Tag-Archive for ◊ potatoes ◊

26 Jan 2018 Potatoes Baked in Cream (Potato Gratin)

potatoes-baked-in-cream-with-abby

Did the name of the recipe entice you click on this?! Well then, that makes us friends forever!

When my friends from Southern France were staying with us, they offered to make a side dish for dinner.  They didn’t use a recipe. They sliced up a few potatoes, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, poured a carton of cream over the top, and put the whole thing in the oven. Sixty minutes later my family’s love affair with Potatoes Baked in Cream began.

Last year I found an actual written down recipe, one that I can pass on, one with precise quantities and directions.  The recipe is from David Tanis’ cookbook, “Market Cooking”. I made one change to Chef Tanis’ recipe, I cut out an additional four tablespoons of butter! Chef Tanis calls his recipe “Classic Potato Gratin”, but to me and my family it will always be “Potatoes Baked in Cream”.

I think you will be surprised at how delicious this very simple dish is. I certainly was. Sublime. After you taste Potatoes Bake in Cream, that will be your word of the day. Sublime.

An important note:  Leftovers don’t reheat well, so make sure you eat all of the potatoes in one sitting (invite friends over, take the dish to a potluck, serve these potatoes for a holiday meal…). I haven’t tried reheating leftovers in the oven, so that might work (see David Tanis’ *note below). I have tried reheating leftovers in the microwave.  Don’t do it on 100% power!  I had so-so results reheating on 50% power. I wouldn’t serve them to anyone else, but I was able to eat them!  I have also had so-so results from throwing a handful of diced ham into a hot frying pan, dicing up a serving of leftover casserole, and reheating over medium heat. It made for a good breakfast, but nothing-nothing-like the original casserole served hot from the oven.

Another important note: The potatoes need to be sliced thinly and evenly. 1/8th inch or 3/16ths an inch is about right. You can do this with a very sharp knife and by working slowly and carefully, like my French friends did. I use a mandolin to slice the potatoes. If you don’t have one, I’d suggest getting one.  I bought mine on Amazon after looking at all the reviews and selecting the highest rated one. Later I started seeing mandolins at Savers/Goodwill for about $6.  I bought used mandolins for my daughters. Go to Savers.

Potatoes Baked in Cream (Potato Gratin)

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes
  • butter to coat the baking dish (Chef Tanis uses 4 more tablespoons butter to dot top of casserole, I don’t)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2½ cups heavy whipping cream (don’t even think about substituting anything for the cream, such as half and half or whole milk, it just won’t work!)
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°. Peel the potatoes and put them in cold water (to prevent them from turning brown while you finish the prep work. Slice only one layer of potatoes as a time. Keep the other potatoes in the cold water. The browning happens fast when the potatoes are so thinly cut).
  2. Smear a baking dish thickly with butter. (I use a 9×13 dish but I am looking for a dish that’s the same size and a bit shallower since the quantity of potatoes only come half way up the sides of the 9×13 pan. The waste of space bothers me a bit as I’d like to have a dedicated Potatoes Baked in Cream pan because, after all, this is a dish I will be making over and over! That being said, I’ve been using the same 9×13 pan for a few years now, so it’s really not a problem.)
  3. Drain and dry one peeled potato at a time. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice one potatoes at a time as thinly as possible. Quickly lay the potato slices in the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping them just slightly to make a “roof tile” style pattern. Sprinkle each layer of potatoes lightly with salt and pepper. Slice more potatoes and make another layer. Continue in this fashion, seasoning each layer, until all the potatoes are used. You should have at least 3, but no more than 4 layers.
  4. Pour the cream over the potatoes and tilt the pan to distribute well. With your hands, push down on the top layer to even out the pile (I don’t do this, but Chef Tanis says to). The cream should just barely cover the potatoes; add a little more if necessary.
  5. Cover the casserole dish tightly with foil and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes at 375°.
  6. After 30 minutes remove the foil from the casserole, and return to the oven for another 30-35 minutes to finish cooking the potatoes and turn the top of the gratin to a crispy, deep golden brown.
  7. Let the gratin rest for 10 minutes before serving.

*Note from David Tanis: The gratin can also be cooled and left at room temperature for several hours, then reheated in a moderate oven. (I haven’t tested this)

Thank you for stopping by my kitchen today, what is cooking for tomorrow, hmmmm…. Pork and Tomatillo Stew?

