Cheesy, Creamy, Hasselback Potato Gratin

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.

Hasselback Potatoes


Cheesy, Creamy Hasselback Potato Gratin

Serving Size: 4

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


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine the grated cheeses into a large bowl.
  3. Remove and reserve 1/3 of the grated cheese in a small bowl (to be used later)
  4. Butter a 1-quart casserole dish.
  5. Add the heavy cream, half & half, garlic, thyme, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, and pepper to the large bowl with the cheese and mix together.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Pour the remaining cream mixture over the potatoes.
  9. Cover the casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove the aluminum foil from the dish and continue to bake for 30 more minutes, or until the potatoes are pale golden brown.
  11. 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.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow the dish to rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

Inspiration of the Day

I never know where inspiration will come from. A couple of weeks ago Larry asked me to read a short story by Jo Ann Beard titled Undertaker, Please Drive Slow. Jo Ann is a super talented writer and Larry was lucky to study under her at Sarah Lawrence College. The story is based on a true story of a woman who has terminal cancer and seeks out Dr. Jack Kevorkian to aid in her suicide once she feels the time is right. The story is poignant, well written, and I could not put it down once I started it.

There was one passage that spoke to me enough to inspire me to make a photograph of my vision of that scene. Here is the excerpt and the photo.

“The trees on her street vibrate in the afternoon sunlight, the dying leaves so brilliant that she somehow feels she’s never seen any of this before–fall, and the way the landscape can levitate with color, or even her simple cup of green tea in the afternoons, with milk and honey in a thick white mug. Warm. Her hand curled around it, or the newspaper folded beside it, or a halved orange on a blue plate sitting next to it. It’s all lovely beyond words, really.”

Tea with Milk, Honey, and Solitude



A Mixologist Visits Alvin & Friends Restaurant

Where is the crossroads of art in New Rochelle, NY? It’s at Alvin & Friends Restaurant. You’ll find it all there–music (jazz in particular), painting, culinary, and mixology. And you’ll also find the art of hospitality. When you walk in the front door of Alvin & Friends Restaurant in New Rochelle, NY you are greeted as though you just came home. Alvin or Gwen Clayton will throw up their arms and welcome you as though you are about to dine in their home. They did the same with mixologist, chef, author, and teacher, Arlen Gargagliano, when they invited her to guest bartend for ladies night on the evening of November 12, 2015. Arlen arrived with her own concoctions in tow with which she would mix flavorful drinks for the crowd. She mixed with rave reviews from the crowd. The cocktails she made can be found in her book, Calypso Coolers.

Alvin & Friends

There is always something special going on at Alvin & Friends and this night was certainly no exception. It was an evening filled with great libations by the talented Arlen Gargagliano with Alvin and Gwen providing super hospitality and Chef Raymond Jackson cooking up some soulful treats that mesh traditional southern American food with the Caribbean.