Sweet Potato and Gruyère Pie with Pecans

Sweet Potato and Gruyère Pie with Pecans-13163

Who doesn’t love sweet potatoes?  Culinary gravity inexorably pulls them toward brown sugar or molasses or something candied, even with bacon (candied bacon).  But don’t do it, at least not this time.  I never encountered a sweet potato during my year abroad in the Swiss canton of Fribourg, a stone’s throw from the town of Gruyères (town, plural: cheese, singular), but I can guarantee that that if there were ever a culinary match made in heaven it’s sweet potato and that most hazelnut and butter flavored of all cheeses, aged Gruyère.  Some cheeses should never be melted (sorry, brie en croute is ghastly) but Gruyère is just the opposite.  Quiche, the poster child of boring French food from the ’70′s, is redeemed by the addition of aged Gruyère.  Fondue without Gruyère is but a pale revenant of the real deal.  Gruyère is expensive (around $20/lb.) but the recipe only calls for a cup and half of the stuff, grated, about 3 ounces.  Unfortunately, I only found out about the Gruyère after the ingredients photograph had been taken.  Jody announced that she’d added Gruyère–I couldn’t even photograph it being stirred into the bowl.  I growled and stomped around.  I should have waited until I tasted the finished pie.  Gruyère and sweet potatoes rule.

POLENTA WITH PANCETTA, SHAVED ASPARAGUS AND AGED GOUDA

Polenta with Pancetta, Asparagus and Shaved Gouda-25

Last week Jody and I were treated to a delicious dish of broiled polenta with mushrooms at the home of friends and we immediately began thinking about a spring variation. Our first impulse, topping it with chicory and fava beans, didn’t work out because fresh favas – or a good substitute – aren’t in stores yet. What is available now is asparagus – and pancetta, and for a new wrinkle on the cheese, Aged Gouda.

Saucy, with a Chance of Meatballs

You could draw a culinary Venn Diagram with two overlapping circles. Label one circle Comfort Food. Label the other Goofy Food. Where the circles overlap would be the Meatball Zone. That’s where you’d find Lamb and Pork Meatballs with Simple Tomato Sauce. Good, but funny.

Simple Sauce, Simple Eggplant Parmesan

This post had so many potential titles–Deep Purple, Heart of Darkness, Purple Monster–all inspired by this week’s recipe of Simple Eggplant Parmesan, and the challenge of photographing dark eggplants.  My favorite was from the great American writer Annie Proulx, who once depicted a character’s nocturnal torment as a “descent into an aubergine nightmare.” An aubergine nightmare.  …