Hold onto your mittens, my kittens — cause we’re gonna talk about awesome pal Adra’s grown-up, gourmet, 9021Oh yeah dinner party. She made a grilled cheese app that’s like a firework display of flavors. BEHOLD:
(Doesn’t quite have the impact I was looking for, but thanks for the tease anyway, Food & Wine.) She sautées shallots, adds mushrooms and spinach and sprinkles the whole shebang with truffle salt. (Truffle salt is available at Surfas in LA — a store which deserves its own post at a later date.)
Then she puts this tasty mix on good bread with nutty, buttery, meant-for-melting fontina, grills it all up, and slices into sticks for a nice two-bite app portion. Did I mention that she is my best friend? (LUCKY DRUCKIN ME! Homegirl can COOK.)
She also took on rack of lamb, which is a brave, expensive risk. Turned out perfectly, natch. I suffer from wholly irrational baby animal guilt, and rarely eat Mary’s little pet. But this baby baa baa was treated with love, respect and breadcrumbs, so I made a wise exception :
She accompanied her little lamb with grilled asparagus and what have come to be known as USC potatoes. (They are rich, expensive, and like to hate on UCLA.) To be truthful, I’m kind of a potato skeptic. When I do the dessert math (savory carb vs sugary carb, % by amount of room in tummy), cake almost always comes out on top.
But I stand converted.
If you’d like to try them and then do your own dessert math, here’s the recipe, lovingly transposed directly from the USC cookbook as my Monday gift to you:
Potato Gratin with White Cheddar
Preheat oven to 375•. Peel 4 lbs. russet potatoes and cut into 1/4″ rounds. Butter a 9×13″ baking dish. Whisk 2 cups whipping cream, 1/2 cup shallots, 1 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp ground black pepper in medium bowl to blend. Place half of potatoes in baking dish, overlapping slightly. Cover with 1 cup of white cheddar cheese. Top with second layer of potatoes. Pour cream mixture over potatoes in dish and cover with another cup of white cheddar. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake until top is golden brown and potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes longer. Let cool slightly before serving. Makes 10-12 servings.
Recipe from Debbie Exley, Trojan League of Orange County.