ffwD–Potato gratin (November 12th)

For all the readers who are having a bad day, especially if it is cold out: MAKE THIS DISH NOW. This potato gratin will comfort, console and make you whole again from whatever put you out of sorts. I know from experience!

Before making this dish, I went to the grocery store to get the Idaho russet potatoes. My annoying habit of following a recipe “to the letter” got the better of me because I had another “debate” over which bag of potatoes to buy.

YC: “Do I buy the 5-lb. bag of russet potatoes for $3.98 or the 10-lb. bag of Idaho potatoes for $2.97. Hmm…neither say “Idaho russet”. Does that matter? If I get the 5-lb. bag, it will be easier to carry home on the bus. I do have other things to carry home, including an awkward roasting pan. But, the 10-lb. bag will last longer and it’s cheaper. I’m sure I can find other potato recipes to make.”

I settled on the 10-lb. bag, which looking back, was my critical error. As I was leaving the office, the temperature had fallen rapidly to roughly 45 degrees and the sky was black in the distance. I clearly remembered seeing the weather report for that morning indicate that any bad weather would come much later in the evening. Boy, did they drop the ball on that prediction.

I moved as fast as I could with 2 bags of groceries in one hand and the dreaded 10-lb. bag of potatoes in the other. Half a block from my bus stop, the wind picked up and it started to rain. Hard. Now, I don’t mind getting wet. That was my fault for not bringing a coat or umbrella, though I’m not sure an umbrella would have done much good considering I don’t have a third arm.

Anyway, what proved problematic was how cold my hands were getting. The 2 plastic bags of groceries were light enough to carry in one hand but could have easily been held on my wrist if I were to put my hands in my pockets. But, I couldn’t really do that with the 10-lb. bag of potatoes. I had to grasp them with one hand, but that exposure made my hand get cold quickly and lose my grip. Therefore, I had to keep switching hands to hold the potatoes, which was now making my arms hurt because the bag seemed to get heavier and heavier with each switch. Walking that half block to the bus stop while constantly switching the potatoes and groceries from cold hand to cold hand put me in a pretty foul mood. (Cue pathetic-sounding music here). Needless to say, I said “screw it” to the bus and took the first available cab I saw.

When I got home, I was so frustrated with the events that I didn’t even feel like cooking. Luckily, my sister sliced the potatoes for me so I could take a shower. I told her to leave the skins on to save time and keep the nutrients in. The dish itself was easy to prepare and assemble. It just took a bit of time. I had to make another batch of garlic-infused cream because I ran out with about two layers to go. However, it ended up being too much cream because it kept oozing out whenever a spoonful of potato was dished out. Hence:

See the oozing cream?

However, when I tasted the first spoonful, it was completely worth all the trouble. I relished the bite for what seemed like five minutes. No joke, I stood in the kitchen with my eyes closed as I chewed, allowing the home-y feeling to wash over me. This dish is definitely going to be made again.

Side notes: My sister and her girlfriend REALLY loved this dish. My sister really liked the garlic, and her girlfriend kept exclaiming, “This is so yummy!” I added in chopped rosemary and oregano to complement the roast chicken we were eating. (Yes, it’s the roast chicken for les paresseux I’ll be posting next week!) Plus, I saved time by using pre-minced garlic in the cream, so the infusion happened pretty quickly. Also, the single serving photos were taken the next morning when the potatoes no longer slid away in a deconstructed pool of cheesy, gooey, creamy, potatoey goodness.

As always, this ffwD recipe can be found in Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours.

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26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. stephirey
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 18:41:44

    Is it bad that I laughed all the way through your post? I can sympathize about trading the heavy potatoes from hand to hand (but not with the weather so much as I’m in So Cal). I’m glad you made it home and had a sister waiting to help so you got to eat these lovely potatoes. Fun post, thanks!

  2. Cakelaw
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 18:41:56

    Your gratin turned out fab – so glad after all the trouble the weather gave you with that huge bag of potatoes! Mine turned out bland – perhaps it needed more oven time.

  3. GPL
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 18:54:39

    Mmmm! Oozing cream 🙂 YUM! Wish you could send me this yummy goodness…

  4. Mary
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 20:58:14

    It sounds like you shop the way I do! I buy all the heaviest things, and especially so if they’re on sale! Then to spend all the money you saved on a cab. I took a cab this morning, but because I was late. Another bad habit.
    🙂
    Glad the potatoes were delicious in the end, after all that effort!

