Potatoes Gratin and The Brussels Sprout

Potatoes gratin....cheese, cream, bacon, need I say more?  For those of you wondering what, exactly, is our cholesterol levels, fear not, we are on top of it.  So far, we have been blessed with  bodies that manage healthy cholesterol levels.  But it is a question we get often.  However, while we can, we obviously like to indulge a little bit, just a little.  Chris always brings a large pan of these with him when he goes on camp outs with his Y Guides group, (a dad and daughter/son group run by the YMCA).  People have swooned over them.  They are truly decadent and really, nothing could be more comforting when you are eating al fresco at camp.  The recipe below if for a portion that feeds approximately 4 people.  It is perhaps a third of what I usually make for the guys.  I have included bacon in the recipe as it is the way I usually make it though I am leaving it out for our meal tonight.  Yes, I am actually taking it down a notch.

1 lb yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8" rounds
1 cup shredded gruyere chese
2/3 cup cream
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4" pieces and cooked until crisp
Boil potatoes for 3-4 minutes until just tender, but not too soft.  You want them par cooked, but if you over boil them, they will fall apart.  Drain and run under cold water.  In a medium-large sized baking dish, lay half the potatoes down, distributing them evenly.  I lay them overlapping each other.  Sprinkle on half the cheese, then half the bacon, then drizzle have the cream.  Repeat with rest of the potatoes, cheese, bacon and cream.  Bake in a 425f oven for 30-40 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling and you have a golden brown layer on top.  This is the best part!  The crunchy top.  I can pass on the bottom layer of potato and just go for the crispy top.  This is why I like to just do two layers, and have a larger surface area.  Greed for the crispy top.  Cheesy potato heaven!

To offset the rich and indulgent potatoes, a few brussels sprouts make their way into the meal.  I love brussels sprouts, but I cannot say the same is true for my kids, and perhaps even Chris.  Imagine their horror when they arrived home and saw the whole stalk of brussels sprouts I had laid out on the counter.  My rule for veggies at this stage in our lives?  Try one and then move on if you still do not like it.  You never know when your taste might change.  Brussels sprouts are coming into season, so get them at their height while you can.  
Clean and trim off the first couple of leaves from each sprout.  If they are small, keep them whole.  But if you have larger ones, you will want to cut them in half to ensure even cooking.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with some kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Tonight, I drizzled a little balsamic vinegar on top as well.  Mix well.  Roast in a 425f oven for 20-25 minutes until tender.  Brussels sprouts... so good and so good for you!


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