Thursday, March 24, 2011

Greetings From Sunny San Diego

Hey there! I'm in San Diego right now as a guest of Sony's Cyber-shot group. I'm lucky to be part of a gathering of food bloggers from around the country. We spent the afternoon in Oceanside at a wonderful farmer's market and then we had a ridiculously indulgent "picnic" lunch at the beach.

Tough afternoon, I know. We've been set loose with Cyber-shot WX9 cameras; check out the sample images below and look for a review soon on, you know, that other website I work on.

I have more eating ahead of me. For now, check out some photos from our afternoon while I go put on my stretchy pants and get ready for dinner.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Be Gratin-ful For What You Have

When countries are shredded by waves or dictators or bombs, that’s a good time to go to the market and get a bunch of leeks. In the grand scheme, this isn’t outrageous, but it felt kind of thrilling handing over three cash dollars to the folks at Daisy Mae’s and leaving with a heavy, leafy bundle.

My inspiration came from a recent article in the New York Times. It wasn’t the delicious photo that convinced me I needed to make this recipe. It was the description of that moment the author spent rinsing grit from the farmer’s market leeks and how soothing it felt to see the dirt being washed down the drain. That sounded like something I could use.

Very soon after the rinsing comes sautéing in a large amount of butter. The cooked leeks go on top of the potatoes, some heavy cream spiked with nutmeg goes over that and a big handful of shredded Gruyere goes over the whole thing.

I mistakenly used a casserole dish instead of a gratin dish, thinking they were interchangeable. The resulting dish was therefore pretty shallow but still delicious. Because leeks and potatoes do not a meal make, I whipped up Courtney’s wonderful balsamic glazed chicken drumsticks. I recommend that you do the same.

I had been pronouncing this dish as “gra-TAN,” which threw Alex for a loop. In fact he asked me as we sat down to eat,

“Why didn’t you tell me you were making potatoes au gratin?” Opting for the accepted GRA-‘n pronunciation.

After a brief survey of several free online dictionaries, I didn’t come to any conclusion about who was right or wrong about the pronunciation. And does it really matter when you have a cheesy, buttery gratin sitting in front of you? And in the grand scheme, isn’t that really a lot?