Sunday, November 22, 2009

Then and there

My friend Drew calls crab "butter of the sea." We have stood at the sink, cracking the shell, prying apart the legs, and eating it right then and there. Last month, one of my neighborhood groceries kept updating their seafood sign with the estimated start date of crab season. And since the end of October, seafood stands and customers have been celebrating. For my sister's birthday, my family covered the table in paper and split three large crabs between us. A side salad, roasted squash, and some white wine completed the meal. It sounds like such a light meal, but after dipping the crab into melted butter, we soon felt like fat cats.

Another decadent seasonal favorite is the chanterelle mushroom. Chanterelles already have a nutty and buttery flavor. Sautéed in butter, they become very rich and tender. They taste delicious on crostini and make an easy topping for grilled meat.

Even though I'll be partaking in a large serving later this week at Thanksgiving, I was in the mood for mashed potatoes. I had a lot of sweet potatoes on hand, so I mixed roasted sweet potatoes and fingerling potatoes with sautéed yellow onions and garlic. Then I stirred in diced Marco Polo cheese, which is made in Seattle by Beecher's Cheese. Marco Polo has blended green and black peppercorns. It adds a great spice to the potatoes. (And would make a delicious grilled cheese sandwich!) The potatoes were a creamy and comforting side to the steak with chanterelles.

Rustic Mashed Potatoes

2 cups chopped sweet potatoes
1 cup chopped fingerling potatoes
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, diced
1/4 cup Marco Polo cheese, diced (or sub preferred cheese)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix potatoes and 3 tbsp olive oil in baking pan. Sprinkle with salt. Cover with foil and roast in oven for 20 mins or until tender.
In the meantime, sautée the onions in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and continue stirring until aromatic and lightly browned. Remove from heat and add to potatoes. Using a fork or potato masher, mash the potatoes. Stir in diced cheese and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

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