23 February 2010

Bloggeraid and Blue Cheese Potatoes Au Gratin

En français ici.
I'm cutting this one close to the wire, but I've been thinking about it for a while, ever since Giz and Val at Bloggeraid: Changing the Face of Famine announced that just as Canada was hosting the Winter Olympic Games this year, they were hosting the Culinary Olympics. We culinary bloggers are kind of like athletes too (we're certainly from all over the world), and our sport is food! In this event, though, we are not competing against each other, but rather with each other against world hunger. The idea is that each blogger will make a dish to promote his or her country's national cuisine and the Bloggeraid cause. Sounds good to me.

The only problem is that this sort of competition gets me in philosophical mode (dangerous, I know). I start wondering: what country should I represent? If the US, what part of the country? Which national heritage? If France, am I qualified? And don't even get me started on big words like "National Pride" - mine seems grow in proportion to the number of miles I am away from the USA and inversely to the number of Americans I hang out with (I mean, if I were on the moon with only French astronauts for company, I'd probably want America to marry me. When I'm in the US, I often want to bang its head against a wall. Am I the only one?)

So... as you can see, representing my country gets complicated. But I'm not going to make a big deal about it (can you tell?). I'm just going to give you this recipe for blue cheese potatoes au gratin (French-inspired, let's say), and most importantly tell you that BLOGGERAID RULES!

And while I'm on that subject, on Sunday, BloggerAid launched H2Ope for Haiti, an online raffle to raise funds for Concern Worldwide's relief effort in Haiti. Clean drinking water was one of the most acute needs in the aftermath of the quake, and Concern Worldwide has a long track record and began to respond quickly after the quake to provide clean drinking water and water purification tablets. The raffle goes until Sunday February 28th and there are lots of fun prizes. So head over and buy tickets! And now, on to the gratin...

1 large onion

2 small leeks
3 cups mushrooms
1 clove garlic
4 1/2 cups potato
1 black radish (optional - I usually stick whatever strange root vegetable I've gotten that week in my gratins)

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1/4-1/2 cup roquefort (or other blue cheese)
2 slices smoked ham (optional also, if you're vegetarian, but very nice with the blue cheese)

grated cheese for topping

Preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Put some olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion about 3 minutes before adding the garlic, leeks and mushrooms. Cook everything until it's nice and soft (15 minutes).

Peel and slice the potatoes and radish (if using) and cook them 15 minutes in salted, boiling water.

In the meantime, make the sauce (this one, or however you like to make a béchamel) by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Whisk the flour into the melted butter and pour the milk in slowly while whisking. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring very often until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency. Remove from heat and add the cheese (whisking until smooth) and then the ham.

In a large baking dish layer the potatoes/radish and cooked vegetables. Pour the sauce over them and top with the grated cheese of your choice. Put in the oven 15 minutes or until cheese on top is golden. Serve hot!


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That gratin looks fantastic! I love that combination!



Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the love/hate relationship with the USA.

That gratin looks sinfully good. (And what a great way to use up black radishes!) I do believe I'll be getting potatoes and leeks in my panier tomorrow...

Julie said...

The gratin looks delicious! Not sure I have ever seen a black radish. Looking forward to less snowy times and the Farmer's Market here!

I'd like to do a post about Adopt A Blogger. Can you send me an email about yourself? jmogler16 at gmail.com. Thanks.

Hopie said...

Rosa - Thanks! It certainly turned out yummy.

Camille - I knew you'd understand ;-) Anything that uses black radishes and still tastes good is a plus in my book. You should try it! (I'm pretty sure I've gotten potatoes and leeks in EVERY panier in 2010 so far.)

Julie - Can't wait to hear about food you make with stuff from the farmer's market. I just emailed you!

Apples and Butter said...

I was just reading about black radishes and now here I see you using them in a gratin. I think I'm going to have get my hands on some! Delicious looking dish.

Joie de vivre said...

You are not alone. The more I listen to American politics the more I want to bang my head against a wall, but to be away, I would miss it. Go figure.

Your blue cheese potatoes au gratin looks beautiful. It's so nice to be back in the blogging world reading your posts again.

Melissa said...

That gratin looks amazing, and like the perfect recipe to take with me back to Boston next week where we'll be lucky to hit 0C (but at least I'm missing the next snowpocalypse this weekend). Although not sure if I'll be able to find black radishes... Thanks!!

Hopie said...

Apples and Butter - Yes, apparently they're really good for you...but I can never quite figure out how to use them. I'm not a huge fan of the taste raw...but I guess maybe shredded in a salad with some other nice flavors could work too.

Joie de Vivre - It's nice to have you back! Glad to hear I'm not alone with the mixed feelings about America :-)

Melissa - Snowpocalypse, that sounds about right! Unless I'm totally wrong, there's more on the way, so maybe you'll get some too ;-) Quick, a gratin!

Maria said...

How rich does that gratin look?! it's right up my alley! Would love to have some right about now.

Sam said...

I've had some strange vegetables in my veg box but never a black radish, I would have no idea what to do with it!

I love the gratin recipe, blue cheese and potatoes sounds fantastic!

Adele said...

This dish caught my eye immediately. It looks fantastic! I even have some blue cheese. That's fate, methinks.

Hopie said...

Maria - Glad you like it! Are you fasting? Don't worry - only a couple more weeks until you can have all melted cheese you want ;-)

Sam - I don't really know what to do with black radish either. But I figure almost anything is good smothered in cheese, right?

Adèle - I love gratin because it's easy to substitute in whatever you have around. Hope you enjoy it.

Tony said...

Mmmmm tasty. I want blue cheese now!