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Cinco de Mayo and Poblano, Potato and Corn Gratin

2010 May 4

For years I’d been raving to Greg about a memory involving Avon’s Skin So Soft (I’m not affiliated with them). My family went to our neighbor’s house one summer and the mom came out with Skin So Soft bug spray or something that worked as bug spray. The smell was oddly great. I never really saw what the exact product was but it had a kind of consumer halo effect on me, where I thought that I liked all of this line because of this one item.

Indulging a few weeks ago (I don’t know why I said indulge because it’s cheap), I bought what turned out to be bath oil in this line…do you ever order something thinking it’s something else and get it to wonder what you were on that day because you would never purchase this thing but oh well, it’s here now? I would’ve preferred anything but the bath oil…I don’t like baths. It’s something about sitting in my own filth and coming out with the false idea that I’m clean that bothers me. I get the stress relief thing but you have to have the right kind of tub for one of those moments.

What WAS I thinking? This stuff smelled like your grandma’s perfume that she has on her dresser from 1957, the one that’s very musky and quite offensive to the nostrils. I think this bottle was sitting on their warehouse shelf since I first smelled it in the ‘90’s. Bloody awful.

I hate to throw it away so I’m still using it and not only does it smell old but it leaves behind a horrible oily feeling that will not wash off. The oil actually makes me feel like my skin is puckering from dryness. If you want disappointment in a bottle, grab some of that.

Maybe my bottle was the only “bad” one but I will be ridding my mind of that memory for another item.

Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow. I will be celebrating how I usually celebrate the 5th of a month…by doing nothing special at all. (Except the 5th of September, that’s my birthday.) This day celebrates the Mexican army’s win over France in the Battle of Puebla. (I looked it up.)

If I were to commemorate this occasion, I would make this: poblano, potato and corn gratin (as seen in a recent issue of Bon Appetit). I just might go crazy and add sausage/chorizo or grill something with a cocktail in hand…that is if I had a backyard and a grill and money for a nice slab of meat and money to buy the alcohol for the cocktail. This is why we rarely get to celebrate.

I’ll sow my wild oats when I’m older, probably for Cinco de Mayo. I will be that grandma dancing on the picnic table at noon, with my drink, at the family gathering, wearing my musky perfume from 2010, while my kids are telling me to “get down or you will hurt yourself” with their arms flailing as if they are trying to catch me. I’ll tell them that I am getting down as I dance to No Doubt…No doubt because they will be “classic rock” at that time. Greg will be right beside me and our kids and grandkid’s embarrassment will be the fuel to this wildfire. I can’t wait.

This recipe was tasty but I would add more heat. I suppose if you already have something a bit spicy that this would nicely complement it. Greg is a big fan of corn and recommends adding more and I think it required more cheese in the layers. There weren’t enough poblanos to cover each layer too so I added a few more and didn’t remove the skin of the potatoes. If you feel like it, add some precooked sausage to the layers. I served it with strawberries and it was a hit.

Forgive the picture-we were really hungry and I didn’t want to postpone the meal any longer.

Poblano, Potato and Corn Gratin
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
4 poblano chilies, stemmed, seeded, each cut into 4 strips (if large, only 2)
1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into thick rounds
2 cups frozen corn, thawed (or fresh cooked)
1 1/2 cups grated Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese
1 ½ cups half and half
2 tbsp flour
salt/pepper
a few dashes of Tabasco or other hot sauce-optional

Preheat the oven to 400. In a deep, glass dish or cast iron skillet, rub a small amount of oil. Heat 1 tsp of oil in another skillet over medium heat. Add the poblano strips and sauté until tender, about 7 minutes.

Arrange 1/3 of the potato rounds, overlapping, in the prepared dish. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the poblano strips, 1/3 of the corn and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat layers twice more (except for the last 1/3 of cheese-reserve this). Place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Whisk the half and half, flour, salt/pepper (this dish required quite a bit of salt but taste the sauce and add to your liking) and optional hot sauce in a bowl. Pour over the potato mixture and submerge the potatoes. Cover with foil tightly and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the foil; sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake, covered, until the potatoes are tender, 25 minutes or so. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. May 4, 2010

    Feel free to start celebrating Nov 5 – my birthday! I’d suggest drinking some craft beer.

    • May 4, 2010

      Will do-good idea with the craft. That is the day before my pop’s birthday. Greg would say remember, remember the 5th of November (makes sense if you’ve seen V for Vendetta).

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