Since we are all at home and have plenty of time, I thought it would be a good time to make scalloped potatoes, and have enough for several meals if I put the extra portions in little tubs in the freezer.
The food processor makes a lot of the jobs easier, like slicing potatoes and onions and grating the cheese, but you can certainly do it with a knife if you don’t have a food processor.
I like to get all my ingredients ready before I start building the creation. Celery sliced fine, thin bits of ham, sliced potatoes, sliced onions, and grated cheese (I like to use Asiago in the middle for a zippy taste, and something that melts well – like cheddar or mozza on the top).
Don’t ask me how many potatoes. Maybe six? Seven? As many as it takes.
Butter a large casserole pan and put a layer of potatoes in the bottom.
Grind some pepper onto the potatoes but DO NOT put salt on if you are using ham. If you still crave more salt when it is done you can always sprinkle a bit on at the table.
Layer the onion, ham, cheese and celery in the pan. I ended up with one layer of celery and two of ham, probably three of potatoes, with Asiago in one of the middle layers. Arrange it any way you like. It doesn’t matter that much. I’ve heard some people say not to put the cheese and the onion next to each other or the cheese tastes too much like onion, but you have to suit yourself. Throw some more pepper on now and then.
The cheddar or mozza goes on last, but before that last layer, I poured about two cups of half and half (coffee cream) into a measuring cup and added a couple of tablespoons of pesto. You don’t need to do the pesto thing but I thought I’d try it and we liked it. Parsley is probably the standard green stuff to put on it at this point.
If you use milk instead of cream, you might want to add two tablespoons of flour and mix it into the milk before pouring it over the layers.
Then sprinkle cheese on top – lots of cheese! – and cover it with tin foil and put it in the oven at 350 for an hour, or hour and a half. Take the tin foil off 15 minutes before you take it out so the cheese can brown a tiny bit.
Poke the potatoes with a sharp paring knife to check for tenderness. (This is probably the only time you can poke something with a sharp knife and expect tenderness.)
In that hour and a half while the scalloped potatoes are baking, you have plenty of time to make a salad to go with it.
There was so much food in this one dish that I was able to put away several portions in the freezer to take out for quick lunches some other days.