My contribution to the Paper Chef #26 - The Return. The four ingredients to be used were potatoes, bacon, swede/rutabaga and plum tomatoes. Ilva urged us to get creative so I was trying to think of of something a little more... out of the ordinary.
There is a dish in North-West Germany called "Heaven and Earth". It is basically mashed potatoes (earth) with cooked, mashed apples (heaven). I had never actually had it myself but had heard its praises sung so much that I decided to try a hommage to Heaven and Earth by including apples in the gratin.
So, how was it? It was WOW. I'm glad I tried what when I first thought of it seemed crazy and probably inedible. It was heaven, so to speak. The mealiness of the potatoes was perfectly complimented by the swedes' texture, and the apples contributed sweetness, a little tartness and juiciness (duh). All in all the comfort of a gratin with an interesting zing. I am definitely making this again.
Potato Gratin "Heaven and Earth"
2 pounds mealy potatoes
1/2 pound swedes
some fresh thyme
1/2 cup soy creamer
1 1/2 cup vegan stock
2 bay leaves
1 tblsp flour, dissolved in some water
some lemon juice, nutmeg, freshly ground black pepper
Bring the soy creamer and stock with the bay leaves to a boil, stirr in the dissolved flour and stirr until it thickens slightly. Season with freshly ground pepper, nutmeg, and lemon juice and add salt to taste. You want to be a little on the salty side since the potatoes absorb a lot of flavor.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Peel the potatoes, swede, and apple and slice approx. 1/4 inch thick. Layer nicely in a flat, wide gratin form, tucking in a slice of apple here and there, and sprinkling it with some fresh thyme. Gently pour the sauce over the veggies. Bake for approx. 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender and nice and golden. If it starts browning too much, lower the heat to 350°F (170°C). Serve with Lamb's Lettuce, Plum Tomatoes, and Faux Bacon.
Lamb's Lettuce, Plum Tomatoes, and Faux Bacon
Cut 2 ounces of extra firm tofu into small cubes. Heat some olive oil in a pan, add the cubes and fry until they are crisp and golden. Add a generous splash of soy sauce. This will give the cubes a deep dark color and give them this savory, salty touch.
Wash lambs lettuce (between the two of us we eat 5 ounces), slightly salt it and give it a generous splash of good balsamic vinegar and fruity extra virgin olive oil. Toss. Add plum tomatoes and "bacon" pieces.
Gluten-free depends on the use of gluten-free ingredients.