Pommes Anna, Spinach and more pickiness!

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I just spent the entire day tweaking the fonts, lines and paragraphs on my website (not my blog).  Then I looked at all my work in three browsers and five different monitor sizes, many times, before I was satisfied that it was working properly.

Why am I telling you this incredibly boring minutia?

Because, though I'll freely admit that I tend to obsess over details and can get carried away with the picayune, why can't the people who are paid actual money to watch the details, um, watch the details?

There is a small city in Wisconsin  by the name of 'Eau Claire'.  I know this.  I've been there.  It's easy enough to verify on a map or on the internet.  Yet a book I just finished referred to it on two different occasions as 'Eau Claire City'.

Kenosha, also in Wisconsin, is, to my recollection, located in the middle of fairly flat farm country.  On an American TV show last night the main character returned 'home' to Kenosha, Wisconsin (yes, they pointedly supplied the city and state), and proceeded to wander through miles and miles of thickly wooded, steep hills and run into people with an Appalachian accent so thick I could barely understand them.

Does anyone watch 'Men in Trees'?  According to what I see on the telly, Elmo, Alaska gets more sunny days, more daylight hours, balmier temperatures and less snow in the middle of winter, than we do here in the Vendee.  If that's an accurate depiction, why live in South Carolina when the scenery is better and the climate nicer in Alaska?

Why do I care?  Because the little mistakes jolt me out of the story.

I don't like to be jolted.

Now, I shall stop.  It's not been a good day and I tend to get nasty and….

I rarely post about my boring, everyday, reliable foods…so I shall.  Both easy.  One healthy, one not so much… You decide.

The first is another recipe whose origins are lost in the mists of time. It's delicious, easy and helps me get my weekly ration of spinach. Even non-spinach lovers are happy with this. With a bit of bread and a salad it can also make a light lunch.

Mock Spinach Soufflé

1 package frozen spinach, 8 – 9 oz, or the equivalent (250 gr)
2 eggs or 2 egg whites
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp olive oil

Thaw spinach (use microwave, hot water or saucepan) and squeeze out excess moisture. In medium bowl beat eggs well. Add yogurt, Parmesan and nutmeg. Mix well. Add spinach and mix well. Lightly oil a small baking dish. (I use a 7 inch square glass baking dish) Pour in spinach and bake at 400F (200C) for 30 minutes or until set. Remove and serve directly from baking dish.

A mandolin makes quick work of slicing the potatoes but is not necessary. Clarifying the butter is not difficult, just a bit fussy. Try to make the first layer as neat as you can. Remember this will be the lovely, golden brown top when you unmold the Pommes Anna. This serves 4 – if you're in the mood to share…

Pommes Anna

1/3 cup butter
3 – 4 medium potatoes, 24oz, 750gr, peeling optional (I don't bother but purists would be appalled).
salt & pepper

Clarify butter: melt butter in small pan over low heat just so that it is melted. You will notice the white milk solids in the butter. We don't want these. With a small spoon skim off as much of the floating milk solids as you can. Then carefully pour the clear (mostly) butter into a glass measuring cup leaving behind the remaining solids.
Using a basting brush and some of the clarified butter, generously butter the inside of a round, glass baking dish. Mine is about 8" (20cm) in diameter and the potatoes will come up about 2/3's to the top. Slice the potatoes into paper thin slices, using a mandolin, box slicer, food processor, or a sharp knife. Line the bottom of the baking dish with a layer of potato, brush very lightly with butter. Add a layer of potato, brush with butter. Repeat until you have used all of the potatoes. If you use salt & pepper put a little on the middle and top layers. Cover with a lid or foil and bake in 400F (200C) oven for 60 minutes. Remove, and let rest for 5 – 10 minutes. Invert on to a large plate – it should retain it's shape. Slice half of the Pommes Anna into wedges and serve.

It's not as pretty as normal: for some reason the potatoes right in the center stuck a bit.

What can I say…It's been that kind of day! 

36 thoughts on “Pommes Anna, Spinach and more pickiness!”

  1. Both spinach and potato dishes look heavenly. Les pommes de terres Anna sont tres bonne! J’aime buerre et pommes de terres. Is that right? I am trying to practice speaking French, and I have learned to write it. Je voudrais parler beaucoup vocabulaire nourriture en France.

  2. Thank you for posting these. I used to make similar recipes when I was in college and had completely lost track of them.

  3. Ha! I live in Kenosha, and it is indeed flat, open farm land all around here. Not too many hills or forests here! I didn’t see the show, but it does not sound like they did much research. 🙂
    Your recipes look great; I love potatoes Anna, and now I may have to make it this week!

  4. I’m with you — sometimes the little things drive me nuts. Makes me wonderhow much of that is written about places I’m not familiar with… Anyway, potatoes make everything better, so thanks for this wonderful recipe.

  5. Please Katie, I need both! It’s really healthy to eat this potato dish (potato skins have great fiber and vitamins, yes?) and some whole grain bread. Oh heaven has arrived!
    I love details – when I don’t miss them.

  6. Oh my…I am so with you…I always wonder if people are reading my facial expression correctly when comments are made about me having OCD tendencies. Ahhh!
    This spinach souffle – yum. It looks like one that I will make often. The potato looks so delish as well!

  7. Men in Trees is so not Alaska. Let’s start with the opening shot with the racoon – nope, they don’t live in Alaska. The whole thing is so ridiculous with exactly the kind of annoying small errors you describe that I can’t stand to watch it. Both your dishes are lovely, the potatoes are gorgeous even if you think they sometimes look better.

