Herb and Garlic Potato Gratin; Time management

There are 2 kinds of people in this world: 

Those of you who are always prepared, had your homework done before you played and are always early for appointments.

Those of us who put on make-up, make meeting notes and talk on the phone whilst speeding done the motorway, late, yet again.

I am not the one in my seat 15 minutes before the curtain rises; I'm the one running down the street screaming for the doorman to wait and let me in.

I have, many times in the distant past, dropped my car off at valet parking at the airport (no time to park) and raced down the concourse waving and yelling to keep the doors open.  (Wouldn't dare, now!).  I actually even got a plane to turn around and come back to the gate for me once (small airport).

It's not that I'm unaware of time.  I'm very, very aware.  My mental conversations go something like this:

Let's see: 5 minutes to dry my hair… I can shave 30 seconds off that, damp is okay

6 minutes to shower…no one needs that long, snap to it, 3 minutes, max

4 minutes to curl my hair…. I can easily do that in 3, skip the bottom

3 1/2 minutes for makeup – easy one, do it in the car at stoplights (hate it when they're all green)

5 minutes to get dressed… stuck with that one, unless I wear the sweater instead of the blouse (no buttons) – 10 seconds saved

2 minutes for breakfast – skip the juice, grab a handful of raisins

I have now saved 9 minutes and 40 seconds…. What to do with all this time?  I could sleep later (popular choice in my youth), I could read 4 more blogs (popular choice, now) I could clean the kitchen (never popular).

The one thing that never, ever occurs to me is to be early. 

My first 'adult' job had the unreasonable starting time of 7:00 in the morning.  We were a sales office; none of our clients started that early.  We sat around and drank coffee for an hour; unless the boss was watching, in which case we did paperwork. 

I just couldn't do it. 

Every morning, after my usual late start, I spent the 45 minutes of my commute working on excuses: 

Stalled train across the road?  Nope, used that last week. 

Overslept?  Never a good choice. 

Accident?  Too easy to verify. 

Family emergency phone call?  Yeah, that might work…

My boss finally came up with the brilliant (or so he thought) idea of fining whoever was late $1.00.

We all actually thought it was rather brilliant, too. 

The next morning all of us perpetual late-comers waltzed in, independently, about 8:00, handed the boss a dollar and sat down. 

It was so worth it!

He relented and changed the starting time to 7:30.  So, instead of arriving at 7:05 every morning I got there at 7:35… I just can't help it!

I keep telling myself I excel under pressure.

Two of my favorite cooks were never in a hurry and always relaxed in whatever kitchen they had appropriated: Jennifer and Clarissa, the Two Fat Ladies. 

They knew how to manage time.

They were eating locally and seasonally before it was the 'in' thing to do. 

They totally ignored such bothersome things as calories and carbs.

They had a wonderful time cooking all sorts of marvelous foods, which is the way it should be.

They've recently re-appeared, via reruns, on our food channel.

I haven't made many of their recipes.

I love watching them and listening to them, but….

Well, I suppose I could substitute duck fat for lard…

This potato gratin, however, I make often.

It has no cream, milk or cheese in it; nothing to mask the taste of the fresh herbs and garlic.  This time of year, with the herbs at their peak and the weather occasionally cool enough to use the oven, these potatoes are perfect. 

Not to be a food snob, but if you don't have fresh herbs, don't bother making this; it just wouldn't work with dried  

Use any herbs you like – as long as you use lots!

Herb and Garlic Potato Gratin
Herb and Garlic Potato Gratin  Adapted from The Two Fat Ladies

4 medium potatoes
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
2 tbs chopped fresh basil
2 tbs chopped fresh oregano or rosemary
2 tbs chopped fresh thyme or sage
5 cloves garlic
3 tbs good olive oil
1/3 cup chicken stock

With a sharp knife thinly slice the potatoes. Put slices in a large bowl of cool water and set aside.
Chop or snip herbs. Finely chop garlic and mix together with chopped herbs.
Remove potatoes from water, lay out on kitchen (paper) towels and pat dry.
Drizzle a bit of the oil in a glass baking dish, just large enough to hold ingredients.
Make a layer of potatoes, sprinkle with a bit of the herb/garlic mixture and drizzle with a little oil. Repeat 4 more times.
Pour the stock over all, cover with foil and bake at 400F (200C) for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking another 30 minutes. Top potatoes should start to brown and get crisp. Remove from oven and serve. 

I'd like to think the I'm learning how to better manage my time.

Yeah, I'd like to think that….

10 thoughts on “Herb and Garlic Potato Gratin; Time management”

  1. What a great intro to this recipe! I hadn’t imagined you as the “late” type since you’re so disciplined with your blogging. I am not very disciplined with my blogging, but you won’t catch me late to anything…maybe that’s why I never “shave off” enough time to blog these days…

  2. I am like that! Horribly so that even when I am early and all ready for an appointment way before I’m due I will manage to find something to do so that in the end I am late once again.
    My kids finally helped me in that they really hated it to be late (or in my opinion on the dot) for school and I even manage to come in for work early. In my personal life however…

  3. Well, this is an insight into your soul. I had you as the organized and 10 minutes ahead type person. I now suspect we are about the same… organized yet 10 minutes behind.
    hmmm… just a terrific looking simple recipe. PerfecT!

  4. Katie: I must confess, I am an early girl. Early, early, early! I blame it on my oldest sister. When in kindergarten, it was her job to pick me up and walk me back home after school..(a mile away) One day she was late,very late,(although she denies this to this day) and in my five very young years, it felt like a lifetime. I was totally traumatized. To this day, I plan way, way, way, ahead…I so can not be late. Mercy! Glad you ended this post on a lovely, and as usual, mouth watering dish! 🙂

  5. I loved the Two Fat Ladies show. They also did marvelous things with game, such as venison and rabbit. This looks great!

  6. I’m catching up here. Been behind in my blog reading. I had you pictured as very organized. I am scattered – too many things rumbling around in my head at the same time to the point of accomplishing nothing. Love the potato recipe and your beautiful balcony.

  7. Betty, I always think I can do so much more than I really can….
    Baking Soda, occasionally I manage to be early…. Mon mari hates it when I’m late, so I DO try.
    Zoomie, always happy to make you smile…
    Dave, organized, yet 10 minutes late – I like that description
    Simona, I love lots of fresh herbs….
    Ina, I hate waiting… of course, it doesn’t seem to bother me to make other people wait. My bad….
    Gary, I love their recipes with venison
    Penny, always too many thoughts and too many projects… too little time.
    Val, YES!

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