Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Twice Baked Success

Lesson learned:
1. It's better to have a sidekick.
2. Don't drop potatoes on a plate full of olive oil in order to cover potatoes in olive oil.
3. Poke holes in potatoes before baking.
You may recall that I had originally thought that I would only have to make meals for 3 people. However, because of certain circumstances, I had to make supper for 8 people. So, I found something super easy to make--twice baked potatoes. If you've never had them before, twice baked potatoes are essentially mashed potatoes put back into potato skins with a few toppings. Delicious.
The recipe I used was from SimplyRecipes. You can find it here
The suggested ingredients to serve 4-6 people:
4 large russet potatoes, about a pound each
Olive oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 Tbsp cream
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
4 strips bacon
1/4 cup chopped green onion
What I actually used:
9 russet potatoes (I did not weigh them)
Olive oil (a lot)
1 1/2 cups of sour cream (this is not because we love sour cream)
1 cup of milk
2 Tbsp butter (melted, not softened)
Grated marble cheese (unknown amount)
Grated marble cheese (unknown amount)
As many bacon bits as we wanted
1/3 of a medium sized onion
2 small tomatoes
Now, as daunting as it seemed to be to cook for 8 people (none of them being forgiving family members), it was actually far less dramatic than my first try at cooking. Why? Well, my boyfriend is a really good cook and he wanted to help. I may have let him take the lead on this one...

The Process

1. After preheating the oven to 400°F, we started by putting olive oil on each potato. Normally, people have a fancy little brush to do so. However, we were stuck simply dropping the potatoes onto a plate layered in oil. Although the potatoes were well lathered, it created quite a mess. I don't recommend this method. I am proud to say that I learned a lesson before a disaster happened for once. Before putting the potatoes on the oven rack, I was told that we had to poke a couple holes in the potatoes so that they wouldn't explode while baking. Who knew? When that potential disaster had been taken cared of, we put the potatoes directly onto the oven rack. We then left them to bake for about 45 minutes. My lesson learned last meal prepared me for the task of checking to see if the potatoes were tender.

2. After the potatoes have cooled, we cut the top third lengthwise off each potato and scooped out the potato inside. The recipe says to leave about a quarter inch of potato around the edges but it's really up to the individual. We chose to scoop out as much as we could while still leaving the potato skin in tact so that we could have more mashed potatoes to eat. As long as you end up with canoe like potatoes you're on the right track.

3. The insides of the potatoes are now all in a bowl. At this point, we added in the milk, sour cream, melted butter, marble cheese and blended it all together.

4. Next we filled our canoe potatoes with the mashed potatoes.

5. This is where we were able to be creative. We added bacon bits, sliced tomatoes and onions, basil and marble cheese to the tops of the potatoes. You can really add anything that floats your boat (Get it? Canoe potatoes.).

6. Finally, we put the potatoes back in the oven at 350°F to let them heat up again. We did this for about 25 minutes.

Voila! They were finally ready!

I'm not sure whether or not to be embarrassed by how uneventful this meal was compared to my last try. Was is this smooth because I had a very skilled helper/leader. Or was my last effort just a dramatic sequence of unfortunate events?

I guess we shall see!

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