Sunday, December 11, 2005

Biscuit Nazi shares her recipe for scalloped potatoes

Was over at a friend's house for a party last night... some people rifle through people's medicine cabinets (for curiousity's sake only of course). I look through their pantry and refrigerator. And I had an episode that night that might rival the "Wire Hanger" incident depicted in the Joan Crawford bio-pic Mommie Dearest.

"Whoa... what's this?!" I exclaim. "Canned refrigerator biscuits!!! No, no, no, no, no, no, no!"
He explained that the biscuits belonged to his soon to be ex-girlfriend.
"I should hope so!" I noted on both accounts. One, that the biscuits did not belong to him. Two, that he was ridding himself of that ridiculously uneducated (food-wise) harlot. Canned biscuits indeed!!

Biscuits are sacred, I say. It's not too hard to make biscuits. . Why they're just a bit of flour, shortening, salt, soda and perhaps some buttermilk... all lovingly folded together. I personally use the Fannie Farmer cookbook recipe and depending on my mood add a handful of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese. Maybe it's just me but the canned variety taste tinny or seem loaded with preservatives.

But when it comes to potatoes, I know nothing. I've never really liked potatoes, having been brought up mainly on rice. Though I did find a recipe that I could actually deal with. I actually added a few things still trying to maintain a healthy balance while still achieving the simplicity of home-cooked goodness.

2 lbs russet potatoes peeled and sliced 1/8" thick then parboiled in salted water
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 c. unbleached flour
2-3 dashes of white pepper
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1 c. chicken broth
1 c. milk
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 c. chopped scallions
1 1/2 c. extra sharp cheddar shredded
Chopped parsley

Drain the potatoes and rinse with very cold water. Toss in a collander to dry. Butter a glass baking dish. Melt the butter on moderate heat and add the flour, pepper and salt and continue stirring to cook up a roux. Stir continuously over moderate heat for 3 minutes and start adding the broth in a stream as you stir. After all of the broth is incorporated add the milk in the same fashion, taking care to whist continually to make sure that the sauce doesn't form lumps.

Keep sauce on burner over low heat.

Lay the potato slices on the bottom of the dish. Drizzle with sauce and add a layer of the cheese and some of the scallions and sprinkle some of the poppy seeds. Continue to layer the ingredients in this fashion until they are used up. Bake in a 350F oven for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Turn the heat up to broil and broil for 3-5 minutes or just enough to get top of the casserole lighly browned.

Sprinkle tops with freshly chopped curly leafed parsley. Serve immediately with a dish of quality lowfat yogurt (Pavel's Russian Yogurt is excellent)substituted for sour cream.

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