Posts Tagged ‘food’

It’s not a food blog…

…But this is some seriously good food.

Rob and I are a little sad right now. Our two children, Kelsey 17, Garrett 15, are in England right now visiting their aunt, uncle and cousins. Oh, and Paris. And some other stuff. Anyway, for six weeks, the lights of our lives are gone. We can Skype them, of course, and they’re having a blast; this is a golden opportunity I would never, ever deny them. But they’re not here. And I mean, Rob and I are the lights of each others’ lives, too, but I’m not an ebullient, amazing little singer with pink hair, and he’s not a super-witty gamer nerd who flails his arms when he gets excited. The house is lonely.

What do I do when I’m lonely? Or stressed, angry, sad, bothered by anything?

I cook. I cook a lot. I am my grandmother’s granddaughter, and my mother’s child. I love food. I love to present it. I love it when people go “Oh that’s good” and their eyes roll back in their heads a little. I think I love seeing people’s reactions to  my food more than I love eating it. Maybe. That could be a toss-up.

And though this recipe has never had an egg (or lamb, damn it–though it could, oh yes, absolutely it could) anywhere near it (until the end; you’ll see), it bears posting because it’s one of our favorites. It’s creamy, melty and smoky, with just enough meat to satisfy. It’s also NOT diet friendly. I have puttered with low-cal adaptations (fat-free sausage, low/nonfat cheese, skim milk), but if you’re going for comfort food, this is the stuff right here.

Notes: If you’re going to use bacon, I’d fry it up first and drain the grease. If you want a hit of extra umame, fry up whatever you’re using for meat first. Anything you get golden brown and a little crisp is going to add to the flavor. I was lazy, so no browning for me.

You could cut this recipe in half, but it wouldn’t feed the entire National Guard that way. Besides, this makes amazing leftovers. Also, I always forget there’s half an onion I didn’t use and then it goes bad.

Scalloped Potato Dinner:

2-3 lb (about 6-8) yellow potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 pound of your choice of pork and/or beef product (kielbasa, smoked sausage, bacon, those large Eckridge franks with the cheese inside, that stuff from Canada that is called “bacon” but is really made of lies, prosciutto, pancetta, ham), thinly sliced

Cheesy white sauce:

4 tbsp butter
6 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cups milk, heated almost to boiling
1 1/2 lb (that’s right, POUNDS) of good, sharp cheddar (about 6 cups), shredded
salt and pepper to taste

Oven preheated to 300F or slow cooker

Melt butter in a largeish pan until the sizzling stops. Stir in flour to make a paste and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Kill the heat and whisk in hot milk slowly. Continuing to whisk, heat sauce to a simmer. Slowly incorporate 3 cups of cheese, a small handful at a time, until melted and smooth. Add salt and pepper to

Random picture of a cat

Random picture of a cat

taste.

Into the bottom of your hopefully very massive slow cooker or dutch oven, ladle about a cup of sauce. Add a layer of potatoes (they can overlap a little at the edges, it’s not rocket science), a layer of onions, a scattering of meat, and a sprinkling of cheese. Continue layering in this way until you’re out of ingredients. I ended up at the top of my slow cooker with one more ladleful of sauce. Onto that I laid some prosciutto I had to use up; woe is me, and a final layer of cheese. Lid that bad boy and either set your slow cooker on low forever or on high for about 4 hours. When it’s done through, take off the lid and pop your cooker’s pot under your broiler for about 2-3 minutes. If you’re using the oven, be prepared to wait about 2, maybe 2 1/2 hours. Remove the lid the last 30 minutes and allow cheese to brown.

When you can easily push a butter knife all the way down through the potatoes, your cheese and meat bomb is done. Serve with some kind of vegetable or a salad, for Pete’s sake. Or do what we do and eat it with fried eggs for breakfast.

Oh, and the sheep still don’t like me. I sat out there the other day with a little scoop of grain about five feet from me. The b– er, Sarsaparilla had the nerve to actually stamp her foot at me because I wouldn’t go away. I could see irritation in her eyes. She wanted to kick me, but she was too much of a chicken–har–to try.

Next time, I will let the hens eat it in front of her face.

 

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