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



26 thoughts on “Potatoes

  1. LOL…at your last line. The recipe looks do-able for me as I close the book on complicated recipes. Potatoes prepared like this can be deemed comfort food – and we can all use that. That label on the potatoes listing snow melt as contributing to flavor – that’s a new one for me. 🙂

  2. My mother never made potatoes au gratin until she found a recipe that used canned tomatoes and sliced onions instead of cheese — the tomatoes provide enough liquid to cook the potatoes, as I remember.

  3. Which reminds me I should really make a gratin dauphinois again, something a little different, Potatoes sliced and baked in the oven in a milk-cream sauce. I always did it with the Christmas eve dinner. It must be potato time, today I made a potatoe salard frankfurters this eveng and I don’t even like potato salad. I did it for the others.

  4. Potatoes are my delight~too much at times. This recipe reminds me of the ones I made years ago. I haven’t done that in a long time. My Grandmother made them and my Mom still does. The label you shared is lovely. I can imagine smelling the “dirt of my own valley.” What a perfect potato post. One of my favorite dishes is small new potatoes with fresh green beans/bacon.

  5. Potatoes are my comfort food! I had potato soup for dinner – very hearty! Your recipe sound very much like the one in the Polish cookbook I have…

  6. You did a great job of not writing about what’s making us all crazy, Martha:) Sounds like a good recipe! I don’t eat many potatoes, either, and no bread. I do occasionally add a cut up potato to a vegetable stew…

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