Monday, August 10, 2009

Where's my Mommy Food Network Star???/mini potato gratins

I was pretty excited when Melissa d'Arabian won the Food Network Star show. (I have to admit I love Top Chef and Star...) I thought she had some great tips as a mother of four, like always serve a piece of the vegetable you are serving raw on the plate (even brussel sprouts!) I was a little suspicious if she was for real, claiming to have worked 80 hour weeks, has 4 kids under 4, volunteers with the local business community and makes pie dough from scratch!
I even tried her individual potato gratin cups from the finale which were yummy! M enjoyed layering the ingredients as Melissa said she would, though they were a little time-consuming for a weeknight dinner.

Potato Gratin minis (adapted from Melissa d'Arabian) (My changes in red)
prep time 10-15 (with a preschool helper) cooking time 40

* Vegetable spray
* 2 large russet potatoes, roughly peeled and thinly sliced
* 1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese (I had Jarlsburg in the fridge so I used that)
* 2 green onions, finely chopped (I used the softer parts of a small leek)
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 3/4 cup heavy cream (I used a mix of half and half and chicken broth)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray 8 (12) muffin tins with vegetable spray. Layer potato slices, cheese, and onions (leeks) into each muffin cup. Season with salt and pepper and top each gratin with 1 or 2 (3 Tbspns of broth/half and half) tablespoons of heavy cream. Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, removing the foil halfway through cooking time. Invert gratins onto plate and serve. (I scooped my gratins out because they were a little soupier with my lighter liquid mix)
They were really good, and M said they were Yummy.

So, I was eagerly awaiting her new show and was SO bummed that she is doing Dinner for $10, which is 4 servings for under $10. Nothing of the Survival Skills for home cooks with kids anywhere. I think they took her biggest asset, her unique experiences as a home cook with kids who is bright and creative, and turned her into any cookie-cutter TV chef doing bistro salads and granitas. Boring! I will watch a few more, but am bummed that they sold her out, or maybe they don't see the working or SAHM mom capable of anything more than Sandra Lee's Semi-home-made concoctions. (BTW, Sandra Lee has a new series about cooking on a budget that is pretty good too.)
Just a little rant about an opportunity lost. I don't think she'll last very long...
Any of you catch the series? Thoughts?

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