09 Jan 2011 Oven Baked Fries

It seems as if it’s been a long since I posted anything.  The kids have been home, some of their friends have been here for varying hours and days, and my grandson has been staying here, so I have been focused on big batch cooking of tried-and-true family favorites.  The few new things I’ve made haven’t been Great or, if they have been, they’ve been devoured before I got my camera focused!  It’s been a mad-house around here!  Thank goodness they’ve all gone for three days.  I can post!

One of the family favorites I’ve made repeatedly over the last few weeks has been our oven baked fries.  My friend Mary first made these for me about 25 years ago.  I was so impressed to go over to her house for lunch and she had a basket of home baked fries on the table.  Not only were they a big hit with me, but they were also a big hit with our preschool daughters.

Since then, I’ve seen recipe after recipe for oven baked fries.  I think America’s Test Kitchen has one that calls for blanching the sliced potatoes in boiling water before baking.  I tried it, and it didn’t work any better than Mary’s way.  Another recipe had me sprinkling a lot of Kosher salt on the baking tray to lift the potatoes off the tray a bit and help with the browning.  That didn’t work magic either.  Here are my “secrets”, as passed onto me by Mary: use a mixture of butter and olive oil [1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil on one baking tray], use smallish potatoes of equal size and cut each into eight wedges.

Oven Baked Fries

  • Approx. 1 small Russet potato for each person
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter for each baking tray
  • Kosher salt and freshly grated pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Spend sometime picking the right potatoes.  Choose potatoes on the small size, and choose potatoes that are roughly the same size. Scrub the outside of the Russet Potatoes to remove all the dirt and soil then dry.

Place baking tray in preheated oven to get hot.

Cut each potato in half lengthwise, then half again, then half again.  You should have eight wedges from each potato.

Remove baking tray from oven.  Place olive oil and butter on baking tray and swirl until melted and evenly coating the bottom of the tray.

Place the potato wedges on the preheated baking tray on top of the melted butter and olive oil.  Make it easy on yourself and place all the wedges going to same direction in equally spaced rows.  You should be able to get all the wedges from 3 or 4 small potatoes onto one baking sheet.

Place tray in oven and bake at 425º for 20 minutes.

Remove tray from oven and turn over each wedge.  This is why you put all the wedges facing the same way.  Now you know which wedges you’ve turned and which you haven’t! Return tray to oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

After flipping, your wedges should look like this:

After baking both sides your wedges should look like this:

Check your fries. Do they look brown enough?  Are they cooked through? (Taste one, but be careful, it’s HOT).  If necessary, flip wedges one more time and return to oven for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove potatoes to a paper towel lined platter to drain (if you wish). Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Remove fries to a serving bowl.  Serve hot with ketchup or leftover blue cheese dips.

For years I made these for our “family night”.  We watched a family-friendly video, ate Chicken Nuggets, home fries, and corn-on-the-cob or broccoli.  Fun times! Oh my goodness, I just realized my Oven Baked Chicken Nuggets recipe has not been transferred from my facebook “Polly, Julie. and Julia” page.  I’ll do that right now.  I hope that an Oven Baked Chicken Nugget and Fries  family dinner is in your future soon!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Hope to see you again tomorrow!

21 Nov 2010 Basil Mashed Potatoes

I hope you are going to the Farmer’s market this weekend.  I was there last week, and there were still large bunches of fresh basil for a dollar. Spend a dollar.  Buy a bunch of fresh basil. Get some potatoes, too (Yukon Golds or white boiling potatoes).  Then try this recipe for Basil Mashed Potatoes. Thank you, Ina!  I found this recipe in Ina Garten’s (The Barefoot Contessa) new cookbook, “How Easy is That?“.

This recipe is for a savory mashed potato side dish.  No gravy needed.  This is a versatile side dish that will pair nicely with any number of main dishes. Serve it with your next meatloaf, roast chicken, pork chop, salmon fillet… Next time I make Shepherd’s Pie, I am going to top it with these potatoes.  Won’t that dress up a casserole that can sometimes be a bit bland? Last week,  I made some rather boring vegetable soup.  It perked right up when I stirred in some leftover Basil Mashed Potatoes. You’ll be amazed with what 2 cups of fresh basil will do to 2 lbs of Yukon Gold potatoes.

