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Thursday, February 27, 2020

How to of the Day

How to of the Day

How to Read Surf Reports

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 04:00 PM PST

Surf reports are like weather forecasts for the water. The reports come from buoys placed off the shore and detect various conditions, including the wave size you can anticipate while you're surfing, swimming, or sailing. The reports also show you factors like wind speed, weather conditions, and temperature. By using these reports, you can determine whether you will see big waves or be better off staying at home.


[Edit]Determining Wave Activity

  1. Check the swell height to determine the average size of the waves. and are reliable for most surf spots. The wave height, listed in either feet or meters, tells you the vertical height of a wave from trough to crest. Keep in mind that it is an average, so not all waves will be that exact size. About ⅓ of the waves will be the height listed in the report, but you will also see plenty of bigger and smaller ones at the beach.[1]
    • Everyone looks for the swell height when they first open up a report. However, it isn't the only factor determining wave height near the shore, so read it in conjunction with other swell measurements.
    • The swell height is a very rough estimate. Although it can give you an idea of what the waves are like, the best way to get the whole picture is to go to the beach yourself.
    • An ideal swell height for beginning surfers is about high. When the waves seem too tough to handle, look for a more sheltered spot at the beach where the waves will be a little smaller.
  2. Read the swell period to see how long each wave lasts. The swell period measures how long a wave takes to pass a measuring buoy. Short wave periods indicate shorter, choppier waves that move by at a fast rate. Long wave periods mean long waves that have a chance to build up more as they approach the shore. The wave period is measured in seconds and is sometimes listed right after the swell height instead of on its own.[2]
    Read Surf Reports Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • For example, you might see a report list waves at for 15 seconds. That means a wave tall takes 15 seconds to completely pass by a measuring buoy.
    • If you're planning on surfing, a swell period between 10 to 12 often produces sizable waves. You may still be able to catch waves during shorter swell periods, but not as consistently. Longer swell periods will produce bigger waves experienced surfers might enjoy.
  3. Find the swell direction to see where the waves are coming from. It is often listed in degrees or as an abbreviated direction like NNW. When the measurement is listed in degrees, think of it like reading a compass where north is 0 and south is 180. Some reports simplify this measurement by listing an arrow instead of a number. The swell comes in at an angle toward the beach, so the direction can have a big impact on how the waves form.[3]
    Read Surf Reports Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    • The swell direction is tricky since it describes where the swell comes from, not which way the waves are headed. It's a common place where new surfers get tripped up.
    • For example, the swell direction could be listed as north northwest (NNW) or as 327 degrees. It indicates that the waves are moving from the north northwest and heading southeast. If the report includes an arrow marker, it will point to the southeast.
    • The coastline determines how the swell direction affects the waves. If you're facing east from the coast of Florida, for instance, a swell coming from the east produces bigger waves. If you're facing south from another part of the coast, the waves won't be as strong.
  4. Check the tide height to see how it changes throughout the day. Most reports track the changing tide, listing it in feet or meters. The tide affects the way the waves move, but it's very easy to track. There are 2 high tides and 2 low tides at different times every day. These will be listed on the tide graph so you can use them in case they affect the water condition at the beach.[4]
    Read Surf Reports Step 4.jpg
    • In general, the best time to be in the water is at medium or high tide. During these times, more water flows toward the beach. A low tide could expose sand bars, sharp rocks, reefs, and other obstacles.
    • If you're planning on surfing, the best time depends on the particular spot you're visiting. Spend time near the water as the tides change or ask an experienced surfer about the best times.
  5. Note that tides are bigger during new and full moons. The moon cycles through phases as it travels around the Earth. When the moon is completely in front of or behind the Earth, the tides are much stronger than usual. That means much more water at high tide and much less at low tide. During other times, the tides are much less distinguishable.[5]
    Read Surf Reports Step 5.jpg
    • Surfers can take advantage of this by going out for a strong high tide and avoiding a severe low tide. When the moon isn't in its new or full phase, low tide isn't quite as severe, so the water conditions may still be worth checking out.
    • Moon phases are not always listed on surf reports, so you may need to check separate weather or moon phase trackers for more information. Another option is to track the tides on surf reports to see how the highs and lows change daily.

