A warming gratin for a cold day

by guest blogger Kelly Madey,

There are a few words that I would like to eliminate from the English language:

Polar vortex
Widespread power outage

No doubt it has been a trying winter for all of us, even my youngest son, who loves nothing better than a good snow day, is disgusted at the prospect of another storm next week. What used to be a fun day of sledding, snowball fights, hot cocoa and homemade chocolate chip cookies has turned into the prospect of a very short-lived summer vacation; and, for the record, I stopped baking cookies after snowstorm number eight, after realizing that stretch jeans can only stretch so far.

Piece of gratin; photo by Kelly Madey

On a more pleasant note, we thoroughly enjoyed the nice temperatures last weekend. Who knew that 50°F could feel downright balmy? We took a long stroll through Doylestown and enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine, and I finally had the chance to visit the Doylestown Food Market.

The store is proof that good things come in small packages. Located at 29 West State Street, this place is a locavore’s dream come true. Dubbed as Phase One, the Co-op consists of just 1500 square feet, but don’t let its small size fool you.

The store offers an impressive variety of fresh and natural foods, most produced within a 100 mile radius of Doylestown. I especially loved the bulk foods section where I scored a supply of hard-to-find pastry flour.

I loved the spice and herb section too. When you only buy what you need, it really keeps the costs down.

LeBus baked goods; photo by Kelly Madey

For my sugar-loving self, the Market had me at muffin. When I first walked in the door, there was a delicious display of LeBus breakfast pastries and bread, and a banana walnut muffin with my name on it. It was delicious. I was hooked.

Like a moth to a flame, my husband was drawn to the variety of meats available. He stocked up on Applegate lunch meats and, of course, bacon.

We are not all about sugar and meat though. I took advantage of the fresh lettuce from Doylestown Fresh, and local crimini mushrooms, which I used to make a pretty amazing potato dish, Yukon Gold and Crimini Mushroom Gratin.

A gratin is baked dish featuring layers of sliced potatoes, baked in milk/cream, and topped with cheese.

It is very similar, if not identical to scalloped potatoes, but I much prefer to call it a gratin because I like to embellish. I once prepared my brother’s resume after he graduated from high school. His only job was pumping gas one summer. He was the best petroleum transfer engineer in the area.

Back to the potatoes. I like to use a mandolin to slice the potatoes very thin. You could also use a food processor or if you are lucky enough to have killer knife skills, you can wing it with nothing more than a good knife. I leave the skin on because I like this rustic, plus there are lots of nutrients in a potato skin.

I quickly sauté the mushrooms and shallot in a little olive oil. They add a nice earthy flavor to this dish. The layers of potato and mushroom are covered in half-n-half from Merrymead Farm and baked until tender.

Winter is not going away any time soon, but don’t let that spoil your appetite. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

If you are in the Doylestown area, check out the Doylestown Food Market for the best in local, natural groceries and produce. You don’t have to be a member to take advantage of this gem of store, but doing so ensures they will be around for a long time (for membership info, click here). They have an impressive variety of items to suit every lifestyle from organic, natural, to vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. They are open Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, visit their website at doylestown.coop

Yukon Gold and Crimini Mushroom Gratin; photo by Kelly Madey

Yukon Gold and Crimini Mushroom Gratin

Serves 8


1 TBSP olive oil
1 shallot, minced (about two TBSP)
½ lb. crimini mushrooms, trimmed, washed and sliced
3 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
2 ½ lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and thinly sliced (skin on)
2 cups half-and-half or cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated nutmeg to taste
2 cups grated cheese such as Emmentaler, Gruyere, Parmesan


  1. Place olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and mushrooms. Saute 7-10 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. Remove leaves from two sprigs of thyme and sprinkle over mushrooms. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  3. Spray a large casserole dish or baking pan (I used a 12 x 8 inch casserole dish) with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Place a layer of potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Season generously with salt, pepper, and a little freshly grated nutmeg. Sprinkle some of the mushroom/shallot mixture over the potatoes. Repeat, until all the vegetables are used.
  5. Pour the half-and-half over the potatoes, cover with foil, and bake for one hour or until tender. Remove foil. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top and return to the oven, uncovered until cheese is melted and golden brown.
  6. Sprinkle the top with remaining thyme leaves. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

(adapted from Williams-Sonoma, New Flavors for Vegetables by Jodi Liano)

Kelly Madey makes amazing baked goods. Check out her website One Sweet Baker and find her selling her delicious pastries at area farmers markets.

Photo credit for all pictures in this post: Kelly Madey.

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  1. Great article by Kelly Madey. As usual! I get hungry just reading her recipes and especially the photos.

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