Buttery potato stacks, pictured here with baked haddock and scallops, go with everything. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

This entree that combines succulent scallops with flaky haddock has been served dozens of times at my house. If your budget doesn’t have room for scallops, just double the amount of haddock for this easy oven recipe.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected] or 504-0545.

Now trust me, these potato stacks go with everything and will be your favorite new way to prepare and eat spuds. If you don’t own a mandoline, you can manage with a sharp knife, but having this kitchen gizmo is a game-changer. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive; you can get one for under $30 that can easily find a home in a drawer when not in use. And please get a pair (or at least one) of the cut-resistant gloves for safety’s sake!

Tender in the middle, crispy on the top and edges, these potato layers nestled in butter and laced with your favorite herbs and seasonings to mix and match – what’s not to like here? Experiment with different cheeses and hey, you could make these every night of the week, they are that versatile and that good.

For a treat, make all your wintry dreams come true with some decadent sipping chocolate. If you’re used to drinking hot chocolate made from a packet, this is not that. This hot chocolate is a completely different animal – rich and glossy, and just a little goes a long way. Use grated chocolate bars or melting chocolate wafers for best results.

This is over-the-top yummy on its own yet there are so many ways it can be enhanced with various liqueurs or a dribble of schnapps, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a crush of candy cane or a pinch of cayenne are just a few ideas. Serve it with a bit of shortbread alongside and enjoy it often. You’ll see – this treat makes winter so much better.

Baked haddock and scallops

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1 pound haddock filets

1 pound sea scallops

Milk

1 sleeve Townhouse or Ritz crackers, crushed into crumbs

2 tablespoons butter

Freshly ground pepper

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Honey, optional

Lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (This temperature is flexible. I use this higher temperature and shorter cooking time so the seafood can share the oven with the potato stacks.)

Place the fish and scallops in a buttered oven-proof dish in a single layer.

Pour milk over fish just to the top of the fish/scallops. Completely cover top with cracker crumbs.

Dot with butter, sprinkle with pepper and add a drizzle of honey – just a touch.

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Bake for 15 minutes or longer, depending on the thickness of the fish. Milk should be mostly cooked down with browned edges and the haddock should flake easily with a fork. Scallops should be cooked through and cracker topping should be golden and crisp. Serve with lemon wedges.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Stacked potatoes

4-6 medium potatoes, cut into 1/8 inch thick slices

1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, melted

2 tablespoons fresh oregano

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2 tablespoons fresh thyme

1-2 cloves garlic, grated

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter a 12-cup muffin tin.

Cut the potatoes using a mandoline or very sharp knife into 1/8 inch thin slices.

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In a large bowl, stir together butter, oregano, thyme, garlic, cheese and a large pinch of both salt and pepper. Add potatoes and toss well to coat.

Layer potato slices evenly among the prepared muffin cups, stacking the layers all the way to the top. The potatoes will shrink down as they cook.

Cover with foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil and continue cooking another 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and golden. Run a butter knife around the edges of each stack to release them. Serve immediately, sprinkled with a little sea salt.

Yield: 4 servings

Sipping chocolate

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8 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut in small pieces

2 cups whole milk

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

Whipped cream, optional

In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine chocolate, milk and salt.

Heat gently over low-medium heat, whisking regularly, until the chocolate is completely melted. It should be steaming, but don’t let it come to a simmer. (Cooking the hot chocolate a little lower and slower helps the chocolate to fully melt.)

Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir. Serve immediately in small cups, topped with whipped cream.

Yield: 4 servings

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