Potato Gratin with Caramelized Shallots; interior decorating

Are you into decorating?

I've been listening to internet radio and one of the ads is promoting buying stuff for your house, basically saying that winter is a good time to do some decorating, tarting things up a bit and all that.

I have no interest.

I used to, but, somewhere along the way the desire to feather my nest has disappeared.

I want my house to be nice, to be comfortable, and to be attractive.

I just don't want to fuss with it.

I want to get it sorted once, and then leave it alone.

A few years before we left the US I bought all leather furniture – because I never wanted to buy furniture again. 

I haven't.

I no longer buy decorative 'stuff'. 

It require's dusting.

I don't have indoor plants – they require tending.

Well, and I don't have any place to put them – our windowsills are on the outside.

We don't have carpets to replace and we don't want to block the views with draperies.

We've been papering the walls upstairs.

Some people would spend hours looking for just the right paper, happily going through the racks and racks of wall paper books.

I decide what color would be acceptable and walk through the store until I see it.


We're hanging the last bit this weekend…. Sure hope I like it….

I'm much more particular when it comes to our food.

If you're looking for something fun for Valentine's Day try these individual gratins.

The sweet, caramelized shallots under the bubbling, golden cheese is wonderful. If you don't normally have milk on hand you can substitute chicken stock, or, for a truly decadent dish, use cream or crème fraiche.

Potato Gratin with Caramelized Shallots
Individual Potato Gratin with Caramelized Shallots

3 large shallots
1 tbs butter
2 tsp brown sugar
2 medium potatoes, 10oz total (300gr)
1/2 cup (4oz, 120gr) milk
1/2 cup (2oz, 60gr) shredded cheese, any flavor (I used Emmenthal)

Shallots: Slice shallots. Heat butter in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until they start to get transparent and tender, about 5 minutes. Turn heat up and cook, stirring, until they start to get brown, about 5 minutes longer. Turn heat to medium low, add sugar and stir until sugar is melted and evenly distributed. Let cook over medium low heat until very brown, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Gratin: With a sharp knife thinly slice the potatoes. Shred cheese if needed. In individual baking dishes (mine are 5" in diameter and 1" deep (10cm by 2.5cm) layer the potatoes neatly. Divide the milk and pour over the potatoes. Divide the shallots and spread on top. Divide the cheese and sprinkle evenly over both dishes. Cover with foil and bake at 400F (200C) for 35 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking another 15 minutes, until cheese starts to brown. Remove from oven and serve.
Note: Put the dishes on a baking tray, for ease of handling and because they will probably cook over – saves oven clean-up. I use one large sheet of foil and loosely cover both of them with it. Note 2: You can bake this in one, larger baking dish. Try not to layer the potatoes deeper than 1" (2.5cm). Increase covered baking time by 10 minutes.

For those of you who don't know – heating with wood creates an incredible amount of  dust.  I've decided to leave it undisturbed until spring so I can measure it and tell you exactly how much. 

I know you want to know and I'm happy to do this for you. 

11 thoughts on “Potato Gratin with Caramelized Shallots; interior decorating”

  1. I’m like you when it comes to decorating–minimalism is the best, because there is less cleaning. However, I’m notorious and fussy about ingredients in my recipes. With this recipe, this is the best time of year to compare varieties of potatoes.

  2. Me too, I’m a deco minimalist. I just want things done and then basta. The less the better. I do have one indoor plant that I can’t seem to kill and some curtains that I hate so I guess I’ll do something about them, but my black leather couch was a great idea, it has survived kids and dog 🙂

  3. “I’m much more particular when it comes to our food.” — I am liking this position more and more, every year I get older.

  4. No curtains pretty much describes my decorating style, too. Why close out the best thing about my house, the stunning view. We even took out the fireplace to open up more of the view (it was in the middle of the expanse). I still get lots of dust but who cares?

  5. Sanura, I loath cleaning – and we get so much dust heating with wood!
    Meredith, leather is the only way to go – wash it when it gets dirty and done! We have one room with fussy stuff in it – I keep the door closed and never use it – no sense to that!
    Tanna, time to enjoy wine and food always takes precedence over housework!
    Potatoes, ours too… and your welcome!
    Dan, food gives pleasure; dusting does not!
    Christine, I do too, but our variety here is somewhat limited. We make do.
    Zoomie, as long as no one disturbs the dust…. Hate it when people who shall remain nameless, write in it!
    manningroad, lots and lots of dust and fur….. Wood fires are terrible!
    Emily, gooey cheese and potatoes are made for each other.

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