Surrealism in Times Square and a Recipe for Dauphinoise Potatoes


This from Jon, who stomped his way home through the blizzard from his office in Times Square to settle in with a bottle of red for what turned out to be a not-very-exciting snowpocalypse:

“I looked out the window and I saw Knock-Off Hello Kitty, Not the Real Cookie Monster, and Budget Elmo standing in a circle. Snow was falling all around them, muting the neon and washing the color out of everything. Cookie Monster and Elmo had thick white caps of snow on their fur. I assume Hello Kitty did, too — it was hard to tell because her head was mostly white.

“And then, suddenly, Elmo began to beat Hello Kitty around the head — gently, not violently. More in a formal way, you know, procedurally, like this was just the way things were done — and the snow came billowing off her costume in great clouds. Then she returned the favor, beating piles of snow off Elmo. Then they both beat Cookie Monster.

“It was surreal watching them, in a circle in the middle of Times Square, beating each other, in the snow.”

Props for correct usage of the word “surreal,” right?

Anyway, as the snow and cold affect us all in one way or another, what could be more comforting and warming than dauphinoise potatoes, creamy and golden, fresh from the oven?

Dauphinoise Potatoes

Proportions: (serves 4–6)
2 lbs of large, waxy potatoes
2 1/4 cups of cream
2 cloves of garlic
half a stick of butter

These proportions work, but you know your dish, and you know how much you’re likely to want to eat, so really, this is an assembly line more than a recipe. You layer up sliced potatoes, dabbing butter on each layer and seasoning well as you fill the tray. Grate a little garlic on each layer as you go if you like. Pour over the cream (or half cream, half milk) to come up to 2/3 of the dish. Press the potatoes down into the cream. Cover with foil and bake at 350°F for about an hour and a half, depending on the depth of the dish — the potatoes should be soft and creamy. Add a splash more cream if necessary. Take the foil off for 15 minutes at the end to brown the top.

In this column, Katherine Knowles divulges recipes you can make in your tiny New York City kitchen.