Potato Gratin

For steeping cream

  • 2 ¼ cups half-and-half
  • 2 medium cloves garlic (8g), smashed
  • 2 small shallots (110g total), quartered
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons (6g) whole black peppercorns
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons table salt

In a small saucepan, combine cream, milk, garlic, shallots, nutmeg, thyme, peppercorns, and salt. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 1 hour.

  • 2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick or less
  1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Rub bottom and sides of 5- to 6-cup gratin dish or shallow baking dish with a garlic clove. Once garlic in dish has dried, about 2 minutes, spread dish with half the butter.
  2. Bring steeped half-and-half and potatoes to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon (liquid will just barely cover potatoes). Reduce heat and simmer until liquid thickens, about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour potato mixture into prepared dish; shake dish or use fork to distribute potatoes evenly. Gently press down potatoes until submerged in liquid; dot with remaining butter.
  4. Bake until top is golden brown (basting once or twice during first 45 minutes) about 1 hour 15 minutes.
  5. For a more pronounced crust, sprinkle three tablespoons of heavy cream or grated Gruyère cheese on top of the potatoes after forty-five minutes of baking. Let rest 5 minutes and serve.

Bread and butter pickles

  • 1 pound cucumbers, sliced ¼-inch thick — “pickling” or kirby cucumbers work best here
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup Diamond Kosher salt 
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, or mix of both
  • ¼ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (if ground, use 1 teaspoon)
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  1. In a colander set over a bowl, combine the cucumbers, onion and salt. Mix well. Let stand at room temperature for two hours. Drain cucumbers and onions.
  2. In a pot, bring sugar, vinegar and spices to a boil. Add veggies to vinegar mixture and bring almost back to a boil. Remove from heat and cool. 
  3. You can store the pickles in an airtight container for up to three weeks in the fridge. They will begin tasting pickled in just a couple hours.

Fresh tomato salsa

  • 1 ½ pounds firm, ripe tomatoes, cut into 3/8-inch dice (about 3 cups)
  • ½ cup minced red onion **
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (about ½ teaspoon) **
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves **
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • pinch ground black pepper
  • 2 – 6 teaspoons lime juice from 1 to 2 limes
  • Granulated sugar to taste (up to 1 teaspoon)

** can be chopped in food processor

1. Set large colander in large bowl. Place tomatoes in colander and let drain 30 minutes. As tomatoes drain, layer onion, garlic, and cilantro on top. Shake colander to drain off excess tomato juice. Discard juice.

2. Transfer contents of colander to empty bowl. Add salt, pepper, and 2 teaspoons lime juice; toss to combine. Taste and add sugar and additional lime juice to taste, if needed.

Corn salsa

  • 2 ears corn (cooked), kernels cut from cobs (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 medium scallion, sliced thin
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons corn oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt

Place all ingredients in medium bowl, toss well, and serve.

To cook corn:
Bring 2 cups water to boil in small saucepan over high heat. Stir in corn, 1/4 tsp baking soda, and ¼ teaspoon salt; remove pan from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain corn and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

Lentils for lentil salad

How to prepare lentils for lentil salad.

  1. Rinse and pick lentils. Drain.
  2. Sautee aromatics (onion, garlic) in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add bay leaf.
  3. Turn stove to medium-low, add lentils, salt and pepper. Cover, cook lentils 8-10 minutes until darkened.
  4. Uncover, increase heat to high, add ½ cup of dry white wine per 1 cup of lentils and bring to simmer.
  5. Cover with 1-2" of water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes until tender.
  6. Drain and cool.

WW 1 pt = 1 cup cooked