Le Gratin Dauphinois – Cooking Experiment #4

December 9, 2013 § 2 Comments

One of the common challenge that vegetarians face is eating out. You have to always make sure that there is a vegetarian dish on the menu (an overly priced salad for instance) if you want to spend some good time with your friends. When invited over a dinner you have to tell the hosts in advance that they will have to do some extra cooking for the herbivorous human being they invited to their house. I had a similar problem this weekend when I was invited for a late Thanksgiving Dinner.

The theme was Thanksgiving, definitely there was turkey sitting in the middle of table. But I couldn’t tell the hosts this time because this time the guests cooked some traditional Thanksgiving dishes and bought them to the venue. Now how am I supposed to let the twenty guests know that I don’t eat meat or fish ad they will have to cook something special, and I only know half of them. For sure not a good idea. But I wanted to go to this dinner and see my friends and discover the American tradition of Thanksgiving.

I came up with a slightly better idea. I cooked Gratin Dauphinois but a little more so that I can eat more of it with possibly some salad and sweet potato purée which I knew will be on the menu. And of course, there was no scarcity of desserts. Everything went according to the plan except that when I went to take a second helping of my gratin, it was all gone! I should have been happy as people really liked it and in a way I was. So I ate more desserts to fuel my stomach and thus fulfilled the Thanksgiving tradition of getting food coma the next morning.

Turning to the recipe now, which is quite simple. As for the photos, they are not at all good because I couldn’t serve the dish before taking it to the hosts’ house and there I was too busy catching up with friends to even consider photographing and showing off that I made a delicious gratin.

Cooking Le Gratin Dauphinois for Six Servings

What do we need?

  • 1.5 kgs Potatoes
  • 50 cl Full Cream
  • 5-6 tbsps Full Cream Milk
  • 100 gms grated Cheese (Emmental, Comte or Gruyère)
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Butter

Here’s how to cook the gratin

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into slices of 5 mm thickness(not too fine and not too thick).
  2. Take an oven dish and rub the garlic clove all over. (If you like garlic, you can also boil it with the cream).
  3. Butter up the base of the oven dish well.
  4. Pre-heat the oven at 200-220 degree Celsius.
  5. Start placing the potato slices until you get a layer. Pour the cream and add salt and pepper. Continuing layering and pouring cream until the potato slices finish.
  6. On the top most layer pour the milk. Cover well the dish with aluminium foil.
  7. Put the dish it the oven for at least one and a half hour.
  8. Remove the foil and check whether the potatoes are soft and the cream has cooked up well. If not, then cook for a few minutes more.
  9. Spread the cheese on top and put the uncovered dish again in the oven until the top layer becomes golden brown and crispy.

And voilà, the gratin is ready for serving as a side dish or a main, as you wish to gorge on this yummy dish.

It was hard to not eat it right at that moment.

It was hard to not eat it right at that moment.

Without the cheese layer on top, this is the traditional way of making le gratin dauphinois. A healthier version would be with other vegetables like carrots, courgettes, bell-peppers or whatever your imagination lets you think of.

Bon appétit!


Almost Christmas

December 7, 2013 § 1 Comment

By each year Christmas decorations are put up earlier than ever. And as Missoco said next year they might as well start in summers. So, by those standards my Christmas post is late but for me it is rightly timed. It is always the month of December that ushers in fun-filled Christmas days with Christmas Markets, decorations all over the city and pretty much everything red, green and white.

It seems that everyone is waiting for Christmas to come fast and open gifts with family and friends. Paris during Christmas is a dream come true. It is wonderful because of the happiness daze caused by chocolates and everything which has a bit of sugar. To officially kick off my Christmas month I spent almost ten hours today and the cherry of the cake is not anywhere near the finish.

Having an extra early dance class helped with the waking up part. And next, joined by Missoco, I went to La Cartonnerie (12 rue Degeurry Paris 11) for a Christmas Market where twenty-eight French artists/designers put up lots of creative things on the display. My best picks are the vintage lace jewellery from KDYAK, masculine scented candles from Maison Moustache inspired by different districts of Paris, London and New York and a new way to discover books by Exploratology. And if you want to catch up with your friends around cute cupcakes and tea, there is Marine Is Cooking. But of course I didn’t spend ten hours just  talking with Missoco (well yeah most of it, which also made us miss our metro stop by a few stations). We girls meant business today.

A bit of sugar!

A bit of sugar!

Missoco took me to discover Christmas decoration and gifts shops near Place de la Madeleine. At Sia, I couldn’t stop taking photos of the beautiful and different decorations. Then we went to La Chaise Longue which is a famous French gift-shop chain. I liked all the stuff in the Parisiennes range and I am sure of buying the dinner set.

Cute Figurines At Sia

Cute Figurines At Sia

Parisiennes Dinner Set at La Chaise Longue

Parisiennes Dinner Set at La Chaise Longue

On our way around the Madeleine Square we quickly managed to peak at the irresistible chocolate Christmas tree in Patrick Roger‘s Chocolate shop display.

Chocolate Eclair is always a good idea.

Chocolate Eclair is always a good idea.

To finish of our day in Christmas style, Missoco treated me with the éclairs at Fauchon. It was delicious and perfect way to relish the end of a wonderful day. Now I am ready to sip on some hot chocolate and go to bed to prepare for my very first Thanksgiving (it is never late to say thanks) Dinner tomorrow for which I am going to cook a French dish. The next post will be a cooking experiment.

Before I make any 2014 resolutions, I have made things to do before Christmas list which includes ice-skating at Hotel de Ville, visit Louvre (yes I haven’t done that until now) and start running. Long shot but worth every try.

“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flown. How did it get so late so soon?”Dr. Seuss

(I am so glad not to have missed my deadline of writing a weekly post just by forty-five minutes.)

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