This potato recipe is adapted from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s recipe. As usual, for me, a recipe for me is a mere suggestion and this one was no exception. I changed it to make it my own. In fact, it was so good that I made it twice within a one-week period. Both times I used different cheeses. Any cheese that melts well would work great in this recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Cheesy, Creamy Hasselback Potato Gratin
This is a great recipe to play around with, substituting different ingredients such as different types of cheese and different herbs. It will also work if you'd rather use all Half & Half rather than cream or any combination of all cream or cream and Half & Half. Have fun with it.
- 2.5 ounces Fontina Cheese – Finely Grated
- 2 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese – Finely Grated
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 1/3 cup Half & Half
- 1 Medium Garlic Clove – minced
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves – Roughly Chopped
- 1/8 Teaspoon Nutmeg – Grated
- 1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 ½ pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes – Sliced 1/8-inch thick using a mandolin slicer
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Combine the grated cheeses into a large bowl.
- Remove and reserve 1/3 of the grated cheese in a small bowl (to be used later)
- Butter a 1-quart casserole dish.
- Add the heavy cream, half & half, garlic, thyme, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, and pepper to the large bowl with the cheese and mix together.
- Place the potato slices into the cheese and cream mixture and toss around with your hands to get all of the potato slices coated with the mixture.
- Stack the potato slices like a deck of cards and begin placing them into the casserole dish, standing them on their end. Here you can get creative and create your own design with the rows of potatoes.
- Pour the remaining cream mixture over the potatoes.
- Cover the casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the aluminum foil from the dish and continue to bake for 30 more minutes, or until the potatoes are pale golden brown.
- Carefully remove the dish from the oven. Sprinkle the reserved grated cheese over the top of the potatoes. Place them back into the oven and bake for 30 more minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow the dish to rest for about 15 minutes before serving.
Because I love to cook, Larry and I eat at home most of the time. However, we do go out to dinner for special occasions. Last Saturday was such an evening. We enjoyed an early Valentine’s Day dinner at the Michelin-starred restaurant, Oceana . The dinner party was graciously hosted by Lynne Ryan of Chefs To Dine For. Lynne has a passion for bringing together like-minded people who enjoy a sophisticated dining experience. And this one was a Valentine’s dinner to remember—a magical night.
The evening started off with drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the bar—and Chef Ben Pollinger even came out of the kitchen to mingle with our group. At one of Lynne’s dinner parties, you not only get to meet fascinating food lovers, you also get to meet the executive chef. Chef Pollinger could not have been more warm and welcoming of the Valentine revelers. Chef Pollinger took our group—wine glasses in hand—on a behind-the-scenes look at his culinary wonderland, a VIP tour of the kitchen.
Watching the staff prepare and plate such wonderful seafood made me (and the rest of the group, I’m sure) eager to get to the meat of the evening—a beautiful three-course dinner paired with great wines. We all made our way to the private dining room with great anticipation of the delights that lay ahead. Upon settling into our seats, Lynne welcomed the guests and officially introduced Chef Ben Pollinger, who made everyone feel welcome. Lynne offered a toast, as the wine started flowing and the first course was set before us. From the first bite of the Meyer lemon risotto with crispy New Orleans shrimp and broccoli rabe, the reason Michelin honored Oceana with a coveted star was obvious. It was truly divine, as was the rest of the meal—steamed George’s Bank sole with baby artichoke barigoule and fingerling potatoes, followed by a decadent baked chocolate mousse with spiced pears and vanilla ice cream.
During the course of an evening filled with divine foods and fine wines, lively conversation led to budding new friendships. If you’re starting to feel left out, don’t. There’s another dinner coming up on March 4, 2012. In fact, the next event is sure to be another night to remember, but with a totally different twist—a beefsteak at Beacon. If you are not familiar with a beefsteak dinner, then you will definitely want to read about it on Garlandia, Larry Garland’s blog. After you read about the beefsteak, I’m sure you will want to jump right over to the Chefs To Dine For website and make a reservation to attend the Beacon dinner party.
I recently ran across this video from Saveur’s Todd Coleman in which he made chilaquiles. His recipe inspired me to make one of the Mexican dishes that I’ve yet to try. It is traditionally served for breakfast or brunch, but I decided to try it for dinner instead. In Todd’s video he said that it’s important to use good tortillas, so I decided to make my own instead of buying them. It turns out that making your own tortillas is pretty simple. It’s actually quite fun, though it can be a bit time consuming if you don’t, like me, have a tortilla press. Two of my heaviest cookbooks did some double duty as a tortilla press.
The beauty of this dish is that it can be reinvented in so many ways. It starts off with a base of roasted vegetables. I used tomatoes, onions, garlic, and jalapenos just as Todd used for his chilaquiles. Roasting the vegetables brings out the natural sugars in the vegetables and creates exquisite complex flavors.
- 2 cups masa harina
- 1 ¼ cups warm water
- Pinch of salt
- Canola Oil (for deep frying)
- Put the masa harina into a large bowl, add the salt and whisk to distribute the salt throughout. Add the water and mix until well blended. Add more water if the dough is too dry.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and knead for about 1 minute. Make 12 small balls of dough and cover them with a damp cloth.
- Take each ball of dough and press in a tortilla press between two pieces of parchment paper or, like me, use two heavy books to press the tortillas.
- Place the tortillas onto a hot griddle or a cast iron skillet, cook for about 1 minute on the first side, flip, cook for another minute or two, then flip it back over until done, about another 30 seconds or so.
- After all of the tortillas are done, quarter them and deep fry them in canola oil until lightly golden brown.
- 5 Tomatoes, cored and halved
- 2 Onions, quartered
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 1 Jalapeno, whole
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 lb. Chorizo or Italian Sausage
- ¾ cup Water
- 2 Tablespoons fresh Oregano
- 2 Tablespoons Sesame Seeds
- 2 Chipotle peppers
- 4 Radishes, thinly sliced
- Cotija (or any crumbly type cheese if you can’t find cotija) I used ricotta salata
- Place the tomatoes, onions, garlic, and jalapeno on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat the vegetables well. Place under a broiler for 7-10 minutes, or until they have charred and softened.
- Take chorizo or Italian sausage out of the casings and sauté.
- After the vegetables have finished cooking, place the tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapeno, water, oregano, sesames seeds, and chipotles in a blender and blend until this mixture is mixed well—as smooth or as chunky as you like—and then add this mixture to the cooked sausage.
- Add the fried tortillas to this mixture and cook until the tortillas are to your desired softness. Some people like them totally soft and others like them crunchier. You could also place the tortillas on a platter and then top with the vegetable mixture if you like your tortillas crunchy.
- Garnish with the radish, cotija, and chopped cilantro.