It’s The Cheese that Makes the Difference

As a child, I loved cheesy potatoes.  My mom would regularly make those Betty Crocker beauties from a box, and they were creamy, cheesy and delicious.  I didn’t discriminate; I would eat all the flavors.  But I could not figure out what was the difference between the scalloped and the au gratin.  They were all cheesy potatoes to me.

As an adult (who no longer buys potatoes in a box), I realize there must be a difference between au gratin and scalloped.  Thank you Google machine for providing the answer: cheese.  Au gratin always has it, scalloped never does.  Betty, you had me fooled.

I love cheese, so au gratin was the way to go.  And I had some left over Easter ham in the fridge (turns out 9.8 pounds is a bit much for two people), so I could throw in the ham and make it a main dish.  I read the steps at For the Love of Cooking and used them as a basic guide.  I modified and did not measure. I went with my gut.

Jamie hates onions, so there were none of those.  I hate bread crumbs on the top of things, so there were none of those.  We were out of flour, so I used corn starch to thicken (look at me, solving a kitchen problem without even looking it up).  I used a combo of sharp and mild cheddar and layered the chopped up ham between the potatoes.

20130420_195154It turned out pretty well.  Here are the things I will do differently next time:

1. Use full fat cheese.  I am a big believer in reduced fat cheese (not that fat free garbage).  While it does melt, it doesn’t melt as much as I want it to.

2. Make sure all the cheese fully  melts into the sauce.  It was really cheesy on top and less so in between the layers.

3. I would layer in the sauce instead of pouring it all on top.  But this might not be a problem if I’m better at melting.

20130420_200944Overall, a winner.  I would make it again and experiment with different cheese types.  Still have to work on the flavor profiles.  I’ll get there.

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One Response to It’s The Cheese that Makes the Difference

  1. bwbears says:

    looks wonderful, must taste wonderful too!

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