Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Cheese Please Scalloped Potatoes

    Traditionally I am not a fan of scalloped potatoes.  I think it's the sauce, I just don't like the white sauce.  I will make them on occasion for my family (when begged to do so).  I will not however eat them!  I feel a bit like the Doctor Seus character from Green Eggs and Ham.  "I will not eat scalloped potatoes here, I will not eat them there, I will not eat them anywhere!"

    My view of scalloped potatoes took a 360 after Elly was born.  Christopher's sister Cheri came for a visit.  She brought us M&M Meats.  She told us that she did not care to be "that" domestic, and why should she be when M&M Meats makes such delicious food.  Heck who am I to argue with her.  M&M Meats makes restaurant quality meals.  One of the things that she had brought for us were their Supreme Scalloped Potatoes.  I took perhaps two to be polite (planning to spit them into a napkin).  My mouth danced for joy.  These were not the scalloped potatoes I had come to expect, no these were like a little bite of creamy heaven!  "I will eat M&M Scalloped potatoes on a boat, I will eat them with a goat... O.K. you get it".
    From that day forward I set out to discover what makes those scalloped potatoes so delicious.  It's like I'm a food detective.  I have scoured my cookbooks, ladies magazines, the internet, all a dud.  Finally I took it upon myself to experiment.  Although not quite as good, these bad boys are actually really good.  Being the nice lady that I am, I have decided to share my scalloped potato saving discovery.
    The first thing that I do is begin with my sauce.  I melted 1/4 cup of butter in a sauce pan.  When it was melted, I added 1/2 an onion diced really finely (because my kids think they don't like onion, when in fact I put it in just about everything, but I chop it fine so they just don't know).  When the onion was soft, I added 2 table spoons of flour, and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper, and stirred like crazy.  Next came two cups of milk.  I whisked this over a medium heat until it was nice and thick, but not too thick.  Next I put in 1/4 cup of cream cheese, 1/4 cup of old cheddar cheese and the secret ingredient..... a brick of Maple Dale Cheese's Mediterranean Cheddar Cheese.  
I suppose that you could use another flavored cheese, but good golly Miss Molly!  The taste in and of itself is incentive enough, but if you need more incentive, it's a local cheese maker, an award winning local cheese maker.  When all of my beautiful cheeses were melted into a heavenly sauce I took the sauce off the element and began stage two.
   Stage two begins by taking out my stoneware lasagna dish (oh I love it) and spraying it with olive oil so that clean up will not be a nightmare.  When the pan is sprayed, I began to slice my potatoes, right into the dish.  I really love my mandolin.  It slices the potatoes thinly and effortlessly in seconds.  I love anything that gives me great results with minimal effort, but then, don't we all?   When I had sliced about a layer of potatoes, I poured some of the sauce over the top, just enough to cover them.  I repeated these steps until the pan was filled.  When my pan was filled I poured the last of the cheese sauce onto the top of the potatoes, and covered it with foil, then put it into my preheated 350 degree oven.
    I let this cook for about an hour.   At the hour mark I took the foil off the top and checked to see if the potatoes were tender yet.  I then poured a handful of old cheddar (by old I don't mean cheese I found in a dumpster, but rather the cheese strength, but if you want to use dumpster cheese, who am i to judge) cheese over the top of the dish and set it on broil for a few minutes.

    My experiment was a huge success!  The kids (and the biggest kid) ate the whole large dish of them that night, there were no left overs for dinner that night!  It was like watching a pack of hungry dogs as Christopher and the kids fought over the remaining potatoes.  I have not found the illusive M&M Meat's scalloped potato recipe, but I did create a huge hit, so I guess it was a success.

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