Thursday, December 30, 2010


Just so you know, my Christmas totally BIT; I was sicky sick sick in bed with a bronchitis-like crap in my lungs and a very high fever. Not only on Christmas Day, but the day after, too. I WAS feeling okay on Christmas morning, and we had a lovely and special breakfast of grapefruit (sent to us from Florida by a friend of my husband's), Ina Garten's easy sticky buns and some scrambled eggs. Had a great time sitting around the fire opening gifts and stockings and such. But then it hit--whoa! Mama needed to take to her bed, bigtime. And, to make matters even worse, I had NO appetite, whatsoever.

Which was really a bummer, because we had planned (and spent a lot of $$ on) a festive Christmas dinner. Big Daddy brought home a gorgeous beef tenderloin and some lovely and fresh organic Brussels sprouts. And I had found a recipe in Southern Living magazine, for a potato gratin that didn't look too intimidating, so I was excited to attempt it. Here's what it was supposed to look like

We really never eat like this, but hey, it's CHRISTMAS, for goodness sakes!

A decision was made (without my input) to postpone our Christmas dinner until later on in the week, when I would hopefully be feeling better. Poor Egan and Abbie dined on a pretty boring pasta instead. BUT, a few Zithromax and lots of rest later, and I'm baaaaaack! So last night, an ordinary Wednesday night, we went ahead and prepared the much anticipated feast, and invited Abbie's friend over to share it with us.

Just so you know, Southern Living is my favorite cooking magazine; their recipes are so "do-able", and I have never, ever cooked anything from their recipes that hasn't turned out just terrific. I know it's strange for a girl who lives about as North as one can live in the United States of America to subscribe to Southern Living, but hey, we like to travel around the south, so we actually use the magazine as a sort of travel planner.

The name "Gratin" sounds so much more intimidating than it really is. Doesn't it sound something like a souffle, where you spend hours preparing it, just to watch it all collapse in the oven? Well, a gratin is really just cheese, potatoes and a crust. Kind of like a potato pie. And man oh man (!) was this ever tasty---everyone really, really enjoyed it as a side dish for the beef. My only change in the recipe would be to add a little more seasoning to the potatoes--just additional salt and pepper is all.  As always, the recipe for this dish will be at the end of this post, but here's pretty much what you need to get started:

Some sweet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, Gruyere cheese, heavy cream and a refrigerated pair of pie crusts.

You're also going to need some fresh snipped Rosemary, but if you can't find any this time of year, you could always substitute a couple of teaspoons of dried:

Grate 2 cups of delicious Gruyere cheese, and try not to nibble!:

Lay out one pie crust and sprinkle it with the Rosemary, a little cheese and some pepper, then cover it with the second pie crust, like this:

You"ll want to roll out the two layers of pie crust to about a 13 inch circle:

Then you're going to transfer this into a 9 inch springform (cheesecake) pan. Press into the bottom and sides, like so:

So far, so easy, right? While you're chilling the pan, you can get busy peeling and thinly slicing your potatoes. A good peeler makes ALL the difference in this chore:

Next, all you hafta do is layer the potatoes and cheese in the pan, and pour a nice cup of cream (flavored with fresh garlic!) over the whole shabang. It should all come out looking something like this:

What's not to LOVE?? Mine is a little bit wider and flatter than the magazine's, so maybe next time I'll use a smaller pan. But whatever--everyone oooh'd and aaaah'd over it, and Egan even had some leftovers for breakfast this morning! Great success.

Serves 10

1 (14.1) oz. package refrigerated piecrusts
1 tblsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 cups (8oz.) shredded Gruyere cheese, divided
1 1/2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes
1 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes
1 tsp. kosher salt (I would seriously double this)
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 garlic clove, minced
Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Unroll piecrusts on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle rosemary, pepper and 1/2 cup cheese over 1 piecrust; top with remaining piecrust. Roll into a 13-inch circle. Press on bottom and up sides of a 9 inch springform pan; fold edges under. Chill. Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice Yukon gold and sweet potatoes. Layer one-third ecah of Yukon gold potatoes, sweet potatoes, and salt in prepared crust. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layers twice, pressing layers down slightly to fit. Microwave cream and garlic in a 1 cup microwave-safe measuring cut at HIGH for 45 seconds; pour over potato layers in pan. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Cover pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 25 minutes or until potatoes are done and crust is richly browned. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully transfer to a serving plate, and remove sides of pan. If desired, carefully slide gratin off bottom of pan using a long knife or narrow spatula. Garnish, if desired.



  1. Yum yum yum. If I wasn't always on a diet (due to my earlier glutinous lifestyle) I would make this today! And eat 3 big pieces! However, it is a keeper and it shall go into my huge recipe file, awaiting the day I can invite lots of people over to eat it! M.O.M.

  2. Soooooo delicious looking! Forget diets, I will just try it. Thanks, dear!! Glad you are feeling better!

  3. Happy New Year! So glad you're feeling better!

  4. Glad you are blogging! You featured my Filled Strawberries in your S & S column this year, and we enjoy your weekly column. We served a similar potato gratin at our monthly "gourmet group" dinner, but I like the presentation with the pie crust better. I am your newest follower. Have fun!