  5. Karen
    Nov 11, 2010 @ 21:48:11

    What a pain the weather must have been! It is a good thing you have a sister who was willing to help out. Loved this dish and I am so glad it turned out well for you!

  6. beth@thescreenporch
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 00:24:43

    OMG reading your post was like I was reading a page turner of a novel with the poor main character going to end up freezing before she got to her door!!! I’m glad your enjoyed the dish after all that. It looks fantastic. I’ll be doing this one next week. Great post..B

  7. Jessica
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 00:58:05

    Good food at the end of a crappy afternoon is always appreciated. The dish looks delicious and I’m glad you’re day ended well.

  8. Andrew Moore
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 01:06:59

    This looks really good! I’ve made one of these before, but mine didn’t turn out very well. I’m glad it turned out well.

  9. Cher
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 06:05:45

    Glad you hung in there! Looks like it all worked out well in the end.

    I finally realized that a good twenty to thirty minute rest helped to thicken it up enough that it wasn’t so runny. (My first one had major runs – I was slightly more patient the second time through…)

  10. Elaine
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 06:25:05

    It was definitely worth all the trouble, wasn’t it? Your additions sound great and I love that you can see the layers in your photo. Such a pretty dish, too!

  11. Flourchild
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 07:23:19

    How sweet your sister sliced the potatoes for you..I would have loved that help! Your potatoes look amazingly good! Imade it this week too and very one loved it!!

  12. SoupAddict Karen
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 08:25:37

    I salute you for carrying a 10# bag of anything in the rain!

  13. Anne Marie
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 08:39:07

    I have a husband who is willing to chop to eat. Makes cooking more fun that way.

  14. Becky
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 09:43:27

    My potatoes (last week) kinda had the oozing issue as well. 🙂 I don’t think it was a bad thing.

  15. Jessica of My Baking Heart
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 10:20:47

    I hate days like that – kudos for sticking it out. However, your gratin looks fabulous! I cannot wait to make this! 🙂

  16. Trevor Sis Boom
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 17:36:57

    Great post!!! Yum! Like the cream…this dish oozes comfort!
    Trevor Sis. Boom.

  17. Good Bite In
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 20:39:06

    Bad day food to be sure!

  18. Beth
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 21:14:21

    This looks like a slice of Heaven. Yum. I could eat this for dinner with nothing else.

    Plan B

  19. Lana
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 22:59:27

    I loved reading your story! I can relate, having lived for most of my life in the continental climate. November is probably the ugliest month anywhere in the Northern hemisphere:)
    I made the potato gratin, and I can only confirm what you said: it will make you feel better, it will warm you up, it will make you feel comforted and safe.
    I thought that I had too much of the garlic infused cream:) But in the end it worked out great.

  20. evilcakelady
    Nov 13, 2010 @ 14:14:55

    oooh i wanted to leave the skins on but wasn’t convinced it was a good idea; glad to know it worked out! i know what it’s like to haul heavy bags of groceries in the rain and it makes me grumpy too. good thing your sister was willing to help out so you could warm up!

  21. LaJuana
    Nov 13, 2010 @ 17:37:08

    Bless your heart! What a trip home you had! And special blessings to your sister for helping you out while you unthawed in the shower!

  22. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit
    Nov 13, 2010 @ 18:12:30

    The way you’ve described these potatoes makes me want to go into my kitchen and make them right NOW! I’m going to wait, though, for Thanksgiving week when all my kids are home to help eat it. Loved your post- my son and d.i.l. live in Chicago and I often think about how difficult grocery shopping must be for them, especially in winter. So glad these potatoes were worth the trouble!

  23. Summer
    Nov 14, 2010 @ 00:56:06

    Oh this looks so deliciously excitn!!
    We loved it too, totally worth i agree!

  24. Kathy
    Nov 14, 2010 @ 06:47:26

    I really enjoyed your post. I do the same thing when I shop…contemplate and debate. And I usually go with my first choice after all. Your potatoes look great. Looks like the ultimate comfort food.

  25. Serene - momfoodproject.com
    Nov 18, 2010 @ 22:49:55

    I am so glad I still have potatoes in the cupboard, because now I want more of these. 🙂

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