I didn't want to go overboard so I asked the bf what were some of his Easter must-haves. His only request was deviled eggs.
Our Easter Menu:
- Smithfield Country Ham
- Deviled Eggs
- Gratin Dauphinois (aka Scalloped Potatoes)
- Green Beans
- Pomelo and Shrimp Salad
- Bread (I had french baguette and the bf had sourdough.)
It was a no fuss dinner.
Gratin Dauphinois, Au Gratin Potatoes or Scalloped Potatoes
The first time I had Gratin Dauphinois, I thought I was eating really special potatoes fit for a future king. I assumed it was a dish made in honor of one of dauphins of France. It reminded me of Pommes Duchesse and Pommes Anna. I don’t know details of the history behind these dishes. I remember reading about these potato dishes, with fancy sounding names, in Larousse Gastronomique and Escoffier.
I don’t have a recipe for this dish. It is one of those things that I just eyeball because it all depends on how much potatoes I have to work with. My three potatoes may be four of yours. This is what I do.
I take a couple potatoes, wash them, peel them and then slice them thinly. (Do not rinse the sliced potatoes because you want to retain the starch.) I put the sliced potatoes in a pan and eyeball the milk, half and half, or cream. (I like to use a mix of milk and half and half because heavy cream is a bit too decadent.) I then grate just a bit of nutmeg into the pot and then season with salt and pepper. I cook it on the stovetop for a few minutes to get them started. (Stir them frequently so that they don’t burn.) The milk/cream will thicken up with the help of the potato starch.
Then I prepare a baking dish. (My au gratin dishes are usually too small for the quantity I am accustomed to cooking.) I take a clove of garlic, cut it and rub the cut sides all over the baking dish and then coat the dish with butter. Pour the simmered potatoes in the baking dish and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven until it is all bubbly and golden on top.
True Gratin Dauphinois does not include onions or cheese but you can add it if you are feeling it. I sometimes like caramelized onions with my potatoes. Layer and top with gruyere cheese (or even parmesan or cheddar) if you like. If you do choose to stray and add onions or cheese, be prepared to call your dish au gratin potatoes or scalloped potatoes. I decided to keep it simple and authentic today so I can call mine Gratin Dauphinois. Try it without the cheese. I promise you won't miss it. The potatoes are creamy and rich enough on its own.
Thai Pomelo Shrimp Salad
I bought a really delicious pomelo last week so I went out and bought 8 more. I love pomelos but I hate grapefruit. If you are like me and hate the taste of grapefruit, you should give pomelos and try. The taste is similar to a grapefruit but without the bitterness or acidity. I usually eat my pomelos plain but I was reading a few of my favorite food blogs (rasa malaysia and wandering chopsticks) and both blogs have posts for pomelo salad. The one of rasa malaysia was a guest post by the author of the shesimmers blog. I have to admit that I've never tried pomelo salad before so I didn't know what to expect.
I couldn't decide on the Thai or the Vietnamese version of the salad. I love both Thai and Vietnamese food. Initially I was planning on doing the Vietnamese version found on Wandering Chopsticks blog but I didn't have any Vietnamese coriander so I went with the version found on rasa malaysia. I have to admit that I was a little lazy with the prep. I cheated quite a bit. I skipped the coconut milk because I didn't want to open a can of coconut milk. I used fried shallots from a jar and I poached the shrimp in the microwave. (I feel I must apologize to the author of the recipe.) Fortunately, I did have some raw peanuts that I toasted a few weeks ago.
These pomelos were on the smaller side. I usually get volleyball-size pomelos at the Asian grocery store. I scored the pomelo to make peeling easier. I then used kitchen sheers to help cut the pith and then carefully remove the segments.
If you take prescription drugs, you may notice the grapefruit and grapefruit juice warning label on your prescription bottle. Grapefruit contains a compound that interacts with certain prescription drugs. (There's a long list of prescription drugs affected and they range from allergy meds to cholesterol-lowering meds.) The compound inhibits an enzyme called CYP3A that breaks down the drug, resulting in more of the drug being absorbed by your body. Controlled Release, Sustained Release and Extended Release drugs are also affected by the compound - causing the entire dose to be absorbed at once. Does this mean a possible overdose? I'm not sure. Pomelos are not as popular or as widely available as grapefruits. (Although they are gaining in popularity and several of my local groceries are now carrying them.) There's not much information about pomelos and prescription drugs. I'm sure many pharmacists and doctors have never even heard of a pomelo and when you say "similar to a grapefruit," the advice would probably be to err on the safe side.