Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Celebrating Potato Lover’s Month


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By Chef Diane

Baked, mashed, fried, boiled, grilled, hashed, scalloped, au gratin, and any other form, I love potatoes!  Growing up we didn’t eat alot of potatoes, my parents preferred rice.  I guess that’s why I prefer taters, and hardly ever eat rice.  I really can't say which way they are cooked I like best.  I love going to a diner and getting crinkle cut fries and dip them in ketchup.  I also love potato salad, or a baked potato with sour cream and butter.  In fact I’m cooking one tonight!
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While I was researching potatoes, I found this poem, and thought I would share it with you:

Potatoes Potatoes are my favorite thing
Author: Pamela Svoboda/Gone-ta-pott.com

Potatoe's Potatoe's are my favorite things.
baked, fried or mashed up with cream.
Potatoe's Potatoe's are simply divine-
It's smooth in the mouth & it adds to the thighs.
Potatoe's Potatoe's are white, beige or cream-
The colors don't matter as long as not green.
Potatoe's Potatoe's, add butter to taste-
A little bit of salt and elastic in the waist.
Potato's Potato's, I eat them each day-
Baked, fried or any oh way.

I don't agree with the fact that potatoes increase your thighs and waist, well that depends on the butter, sour cream, cheese or bacon you add to them, or the oil used to fry them.  Actually, potatoes are packed with vitamin C and fiber, and also carbohydrates.  A medium baked potato had around 278 calories, but only 3 calories from fat, and no cholesterol.  They are great for quick energy, and if you have an upset tummy, they are soft and bland to keep you full.  When my husband passed away, I lived on baked potatoes and crackers for several months.
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I found this recipe for baked potato skins during super bowl week, they looked so good, I thought I would share them with you.  This is from thekitchen.com, and there is a picture of them above.
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This month is for lovers, people and potatoes. So enjoy your love of potatoes, and see how many different ways you can cook them!

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Bacon-Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes

Makes 8 potato halves
This recipe can easily be halved or doubled.
4 good-sized russet potatoes
6 strips thick-cut bacon (or 8 strips thin-cut bacon), diced
1 large yellow onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt (sea salt is great if you have it)
Pepper
Olive oil

Heat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Scrub the potatoes clean, rub them will olive oil, and sprinkle them with salt. Prick the potatoes a few times with the tines of a fork. Arrange them a little ways apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until they are completely soft when pierced with a fork and the skins are dry.

While the potatoes are baking, begin preparing the filling. Warm a skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon until most of the fat has rendered and the bacon has crisped to your liking. Remove the bacon bits with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Pour off all but a teaspoon of the bacon fat. Cook the onions with a half teaspoon of salt until the onions are deep golden and caramelized. Stir in the garlic and cook for another thirty seconds. Remove from heat.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them in half and scoop the insides into a medium-sized bowl. Leave a quarter inch or so of potato next to the skin. Mash the potatoes with the onions, garlic, bacon, sour cream, and about 3/4 cup of the cheddar cheese. Give it a taste, and add more salt and pepper as you see fit.

Arrange the potato skins on the baking sheet. Divide the filling between all the skins and sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese. At this point, the potatoes can be baked right away, or refrigerated and baked later.
Bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the peaks of the mashed potatoes are crispy. Potatoes that were refrigerated may take a little longer. Serve straight off the baking sheet while still hot and bubbly. Leftovers will keep for up to a week.

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