One of my favorite times of the year is the transition from summer to fall. It's still warm during the day (but not oppressively so), and the evenings are deliciously cool, making more cozy fare much more attractive.
One of my favorite dishes for cool/cold nights is a gratin, in tonight's case, a potato gratin.
Gratins are really easy to make (all a gratin is, really, is vegetables with a little liquid, baked slowly until a crust forms and the liquid thickens), and they taste sooooo good.
For tonight, I wanted to make a potato gratin, so after I went to the brewing store for beer ingredients, I swung by my local grocer for the ingredients.
To make a potato gratin, what you need are:
potatoes (3-4 med/lg potatoes)
a garlic clove
a good hard cheese, like gouda or gruyere
salt + pepper
What you do is pretty simple. You combine a cup of cream with a cup of milk in a pan, and add a crushed garlic clove. Warm that gently over low heat and leave it be.
Slice the potatoes thinly (a benriner or mandolin works best), and then in a gratin pan (or a pie pan for that matter), put a ladle-ful of the warm milk in the bottom of the pan, and then a layer of potatoes. Add a little more cream, and then fresh ground pepper, and some grated cheese. Another layer of potatoes, then cream, pepper and cheese. Lather, rinse, repeat, until you've either used up your potatoes or the pan is full. Put some more grated cheese over top so that you'll have a nice crust, and bake the whole shebang for about an hour at 350deg F.
What you'll get is heaven in a pan:
What's more, it's not just good food, it's a good test of character. Any person who doesn't like potatos au gratin is probably not someone you need to spend time getting to know in the first place. (After all, who doesn't like cheese, cream and potatoes?)