[Edit]Looking for Wind and Weather Conditions

  1. Check the wind speed to see how fast the wind is blowing. The wind measurements follow the surf measurements, although many reports place them in a separate, labeled section. Wind speed is often listed as a nautical measurement called knots, which equals about per hour. A lower wind speed often leads to larger, smoother waves.[6]
    Read Surf Reports Step 6.jpg
    • The ideal wind speed is often between per hour. A light wind coming from the shore causes bigger waves. If the wind is too strong, you will have a harder time paddling toward the waves.
    • Strong winds can create choppy waves, especially when you're close to the shore.
    • Some reports also list wind gusts. The wind speed is the average speed, but gusts are short bursts when the wind blows at a much higher speed. Gusts can cause the waves to become more unpredictable.
  2. Note the wind direction to see if it is blowing out toward the water. The wind direction is indicated as an arrow, although it can also be shown through an abbreviated direction or degrees. The wind direction tells you which way the wind is going, which could be toward or away from the shore. When there is little to no wind, the waves tend to be much smoother and higher than normal. Ideally, surfers want the wind to be blowing out from the shore so it hits the water and creates bigger waves.[7]
    Read Surf Reports Step 7.jpg
    • The direction of the wind is an important factor determining what kind of waves you see at the beach. If the wind blows directly at the shore, the waves will be smaller and choppier than normal. If the wind blows out toward the water, then the waves will be longer.
  3. Note the rain and other weather conditions at the beach. Other than the swell readings, surf reports resemble any standard weather forecast. The weather conditions are often depicted as symbols. Expect sunny conditions when the report shows a sun and an overcast day when you see clouds. The reports also show conditions like rain and track the weather at night.[8]
    Read Surf Reports Step 8.jpg
    • Although the weather conditions affect waves, that effect is often noticeable in the swell report. Use the weather forecast as confirmation and for your own enjoyment at the beach.
  4. Read the forecast to figure out the expected average temperature. The temperature is typically listed underneath or next to the weather conditions. The temperature is an estimate, so take it to mean that temperatures at the beach will be near or around what you see listed. Each listing will include a single temperature.[9]
    Read Surf Reports Step 9.jpg
    • Reports are broken down hour by hour. If you're trying to anticipate what the weather will be like later on in the day, check each hour to see what changes.
  5. Look for times indicating how much daylight to expect at the beach. Many reports track light conditions on a day to day basis. If you have a report with this information, it will list first light, sunrise, sunset, and last light. Visibility begins increasing at first light until night completely sets in at last light.[10]
    Read Surf Reports Step 10.jpg
    • This measurement doesn't affect the waves, so it's more about visibility. You can use it to determine how well you would be able to see if you head out to the beach.



  • There are many different, reliable websites that issue surf reports. The reports are free to access and all contain the same basic information, even though some may look different from one another.
  • Remember that the surf conditions change a lot depending on where you are. Waves can be different even at different places on the same beach because of many factors, including swell direction and obstructions like offshore islands.
  • Most surf reports list how conditions change throughout the day, usually by measuring them at different times. Some reports operate like a 7-day weather forecast that lets you preview conditions days in advance.
  • Waves are strongest when they are generated off the coast, which is called groundswell. Local winds at the beach can generate waves, but wind swell isn't as good for surfing.


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How to Stay Focused

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 08:00 AM PST

Staying focused can help you accomplish a variety of professional and personal tasks, from studying for a test to finishing your work an hour early. There are various practical steps you can take to help yourself focus better and to stop checking your Facebook or phone every fifteen minutes. To stay focused on the task ahead of you, resist the impulse to give in to distractions, make a to-do list (which has built-in breaks) and resist the temptation to multi-task.


