As many of you already know, the International Taoist Tai Chi Society has put out a 40th anniversary international cookbook, representing the global reach and flavors of the Society. Branches can place orders for books to be picked up at CIT Week by emailing the Etobicoke location of the Toronto branch, which put the book together. (Note that all non-Canadian branches are asked to provide payment when they pick up books. The cookbooks cost $20 CDN each.)
In the meantime, we are going to periodically post some of the delicious recipes contained in the book on this blog so you don’t have to wait to enjoy the taste benefits of Taoist Tai Chi. Though Sicilian in origin, this recipe for a delicious potato cake was contributed by Judith Munat at the Florence, Italy, location. To make it vegetarian, substitute cooked, cubed broccoli or zucchini for the ham.
4 pounds Russet or baking potatoes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus additional to grease pan and dot the top
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Milk (enough to reach the desired consistency)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound mild cheese, such as fontina or mild provolone or caciocavallo, cut into cubes
1/2 pound baked ham, diced
2 cups white sauce (béchamel)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Peel and boil the potatoes until tender. Mash together with the butter, Parmesan, and enough milk to make them smooth but not runny. Add salt and pepper to taste. Prepare a round aluminum baking dish or spring form (about 4 inches deep and 10 to 12 inches in diameter) by buttering the bottom and sides and sprinkling the dish with breadcrumbs to make an even coating. Fill half the baking dish with the potato mixture. Stir the cubed cheese and ham into the white sauce and then spread this mixture on top of the potatoes in the baking dish. Top with the remaining potatoes and smooth out evenly. Dot the top with butter. Set the dish in the oven and back for 30 to 40 minutes until nicely browned and heated through. Cool. Invert the baking dish on a serving platter (or remove the sides if using a spring form). The breadcrumbs will have formed a crust around the cake and it looks very nice on the table. Cut into pie-shaped wedges to serve. Garnish with vegetables, if desired.