I’m running my 6th marathon on Sunday, and so this week is the dreaded taper week. The week when I take days off, barely run over 4 miles, and stress about the upcoming race. It’s an ironic week because over the past 18 weeks of training, I’ve had to drag my butt out the door for 70% of my runs, as I’ve lacked serious motivation to train for this marathon, but this week I’m dying to run because I’m not supposed to. It makes no sense.
So today, which was supposed to be a “rest” day, I rebelled against my training plan and went out for a walk/jog. Even though I was exhausted from a long day at work and it was rainy. Again, it makes no sense. But, out the door I went, happy to be running and doing what I wasn’t supposed to do. Then, about halfway into my walk/jog (on one of my jog intervals) I trotted right past something that caught my eye. I stopped and turned around. Is that a twenty dollar bill? I thought. I looked closer and it was, in fact, a twenty dollar bill. I looked to see if anyone had been just walking past, and there was no one around. At first I didn’t want to take it. It’s not mine! I didn’t earn it! What if I get in trouble?
Then I realized that if I didn’t pick it up, the next person walking by would certainly would. So I picked it up, still feeling guilty but now kind of excited, and held it in my fist the rest of my walk/jog. The entire way home I thought about all of the ways I could spend it. First I thought maybe I would order pizza for dinner, as a fun treat. Then I remembered how I was making these enchiladas with my leftover pot roast (they were ammmmmmmmazing!) and this salsa (so good! so easy!) with some homemade tortilla chips (you must make these!). Then I thought maybe I would go shopping for a marathon outfit. Or new kitchen gadgets. Or maybe I would save it for a rainy day. Really, I have no idea what to do with it.
Another idea I have: $20 worth of fancy cheese. I’d stock up on fontina for sure. It’s my new favorite cheese. I initially bought it to make grilled cheese sandwiches, and ended up using the rest of it for this potato side dish. Marc usually never has much to say about my potato side dishes (which is usually roasted potatoes doused in ketchup), but he wouldn’t shut up about this one! We both went back for seconds, okay thirds, for this stuff. They are creamy, cheesy, and full of great flavor from the fontina. Comfort food, at it’s finest!
Fontina Scalloped Potatoes
adapted from Food Network
2 tbsp butter
3 lbs new (red) potatoes
2 tbsp flour
1 cup skim milk
1 cup whole milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup fontina cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring medium pot of salted water to a boil.
While water is heating, rinse and wash potatoes, then thinly slice them with a mandoline slicer. Once water is boiling, cook the potatoes for 7-8 minutes, until just tender. Drain the potatoes and return them to pot.
In large cast iron skillet (if you don’t have one, that’s okay – just use a regular skillet and prepare a casserole dish for baking the potatoes), melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Mix in flour, stir to make a paste, then cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milks, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Season with 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg, then add in 1/2 cup of cheese, stirring to melt.
Once cheese is melted, add the potatoes to skillet and stir to thoroughly combine. If not using a cast iron skillet, transfer potatoes to prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle potatoes with remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, then bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, switch oven setting to broil and brown the cheese. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn!
Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!