I think it all started with the latest issue of Jamie, where I realized for the umpteenth time that while his super-fast recipes, creamy matte card stock pages, electric fonts & sick track jackets make my heart all aflutter, his English recipes don't directly translate into my own world. And for the first time that, well, maybe they could. So I put on one of D's track jackets in my favorite color. This one, actually:
Then I realized if I go the Euro-food route I'd need to throw in a little drink, so I began to rummage through D's choice GF ciders. A life-long beer lover, he's on constant lookout for distinct, crisp & authentic drinks that happen to be gluten-free. I drink sparkling water. Anywhoo.
That little blue casserole had also been distracting me though our last 5 meals, so I finally gave in asked myself what I thought it was wanting from me. (What? What is it wanting from me?) Something cute, rustic. Something from A Trail of Crumbs, the lovely & glamourous I'm-not-ready-for-such-goodness-not-to-mention I'm-head-of-a-fashion-household-and-frequent-the-markets-of-Provence, but-we-all-know-I-don't-belong-here memoir that I am so loving right now. So I played with her version of Jansson's Frestelse (Swedish Potato Temptation) to become a light & brothy bit of scalloped anchovies & potatoes.
We had a memorably moving visit to a recreation of Patuxet, the Native village that Plymouth was built on & home of the first Thanksgiving meal. There was an outdoor kitchen area where this stew of cod, hominy, maize & beans was looking simple but smelling nourishing & fulfilling in a way that had us bolt for our dinners, but not before taking some notes on how to make it at home.
So we ended up with a cheesy veggie-rich cod tian/ fish pie/ seafood casserole/sumthin' sumthin,' plus a salty, al dente pillow of potatoes with extra cream for making the tian a bit of a chow-dah. (Sorry I couldn't resist. Out here you don't say chowder. You say Chow-dah!) Supper that sticks to your teeth while you laugh & your neighbor slurps her spoon as your kids place a pile of corn cob bits on your napkin while the sun sets. My kind of dinner.
These days, but also in general, I don't measure. I don't record. But this is what I did. When we had eaten half of each, we loaded the rest into the little blue pot for a one-dish repeat the next day, baked at 350' for 30 minutes, with the cover on for the first 20.
Swedish-ish Potato Gratin - Concept
(Adapted from A Trail of Crumbs by Kim Sunee)
Slice 5 small thin-skinned potatoes & one yellow onion. Butter a small covered casserole & layer the potatoes over the bottom & sides, reserving half. Follow with all of the onions, the remaining potatoes & 6 jarred anchovies, plus 1 tablespoon of their oil. Cover with half & half + 1inch. Cover & bake at 350' for 35 minutes, check for potatoes to be fork-tender.
Cod Tian - Concept
Using a large oven-proof pan, brown two large cod fillets in a bit of olive oil. Keep cooking until it all flakes off into little non-descript brown flakes. Remove to a bowl & season with salt & pepper. Leave the brown bits stuck to the pan for the next step. Cut 3 corn cobs into 1" coins. I take a heavy knife & press into them, then lift the knife along with the cob & give another good bang. Make sure you are alone & be careful, for goodness sakes. Then I take each coin & slice it in half. Okay. Finely crush & chop four cloves of garlic. Add both to the pan with 2 Rapunzel Organic Bouillon cubes with herbs (no salt), turn the heat to medium-high & add a good cup of Woodchuck Granny Smith Hard Cider to deglaze the sides. Use an fresh wooden spoon to fend off the band of men who come rushing into the cabin kitchen because dinner's still a half-hour off. Okay.
Add a cup of water & 10 finely chopped kale leaves. Kale is no trouble, really. Just grab the green with the fingers of one hand, & pull the stem hard with your other. ("You should saute those stems, Mom. Just do it with some lemon juice & olive oil so they don't got to waste." Okay, um, good idea.) Stir it all & cover. When they are half-wilted (a few minutes) add a cup of frozen sweet peas. Season with salt pepper & a good bit of dried thyme. If you are me, you add a splash of fish sauce here. Now. Add the cod. Fold in a handful of shredded organic white cheddar. Add some water if it looks dry- it should be soupy. Chop up some white bread (we used Gillian's wheat, gluten & dairy free French Rolls) & evenly cover the top. Cover with white & yellow cheddar. Broil. Serve them together, outside, with a bit of drink.