[Edit]Getting Organized for Better Focus

  1. Organize your workspace. Whether you're doing work in your office or studying at home, having a clean space can help you focus and get your work done with much more concentration. Remove anything that can distract you from your work and isn't relevant to the task. Clean off your desk to include only the things you need to work, leaving just a few photos or mementos to help you relax a bit.
    Stay Focused Step 1 Version 13.jpg
    • If you spend just ten minutes cleaning your space at the end of every day, you'll be able to maintain your new organized lifestyle.
    • If you don't need your phone to do your work, put it away for a few hours. Don't let it clutter your space and distract you.
  2. Make a to-do list. Making a to-do list at the beginning of every day or week can make you feel more focused and motivated to continue your work. If you make a list of all the things you have to do, no matter how small, you will feel more accomplished when you check those items off your list and move on to the next task. This will also keep you focused on one task at a time.[1]
    Stay Focused Step 2 Version 13.jpg
    • Prioritize your tasks. Put the most important or hardest tasks first. It's better to save the easier or more manageable tasks for the end of the day, when you're more tired and less compelled to complete the hardest tasks. If you put off the hard tasks until the last minute, you'll be dreading getting them done all day.
    • For example, a to-do list could contain: "Call mom. Order cake for kid's birthday. Call the doctor back. Post office @ 2 pm."
  3. Give yourself a time limit for each task. Managing your time goes hand in hand with making a to-do list. Next to each item on the list, write about how long it'll take you to accomplish each task. Be realistic about this estimate. Then, try to complete each task within the confines of each time limit. This will make you less likely to slack off or text your friend for an hour instead of actually getting anything done.[2]
    Stay Focused Step 3 Version 13.jpg
    • You can break up more time-consuming tasks with shorter, easier tasks. That way you won't be overwhelming by too many tough tasks in a row. You can think of the shorter tasks as a mini-reward.
    • For example, you could write: "Make coffee: 5 minutes. Answer emails: 15 minutes. Staff meeting: 1 hour. Type meeting notes: 30 minutes. Edit reports: 2 hours."
  4. Make time for breaks during the day. Though it may sound counter-intuitive to plug relaxation into your daily schedule, this form of organization will actually help you stay focused. You should take at least a 5-10 minute break for every hour of work, or a 3-5 minute break for every half hour of work. This will help you get more motivated to finish the task, give you a break to rest your eyes, and will give you some time to transition your mind to the next task ahead.[3]
    Stay Focused Step 4 Version 14.jpg
    • You can even set a timer to go off after every half hour or hour of work, signaling that you should take a break. If you're really "in the zone" you can skip one of the breaks, but don't make it a habit.
    • If you have a smartphone, you can also use an app like Pomodoro to schedule your workday with built-in breaks.
  5. Take breaks in a place where you won't be distracted. The break won't help relax your mind if you're still checking work emails, for example. So, get up during some of your breaks. Look out the window, take a short walk outside, or just walk up five flights of stairs to get your blood pumping. These short breaks will make you more invigorated to return to work.[4]
    Stay Focused Step 5 Version 13.jpg
    • For example, you can set a goal to read for thirty minutes over the course of three hours. Taking a break to rest your eyes from the screen and finish the chapter of a book will make you more motivated to finish your tasks.

