Friday, September 23, 2011

Summer Ends and Autumn Begins... Scalloped Potatoes with Beecher's Cheese

Welcoming Autumn in New England, where the Autumn colors dance in the wind as you drive by with a sigh.  Breathtaking!

Summer was absolutely fun this year with all my travel experiences.  I got to travel this summer to many places, but my most favorite was in Tegucigalpa, Honduras to visit an orphanage (N.P.H., Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos)  and I spent the most amazing time there with babies, children, teenagers, university students, grandparents, special needs kids and adults and all the volunteers that are called out by the name Tia's and Tio's, which is auntie's and uncles in Spanish.  My favorite time there, well, it was all great, but I did enjoy the kitchen of course.  I got to help cook with women that were wholeheartedly dedicated, happy and amazing women.  We cooked fresh corn tortillas daily, chicken soup with vegetables from the garden at the orphanage, beans and rice which are both a staple food in their daily diets and vegetable soups.  Feeding 500 people daily, three times a day, was a lot of work, but the joy in my heart being in a kitchen filled with women that truly enjoy their jobs and helping at the orphanage, was an incredible experience for me.  This is what true "unconditional love" is all about.  Breaking bread, well tortillas, with these women was a blessing daily. 

Another one of my favorite places this summer, was Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. My favorite restaurant there is Allium and Chef Lisa Nakamura, is an incredible chef de cuisine.  It's nice to live in Seattle, where you can do day trips to any of the San Juan Islands, ahh, the joys of the N.W.  Visit Allium at

As Autumn is here and we crave comfort food, our bodies feel the cold breeze coming in and we want a warm and healthy meal. This is a simple and delightful Scalloped Potato served in individual ramekins.

Scalloped Potatoes Sadie's Style

Serves 4 individual ramekins

4  medium red potatoes (1 per person)
1/2 cup grated or crumbled Beecher's cheese (this is a N.W. favorite, but you can substitute with your favorite cheese)
8 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (thyme, rosemary)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375*degrees
Wash and scrub potatoes clean; slice thinly (1/8 inch thick)
Prepare square ramekins (4 3/4” x 3/4”), by coating them with a light layer of butter.

Lay first layer of potatoes in an overlapping pattern in the ramekin dish.  In order, sprinkle salt, pepper and Italian Seasoning on potatoes.  Take about 1 tablespoon of grated cheese and sprinkle on first layer.
Repeat second layer as before.  Add 2 tablespoons of heavy cream to top layer and add leftover cheese on top.
Place ramekins on a sheet pan and bake uncovered for 35 minutes. 

Simple and delicious!

This recipe can be made one day ahead and reheated in the oven for 10 minutes at 400*degrees or in a microwave.  It also freezes well.  Another favorite in my house is the scalloped potato for breakfast.  If I make these the night before and cool them in the refrigerator; in the morning, I scramble 3 eggs with some cream and fill the ramekin until it reaches just below the lip of the ramekin. I place it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400*degrees and add a little sprinkle of cheese on top to brown.  It's delicious! 

Buon Appetito!