Full disclosure: making mashed potatoes can really mess up a kitchen and dirty a lot of dishes.  Basil mashed potatoes dirties one or two more pots than regular mashed potatoes, but you don’t even have to think about making gravy…!

Basil Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 cup fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes or white boiling potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • ¼ to 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper (add to taste)
  • Directions

    1. Fill a small bowl with ice water and set aside.
    2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the basil leaves to the boiling water and cook for exactly 15 seconds.  Remove the basil from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge into the ice water.  Drain the basil and set aside.
    3. Add the peeled and quartered potatoes to the same pot of boiling, salted water.  Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Drain well.
    4. In a small pan over medium high heat, bring the half-and-half and Parmesan cheese to a simmer.
    5. Place the drained basil in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Puree the basil, then slowly add the hot half-and-half and Parmesan mixture and process until smooth.
    6. Mash the drained potatoes.  Slowly add the hot basil cream and beat until smooth. TASTE.  Add salt and pepper as needed.
    7. Place mashed potatoes in serving bowl and sprinkle with a little extra grated Parmesan cheese.  Serve hot.

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  So glad Ina was here with me!!!

    19 Oct 2010 Hasselback Potatoes

    Have you heard of these potatoes?  Have you ever had one?   Seen one?  Me neither.  I made, and tasted, my first Hasselback potatoes over the weekend, photographic proof above!   A Hasselback Potato is a  Swedish version of a baked potato.  It’s named after the restaurant where it was first served, Hasselbacken, in Stockholm…, in the 1700s (!).  LOL! There are pictures and recipes all over the Internet.  See the great photos here!  Was I truly the last person on the planet to learn of these?!   How on earth did I miss these for the  first 50 years of my life?  The Hasselback potatoes were fun and easy to make, looked intriguing on the plate and tasted very good.

    Use the recipe below as a guide.   Change it up a bit to match your tastes, and what you have on hand.  Some recipes call for peeling the potatoes, I left the skins on.  Some recipes use Russet potatoes, I used small Yukon Golds.  Some recipes call for sprinkling the potatoes with bread crumbs, I used Parmesan Cheese.  Some recipes called for paprika and salt, I used black pepper and salt. The quantities below are just a guide, increase or decrease depending on how many potatoes you are cooking.

    Hasselback Potatoes

    2-4 small Russet potatoes, or 6-12 small Yukon Gold potatoes (as many as you need for the number of people you are serving)
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    approx. 4 tablespoons melted butter
    1-2 teaspoons finely minced garlic (to taste)
    salt (table, Kosher, or sea), to taste
    freshly grated black pepper, to taste
    approx 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 400º.

    The first step is the trick to these potatoes.  Cut the potatoes into 1/4 inch slices, but DO NOT cut all the way through the bottom of the potato. How to do this?  Put a pencil, a skewer or a chopstick on either side of the potato.  Slice an 1/4 intervals.  The knife will stop when it hits the pencil, skewer or chopstick and you won’t slice all the way through the potato! Brilliant!

    Melt the butter with the garlic and the olive oil.

    Drizzle the butter mixture over the potatoes.  Then use a pastry brush, or your fingers, to make sure the butter and the garlic drizzles down between each potato slice. (I put the potatoes in a bowl, poured the melted butter-oil-garlic mixture over them, then made sure the oil and garlic slid down each cut. )  Place potatoes on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.

    Place potatoes in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake until done.  I baked small Yukon Golds for 25 minutes.  Bake a russet almost as long as you would bake a regular baked potato, 50 to 60 minutes.  Wait, you are not done yet.

    Remove potatoes from oven, brush with any remaining butter-oil-garlic mixture and then sprinkle with cheese.  Return to oven to melt cheese, another 5 minutes or so.  Now you are done 🙂

    Some people serve these with horseradish and herbed sour cream.  Why?  I didn’t think they needed any topping at all.

    BTW, my daughter  zapped the leftovers for her breakfast the following morning.  I stole a bite.  Yummy.

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  It’s always a pleasure.  Leave me a comment so I know you stopped by!

    17 Oct 2010 Roasted Rosemary-Garlic Chicken with . . .

    . . .  New Potatoes and Seared Asparagus Spears!

    My friend John, the rugged he-man, Lake Superior Chef (of Asian Glazed Thigh fame), has submitted another recipe.   I am posting this now because it sounds like it’s just the thing for a Sunday supper.  Go now! Get a chicken! You can have this for dinner tonight!

