Even though she was raised on a vegan diet, my daughter E. doesn’t give her “Kid-Friendly Seal of Approval” to many dishes, particularly those that try to imitate the taste of cheese. Though she’s never eaten real cheese, she fell in love years ago with “Chreese,” a dry mix made by Road’s End Organics. Her tastes are so finely attuned to Chreese that she can detect my attempts at counterfeiting it just using her sense of smell. If it’s not Chreese, a fake cheese sauce doesn’t stand a chance with her.
Until now. Creamy Scalloped Potatoes has passed the ultimate kid-friendly test–The Cheezy, Unfamiliar, Gross-Looking Potato Dish Challenge. It has succeed even though it breaks three of E.’s rules: (1) All Cheezy Sauces Must Use Chreese; (2) No New Foods; and (3) All Potatoes Must be Baked, Mashed, or Oven-Fried. (All kids have rules. And we parents appreciate their long lists of food aversions as signs of their nascent individuality and quirky personalities . . . when we’re not fantasizing about shipping them off to some raw foodist boot-camp in Idaho!)
As I brought E.’s plate to the table, I was greeted with the words, “I’m not eating that!” I returned with the parental standard, “You have to at least try it.” This was followed by much grumbling, which was followed by much eating of the other foods on her plate. Finally, she reached the Cheezy, Unfamiliar, Gross-Looking, Un-baked-mashed-or-fried Potato Dish. She took a bite, then another, then another. “Hey,” she exclaimed, “you have got to put this on your kid-friendly list! I love it!”
So there you have it: a ringing endorsement for a cheezy-sauced recipe. And a list of rules that just got a little shorter.
Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
Usually scalloped potatoes have to bake for an hour or so. I’ve cut the baking time by pre-cooking the sliced potatoes. But be careful–sliced potatoes can become over-cooked quickly.
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (I used 8 medium)
water, to cover
Paprika or white pepper
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup plain soymilk
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons raw cashew butter
1 teaspoon white miso
Place a large pot, half-filled with water, to boil while you prepare the potatoes. Using a mandolin, food processor, or a very steady hand, slice the scrubbed potatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices. They need to be a uniform size, so a mandolin is preferred.
When the water is boiling, add the potato slices and make sure they are covered with water. If not, add just enough to cover. Boil for 5-8 minutes, just until barely tender. Be very careful–they go from raw to falling apart in seconds. You do not want them to fall apart!
As soon as the potatoes are tender, remove them from the heat, pour them into a colander to remove the water, and rinse them with cold water.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Prepare the sauce by blending the sauce ingredients together, either in a blender or with a hand blender, until smooth.
Place the potato slices into an oiled casserole dish one layer at a time. Sprinkle each layer with a little salt and paprika or white pepper before adding the next layer. Stir the sauce, and pour it over all the potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika.
Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes, or until sauce has thickened throughout. Serve warm. Make your kids taste it!
Preparation time: 20 minute(s) | Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
Nutrition (per serving): 272 calories, 36 calories from fat, 4.3g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 445.5mg sodium, 1136.1mg potassium, 49.1g carbohydrates, 3.4g fiber, <1g sugar, 13.5g protein, 7.8 points.