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Friday, April 6, 2012

Battle of the Potato-Bulge

     Since last autumn, I have been indulging on my passion for cooking and tasting, especially starches (read potatoes). It is something I have always liked; however not till recently have I been able to have a fully equipped kitchen in just the way I like it, with my glistening KitchenAid mixer in brushed copper, the Waring blender (you guessed it, also in copper), all sorts of necessary utensils like copper bowls, mandolin, etc.  

I've decided I would like as much copper in my kitchen as I can find.

     It was years since I made a roasted goose for Christmas, and last year I made it again, along with a Galette de Pommes de Terre (or potato cake) cooked in goose fat (recipe from On Rue Tatin, and a lovely Bi-colour Chocolate Terrine (recipe from I even invited a dear friend to share in the feast with us. It had been years since I had entertained and I loved it.

     Sadly, six months later all of this has added up to my waistline, in ways that are integrally dangerous. To add insult to injury, I had a condition about two months ago that still lingers, and which gave me a totally stiff back, painful to the extreme of being unable to move, drive, sit or even lay down. The pain lasted two very long months, during which I saw my weight painfully shoot up without me being able to do anything about it. Not one zit.

     Although I am better now, I feel emotionally and physically exhausted. I want to resume my exercise routine but have found I have to do it slowly.  I have book in my library that is ideal to kick-start an exercise program after a long hiatus - "Strength training for women", by coach Joan Pagano (and which I reviewed in detail here ).  My big paradigm is how to get rid of those 6 extra pounds that make me look like a matron and not like Giada, while still enjoying my cooking – and eating, and while regaining the strength to exercise 4 days a week, 1 hour each day. So there, dear Hamlets, is the question! Does anyone have any answers?

When one is a foodie, trying to keep in shape is not easy.

     Nonetheless, I am transcribing the recipe here for La Galette de Pommes de Terre Dordogne from On Rue Tatin.  It is an excellent accompaniment for pork or goose, a bit laborious when it comes to peeling the potatoes, but so worth it.  I think of it as French tortilla - so refined, minus the eggs you would find in the Spanish version.

  • 6  garlic cloves, green germ removed
  • 1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley, plus additional for garnish (optional)
  • 5 Tbsp. goose fat
  • 3.5 pounds waxy potatoes, peeled
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Mince the garlic with the parsley and transfer it to a small bowl.  Add 3 Tsbp. of the fat and mix thoroughly to make a paste.
  2. Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp. of fat in a large, nonstick skillet with sides that are about 3 inches high.  You will need to slice the potatoes paper-thin for this dish and the best way to do that is to use a European-style vegetable peeler.  "Peel" the potatoes right into the hot fat, stirring them occasionally so they don't stick and seasoning them regularly with salt and pepper as you add them to the pan.  The potatoes will cook evenly as long as you remember to stir them from time to time.  They will stick together somewhat, so gently break them apart as you stir.
  3. When all the potatoes are sliced into the pan, season them one more time with salt and pepper ans stir so they are all coated with fat.  Add the garlic and parsley mixture and stir so that it melts evenly throughout the potatoes, then cook until the potatoes are deep golden on the underside -  a generous 10 minutes.
  4. Carefully invert the potato galette onto a large plate and slide it back into the pan, golden side up and cook until the underside is deep golden, about 15 minutes.  To serve, place a serving plate on top of the pan and invert so the galette falls onto the serving plate.  Garnish with flat-leaf parsley leaves if deisred, and serve.

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