Category Archives: Dinner

Comfort Sundays

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Cheese is comfort right?

If you know me, you’ll know I keep a list a mile long. There just isn’t enough time to do, see, and cook everything! I have a hard time slowing down, a hard time focusing on just one thing, and a hard time not feeling like I’m missing out on something else. Until I suddenly slam to a stop because I’ve overdone it, and then nothing gets done, we eat popcorn, and my list (not being checked off during said down time) grows ever longer.

So in an effort to find some more balance and to feel like I’m being creative and cooking, I’ve decided to instigate Comfort Sundays. This involves (mostly) us picking and making a from-scratch, home-cooked real dinner on Sundays. These meals can be a more more fancy, a bit more labour intensive and will (hopefully) lead to trying out some new recipes (and a feeling of accomplishment.)

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This potato gratin kicked off Comfort Sundays. It was something I had bookmarked a while ago, but hadn’t had time to make. I was attracted to the recipe because it promised scalloped potatoes with less effort!

It did not disappoint! In fact, it may have stolen the show right out from under the nose of the ribs that we made to go it…. Now that’s something!

It is SO easy to make. It doesn’t need too many ingredients and things can definitely be swapped in and out. I read that you could swap in celery root, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash for half the taters. We didn’t. But I would when I make it again!

Rub ‘er down with butter and garlic

Layered and sprinkled

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Drenched and filled

So… You cut your potatoes thinly (You could use a mandolin but I’ve yet to be converted to wanting to drag out an appliance I don’t fully understand AND will need to wash. A sharp knife did just fine). Butter your dish. Layer your potatoes overlapping them. After each layer, add salt, pepper, nutmeg and thyme. I had enough for three (four?? I can’t remember…) layers. Then add equal parts stock (I used chicken, you can use any kind), and heavy cream. Top with cheese and bits of butter. Bake. Eat. Moan.

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Grate some great cheese

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Assembled and ready to bake

Cheery Cheesy Potato Gratin
Recipe via Alexandra’s Kitchen and originally Chez Panisse Vegetables (A book I’m adding to my wishlist!)

You really can’t mess this up. I promise. As long as you have potatoes and enough liquid to cook them and cheese to top them and make them broily and bubbly and CHEESY, you’ll have dinner in 1.5 hrs. I love that this (to me…) delivers scalloped potatoes with half the fuss. Happy Eating!

Ingredients: 

  • unsalted butter
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 3 lbs. peeled potatoes (I used yellow potatoes)
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh thyme sprigs (leaves picked off)
  • nutmeg*
  • 1.5 cups (roughly) stock
  • 1.5 cups (roughly) heavy cream
  • 1 heaping cup grated Gruyere (or Swiss, or Comte) cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

*After discovering that you could grate. nutmeg. fresh. every. time. with just a microplane, I’ve never looked back. But use what you have!

Method:

  • Slice potatoes thinly
  • Butter your dish and rub a crushed garlic clove all around. If you love garlic, you can just leave the bits at the bottom of the pan.
  • Put a layer of potatoes down, overlapping them.
  • Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg.
  • Repeat layers, until all the potatoes are used up.
  • Pour in equal parts stock and heavy cream. It should come up to the top of the potatoes.
  • Sprinkle the top with your cheeses and dot with butter. (The dotting is optional)
  • Bake at 425ºF for 45 to 60 minutes. If the potatoes appear to brown too quickly at 40 minutes, cover them with foil and keep baking until they’re tender all the way through.

 

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