    John says: “I adapted the chicken and potato recipe from Williams-Sonoma.  The recipe for the asparagus spears is my own.  I like this recipe for a number of reasons…, you only have to use two pans and one bowl, your kitchen smells wonderful when you’re done, you can drink chardonnay while you cook and the recipe is so easy.”

    Roasted Rosemary-Garlic Chicken

    with New Potatoes and Seared Asparagus Spears

    Ingredients:

    3 cloves garlic (diced)
    2 sprigs fresh rosemary (rough chop)
    1 roaster chicken (3 to 5 lbs)
    1 ½ lbs small red potatoes, quartered
    Olive oil
    Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
    Asparagus spears, washed and trimmed.

    Directions For Cooking the Chicken and Potatoes:

    Preheat oven to 400º.
    Pour a glass of cool (not cold) chardonnay to enjoy while you cook.
    Mix olive oil, garlic and rosemary in small bowl.
    Coat chicken with olive oil mixture, reserving about ¼ of the mixture for the potatoes.
    Place chicken in a large oven-proof fry pan, breast side up.  Tuck wings behind back, and tie the legs together.
    In another bowl, stir together potatoes and remaining olive oil mixture.
    Arrange the potatoes around the chicken, sprinkle both chicken and potatoes with salt and pepper, and transfer pan to oven.
    Roast until instant read thermometer (inserted into thickest part of the breast, away from bone) registers 160º F, about 60 to 70 minutes.
    Transfer chicken to carving board and cover loosely with foil.  Let rest for 10 minutes.

    Directions for Roasting the Asparagus:

    Rinse asparagus and pat dry.
    Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper.
    Heat ribbed skillet over high heat until “screaming hot”.
    Sear asparagus, turning frequently.
    Transfer skillet to oven (still hot from cooking the chicken) for five minutes.

    To Serve:

    Carve the chicken and serve with potatoes and asparagus.  Another  glass of chardonnay wouldn’t hurt either!

    Now doesn’t that sound good?  I think a slice of the Chocolate-Pumpkin cake–I just posted the recipe–would round off this meal quite nicely!

    14 Sep 2010 Baked Potato Soup

    I found this recipe in the crock pot cookbook “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook” by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufman.  So, I tried this recipe in the crock pot.  When I was in the midst of it, I was thinking “WHY”?  Why cook potatoes for 5 hours in the crockpot, when they only take 20 minutes on stop of the stove?  It’s not like the crockpot did anything special to the potatoes, plus I still had to peel the potatoes, blend the soup, cook the bacon, chop the green onions and grate the cheese. Does cooking the potatoes for 5 hours in the crockpot make more sense than boiling them for 20 minutes?  I don’t think so.  I liked the soup though.  LOVED the soup, so I revised it to make on top of the stove (didn’t take much revising…).

    This soup starts with water! You don’t have to find 2 or 3 quarts of chicken stock to get started (which makes it economical, too).  Just boil five pounds of potatoes (one small $1.99 bag) in water until done.  Blend.  Then serve with baked potato toppings of butter, sour cream, grated cheese, chopped green onions, and crumbled bacon.  Soooo yummy. So easy!

    Baked Potato Soup

    5 pounds russet potatoes
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
    1 cup half-and-half
    1/2 cup sour cream
    8 oz. bacon, cooked crisply, and crumbled (OK, so I used a bit more than 1/2 lb.)
    1 bunch green onions, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
    2-3 cups grated cheddar and jack cheese blend (to taste)

    Peel and dice the potatoes.  Cover with cold water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil.  Boil until potatoes are falling apart (cooked more than you would for mashed potatoes).  Depending on the size of your potatoes, this could take 20-40 minutes.  Turn the heat to low.  Add in butter and half-and-half.  Simmer until butter is melted, about another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.  Stir in sour cream.  With an immersion blender (the blender-on-a-stick thing), blend soup until creamy. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a regular blender.  Be careful, and don’t fill up blender more than half full.  Hot liquids tend to splash out when the blender is turned on).  Return soup to stove and turn on heat to medium.  Gradually blend in the grated cheese (to taste).  Stir in the chopped bacon and sliced green onions. Taste.  Add more salt and pepper if needed.  Serve hot. (I actually prefer this soup the second day.  I like to have the flavor of the green onions and bacon settle into the potatoes.)

    Mmmm. Make this your first soup of the season. It was mine!  I’m happy!