SEATTLE — You might not know it , but you are already an admirer of Tara Bench’s culinary style expertise. As former editor and food stylist for Martha Stewart, Food Director of Ladies Home Journal, and author of food blog Tara Teaspoon, you’ve most likely paged through many a magazine dreaming of presenting a table as beautifully as what you see in those pages.
Now’s your chance to learn from the master – just in time to make 2020’s holiday meals extra special! Tara’s first cookbook, Live Life Deliciously, is packed with 120+ show stopping recipes designed to impress. From weekend brunch to weeknight rice bowls, this cookbook “Shows serious foodies how to present food as an interesting and beautiful culinary experience with dishes that taste as delicious as they look."
We had the opportunity to meet Tara face to face and she even demonstrated how easy it is to make one of the beautiful recipes from “Live Life Deliciously”, a simply fabulous Cheese and Herb Gratin we can't wait to try at home. The recipe uses Yukon Gold and Sweet Potatoes and is a great side dish for the holidays or a simple dinner in itself served with a quick side salad.
Enjoy the recipe below and if you try it at home – let us know how it turns out! Tag us in your photos on Instagram: @king5newdaydaynw.
RECIPE: Cheese-and-Herb Potato Gratin
Excerpt from Tara Teaspoon's Live Life Deliciously. Makes 8 to 10 servings, Hands-on Time 20 Minutes, Total Time 1hr, 20 Min
Rounds of alternating sweet and white potatoes tossed with herbs and spices are baked up with cheese in a gratin that is as delicious as it is impressive. It’s worthy of any holiday table yet simple enough for a regular day.
Choose your preference when it comes to the cheese, but Gruyère will add a sweet, nutty flavor to the gratin while a sharp white cheddar like Tillamook is creamy and complex and adds an aged, bold flavor to the potatoes and herbs.
Allow me to sing the praises of a spice cupboard. I’ll wager you have a collection of dried herbs and seasonings in the pantry just waiting to be used. Use them! This will let you focus your prep time on slicing those potatoes. (Tip: get a mandolin!)
- 3 medium sweet potatoes
- 6 small Yukon gold potatoes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1½ teaspoons dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground sage
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 8 ounces Gruyère or sharp white cheddar, grated (2 cups)
- ½ cup thinly sliced yellow onion, chopped
- ½ cup whole milk or half-and-half
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Peel potatoes, and, using a mandolin or vegetable slicer, cut into very thin slices. In a large bowl, gently toss potatoes with salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, cheese, and onion, until everything is evenly mixed. Be careful not to break the thin potato slices.
- Working with a small handful of potatoes at a time, gently line up coated slices in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 2-quart baking dish. Pour milk and broth over potatoes. Cover pan with foil and seal around edges.
- Bake 50 minutes and remove foil. Continue to bake until potatoes are tender and top is golden, 15 to 20 minutes more. You can test the potatoes with a knife to see if they are tender throughout. Cool slightly and serve hot.
You can layer the cheese and potato slices flat in a baking dish as a classic gratin, but this presentation is all about the wow! Standing up the slices, whether in rows or a circle, creates an impressive look and is worth the extra minutes to arrange them before cooking.
TARA’S TIP: This recipe is a great way to use the fresh herbs you have left over from a holiday meal or the last bits after a week of cooking. I use fresh herbs in the spring and summer when they are plentiful and cheap. I’ll use my spice cupboard in the winter months. Use double the amount of fresh as you would dry.