Once upon a mattress

Can a mattress change my life?

I'm up for it. I would like to think that will be the case. Our giant new fancy-schmancy, high-end, princess-and-the-pea, go-for-broke, pillow-top mattress arrived about an hour ago. I would like to expect my life will never be the same.

I have experienced what I suppose a physician would label as 'chronic upper back pain' or maybe 'chronic right shoulder pain' for the past 14 years or so, ever since a car accident as a senior in college. It's worse after long car drives or, in the past few years, after long days of ultrasound. Joe can always tell when I've been scanning a lot during the day, because I carry it in my upper back, although sometimes it's just stress I'm carrying there. It's manageable most of the time. Sometimes I have to take pain meds or a muscle relaxant so I can get a relatively good night's sleep. Sometimes I wake up every hour or so and don't know why, though I suspect it's the back. I'm not expecting a miracle from the magical new mattress, but I'm definitely hoping and praying for one.

Funny, I was sort of excited when we decided on a mattress last week, but now that I'm actually lying on the bed, I'm getting a bit emotional... goofy, really. I'm just not really the poor, pitiful me type, and it would be so lovely to remove this one thorn in my side and have no woes to speak of.

Enough of me and my whining. We had a scrumptious little meal today, mostly leftovers (we have enough leftovers to last till next 4 July) - chicken breast sandwiches and brisket - and added a delightful, incredibly simple gratin we'd first tried in cooking class earlier this year. We have so many potatoes from the CSA, as well as organic gruyere from a local farm, that we're going to have to keep this on the short list. I guess we didn't take any pics tonight. Some day I'll be a real food blogger - yeah, probably I'll stick to being a doctor who occasionally remembers to ask Joe to snap a Hipstamatic of the dinner.

He did take some great pictures of the new bed, so maybe he'll read this and happily add a few shots. Here's one I just snagged from his FB account!

Potato Gratin

Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 clove garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper [or black, if you're lazy like me]
1 medium russet potato (10-12 oz)
2 Tbsp grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Line a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan [I had nothing of the sort, so I used a round casserole dish] with parchment paper. Rub the sides of the pan and paper with the garlic clove, then spray the parchment paper and sides of the pan with the vegetable oil spray.
Whisk together the cream, egg, salt, and pepper; set aside until needed.
Peel the potato; using a mandoline or v-slicer [or a knife, if you don't have those stylin' instruments], slice it into paper-thin slices [1/8 inch or less, if you can].
Layer half the potato slices in the prepared loaf pan. Top the potatoes with half the egg mixture, then layer in the remaining potatoes and top with the remaining egg mixture. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the surface.
Bake until the potatoes are golden brown on top and tender when pierced with a skewer or the tip of a small knife, about 40-45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Peel off the parchment paper and cut into squares or, if you're feeling wacky, into diamonds or stars or fleur-de-lis. I opted for wedges. They were fabulous.

I'm nervous. My back is sending out twinges. It's time to give this thing a test run. Good night, and good luck.


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