Update 15, Part 3: New Year's Goal: Become an "official" Gourmess by August 2010

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate. --Julia Child

I finished the Pommes Sautées à Cru (Sauteed Potatoes) last night. It was a two-part process: sautéeing the slices in batches, in 1/4 cup of vegetable oil until lightly browned, setting aside. Then, right before serving, I wiped out the pan, added a couple TBS of butter and fried the potatoes in that until they were crispy outside, soft inside. I served with a quiche (see my 11/11/09 post) and that was that. Chris declared he was done with potatoes.

I, on the other hand, am not done. I did some prep work last night and peeled and boiled a couple pounds of Russet potatoes so I'd have them on hand for my next few recipes. Tonight, for Pommes Duchesse (Duchess Potatoes) I took a pound of those potatoes and put them in a 300 degree oven for about 8 minutes, until they were very dry. Then, I put them through a potato ricer (I might like it even better than my food mill!) and with a wooden spoon, mixed in a bowl with room temperature egg yolks (2) and about 1 TBS of butter. I then added salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg (from Grenada!) to taste. That mixture then went into a pastry bag with a star-shaped tip.

And, that's where the fun began...or the GourMESS, as I like to call any chaos in my kitchen. I was supposed to pipe nicely shaped/mounds of potatoes on a lightly oiled sheet pan about 1 inch apart--but halfway through the third one, the tip on the bag popped off and cracked, leaving me with a useless tool. It was 9:03 p.m. which meant the grocery store had just closed -- so I improvised. I took off the rest of the bottom part of the bag and just piped the potato mixture through the tube-shaped end...and moved on. They still looked presentable, and once I covered with an egg wash (1 egg, 1.5 tsps of milk) it didn't seem to matter. I put in the potato mounds in the oven (375 degrees) and baked for about 12 minutes until they were slightly crispy on the outside and golden brown on edges and bottom. They came out pretty cute -- I can see how they'd be fun for a luncheon or dinner party. They tasted a lot like popovers -- crispy, eggy, outside and a soft, steamy center.

So much for that...5 Demonstrations down, 4 more to go. And then I think I shall never want to see another spud again.