Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving prep - Pommes de terre

Paula Deen

Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman)

Gina Neely

I love all of these ladies dearly, but there is no question that the real Queen of Comfort Food is Julia Child. She was the original celebrity chef who encouraged everyone to use butter and plenty of it. Yes, some of her food is ridiculously hard to make, but most of the time it's just delicious food that seems difficult to cook because it has a fancy French name. For instance, my husband's favorite side dish is Puree De Pommes De Terre A L'Ail, also known as garlic mashed potatoes. See? Not so scary after all. (Really not scary if you watch the clip at the end of the link I posted where they set some Julia Child to Guns N' Roses - HA!)

Thanksgiving is the food Superbowl of comfort food. There is turkey, which has the sleep-inducing tryptophan (although the wine and overeating are also culprits). There is starch everywhere from stuffing (or dressing) to rolls to potatoes. The creamy goodness of green bean casserole and mashed yams just make you think of napping. Oh, and that dollop of whipped topping (mock me, I'm a Cool Whip fan) sitting on top of a slice of pie doesn't hurt either. Everything about this day suggests comfort.

I try really hard to eat healthy meals with a variety of color and texture. My kitchen crush mom always said that you need at least three colors on your plate. I was assigned to bring potatoes to dinner at my in-law's house. Now, they didn't specify what kind of potatoes to bring. I thought I could try out a new recipe or put a twist on the Ina Garten roasted potatoes from this blog post by adding other root veggies like parsnips and beets for vibrant colors. Wouldn't that be fabulous?

When I suggested this to my husband, he was horrified. HORRIFIED. He couldn't believe that I wouldn't make cheesy potatoes. It's a staple in his holiday diet. So, I made the roasted veggies for my office's Thanksgiving potluck lunch and bought all the ingredients for cheesy potatoes.

Here is the recipe I'll be using:
Cheesy Potatoes
2 lbs shredded potatoes (you can cheat and buy the frozen hash browns and thaw them)
1/4 cup butter
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup (if you can, find the low-sodium kind)
1 cup sour cream
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (save some for topping)
1/2 cup onion, diced (more or less to taste)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup corn flakes
salt and pepper, to taste 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients together in a big bowl except the corn flakes and a handful of the cheese. Pour the mix in a greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish and cover with foil. Remember, if the veggie grows underground, cover it up! Bake for 50 minutes. When the timer goes off, take the dish out of the oven and remove the foil without burning yourself. Steam is hot, people. Sprinkle the top of the whole dish with corn flakes and the cheese you saved. Put it back in the oven without the foil for 10 more minutes so it gets nice and crispy and melty. I don't know how it gets both crispy and melty, but it does. I don't question miracles. 

"But Jen, how do you shred all those potatoes?" Well, crushers, I usually cheat and buy the bags of frozen potatoes. However, this year I own a food processor with one of those fancy, schmancy slicer attachments, so I'm going to try that. If that doesn't work, I'll end up slicing them and making potatoes au gratin. I'll post that recipe next week.

I know I haven't been around much and I'll be MIA for the next few days, but that's because my sister is getting married this weekend, so I don't have to do much cooking! I'll be eating Thanksgiving potluck dinner, then leftovers and rehearsal dinner and then wedding food and then more leftovers all weekend! WHOO HOO!

Thank you to all the crushers who read this blog, make comments, share what you've learned or made you laugh and special thanks to those who take it one step further and either donates to get food to those who need it or just shares meals with others.
Happy Thanksgiving!

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