It's a rainy, cold Saturday. The Ex-Ex has the sniffles and is stretched out on the sofa alternately napping and watching ACC basketball. The cats are sleeping somewhere. I've been knitting endless scarves/neckwarmers. Knitting is great because you don't have to really think about what you are doing when you are just knitting and not using fancy stitches that require counting. Therefore, I can knit and think about what I am going to make for dinner. I contemplated what is in the refrigerator and cupboards and realized that I could attempt to reproduce Mme Boop's dish from my January trip to see my friends in France. Mme P and I were invited for a girls' night chez Mme Boop. The evening started with champagne in her lovely living room in Tavel.
The first course, entrée, consisted of foie gras with a homemade chutney on baguette slices served with a mache salad on the side. And our favorite Tavel.
Earlier in the day at school, Mme Boop had fretted about what type of meat to serve us. We assured that the foie gras would do just fine. She brought a dish of potatoes and mushrooms out of the oven and set it on the polka-dotted table cloth in front of moi.
Just something she had thrown together, she said. I have been dreaming of it ever since.
Dessert was fondant au chocolat with a little caramel baked in the center.
I left that night with a wonderfully happy tummy and three bottles of Tavel in my purse. That is why I carry my trusty Longchamp purse while in France. I can cram a lot of stuff in there. It is getting old and a bit worn out, but I still love it. (They are less expensive in France... I splurge and buy a new one every five years or so.)
I put down my knitting, made myself a cup of tea and set about attempting to recreate Mme Boop's potato dish. I do not have any of the cèpe mushrooms from the Ardèche (Mme P's freezer is full of them, found near her parents' summer home), so I used baby bellas. I have no idea if that's a good substitute or not. Guess I will find out soon. Maybe it will make the Ex-Ex feel better.
**I googled cèpe mushrooms after the fact and found out that porcini are a good substitute if your freezer isn't full of the former!
I used a smaller dish, 8-in x 8-in. and will give the amounts based on that.
**Note: I had to send Mme P an emergency email... my first attempt didn't turn out the way it should have and I had to get her advice. I love the internet! How did I live without it?
Betty's Baked Potato and Mushroom Deliciousness
1 clove garlic
1 medium onion, sliced
2 russet baking potatoes, peeled and sliced
Heavy cream (about 2 cups-enough to cover the potatoes and mushrooms)
Peel garlic and slice it in half. Rub the bottom and sides of the baking dish with it. Then mince the garlic and set aside.
Layer sliced onions in bottom of dish. Then layer potatoes and mushrooms- as many layers as your dish permits. (Betty did not use the minced garlic, but I couldn't bear to waste it, so I added it to the layers.) End with a layer of potatoes. Sprinkle with sea salt. Pour cream over the layers. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 400˚ for 1-1 1/2 hours..
Bon appétit to all! Stay warm! Bisous to my girls. See you very soon!!