Bake It Once and the Bake It Again.

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. 20130421_201018They 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.

20130428_200502Delicious again.  Twice baked potatoes:  a completely manageable at home food.


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