[Edit]Improving Your Focus

  1. Improve your focus stamina. Though you may think that you'll always be easily distracted, anyone can improve his or her focus with a little motivation. All you have to do is pick a given task, and give yourself 30 minutes to work on only that task without any distractions—without even getting up. Keep going and see how long you can build up your focus stamina.[5]
    Stay Focused Step 6 Version 13.jpg
    • After a couple weeks, once you've become adept at focusing for 30 minutes, see if you can extend that focus time by 5, or even by 10 minutes.
    • Though you should take a break at least every hour, learning to focus for longer will make it easier for you to complete the tasks ahead and to focus for even a shorter period of time.
  2. Don't procrastinate on tasks that you need to complete. Avoid delaying any of your activities by leaving things to be done for tomorrow, next week, or next month. Rather, have them done now and move on to the next project.[6]
    Stay Focused Step 7 Version 13.jpg
    • For example, if you know you need to call a particularly difficult client this week, don't put it off until Friday afternoon. Make the call on Monday or Tuesday morning, and it won't be hanging over your head for the rest of the week.
    • Regularly giving in to procrastination will ruin your focus and severely decrease your productivity.
  3. Multi-task less to enhance your focus. Many people incorrectly think that multi-tasking is great because it allows you to accomplish a variety of tasks at once. To the contrary, multi-tasking actually confuses your brain and slows you down, keeping you from being fully engaged in any one task. Every time you switch back and forth between two tasks, you'll have to slightly reset your mind, which will slow you down.[7]
    Stay Focused Step 8 Version 13.jpg
    • This is where the to-do list comes in handy: it will make you more motivated to finish your tasks one at a time.
  4. Avoid online distractions. Distractions are the enemies of focus and make concentration all but impossible. If you want to be able to focus fully, then you have to know how to avoid a variety of distractions. There are several types of distractions you'll need to train yourself to avoid.[8]
    Stay Focused Step 9 Version 13.jpg
    • To avoid online distractions, aim to have as few Internet tabs open as possible. The more tabs you have open, the more you'll be multi-tasking and the more likely you'll be to get distracted. Give yourself five minutes every 2 hours to check your email, Facebook, or any other social networking sites that you can't live without. Then, stay off the sites until the next 2 hours have passed.
  5. Avoid physical distractions. Whether you're working in an office, a library, or at your own home, try not to get distracted by other people. Don't let others throw you off task, whether they're people in your study group, your colleagues, or a friend who is always asking for favors. Put the personal stuff off until after you get your work done, and you'll get your work done faster and will be able to enjoy personal engagements more.[9]
    Stay Focused Step 10 Version 11.jpg
    • Also don't get distracted by your surroundings. If you're in a loud environment, listen to calming music or invest in some noise-cancelling headphones. Though you may be tempted to look around and see what everyone else is up to, allow yourself to only look up every 10 minutes or so to stay focused.
    • Work in a productive environment like a coffee shop or library. Seeing others being productive can help you focus on your own productivity.[10]
    • Listen to classical music or nature sounds through headphones to help improve your focus. Avoid music with lyrics since they may be distracting.[11]
  6. Take a few deep breaths to settle your mind and help you focus. If you feel stressed, irritable, or over-stimulated while working, sit back and shut your eyes. Take 3 to 5 deep, full breaths. The increase in oxygen will stimulate your brain, making it easier to focus on whatever task is in front of you.[12]
    Stay Focused Step 11 Version 10.jpg
    • If you have time, you can turn the 3 to 5 breaths into a longer breathing session. Over your lunch break, for example, sit or lay down and focus on deep breathing for 15 minutes.
    • Accept the task that you need to get done. Resisting a task will make it more difficult.[13]
  7. Chew a piece of gum. Studies have shown that chewing a piece of gum can temporarily increase your focus. Chewing gum increases the amount of oxygen that your brain receives, which in turn helps you focus.[14]
    Stay Focused Step 12 Version 10.jpg
    • If you don't like gum, try eating a healthy snack, which can have the same effect as gum. Eat a handful of nuts or a few carrot sticks.
  8. Avoid too much caffeine. Though one cup of coffee or one cup of tea a day can help you feel a bit more energized and ready to start your work day, if you have too much caffeine, it can make you too hyped up to focus, or even jittery or shaky after a few hours. Resist the urge to pour yourself a full cup of coffee each time you need help focusing.[15]
    Stay Focused Step 13 Version 10.jpg
    • It's better to stay hydrated and drink just one cup of tea a day than to fill your system with so much caffeine that you feel too jumpy to get anything done.
  9. Look at a faraway object for 20 seconds. Most of us work on a computer or at a desk, and typically look at objects from a distance of . This can strain your eyes, causing some discomfort and reducing your focus. So, give your eyes a break by looking at a faraway object for a few seconds. Your eyes—and your mindset—should be able to focus better when you return to your computer screen.[16]
    Stay Focused Step 14 Version 9.jpg
    • Try following the 20-20-20 rule: each time 20 minutes passes, devote 20 seconds to looking at something that's about away.

