue layers until filled. Top with a layer of cheese sauce and then a layer of raw onions. A dusting of bread crumbs or wheat bran adds another texture profile.

If using raw potatoes, cook until top is brown and crisp. You may need to turn up the heat the last 5-10 minutes, approximate cooking time 1hour 45 minutes. If using blanched potatoes, cook uncovered until brown and crisp. You may want to turn up the heat for final few minutes; approximate cooking time 45-50 minutes. 

Potatoes Dauphinoise is a perfect side with roasted meat or served as a light meal with a salad. Potatoes Dauphinoise make a fantastic indulgent breakfast/brunch side dish too.

Cooking Lounge

photo: wbj