I’m one of the (rare?) people who doesn’t like white starches. Not a big fan of bread. Don’t see the point in rice. Potatoes? Nah. Pasta? Well, a little better but…
Still it’s fall and chilly, and I make good potato soup, so when I put in my order for groceries I specified, “Four red potatoes.”
This is the second largest potato producing region in the USA. I could see my valley thinking, “Four potatoes? What’s WRONG with you?” At the store, I was given a five pound bag. (1/4 kilo more or less) Damn. What am I going to do with that?
Wrapped around the top of the little bag was one of those plastic things and attached to it was a tag. I love the tag, so I’ll share it with you.
There is nothing less suspenseful than a potato, though they can create a lot of suspense for the farmer depending on what the weather is doing. I love watching them grow, I love their blossoms in the field, I love the festival in September in their honor, but EAT them?
So last evening I looked at the sack. “Damn. That’s a lot of potatoes.” I decided to make scalloped potatoes with cheese, what fancy people call Au Gratin. I happened to have a substantial chunk of Gruyere from Switzerland so, following my grandma’s “recipe” I took two potatoes and my little Japanese casserole dish and began to put the thing together. I smelled one of the potatoes after I cut into it just to have the experience of smelling the dirt of my own valley. Fresh potatoes carry some of the fragrance of the ground where they’ve been grown. I inhaled the fragrance of the San Luis Valley — my own garden — after a rain or in snow melt.
When the concoction was cooked, it was my dinner. It was really, really, good. Here’s the recipe which isn’t very precise. It’s my grandma’s recipe and I learned it from my mom.
1 medium red potato per/person.
Scald milk (more or less 1/2 cup/serving)
Slice potato in thin slices.
Layer in buttered covered casserole (one potato/layer)put chunks of butter on top of each layer, like a tablespoon.
Sprinkle a scant tablespoon of flour over the layer of potatoes
Slice your favorite cheese over the flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Bake covered in a 350 degree oven until the potatoes are tender
Take off the lid, turn up the heat to 400 and let the top brown
HOW’S THAT FOR NOT WRITING ABOUT WHAT’S DRIVING US ALL CRAZY?