[Edit]Staying Motivated when Trying to Focus

  1. Remind yourself of what you're working towards. Having a goal in mind will give you motivation to finish your work, and you'll be more successful at staying focused.[17] Part of the reason we lose focus is because we can't see the point of whatever task we have to get done and would rather be doing something else.
    Stay Focused Step 15 Version 9.jpg
    • For example, if you're studying, remind yourself why it's important. It may not be important for you to ace 1 quiz or test, but it is important for you to succeed in the course that will factor in your quiz or test grade, and it is important for you to get good grades so you can graduate.
    • Or, if you're doing work, remind yourself why your work is important. If the work is a means to an end, remind yourself of all the things you can buy because of the work, or about all of the fun things you can do once your work day is over.
  2. Pinpoint a specific goal you can work towards. It's easy to get bogged down in a distracting series of small tasks if you're not working towards a single, large goal. When you have a goal to work towards, it can be the carrot at the end of the stick that makes the task worth doing.[18]
    Stay Focused Step 16 Version 9.jpg
    • So, what is your goal for completing your task? Is it to simply get done with the work or school day, to save up enough money to buy a boat, or to advance your career?
    • For example, your goal could also be just to clean your whole house so you can throw a fun party, or to run for 40 minutes without giving up so you can be in better shape.
  3. Repeat or write down a "focus mantra." When you know exactly what your purpose and goal are, you can create a focus mantra that you repeat to yourself whenever you get distracted. It can be just a simple phrase that you repeat when you're getting sidetracked that helps get you back in order. If repeating this out loud would be make you feel awkward, try writing your mantra down on a sticky note and sticking it on your desk.
    Stay Focused Step 17 Version 9.jpg
    • Your mantra could be something like, "No more Facebook and no more texting until I get my work done. When I get my work done, I'll be ready to ace the chemistry test, and when I ace the chemistry test, I'll get an A in the class!"

[Edit]Expert Advice

Follow these tips for staying focused at work:

  • Keep a time tracking log. Every half hour, stop and make a record of what you did. At the end of the week, look at your time log and determine how much of your time is spent where you need it. You might see that you spend too much time surfing the internet. Make changes from there.
  • Do what you're good at. You're more likely to stay focused when you're working on something you're good at and enjoy doing. Then, if you can, delegate the tasks you're not good at to someone else. Usually, the stuff you're not good at is the tasks you struggle to focus on.
  • Download time management apps. There are a lot of different apps to help you stay focused. Try apps that block the internet so that you're not tempted to surf the web, and you're not distracted by incoming emails. You can also find a lot more focusing tips throughout the internet.
  • Find the best environment for you. Some people need total silence while others work better with soft music in the background. Use trial and error to find the best environment to keep you focused.


  • If you find yourself losing focus often, and if you feel like you waste time during the day, try using a time log. Create a time log to see and understand how you spend your time.
  • If you're discouraged about the number of tasks you don't complete during the day, try making a track record of tasks you have done and tasks you have failed to do. Try to increase the number of successful tasks. This will motivate you to stay focused on the tasks at hand more than other things that may distract you.
  • If you're looking to step up your to-do lists, try separating your to-do list into three lists: things to do that day, things to do the next day, and things to do that week. If you finish the tasks for that day but have some time left over, you can move on to the next set of tasks.
  • Do what you can to sleep and eat at the proper times. Avoid studying too late at night.

[Edit]Related wikiHows


[Edit]Quick Summary

How to Make Au Gratin Potatoes

Posted: 27 Feb 2020 12:00 AM PST

If you enjoy scalloped potatoes but want a rich cheesy topping, make au gratin potatoes. Layers of thinly sliced potatoes cooked in a baking dish or slow cooker with heavy cream or a rich cheese sauce over them, sprinkled with cheese until the potatoes are tender and the topping is bubbly. For a sophisticated flavor, you can also sauté sliced fennel with onion to layer in between the potatoes. Top the gratin with Gruyère cheese and cook it until the cheese is browned. The instructions tell you exactly how to make this delicious side dish or light meal.


[Edit]Au Gratin Potatoes with Gruyère

  • 2½ pounds (1.1 kg) yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) butter
  • 1½ cups (355 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoons (0.5 g) freshly grated nutmeg
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 ounces (85 g) Gruyère cheese, shredded

Makes 6 servings

[Edit]Slow Cooker Au Gratin Potatoes

  • 5 to 6 potatoes
  • ½ cup (75 g) onion, minced
  • 3 tablespoons (42 g) butter
  • 3 tablespoons (24 g) flour
  • 2 cups (475 ml) milk
  • 4 ounces (115 g) smoked gouda, shredded
  • 4 ounces (115 g) sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons (15 g) parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Makes 4 to 6 servings

[Edit]Potato-Fennel Gratin

  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 small fennel bulbs
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the dish
  • 4 Russet potatoes
  • 2 cups (475 ml) plus 2 tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups (270 g) grated Gruyère cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) kosher salt

