CtBF – Potatoes cooked in duck fat

For me, this is like going backwards, writing first about the last recipe in my duck trilogy completed over the past week. But to get duck fat, without buying it from the store, you have to cook some duck (confit). And then you must use said confit in something (like cassoulet). That has to be made on or near New Years because, well, beans.

I have been so stretched out lately that I haven’t been blogging. Cooking for sure, especially with the holidays. I host Thanksgiving and so there are turkeys, stuffing, pies and all manner of things over what has turned into a 4-day party. Christmas too. Cookies of course, but I also made the main meal (prime rib and Yorkshire pudding this year – yum).

And now, while I will not at all be doing the full month (I have 3 trips planned), I’m trying to do the #cook90 challenge. Wherein you cook 3 meals a day for 30 days. I’ve gotten into some bad habits. When I lived in Scottsdale, I’d have an internal debate on my 15 minute drive home. Starting with “I’m tired, I’ll just pick up something”, and ending with “ok, I can make this, and it will be delicious. My commute is from my desk to the kitchen. Not enough time for the internal debate. So I’m going for my version of the challenge.

Has it been almost a decade that some of us have been cooking together!!! I still go back to AMFT from time to time for different things. And David’s book is good. My challenge with it is my family’s French food fatigue. We have a game we play “if you could only eat one type of cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?” Most likely? Mexican food (there’s so much more than gloppy cheese!). But Thai, or if you’re willing to accept a region, Southeast Asian, would work. I suspect there might be an Italian vote or two. But French? Nope. So it makes it a little tricky.

That said. I could serve these potatoes on any day and they would be a huge hit and gone in a flash. The duck fat creates the crispy exterior, that is both savory with just a touch of sweetness. In New Orleans, they serve Brabant potatoes with almost everything. Never made them, it seemed too time intensive, but this method. Absolutely!

OK, let’s get to it. There’s a recipe, but you don’t need one. I used russet potatoes, peeled and cut into about a half-inch dice. They get dropped in boiling salted water until they are just on the edge of tender.

The potatoes get drained really well, and if necessary blotted with paper towel. I used 2 medium-large potatoes, about 1 pound. I probably had close to 2 T of the duck fat. It’s heated in a heavy pan, and then the potatoes are added. They get stirred and turned around in the pan until they have a nice golden crust. I skipped the garlic, but that would be great too.

I served these with an omelet and some fresh spinach. Delicious, simple meal.

I will definitely be making this again. And I’m excited to turn over a new cooking leaf! Looking forward to reading about what others thought about this recipe!

CtBF – Potato, feta and basil tortilla

Not something I make often, but I did enjoy the versions I made with French Friday’s. I wasn’t sure about the basil. Well, and not the feta. I’ll admit I did look back at the other recipe, you know, “just in case”.

Easy enough! Potatoes diced. Cooked to barely tender in some good olive oil, and then the green onions added.

I used 8 eggs because they were very large, and my potato was just under a pound. These get whisked with the pimente de esplette, salt, and the chopped basil. Isn’t this so pretty out of the garden? Surprisingly the only basil still here are the purple varieties. Gardening?

The egg mixture gets poured over the top, and then gets topped with some feta crumbles. Cooked fairly gently on the stove for about 20 minutes to create a bottom crust and so that the tortilla is almost set.

Popped into the oven for about 5 minutes at a high temp or under the broiler to just get the top set. Once out of the oven, it gets flipped over (or alternatively slide out of the pan).

This can be served hot, warm, room temperature or cold. Though my preference is warm or room temperature. As part of a tapas spread, or with a glass of crisp rosé.

I’d forgotten how good this is. And makes for lovely leftovers as well.

You can find out what other cooks thought about the recipe here.

CCC – chestnut & sage soup, twice-baked potatoes – the November recipes

At this time of year, things seem to get very busy. I’ve been working a lot, some of it on a new project out of the country, so between that and hosting Thanksgiving (weekend!), I have missed out on a few recipes. That said, I did get to a couple, and I’m happy I did.

At first blush, the chestnut and sage soup  was a little too reminiscent of a number of beige-looking soups I’ve made over the past couple of years. But I was determined to try it because every time I use chestnuts in soup, I love the result. And in this version – there’s sage. And I think that nothing says fall like sage. Interestingly, some of it gets crisped up in a bit of olive or other oil.


