One of my April goals was twice baked potatoes. They have always seemed like a restaurant food, not an at home food. I could make them an at home food.
The Pioneer Woman has a recipe that looks delicious, and was great inspiration. Bake the potato, scoop out the insides, mix up some fill-ins and bake it all again. I can do this.
Twice baked potatoes seem like a good place to work on flavor. It’s a pretty blank canvas that you can be creative with. I wanted to stay away from ham and cheddar and try something different. I went grocery shopping with an open mind.
The cheese section. Lots of choices. Where to begin? I think I stood there for 10 minutes looking at labels, trying to remember how all the different cheeses tasted, and thinking “I’m serving this with fish. What the heck goes with fish?”. I still don’t know what goes with fish, but I did buy some smoked gouda.
The whole process is relatively easy.
1. Bake the potato. I actually used the oven for this. I wanted the skin to be crispy and that doesn’t happen in the microwave. Good lord, that takes forever, but I think it was worth it.
2. Cut in half and scoop out the insides. Be gentle with the skin.
3. Mix in the fix-ins.
4. Put the fix-ins back in the shell.
5. Bake it again.
The fix-ins are the important part. I shredded the smoked gouda over the potato insides. A little bit of butter, some sour cream, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Tasted good, but it needed something else. In the fridge, I had a jar of spicy pickled mushrooms. What the heck, I’ll try it. A little acid, a meaty texture, it just might work. Chopped them up and put them in. They were delicious. Jamie said that it was one of the best things I have ever made. The smokey cheese and the spicy mushrooms worked together really well. I should have kept them in the oven a little more to brown them up a bit more.
Because of the warm receptive the potatoes received, I decided to try them again tonight with a different flavor profile. This time I used bacon, cheddar, sour cream, butter, sauteed green pepper (skill maintenance), crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. I tasted. It needed something. Acid. So I sprinkled on some lemon juice. More cheese on the top before baking.