Makes 10 servings


[Edit]Au Gratin Potatoes with Gruyère

  1. Preheat the oven to and grease a baking dish. Get out a 9 x 12-inch (22 x 30-cm) baking dish and rub 1 tablespoon of butter over the bottom and insides to prevent the potatoes from sticking. Set the dish aside while you prepare the potatoes.[1]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 1 Version 7.jpg
  2. Peel and soak the potatoes. Rinse 2½ pounds (1.1 kg) of yukon gold potatoes and peel the skins. Discard the potato peels and place the peeled potatoes into a large bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water and let the potatoes soak while you make the cream sauce.[2]

    • Soaking the potatoes will prevent them from becoming discolored as they sit.
  3. Heat the cream, milk, nutmeg, and salt. Pour 1½ cups (355 ml) of heavy cream into a saucepan along with 1 cup (240 ml) of whole milk, ¼ teaspoons (0.5 g) of freshly grated nutmeg, 1 1/2 teaspoons (8 g) of salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Turn the burner to medium and stir the liquid occasionally until it starts to bubble around the edges. Turn off the burner.[3]

  4. Slice the potatoes -thick. Lift the soaked potatoes out of the bowl of water and set them on a cutting board. Use a mandolin or a knife to slice each potato into -thick slices. Pour the water out of the bowl and wipe it dry with a kitchen towel. Pat the potato slices dry and place them into the bowl.[4]

  5. Mix the potato slices with the cream mixture. Once you've sliced all of the potatoes and put them in the bowl, slowly pour the warm cream mixture over the slices. Use your hands or a spoon to toss the potatoes in the mixture so they're completely coated.[5]

    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 5 Version 7.jpg
  6. Transfer the potato mixture to the dish and sprinkle the cheese on top. Use the spoon to push the potato slices down. This way the cream should cover most of the potato slices. Scatter 3 ounces (85 g) of shredded Gruyère cheese evenly over the top of the potatoes.[6]

    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 6 Version 7.jpg
  7. Bake the au gratin potatoes for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Place the baking dish in the center rack of the preheated oven. Set a baking sheet on the rack that's underneath it to catch any drips. Bake the potatoes until they're soft when you insert and remove a fork. The cream mixture should bubble and the cheese will brown once it's finished cooking.[7]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 7 Version 7.jpg
    • If the potatoes are still firm, cook them for 15 minutes and check them again.
  8. Serve the au gratin potatoes. Turn off the oven and let the au gratin potatoes sit for 5 to 10 minutes before you serve them. This will make it easier to handle them and the liquid will thicken a little as it cools. Serve the au gratin potatoes with sliced ham, greens, or roasted vegetables.[8]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 8 Version 7.jpg
    • Store the leftover au gratin potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

[Edit]Slow Cooker Au Gratin Potatoes

  1. Grease the slow cooker. Spray the bottom and inside walls of a slow cooker with cooking spray. If you don't have cooking spray, you can rub butter to grease the slow cooker. This will prevent the potatoes from sticking.[9]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 9 Version 7.jpg
    • You'll need to use a slow cooker that's at least 4-quarts (3.8 liters) in size.
  2. Peel and slice the potatoes. Rinse 5 to 6 potatoes and use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel. Use a sharp knife to slice the potatoes into slices.[10]

  3. Layer the potato slices with minced onion. Spread a layer of potato slices in the bottom of the slow cooker and sprinkle about 1/4 cup (37 g) of minced onions over it. Sprinkle salt and pepper according to your taste over the layer. Spread the rest of the potato slices evenly in the slow cooker and top them with the remaining 1/4 cup (37 g) of minced onions.[11]

  4. Cook the butter with the flour to make a roux. Place 3 tablespoons (42 g) of butter into a saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Once the butter melts, stir in 3 tablespoons (24 g) of flour and cook it for 1 minute. Stir the roux constantly so it thickens and becomes pale.[12]

  5. Whisk in the milk and cook the sauce for 3 to 5 minutes. Keep the heat on medium and slowly whisk in 2 cups (475 ml) of milk. Continue to whisk and cook the sauce until it thickens a little.[13]

    • Avoid boiling the sauce or it will curdle and burn on the bottom.
  6. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheeses. Use a spoon to stir in 4 ounces (115 g) of shredded smoked gouda, 4 ounces (115 g) of shredded sharp cheddar, and 3 tablespoons (15 g) of grated parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheeses are dissolved in the sauce.[14]

