2010/11/11

Po-tate-o, Poe-TAT-toe, To-mate-o, Toe-mat-toe, Let's call the whole thing off...

... I say I need a mandolin slicer or a v-slicer or something.  Because I am equi-distantly challenged.  Maybe it was the 300+ trick or treaters that I was dealing with while hand-slicing potatoes.  Something was wrong in the land of Oz, I say. 

Ah, hi there.  I was rambling again, wasn't I?  Let me start back at the beginning.  Or at least in the middle.  Or somewhere back in time....

For the month of November, Dorie graciously let us set our own schedule on which item we wanted to cook which week (thank you Dorie!).  After a crazy, busy weekend, I persused the four recipes for the month and figured out which one I produce in the limited amount of time remaining before the angry, hungry mob (of two) started filling the kitchen with pitchforks in hand...  Oh, and did I mention the trick or treaters?


I peeled and sliced what were supposed to be 1/8" slices.  I will tell you right now - not so much.  I think they may have been any where from 1/4 to 1/8 (consistency is so not my thing).  I am sure that any self respecting cook would have taken one look at my sad pile of potato chunks, shaken their head and turned on their heel.  It was not pretty, people - no stars were going to be earned for anything coming out of this kitchen on Halloween evening.  (Fortunately, it didn't have to be pretty to be good). 

Meanwhile, I heated my cream and garlic.  All the while, thinking "I really don't like peeling". (Still feeling a little traumatized from apple season - I should be over it by December.)


I layered and covered with cream.  Answered the door for the throngs of trick or treaters.  Layered and creamed.  Back to the door.  Layered and creamed.  Hey - where the heck did everyone go?  How am I supposed to get a masterpiece in the oven when I am up to my eyeballs in Tootsie Rolls and Reese's Pieces?   


Oh, and I grated (and perhaps seethed a wee bit).  Somewhere in the middle of all this - everyone came home and took over candy duty...  (I am not sure if the sight of me waving the knife while sputtering words from languages presumed to be extinct had anything to do with their sudden desire to take over door duty or not...  Perhaps it could have slightly influenced their decision?) 


And baked.  And eventually ate...  It was good, but I knew it could be better.  This one was going to have to percolate around in my brain.  It was really bugging me.  What could I do to turn "good to great" - or in my case "okay" to "wonderful"?  Should I just call it a day and chalk this recipe up to the "okay-domes"?  I wasn't ready to give up yet.  Heavy cream and cheese deserve nothing less than a second try.  Or a third try - hey, for a good chunk of cheese, I might even be willing to muster up a fourth try. 


Think. Think. Think. Think.

Flash forward a week and  inspiration strikes...or maybe it was the lack of tricker or treaters...or the need to get rid of the leftover ham clogging up the refrigerator.  Whatever was cause for the streak of "brilliance", I decided to give it "another go 'round".  This time, I somehow managed to slice the potatoes into neat, thin slices.  Very, very patiently sliced.  Yep, that's me, Queen of Impatience Patience.  Hidden in between the layers of neat, sweetly sliced potatoes were thinly sliced ham pieces.  Yes, some dabbling occurred (I wonder if there is a cure for that).    Oh, and I buried some cheese in between those layers too...  (Repeat after me "Asiago is my friend").


Cheese, glorious cheese....


Ah, cheesy, crusty goodness...  It is amazing what "one" can accomplish when "one" is not handing out candy every two seconds.  

I impatiently patiently waited twenty minutes or so until the potatoes had a chance to rest.  What is up with all the resting that food needs to do?  I understand lazy chicken - chickens lay eggs - they deserve a rest.  But lazy potatoes?  Seriously?  What have they ever had to do that makes them need rest?  Tell me that one, huh?  Did they get up at 5 AM, commute an hour each way to work, put in a nine hour day and come home and make dinner?  I don't think so.  Hmmph.  Resting potatoes, my ear.

Oh, sorry.  I wandered again, didn't I?  Back to the story.  The potatoes had their rest.  They were served.  And they were pronounced good.  Not just good; but really, really good (the girl and her momma polished off almost the entire dish in one seating).  I am not sure if I finally got it right, or if it was the fact that dinner didn't get on the table until 8:00...  Either way, I'll take it. 

*Some "artistic license" may have been taken in some of the above noted statments (i.e. there was not really any knife waving - the author of this post is really a mild-mannered pacifist) - however, the number of trick or treaters was not "enhanced" in any way, shape or form.  We really did have that many kids...

This post is participating French Fridays with Dorie.  Come check it out!

12 comments:

  1. I love the ham slices in between! Great idea!

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  2. Very cute post! I'm excited to try the potatoes (I think this weekend) and I have a v-slicer...so hopefully I'll have easy, thin slices.

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  3. Yeah! I think the ham would have given this he needed flavour kick, as I found just the veges and cream a bit bland.

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  4. Very amusing story! I am glad you stuck with it and found a version you really like. It seems like cheese and cream would be all you need, but you can't go wrong with the addition of fatty pork.

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  5. Love your post. It sounds like the strike of brilliance was a really good one! :)Ham in these sounds fantastic!

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  6. Ham would be good! I could eat this for breakfast any day! I made this too!

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  7. As soon as you said ham, I started thinking really thinly sliced prosciutto ... o.m.g. I was going to try the cauliflower bacon gratin this weekend, but might have to revisit this with the salted pork.

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  8. Fun post. I have been saving this one for last this month 'cause I just haven't figured out what to do with it. Hmmm...
    Trevor Sis. Boom.

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  9. Just the thought of a mandoline scares the hell out of me.. Great post. I love the ham idea. Pork with anything is better. 300 trick or treaters that is crazy!!! I hope all that gooey cheese made up for it.. B

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  10. like you I was rather impatient for these to come out of the oven ... the smell coming out the oven just got better and better as the timer slowly ticked down ... at one point I was ready to rip the door open and tuck in, only they were still raw. The timer won!

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  11. Great post. I loved this dish and may try to add some favourites to it the next time I make it as well.

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  12. I'll be slicing my potatoes by hand too when I make this. Guess it doesn't matter how you slice it if the verdict is "really, really good." :)

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