Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Scientist's evil potato bake

Many years ago (something like twelve or thirteen urk) I made a friend in college. She was a local and used to periodically take me home with her and feed me real food, as opposed to hostel mess. In fact I used to carry a toothbrush in my bag so I could disappear at the drop of a hat heh. Her very cool father let us drink from his posh bar and make cocktails and whatnot--there was a notable night involving several blue lagoons, and that's where I learnt to make Long Island Iced Tea. The highlight of those evenings was not the booze, but this INSANE potato bake she used to make.

One year, many years later, when I was at NYU and she was at Stony Brook and we used to have lovely long food-filled weekends, we took a Thanksgiving trip and I finally learnt to make it. Last night, having had a terribly grumpy day, I felt the need for potatoes and cheese but not mashed potatoes--my staple. So I decided to see if I could make these, and ramped them up a but by adding some garlic. Cos hello, garlic, cheese butter and potatoes, right? The other change from the original is the lack of cream, not from any healthy impulse but because we didn't have any.

5-6 big (in India) potatoes
75-100 g cheese, grated. (You can play with this amount depending on how insane you want it to be =D)
3-4 T butter
3 large cloves of garlic, crushed and mixed into the butter
2-3 T milk
Salt to taste (remember the butter and cheese also have salt so you wont need too much)

Scrub your potatoes clean (I often use a scotch brite for this, then you get all the taste and healthiness of the skin and it's yum) or peel them if you don't like the skin. Slice them into 2-3 mm thick circles. It doesn't matter if you get them exact, but they should all be roughly the same thickness. And, of course, the hicker they are the longer they take to cook.
Preheat your oven to 200C.
Rub your baking pan with some butter. I used a Borosil loaf pan, but The Scientist used to use shallow ceramic pie-dishes.
Lay out the potato slices until the bottom is fully covered, about two layers should do it. Sprinkle salt. sprinkle grated cheese. Cover with potato slices. Dab with garlic butter. Cover with potato slices. Slosh some milk in. Sprinkle salt and cheese. Cover with potato slices. Butter. Potatoes. Milk. Cheese. Potatoes. Etc. Until you end with cheese for the gratin. I only did it three times over.
Bung in the over for about 30-40 minutes. Check with a fork to see if they're cooked after about 30 min. I turned off the top element at that point too so it didn't burn.
Serve hot. Prepare for tastebud assault. Be warned, however tempted you are, don't eat too much.

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