I am absolutely beat! It is Sunday night and I am beat. Oh, I’m not complaining. Not at all. Today was a most wonderful day. Today was one of my best friend’s baby shower! The beautiful baby girl is due to arrive in just over a month! Yes, I already know she is beautiful. Trust me.
The baby shower was absolutely beautiful. Because the parents have traveled all over together, the theme was “Around the World in 9 Months”. Get it? Too cute, right?! All us planners were in charge with bringing foods from many of the places they have been together. And lucky, lucky me. France was on the list!
French food seems to be so daunting, doesn’t it? Some recipes call for such an investment in time and don’t even get me started on some of those fancy culinary techniques! But guess what? There are plenty of French recipes that are simple and rustic, and most importantly, delicious! So you can impress your friends with a fancy shmancy French dish and not have to spend all day cooking nor learn all new culinary skills!
I decided to make two gratin dishes for the shindig today. The two dishes I knew would sit well over the course of the party and were easy to make. Win-win! Of course, in true “Me” fashion, I doubled and tripled these recipes because I wanted to make sure there was enough food. Naturally, I don’t have a gratin dish that big, so I actually cooked these in a casserole dish. But they still turned out beautiful and delicious! The two gratin dishes I made for today were Potimarron et Cannelle (pumpkin & cinnamon), and Pommes Boulangere (Baker’s Wife’s Potatoes). I’ll start with the Potimarron et Cannelle.
Potimarron et Cannelle
What You’ll Need:
3 sugar pumpkins (These are the smaller pumpkins you’ll find. They are sweet and are common in making pies)
2 Tablespoons of soft brown sugar
3/4 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
What You’ll Do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Puree the pumpkins (see below on pureeing pumpkins) and add cream, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix. Then, add in the whole eggs and season with salt and pepper.
Make sure everything is thoroughly mixed. Pour the pumpkin mixture into a gratin dish and bake for about 45 minutes. Just for a little pop of goodness, I sprinkled the top with just a little sugar.
It really isn’t too difficult to make your own pumpkin puree and I think it truly tastes much better than the canned stuff you find. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take the pumpkins and cut the stems off. Cut the pumpkins in half. Scoop out the guts and seeds. Brush the inside of the pumpkins with oil. Place the pumpkins, flesh-side up, onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pop them into the oven and roast for about 45-55 minutes. The time depends upon how many you are roasting, how big the pumpkins are, etc. You’ll know they are cooked, though, when the skin is darker and wrinkly and you can easily poke the pumpkin with a fork. Take the pumpkins out and let them cook for about 10-15 minutes. Take a spoon and carefully peel away the skin. This should be quite easy since you’ve roasted them. Take all that pumpkin meat and place in your food processor or blender. Blend away until silky smooth.
What You’ll Need:
4.5 pounds of potatoes
4 cups of chicken stock (if you’d like, substitute vegetable stock to make this a vegetarian dish)
2 large sprigs of thyme
2 large sprigs of rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 stick of butter, melted
What You’ll Do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel the potatoes and onions. Slice them into rounds. If you have one, use a mandolin so that the potatoes and onions are super thin and sliced evenly. If you don’t have a mandolin, just make sure you try and slice everything as thin as possible and as evenly as possible (because who wants food cooked unevenly?!). Also, try to make sure you don’t wash your potatoes nor rinse them! Lay down a layer of potatoes at the bottom of your gratin dish. Next a layer of onions. Keep alternating. For each layer of potatoes, lightly season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Finish with a top layer of potatoes. Heat up the stock. It doesn’t need to be boiling – just hot. Pour the stock over the potatoes and onions. The stock should just reach the top layer of potatoes – but make sure the top isn’t “drowning” in stock.
Add the thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Make sure they are submerged in the stock. Brush the top of the potatoes with melted butter. Bake for about an hour to an hour and a half until the potatoes are tender and the top layer of potatoes are a beautiful golden brown.
Because we ended up doubling and tripling our recipes, we completely underestimated how long these dishes would take to cook today, but luckily, they still turned out beautifully!
How easy are these dishes? Try them out and let me know how you like them and if they Taste Oh-So-Good!
~ M ~