  7. Pour the cheese over the potatoes and turn the slow cooker on to HIGH. The cheese sauce should almost cover the potatoes. Put the lid on the slow cooker and turn it on to HIGH.[15]

  8. Cook the potatoes on HIGH for 2 to 3 hours then on LOW for 1 hour. Change the heat back to HIGH and cook the potatoes for 2 to 3 hours so they're completely soft. Turn the slow cooker to LOW and cook them for 1 more hour.[16]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 16 Version 6.jpg
    • The total cooking time will be 3 to 4 hours.
  9. Serve the slow cooker au gratin potatoes. Turn off the slow cooker and take the lid off. Serve the hot au gratin potatoes with roast beef, steamed vegetables, or rolls. Store the leftover potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.[17]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 17 Version 6.jpg

[Edit]Potato-Fennel Gratin

  1. Preheat the oven to and grease a baking dish. Get out a 10 x 15-inch (25 x 38-cm) baking dish and rub about 1 tablespoon (14 g) of butter over the inside. Greasing the baking dish will keep the potatoes from sticking.[18]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 18 Version 6.jpg
  2. Trim the fennel bulbs and slice them. Take 2 small fennel bulbs and cut off the stalks that poke out from the bulbs. Use a sharp knife to cut the bulbs in half lengthwise. Use a paring knife to cut out and remove the hard cores from each bulb. Slice the fennel bulbs into thin slices.[19]

    • You should have about 4 cups (348 g) of sliced fennel.
  3. Sauté the fennel with the sliced onion for 15 minutes. Put 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil and 1 tablespoon (14 g) of unsalted butter into a saucepan and turn the burner on to medium-low. Stir in the sliced fennel and 1 thinly sliced yellow onion. Sauté the vegetables and stir them occasionally until they're soft and translucent.[20]

  4. Peel and slice 4 potatoes. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the Russets. Set them on a cutting board and cut them into slices. If you prefer, you can use a mandoline to evenly slice the potatoes. Transfer the potato slices to a large mixing bowl.[21]

    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 21 Version 6.jpg
  5. Toss the potato slices with cream, cheese, salt, and pepper. Pour 2 cups (475 ml) of the heavy cream over the potato slices and add 2 cups (216 g) of the grated Gruyère cheese. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon (5 g) of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) of freshly ground black pepper in the mixing bowl. Use a large spoon to toss the ingredients until they're combined.[22]

  6. Stir in the sautéed vegetables and transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Mix in the sautéed fennel and onion so it's combined with the seasoned potato slices. Scoop the mixture into the greased baking dish and push down on the potatoes so they're submerged in liquid.[23]

  7. Mix and scatter the rest of the cream and cheese over the potatoes. Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of heavy cream into a small mixing bowl. Add the remaining 1/2 cup (54 g) of grated Gruyère cheese and stir until they're combined. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the potatoes in the baking dish.[24]

  8. Bake the potato-fennel gratin for 1 hour and 30 minutes. The potatoes should become completely soft and the cheese on the top will melt and bubble. Insert a fork to see if the potatoes have cooked enough. If the potatoes are too firm, cook the gratin for another 15 minutes and check again.[25]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 25 Version 6.jpg
  9. Rest the gratin for 10 minutes and serve it. Turn off the oven and remove the baking dish from the oven. Let the potato-fennel gratin sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. This will help the cheese set and the sauce firm up before you dish it onto serving plates. Serve the gratin with roasts, glazed vegetables, or crusty rolls.[26]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 26 Version 6.jpg
    • Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

[Edit]Things You'll Need

[Edit]Au Gratin Potatoes with Gruyère

  • 9 x 12-inch (22 x 30-cm) baking dish
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Saucepan
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Spoon
  • Large bowl
  • Fork
  • Baking sheet

[Edit]Slow Cooker Au Gratin Potatoes

  • Slow cooker at least 4-quarts (3.8 liters) in size
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Saucepan
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Spoon
  • Whisk

[Edit]Potato-Fennel Gratin

  • 10 x 15-inch (25 x 38-cm) baking dish
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Paring knife
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Mandoline, optional
  • Small bowl
  • Spoon


[Edit]Quick Summary


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