Monday, November 24, 2008

I Follow Recipes! I Do!

You might get the idea — because I keep saying it — that I don't much follow recipes.
Well, come Thursday you can bet I'll have my nose buried in a book or two, trying to get the temperature right on the turkey. When you only cook something once a year, you don't tend to internalize the technique. And this year, we're not stuffing the bird as we usually do, so everything will be torqued slightly off whatever memory granules I've managed to accumulate.
There are other valuable uses for recipes, like when somebody shows you a dish you would never, in a million years, have dreamed up on your own.
And that's how today's lunch happened. Chris at Ms. Cellania doesn't blog about food often, but when she does, I find I want to eat what she's eating. Her latest dish has the unassuming name of Cheesy Vegetable Hotpot. But jeez, Chris. Couldn't you scream a little about the crème fraîche? Or the topping of golden, melted, crispy Camembert cheese? And, sorry, but "hotpot" is just too homely a name for a meal this outstanding.
I would call it Leeks à la Forestière in a Camembert Crust. Which, imperfectly, overlooks the fact that there is cabbage, and no meat. But "forestière" is also supposed to imply that there are potatoes and mushrooms, as well there are in this humble, elegant hotpot, so we're getting close. Although perhaps too silly.
We made half a recipe for the two of us (and I think I can say now that I will know how to make it without a recipe in the future).
If I were to change only one thing, I might stir in a teaspoon of sherry. And salt (which we did sprinkle in, but Chris seems to have omitted it from her recipe).
Thanks for the great meal, Chris.


ChrisB said...

Oh you don't know how thrilled I am that you tried and liked this dish. I think your name for it sounds much grander than the cook book one.

The recipe didn't actually suggest any seasoning other than the thyme. However, the butter I used had salt and I try to cut down on it because of embee's blood pressure! I like your idea about adding a little sherry so might try that next time I make it.

peter said...

My memory granules are so torqued that they will stand no more torquage; they're like Torquemada, already.

So I don't make turkey. Nope, it's duck confit over here. Or lamb neck. Or both.

But camembert pie? Hell yeah.

cookiecrumb said...

Chris: Ah! Yes, salty British butter, v. salty. So I'm sure your dish was delish.
Please, more food blogging from you!

Peter: I'm not at all interested in turkey, but I must have the gravy. It's a sickness.
Let us know what you decide on for T-giving.
You might want to supplement with Camembert pie!

cook eat FRET said...

that looks and sounds amazing. amazing...

the original name is beyond awful
you did it proud all around

btw - i made a mistake of smelling my bottle of sherry vinegar on saturday. like up close and personal... and i swear it singed my nose hairs. then because i am fucking insane, i took a small swig. i almost died. and it was the good stuff from williams sonoma. my LOCAL williams sonoma.

vinegar confuses me.

Heather said...

I like turkey, and I love inventing new ways to use the leftovers. But I'm getting an elk sirloin roast this year that can't be ignored.

If needing gravy is a sickness, then baby, I don't want the cure.

Zoomie said...

Wow, what a wonderful combination of flavors! No wonder you followed this recipe!

pea said...

i dont see how one could possibly make something that was *not* delicious with potatoes and camembert. i mean, really now.

cookiecrumb said...

ceF: I made the mistake of slugging down a couple of tablespoons of (inferior) vinegar when I was a kid. I love vinegar. But not that much.

Heather: I'm already backed up with ideas for turkey leftovers. That part's fun. I think I'll just give myself permission to not eat turkey on Thursday, unless I really want to.
Elk! Have fun with that!

Zoomie: It's a very simple concoction. When I'm trying something new, I always finds it's smartest to follow the rules, and then next time you can go wild. But this dish doesn't need going-wild-on.

Pea: I didn't know we were "allowed" to COOK with Camembert. I thought we just had to nibble on it, appreciatively, with a glass of sherry. Breakthrough!

EB said...

Oh wow. Yum. Yum... wait... did I say yum?

cookiecrumb said...

EB: Thanks for visiting. I just added your blog to my Bloglines. :)
I hope you clicked through to Chris's site for the recipe. It's elegant, as my college math teacher would say -- simple and perfect.

Sam said...

I am so touched by all this.

Sam said...

Have you tried the new Andante cheese without a name that was created for Daniel Humm at 11 Maddison-something-or-other in NYC? It's a wonderful cheese, especially when ripe, which I eat with a spoon. I am wondering if it would be good or wasted on a gratin such as this? If I could afford to buy two - one for cooking and one for eating - that might be the answer.

cookiecrumb said...

Sam: Your mum. In case any readers didn't know. She's a great gal.
Have possibly tried the cheese you're talking about; although most of the Andantes we've bought have musical names (and as Cranky says, if you don't know the name, just Humm).
I will boast that we used the famous and hard-to-procure Herve Mons Camembert from Whole Foods. Fab. Only about a buck an ounce... if you can get one.