No.17
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Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

I admit I have had a difficult time choosing which Bijouxs to share with you next, but here is a simple and comforting, rustic combination of potatoes and ham baked in a velvety cheddar sauce – another easy make-ahead meal that has been a beloved Bijouxs for fall. Fall entertaining and holiday Bijouxs carry on with Scalloped Potatoes and Ham.

My cooking not only follows the seasons of the year (i.e. fall, winter, etc.) but also follows the seasons of my life. These scalloped potatoes are a staple from the time when my son was young and my home was filled with families, usually with little ones in tow. These cheddar infused slices of potato can please the younger palates and the crispy brown crust with caramelized onions brings the grown ups back for seconds.

Begin with staple affordable ingredients, throw in some basic cooking skills and this recipe rewards you with a real crowd pleaser. I like to use waxy varieties of potatoes for this dish, such as Yukon gold, or Red or White Rose potatoes. During this fall season, fresh, thick cut ham slices can be found in most markets, locally I like the Niman Ranch plain smoked ham found at Trader’s Joe’s, making the ingredients a snap to locate. This recipe also can be quite versatile – think of adding a different cheese, such as Swiss or Gruyere, and toss in some mixed sauteed mushrooms – create your own fall favorite Bijouxs. Bake the potatoes the day before, remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature for about 30 minutes then warm, covered with foil, in a low oven about 300° until bubbling.

Just an FYI, you are not only creating the recipe, but mastering a Bijouxs Basics, béchamel sauce. Béchamel sauce is a white sauce that is a roux of flour and butter to which milk has been added, don’t let the name scare you, it’s easy. This master sauce technique is one you will find in many recipes. Here’s a little Bijouxs to share; over the years Julia Child’s technique has been adjusted slightly, by not whisking in hot milk but rather milk that is cold or at room temperature.

In keeping with the simple meal theme, think about serving the Scalloped Potatoes and Ham with either fresh mixed greens or steamed asparagus in a tangy Dijon vinaigrette dressing (I tossed in some Gorgonzola cheese to my salad.) Finish the meal with a batch of freshly basked chocolate chips cookies (oh, that reminds me of another Bijouxs!) and relax.

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham, a family Bijouxs you can count on.

As always, enjoy. B
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