I’ve just come off a long weekend of utter food debauchery. Samantha and her boyfriend Mike came to visit for what were the best four and a half days I’ll probably have until I make it back to visit them in Boston. I.love.themmmm. But wow, did my stomach not. Mostly, I screwed myself over with eating ice cream every night. Oof. But we really ate some pretty awesome food from some awesome restaurants. I love food. Joe loves food. Mike and Samantha love food probably more. It was epic. Mike kept telling me, “It’s alright, you can make it. Just another few meals to go.” Ha.
Some highlights included:
Chicken leg confit with collard greens full of pork chunks and some heirloom corn grits at The Universal. Best f-ing chicken ever. Holy cow. And it was for breakfast. That’s my kind of breakfast. I’d been there before and asked them to cook my eggs in bacon grease and the chef was not just willing to oblige, but excited to do so. Love that place.
A charcuterie plate with blood sausage, fat back, coppa, um, I can’t remember what else, at Colt and Gray. There had been a lot of drinking. Merguez. Bone marrow. Oh it was so good. I made the server ask the chef where I could get a pint of blood. And told him about my Polish cookbook I have. Great Divide and Denver Beer Co. beforehand was to blame.
We also went to one of my absolute favorites, Z Cuisine. Well, À Côté – the bar – because the damn restaurant wasn’t open that day. We had absinthe. It’s very sweet. Not so sure about the sugar cube part. But I am pretty sure about gruyere fondue and fingerling potatoes. And pork belly with red lentils.
But now I’m back in business. Cooking and not eating ice cream. And exercising. Ohhh yeah that’s how I’m supposed to feel. It’s always a bit of a struggle to get back into cooking after eating at restaurants for a few days. It’s weird because part of me is inspired to try some new things that I picked up, but another part of me wants to continue getting served. The real lazy part. First on my list of want-to-tries is making that freaking chicken confit. Or duck. I have a goose in the freezer. Maybe that! But for some reason I decided to make this potato cake for the blog. I have so much swiss chard in my garden, I’d just harvested some potatoes, I’d gotten some leeks from the farmer’s market, and I had a ton of raw cream that I was too afraid I’d make cinnamon honey whipped cream out of and eat all of it in one sitting, that I thought this would be a good thing. Turns out, it’s pretty awesome. And fall-y. Because oh yeah I got Indian corn and butternut squash at the farmers’ market. YES!!! I plan on changing the dopey silk garland on my old lady grapevine wreath on my front door from spring flowers to orange maple leaves in the next couple days. And buy gourds. I LOVE SEASONAL GOURDS.
swiss chard and leek potato cake
serves 8, but I’m not promising that
I only got two leeks at the farmers’ market, so I added in the 1/2 onion – please feel free/you are encouraged to use 2 – 3 large leeks.
2 tablespoons butter or other fat
1 bunch of swiss chard, stems finely chopped and leaves coarsely chopped – divided
2 leeks, white and light greens parts chopped and rinsed well
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup heavy cream, or coconut milk
freshly grated nutmeg
3 – 4 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Heat butter in a heavy 10-inch oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add chard stems, leeks, onion, garlic, and thyme and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Add in chard leaves and sauté for 2 minutes more, until just wilted. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and refrigerate. Wipe out the skillet.
2. Meanwhile, mix cream and eggs together and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and the nutmeg – about 1/4 teaspoon. Mix into the just-enough-cooled chard and leek mixture.
3. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In the same skillet, coat the bottom with some fat. Lay some potato slices down in a single layer – overlapping a bit is just fine. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Next add 1/2 of the chard mixture. Put another layer of potato slices on top of that and sprinkle with salt and pepper again. Pour the remaining chard mixture on top, and finally finishing with the last of your potatoes and another sprinkle of salt and pepper.
4. Bake, covered with tin foil, for 1 hour. Poke to ensure the potatoes are fork tender. If your slices are on the thick side, you might need to bake for another 15 minutes or so. When the potatoes are done, uncover the skillet, keep the rack in the middle where it was, and turn the oven on broil. Broil for 2 – 3 minutes, or until the potatoes have taken on a nice brown color and are crispy.