Wednesday, April 4, 2012


via flickr

I've been cooking a lot with grains these days.  Last night, inspired by this photo and the dishes of gourmand extraordinaire Natasha, I made a barley dish.  I scored the barley in Bangkok because I could not find it in Phnom Penh. I soaked it in water for about 8-9 hours, boiled it, and tossed it into a mixture of sauteed spinach, garlic, onion, carrot, zucchini, rice wine vinegar, soy, and lemon juice. It was a light dinner and yet very fulfilling.  To balance this dinner, we had a red velvet cupcake and a macadamia tart for dessert from Bloom Cafe.

Tonight, Ethan and I are meeting Mark, a good friend visiting from China for a few days, for drinks.  It's much later in the evening, so before then, I am going to try my hand at a different iteration of potato gratin- gratin dauphinois, which doesn't use cheese and only a little bit of cream.  I will use this recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini (below)

Gratin Dauphinois
Serves 6 as a side dish.

1 kg (2.2 pounds) potatoes, a mix of waxy and baking potatoes (if you prefer to use only one type, pick waxy potatoes, not too firm)
500 ml (2 cups) milk (whole or part-skim, not skim)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
freshly grated nutmeg
1 clove garlic, sliced lengthwise
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives (optional)
60 ml (1/4 cup) heavy cream (use whipping cream in the UK and crème fraîche liquide in France)

Peel the potatoes, rinse them briefly, and slice them thinly (about 3mm or 1/10th of an inch) and evenly. (A food processor or a mandoline come in handy at this point.) Do not rinse after slicing, or you will lose all that precious starch.

Combine the sliced potatoes, milk, salt and a good grating of nutmeg in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, and keep simmering for 8 minutes, stirring the potatoes and scraping the bottom of the pan regularly to prevent sticking/scorching. The milk will gradually thicken to a creamy consistency.

While the potatoes are simmering, preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F) and rub the bottom and sides of a medium earthenware or glass baking dish (I use an oval dish that's 26 cm/10 inches at its widest, and 2 liters/2 quarts in capacity) with the cut sides of the garlic clove.

Transfer half of the potatoes into the baking dish, sprinkle with the chives if using, and drizzle with half of the cream. Add the rest of the potatoes, pour the cooking milk over them, and drizzle with the remaining cream.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until bubbly on the edges and nicely browned at the top. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


  1. The increasing temperatures don't help it along. My small kitchen gets so warm after cooking or baking. Hope you are keeping cool in Bangkok!

  2. mmm that barley looks super delicious! also potato dauphinois is like crack... honestly i can't stop eating it. so good!

  3. Hi Natasha, It was sooo good and simple and there was no cheese?!?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...