Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Mysterious Cooking Day

Me having a great time in Europe

When, as a teen ager, I was traveling  around Europe, I only wrote to my parents when I was overcome with homesickness.  When I was having a great time, (see photo) I seldom gave them a thought.  Later, as a parent myself and understanding parental worries, when my little family spent a year in Ireland, I wrote faithfully at least once a week.  I guess that summarizes my current trouble blogging.  This is not to say that I had been immersed in the slough of sorrow when I was a faithful blogger.  Au contraire, I enjoy writing, and having you read it.  It’s just that I am just having too much fun with the rest of life.  Not that I wasn’t having fun before, but the fun didn’t seem quite so time consuming.  I am going to try to be a better blogger now.  But don’t hold your breath. 

Abrupt change of subject:::
Harkening back to youthful years, I have always, always, since I started reading anyway, been an avid mystery reader.  My mother used to go to the library during my school hours and checked out books for me in addition to those she got for herself.  And those books were usually mystery novels, often ones she had read when she was my age.  So I started life reading mysteries, and old fashioned ones at that.  When I was old enough to go to the library on my own, I headed straight to the horse-novel or dog-novel sections, but usually made a detour to the mystery section. (As you might guess from this, my local library was not organized strictly according to Mr. Dewey’s rules.) 

In high school, I decided that one should not waste time reading drivel, and read only “real literature” or improving books.  Once I graduated from college, and felt fried by all that serious reading, I retreated to my youth and had a spell of reading almost nothing but mysteries. One of my favorite detectives was Nero Wolfe.  Life in The Brownstone with Archie and Fritz seemed endlessly fascinating.   I even had a Nero Wolfe cookbook, from which I prepared many of my favorite dishes.  Once I had read them all, I gave Nero and Archie a long rest. Then, after a huge hiatus, and when in the doldrums bookwise, I decided to give the brownstone residents another go.  But, by this time, my consciousness had been raised, and I realized that Nero and Archie were sexist pigs. I could not abide them.  How could I ever have read this trash, I asked myself. Then for another twenty years or so, I scorned Nero and Archie. I have to confess that I even inwardly sneered at those who liked them.  More recently, when Ana told me that she was a fan, I was shocked. However we watched some Nero Wolfe videos, and I realized that my consciousness had sunken a bit, and my original love of Archie and Nero had raised its ugly head. So we watched lots of videos, and I reread lots of Rex Stout’s soft-boiled mysteries. 
Ana has a Nero Wolfe cookbook too, and she too, likes to experiment with recipes from it.  Here is her “healthier” version of Nero’s cook Fritz’s potatoes.  It is delicious.  Sorry  - the photo is a bit weird.  

Ana's Nero Wolfe Potatoes – somewhat healthier version


Roasted potatoes:
~600 g potatoes (I used an assortment of baby potatoes, but anything works)
1 tablespoon oil olive
3 cloves garlic, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Cut potatoes in to bite size peices, and mix with remaining ingredients.  Spread on a silpat lined baking sheet, and roast in a 350 F oven for an hour, stirring at 30 and 45 minutes.

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

Over medium heat, melt butter.  Whisk in flour, granulated garlic, and salt, to form a paste.  Cook and stir for about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn.  Whisk in milk.  Bring back to the boil, while stirring.  The sauce will thicken.  Remove from heat.

1/4 cup grated cheese (original recipe calls for parmesan, but cheedar and others work; use what you like)
4 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine roasted potatoes and bechamel sauce in an oven proof dish (an 8 x 8 pan or something similar is a good size).  Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.  If you wish to make ahead and serve later, refridgerate now.  Otherwise, place in a 350 degree oven, for 15 - 20 minutes, until hot through and browned on top.

Poach the eggs using your preferred method, then sprinkle each with a bit of salt and pepper.

Place half the potatoes on your dish, and top with two poached eggs.

Makes 2 servings.


Tootsie said...

This looks completely delicious, I will be making it soon.. and I really miss your blogging...

I. F. said...

Those look way better than what a fry cook in a mystery novel would make.

Samos said...

I agree, looking very delicious. :-)

Laura said...

You were and are a cutie!!