Monday, July 29, 2013

Richie Makes a New Friend

He's kind of fickle in his friendships... first he and Jacque Pepin were tight and then Richie got interested in someone else and ran off to eat one bite of Mexico at a time with Rick Bayless and last night he got to canoodling in the kitchen with Patricia Wells during her culinary tour of recipes from various restaurants in small French villages.   

From the Camargue - GARDIANE LA CAMARGUE
4 1/2 lbs. stewing beef
5 garlic cloves
2 to 3 medium onions, sliced
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-in. lengths
1 bottle full-bodied red wine
2 T olive oil
1/2 teas. dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1 cup oil-cured black olives

The day before you plan to serve it, put the meat, garlic, onions, carrots in a big bowl, add the bottle of wine and put it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  Next day, take it out and let it sit for three hours, then saute the meat in the olive oil.  Add everything else, including the wine y ou used as a marinade, to a big pot and let barely simmer for 2 hours.  Discard the bay leaves and serve. 

Instead of noodles or rice, he also made this:

GRATIN GRAND-MERE - Grandma's Potato, Red Pepper and Zucchini Gratin
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
4 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 lbs. peeled and thinly-sliced russet potatoes
1 teas. dried thyme
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut in thin rounds
4 small zucchini, very thinly sliced.

preheat the oven to 350
grease a casserole dish and layer half of the potatoes, sprinkle with thyme, drizzle with olive oil.  Add a layer of of half of the red peppers and then half of the zucchini; keep layering until all of the vegetables are used up.  Drizzle with olive oil, cover the dish tightly with its lid or aluminum foil and bake about one hour or until it's soft and tender.

What did we think of these dishes?  Richie thought the meat didn't get tender enough.  To me, the flavor was so faint as to be nearly a fleeting memory.  The Grandma's Gratin was properly cooked, but again no real flavor.  Of course, looking at the lists of ingredients, there's not a lot of flavor IN them!  One garlic peel for 2 lbs. of potatoes?  Five garlic cloves for four and a half pounds of stewing beef?  If you make either one of these, ramp up the seasonings!

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