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Earlier this month, Matt and I had planned to take a romantic weekend getaway to Montreal. We didn’t. Why, you ask? Because of this little guy.
This is Hugo, our rescue kitten. We found him a couple of months ago, outside on some city property across the street from our apartment. He had likely been abandoned, at six weeks old, no less. What is wrong with people?!?
Anyway, we took him to the vet to find him healthy, but, not surprisingly infested with tons of fleas. He got a treatment and came home. A week later, we found him lethargic and shaking, so back to the vet he went. Three days later he came home from the vet, but not before they popped us with a $750 bill. That was our Montreal money, which we knew we must kiss goodbye at that point. Turns out he had gotten a blood parasite from a flea bite. Thankfully, he made a full recovery.
I had been planning on consuming vast quantities of Poutine in Montreal, as it is their signature dish; however, since we were not there, I had to settle for making it in my kitchen at home. Poutine is a simple dish of French fries smothered in gravy and Cheddar cheese curds. Curds are very difficult to find in the US. I couldn’t even locate them at a store called Cheese of the World! Is Canada not part of the world? Shredded cheddar makes a fine substitute.
We ended up keeping the little guy for over two months before we found him an adoptive home. We said goodbye to him last night and handed him over to his new owners. Instead of our three middle-aged cats, he’ll now live with a much younger sister cat and two friendly Beagles. We think his sweet-natured, energetic spirit will fit right in.
We miss him. We kept him for over two months, and that is plenty of time to become attached. Even though we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s going to a wonderful home with new owners who will love him, we’re still a little sad. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet that he’s gone. We won’t soon forget Hugo, and we’re so happy to have rescued him and given him a good life and good health.
Source: The Book of Burger, by Rachael Ray
6 medium russet potatoes
Olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 tbs unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
3 tbs flour
2 ½ cups beef or chicken stock
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 rounded tbs Dijon mustard
8 oz. white cheddar cheese, grated
Peel the potatoes, leaving a patch of the skin at each end, if you prefer. Cut each potato lengthwise into very thin (1/8 – ¼ inch) slices. Cut those slices into strips that are just as thin.
Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and submerge the potato sticks. Leave for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Set a cooling rack over two baking sheets.
Remove potatoes from the water and dry very well on clean kitchen towels. Place in a large, clean, mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss the fries to coat them evenly with the oil, salt, and pepper.
Arrange the fries on the racks in as much of a single layer as possible.
Roast 30 minutes. Remove the fries from the oven and increase the temperature to 425 F. Return the fries to the oven and bake until very crispy and browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
While the fries are in the oven, make the gravy. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the shallot, stir for 2 minutes, then sprinkle in the flour. Stir 1 to 2 minutes, then whisk in the stock. Bring to a bubble and cook until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and Dijon. Season liberally with pepper. Keep warm over low heat until your fries are ready.
To assemble: place 6 servings of fries into parchment cones or large bowls. Top with the cheese and let melt a little. Top with a ladle of gravy. Use a fork to eat.