  8. Wendy, it would take such little effort to get them right…. Spinch is good food!
    Lannae, oui, bien fait! Are you getting just a little excited?
    Pam, glad to be of service…you eat much better than I in college.
    Thanks for the confirmation, Annie…enjoy the Pommes Anna!
    Lydia, I never thought of it that way… Time to stop quoting what I see on TV….including the news….
    BelliniValli, Mountains of Crab? Now, that would be gooooood!
    Arfi, it is a fun show…it’s just the weather…
    Tanna, I’m glad you picked up on the potatoes being the healthy dish ;-)) I can always count on you to see to the heart of the matter!
    Chris, I just figure that if someone is giving out too much information they should do it correctly…ooops, here I go again…
    steamy kitchen, it doesn’t get much better….
    Kelly, exactly! And so is the yogurt! See, I can be healthy!

  9. That spinach looks great Katie. I know what you are saying, I get caught up in the details too…sometimes I annoy myself! LOL!

  10. I am going down stairs and making your spinach dish tonight! The what’s for dinner question is solved.
    And me too, details that aren’t exactly right bug me. Or that fact that my blog looks different on different browsers…

  11. Katie, Merci! I am so excited to see the countryside of your fabulous country! We are staying in Gites and B&Bs off the beaten path. As the days tick down, the more excited I become!

  12. Both dishes look fab. Especially the latter (less healthy) option!!! Yum.
    I’m with you on the details! Drives my husband crazy…
    Heidi

  13. Kate, I hear you on the cities! Some local authors here in India have been known to incorporate seas and beaches into non-coastal cities, probably because they add romance, esp when it’s a romance novel.
    The Pommes Anna looks lovely!

  14. Once again, I swear we must be related! It drives me mad when I see and hear those sort of glaring errors. For me, it’s accents: fake accents. The fake English and Australian ones really get to me. (And don’t get me started on the most popular browser’s inability at rendering even the simplest of coding…)
    I love the look of the Pommes Anna! (I bet there is an equal number of purists who would freak out if the potatoes were peeled!)
    The spinach looks good too, of course.
    -Elizabeth
    P.S. Is that “mock spinach” or “mock souffle”? 😉

  15. Kate, you had me in stitches! I hope your day is going better~never have watched that show you were writing about. I can see I’m missing so much good tele!I’m off to get all the ingredients for the spinach-doesn’t look boring to me. You take care….I have missed reading your posts-so caught up in this new store of mine. Cheers!

  16. Too funny! I remember seeing some murder mystery where the detective was rushing through an “Iowa field” — of Iowa field of tomatoes. Not. Clearly California.
    PS It looks as if you’re able to cut the spinach into squares. Is that the case?

  17. JennDZ…always. The old ‘forest for the trees’ bit!
    Meredith, hope you like it! Yeah, the different browser thing is driving me bonkers!
    Lannea, de rien!
    Mike, the potatoes are not really boring….
    Heidi, mine, too.. ;-))
    Sra, when we lived in Andorra we were given a book that had both a train station and a seashore in Andorra – neither are there..
    Elizabeth = mock souffle. And the accents… A nice Irish accent on a Scot – always works…
    Jann, How is your new store?!?!? You’re not missing anything…

  18. Put everything down, go outside for a walk, yes I know, it is cold and yucky, but then come back in and have a nice glass of red wine to warm you up and calm you down! I watched Men In Trees for awhile, but got tired of it. The young kid was making me crazy.
    Yummy on those dishes, especially the potatoes!

  19. Lazy writers, huh. Can’t they google as well? Here’s one for you, my daughter has devolped an aversion of walking in the forest, which is a bit sad for her as she has two parents that like to mushroom hunt. But lately she tells us that she doesn’t mind the woods…guess where we are mushromm hunting next! I adore Pomme Anna, but for some reason, never seem to get it exactly right, even with your wilfull potatoes, yours looks way better than anything I’ve done.

  20. The potatoes look so yummy and the spinach look great too, oh I think I’m heading to the kitchen…. suddenly my belly is saying hello, here I am! Today is my husband’s birthday and we will have lunch late! And I still have to get the candles and birthcake for the night party…. hurry, hurry, hurry!

  21. Great advice, Deb! Yeah, the kid is a little irritating – esp since he’s supposed to be 26!
    Neil, you have a perfectly logical daughter… she’ll go far in life. More butter is always the answer…
    Nuria, have a wonderful celebration for your husband… But have lunch, first!
    Susan, with the variety of landscape in CA, one would think they could get it right…but then flat farm fields aren’t too visually appealing…

  22. Jeesh, Katie! We should all knock out such lovely classics when we have a bad day.
    I once had a colleague who insisted on calling Newark Airport “THE Newark Airport.” I thought perhaps there were two airports. Drove me nuts. LOL!

  23. Susan, that would drive me nuts, too. When I lived in Wisconsin, a co-worker, from Michigan insisted it was pronounced WESconsin… a little thing…but How Dare she!
    Kevin, Greek yogurt is great! Especially since we don’t have sour cream here!
    Archana, thanks! Lucky you to have kids that like spinach!

  24. Ooo I love that spinach recipe. I’ll definitely have to try it! I haven’t seen Greek yogurt in my grocery stores though so hopefully regular yogurt would work okay.

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