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:
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.