Sunday, November 28, 2010

Potatoes au Gratin via Cajun Cooking TV

  I don't eat potatoes. I have a spud allergy so I stay clear of the little fiends but my senior mother loves them. She doesn't really have much interest in cooking these days so I frequently cook for her to make sure that she eats a balanced diet. I have been venturing into Potato Land and started dealing with spuds via Potato Salad. I got the idea when I bought her a jar of mayonnaise. My mom is southern and worships a good mayo. Since I shop for her, I decided to try a different brand with a vibrant red label and lid that I saw in the local grocery; a good southern brand named Mrs. Filbert's.  On the label was a recipe for Potato Salad that I thought sounded good - even to someone who doesn't even eat the stuff. It turned out that my mother thought the same thing when she saw the recipe. I had all the ingredients (minus the potatoes) so I decided to give it a whirl. I can make a great Shrimp Salad so I can make the "salad" part without much worry about taste. It's fascinating to read the recipes with various riffs on the theme of Potato Salad. It's an American institution! I'll include that recipe in my next post.

   I was able to purchase 5 lbs. of russet potatoes for $1.50 yesterday so I thought that I'd try making a dish that I know that she loves - Potatoes au Gratin.  Remember that I have never tasted it so all I have to go by is reading the various recipes that I found via Google. After asking mom what she liked in Potatoes au Gratin, it turns out that she used to add Worcestershire sauce when she used to make it. I normally cook in the Cajun and Creole style so that's a staple in my pantry! (I love it in Shrimp Victoria!) I love just inhaling that stuff. I recall that mom used to add it to Mac n' Cheese, too. Mmmm!

  After doing a Google search and reading various recipes, I narrowed it down to Ree's recipe on The Pioneer Woman's cooking blog - and Emeril's on the Food Network - I had considered adding white pepper and making a roux. instead of just making a white sauce and noticed that Emeril includes both, too. Then I though of one of my favs, Cooking Cajun TV! Below is Beryl's version - - on video from that site:

   This is the recipe that I decided to try. I didn't do the 8 cups o' cheese, though! LOL! My mom has low cholesterol, no weight issues and loves cheese, but my didn't think that she needed or wanted quite that much. Yowza! I used closer to 2 - 2 1/2 cups, including the topping. That is still more cheese than the other two recipes used! Beryl's recipe had more sauce than my casserole dish could handle so I had overflow (note that Beryl mentions a baking pan in the oven and I didn't forget!) even though I had removed half a cup. I just sprinkled the cheddar cheese over the top and let it melt after removing it from the oven - as Beryl does. If mom wants a browned topping, she can do that when she re-heats it. It smells divine.

   I'll take this cheesy delight over to mom's house later. Check back for mom's review.

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