Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sweet Potato Gratin: Finally, a Vegetable Made it to the Dinner Table

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Sweet potato gratin
Starting today, the voice I will be using to write here will become a lot more personal.  Not that I have been someone else in the previous 30+ posts, but I have been trying to record recipes in a neutral light that is a resource for myself and my family.  Someone who in my mind when I read back, is vaguely Mrs. Cleaver like.  She is someone I definitely connect with in a very narrow slice of myself, but I am leaving behind the impulsive, chaotic, experimental, temperamental, creative person that I am and the whirl of life going on around me out of it. I am finding that approach to all of this more and more restrictive and I am losing the deeply personal release of sharing that I benefit from when I can write from my heart.

I miss my Dad very much.  Life seems to be going by at 2 completely different speeds, everyone else like busy bees and me slogging along.  I look at the date on the calendar today and count the days since he died and think in my mind it has been a LOT of days now, even weeks (25 days, 3 weeks+).  That I should be very present in my everyday life, instead of feeling hazy and struggling with putting a balanced and full dinner on the table every night.  For the rest of my family it has been a lot of days now, and I can feel everyone being supportive and patient, understanding, and waiting.   Waiting for me to just be me again.

I also feel guilty.  A big part of what I do to care for and love my family is creating thoughtful and balanced meals several times a day.  To be able to say this is all homemade, nutritious, and takes into consideration everyone's personal tastes, likes and dislikes.

Sweet potato gratin in the pie pan,
single layer
What does all this have to do with sweet potato gratin?  It was a simple, delicious and easy vegetable dish that added to our meal and made me feel good.  It is one of the first side dishes I have done lately that made the dinner I served it with a truly full multi-course meal.  The natural sweetness of the sweet potato was complimented by the nutty tang of Parmesan perfectly without the dish being heavy or overpowering.

Sweet Potato Gratin

Michelle K.
I only use the deep orange fleshed variety of sweet potatoes. They often have the word ruby or garnet or red in their name. The size of these varies a LOT, sometimes one huge potato will serve the entire family so just keep in mind a shallow (not deep dish) pie pan when you are buying what you need.


  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 Tbs butter melted
  • 2 Tbs Parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 (F). Peel and slice your potatoes. Arrange in a shallow pie pan or any small baking dish. You want an arrangement that is one layer thick only.
  2. Brush the potatoes with the melted butter or a good quality olive oil, making sure they are all lightly coated. I find the silicon brushes work best for this because they don't soak up most of your butter in the bristles, they just help transfer it evenly over the potato slices.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and fresh pepper, then the grated cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a knife tip inserts easily and the color is lightly browned.
  4. Serve immediately, fresh from the oven.
Yield: serves 6

Prep Time: 00:10
Cook time: 00:20


Calories: 78
Total carbs: 9