The soup is simple enough, vegetable broth and a few other things, along with some cooked chestnuts. I was able to find them prepared, so it turned into a quick soup. I used the immersion blender, but if I had more time I think it would turn out better (that is, much smoother) if I used a regular blender. I also added a dollop of cream and a drizzle of the sage oil along with the sage leaves. I wished I’d made more!


It may not be much to look at, but this was a wonderful soup. And I totally loved the crisped sage leaves. I need to make them again, and find different ways to use them. So very good.

The other recipe I completed this month was for twice-baked potatoes. To be honest, I did make them to serve alongside something not-vegetarian-at-all, but these would make a delicious meal on their own, or with some shredded and sauteed squash (as I did here). They are simplicity itself. A baked potato, with the flesh scooped out, and combined with green onions, butter and sour cream, placed back in their shells and topped with some cheese. Then baked to heat through.


I ended up using a fairly “pedestrian” cheese, but it was lovely combined with the soothing potatoes. Individual servings of anything are always fun, and these do make for a nice presentation, though of course, some truly flavorful cheeses would be great, or even some different seasonings. But these were delicious as they were.


You can find all of the Cottage Cooking Club results here. I’m sure that there are some wonderful dishes I missed, and I can’t wait to read through all of the results!

ffwd – salty-sweet potato far

I don’t actually know what to say about this recipe.

Pretty easy list of ingredients.100_2978

This part looks pretty good.


And then there’s:




Oh wait, where did that photo come from….? Oh yeah, that’s Christmas dinner a few years ago. We’re having those stuffed green chiles and cornbread dressing this Thanksgiving too. But I digress – that’s another post.

Well, if you’d like to see how other Doristas fared with this recipe, you can check them out here.

ffwd – go-with-everything celery root puree

Maybe I should change my approach to this project. I think there are many others in the French Fridays with Dorie group that make their recipes well in advance, then post them – all ready to go, in anticipation of their Friday appointment. I don’t generally do that. Well, I’ve been known to, then to forget to actually post my results. 😦 On occasion (a long time ago, it seems), I could make the recipe early in the week or the weekend before, get my post all ready and schedule the actual publication. But usually, it’s Thursday and I’m trying to figure out how to get the recipe done and the post published, or like the last couple of times – to try to get it done at least on Friday! Sometime.That would be me this week.

I’ve never bought a celery root. Let alone cooked one. I probably thought that I didn’t really need another root vegetable in my life. Plus there’s the celery part. I’ve worked to bond with it this past year, thanks to Dorie. And my Mom. Once I started getting rid of the strings (my Mom always does this, and Dorie also discusses, helpfully), I’ve been using it more often, though it will never be a favorite in my book.

Today was a tough day for this as well, because I was torn in two different directions. Somehow, it already feels like the new year, and that Christmas and all of that fun is long past. Time to turn back to healthier living. To that end, I made some wonderful lentil-mushroom soup. Of course, I also got a very cool bread cloche for Christmas, so I had to bake a loaf of bread this morning. A bit of a tough assignment for our puree to follow those things! IMG_1495

But, because I love this group, and because I really did want to make the recipe, off I went to the most likely place to find a celery root – Whole Foods. Luckily I have one around the corner, so I don’t feel too bad about stopping in for something from time to time. I probably ruin their goals with my typical “basket size” (the average size of a customer’s total purchase or “basket”). I don’t mind though. Plenty of others to up their average.


Otherwise, pretty simple. To be honest, my process photos weren’t very clear, and since they really amounted to different variations on the theme of white stuff…. simply enough, the celery root, potato and a small amount of onion cut into chunks. Then added to a boiling, salted mixture of equal parts milk and water (thanks, Dorie, for the reminder of keeping an eye on the liquids – yes, that milk does foam up!) and cooked until tender. The vegetables are then strained well and pureed in a food processor with a bit of butter and white pepper. And that’s that.


One nice thing about this combination is that it can be made nice and creamy in the processor, since potatoes alone would end up a horrible, gray gluey mess. This was way lighter, and so that was nice too. The celery flavor was there, and depending on what you’re serving it with, could be tasty. But for me, this was kind of just ok. I’m sure it would be better with any of Dorie’s daubes. But it was fun to try, and wrap up another year with French Fridays with Dorie and our terrific group!

Happy New Year, all! I’m looking forward to cooking with you again in the New Year!