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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Twice-Baked Potatoes

I would love to be able to start a post with something other than ".........sorry for the long absence."

I have a gazillion excuses.  I think my top three would be: 1. I've been doing lots of gardening
2. My baseball team made the playoffs and 3. Boy, have I been doing lots of gardening.

Until yesterday, those excuses were valid.  We've had nothing but rain for the last two days, resulting in 1. No gardening and 2. Two cancelled baseball games.

So I've been able to spend more time cooking!  And, more importantly, devote time to taking pictures as I cook.

This potato recipe is extremely easy to prepare, but it does take time.  I suppose you could save time by cooking the potatoes in a microwave instead of baking them in the oven, but I don't think the skins would hold their shape very well if they were cooked in a microwave.

The most difficult thing about this recipe is remembering to put the potatoes in the oven for an hour in advance of your mealtime preparations.

Buy the biggest baking potatoes you can find!  You will be cutting the potatoes in half and one half is a very generous serving.



Twice-Baked Potatoes
  • 3 large baking potatoes
Filling ingredients:
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 4 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

  • snipped chives, for garnish
  • sour cream, if desired


Wash and scrub the potatoes.  Pierce each potato several times, with a fork.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for approximately one hour, or until soft enough so that you can easily stick a toothpick in.

Find something to occupy yourself with for one hour, while the potatoes bake.  I just did the usual chores which are never ending.....vacuuming, feeding the dog, laundry, etc.  I hope you find something more exciting to do.


 Remove your potatoes from the oven when they are done.


Cut the potatoes in half length-wise.  Be careful, they're hot! 


Scoop out the insides......

........into a bowl. 

Fluff them up a bit.  They're really soft, so you just want to stir them so that any large chunks will disappear.

 

Separate your eggs.  Whites into one small bowl, yolks in the other.

You could just separate the whites into a small bowl, and put the yolks directly into the potatoes, but the potatoes are hot and could start to cook and harden the yolks a bit.

I think it's best to put them into their own little bowl until you're ready to use them.  Having to wash an extra bowl is not a big deal, compared to unwanted chunks of eggs in your potatoes. 

Stir the egg yolks into the potatoes until the mixture is nice and smooth.

Add the butter into the bowl, so that the hot potatoes will melt it.

 

While you are waiting for the butter to melt, beat your egg whites until stiff peaks form.  I use the whisk attachment on my hand mixer and they whip up in no time.

Be sure to use a large enough bowl so they don't splash out.  They are also going to increase in volume, so you also need to allow room for that.


 
After you've whipped the egg whites, stir the butter (which should be melted by now) and the cream into the potatoes.
 

Fold the egg whites into the potato mixture.  Folding is different than stirring; you want the egg whites to maintain their volume. 

The best way I can describe folding is that instead of stirring around, you're stirring up and over.   
While slowly turning the bowl, stir by bringing the spoon up from the bottom and down from the top.

The potato mixture will be a perfect combo of light/fluffy and chunky/potato-ey. 

Fill the empty potato shells with the mixture. 

Top each potato with about 2 tablespoons of the shredded cheese. 

Return the potatoes to your 375 degree oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, until heated through and the cheese is melted.


 
Garnish with the chives, and serve with sour cream on the side.
Enjoy!

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