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Potato Salad Pr0n – Potatoes with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

DSC_7945 (1600x1060)We were quite taken with the store-bought baked potato salad we bought the other day at the market.  I was determined to make some and today seemed like a good day.  Alas!  I could only turn up a handful of small yellow potatoes.  I did have a little bag of Brussels sprouts so I thought “why not”?  I quartered the potatoes and halved the sprouts and set them to roasting on a tray at 400 in the oven, drizzling a little olive oil over them first.  When they had a little brown on them I dumped the lot into a big bowl, adding sour cream and mayo,  about a cup each.  Also add chopped crisp bacon, I used six slices, and a fair measure of cheese.  I have about one and a half cups of mixed cheddar and jack cheese.  Chopped green onions are in the classic recipe but I had none, and judged the sprouts sufficient.  I did rethink and add a bit of chopped parsley for a garnish.  The crisp outer leaves of the sprouts go great in this, don’t try to pick them off!DSC_7940 (1600x1060)Some roasted chicken thighs set the salad off perfectly, I brushed them with bbq sauce at the end, and glopped a little more on them for the table.  Yes, we keep napkins at the table.  LOL

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Classic Combo

DSC_7732 (1600x1060)This is just about the perfect combination for lunch or a quick dinner.  The soup is from a can and the grilled cheese doesn’t take long.  This one has bacon and cheddar with sliced muenster cheese on sourdough.  The key to making a grilled cheese is to manage the heat so that the cheese is all melted before the bread is burnt.  You can shorten the time it takes to complete this by popping the sammy into the microwave for a short time to hurry the cheese melt – this lets you crank the heat up on the skillet or griddle.  I usually keep the flame low and cover the pan to arrive at the same condition.

Gadget Post – Waffle Maker

DSC_7714 (1600x1060)I’ve had this for a little while now and have made three or four batches with it.  It’s a well regarded Presto Belgian waffle maker.  I don’t have them perfected yet but I have been turning out some very tasty waffles nonetheless.DSC_7715 (1600x1060)

DSC_7716 (1600x1060)You heat it up, the light goes out when it’s ready, and pour in the batter.  Close the lid and rotate the thing to its other side to help settle the batter.  There is a timer, three minutes has been just about right but it doesn’t hurt to open it to check.  We had some older batter mix we used at first but found the stuff we ordered with the machine to be much better.DSC_7721 (1600x1060)The hardest part is getting the mix just right, not too thick or too thin.  That’s the part I’m still working on.  If you over fill the platter it will run out the side, underfills mean that the waffle will not be perfectly formed.  It’ll still be mighty tasty.DSC_7717 (1600x1060)I made these today with batter a tad thick, they are not quite filled to the edge.DSC_7648 (1600x1060)These were an earlier batch.  The one on top was from the bowl scrapings and is way short of being filled out.

Sammich Pr0n – Waffles with Bacon and Eggs

DSC_7651 (1600x1060)I decided we really needed a waffle maker.  So far, so good.  I’ll put together a gadget post later when we have a few more waffles under our belts.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Twice-Baked Potatoes

JeffreyW's Loaded Baked Potato

JeffreyW’s Loaded Baked Potato

I think potatoes are one of my favorite foods. So many things you can do with them. I’ve covered a lot of recipes for potatoes over the years, but there always seems to be more. Tonight I wanted to cover a simple recipe, but one that is oh so good.  Time consuming, but you can make part of it ahead of time and assemble before the final baking.

For some less laborious baked potatoes, let’s start with some easier, foolproof recipes:

Quick and easy baked potatoesinstructions here. I love these because by splitting the potato you get a nice crispy roasted flavor.

Smashed potatoes are fun, flavorful and a great side for a dinner party. We have two good recipes, here and here.

And if you missed it, this week’s Dinner Menu – Beef and Pepper Subs with Walnut Pear Salad, can be found here.

What’s on the weekend agenda? Any fun pre-Halloween plans like corn mazes or pumpkin hay rides? Hit the comments, and don’t forget to share your favorite potato (or other) recipes. And what do you think, should we tackle pumpkin recipes next week?

Tonight I’m feature two recipes:

Twice Baked Potatoes

(pictured at the top of the post)

These potatoes are packed full and could be a complete meal with a nice salad. You can bake the potatoes a day ahead, refrigerate them and then prep quickly before dinner.

  • 5 large baking potatoes, washed and scrubbed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 4 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped (reserve 2 tbsps of chopped greens for garnish)
  • 4 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz shredded Jack cheese
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 4 tbsp butter, at room temperature

Additional Ideas to make it a meal: Fresh chopped broccoli, diced mushrooms to mix in

Baking sheet

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Rub the potatoes with the olive oil and salt. Place in the oven, pierce each with a fork and bake until fork-tender, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let the potatoes sit until cool enough to handle (or refrigerate for preparation the next day)

Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp and the fat is rendered, 5 to 6 minutes. Add chopped onions and cook until tender-crisp, 1-2 minutes. Drain bacon and onions on paper towels.

Cut ONE potato in half and scoop out completely. Place the pulp in a large bowl.

Cut the top quarter from each of the remaining FOUR potatoes and using a spoon, scoop the pulp from the potatoes into the bowl, leaving a 1/4-inch layer of pulp on the skin. Season the inside of the shells with salt and pepper and place the potato shells on the baking sheet.

Using a handheld masher, mash the potato pulp until smooth. Add 2 oz of each cheese, the sour cream, butter, bacon, cooked onions, salt, pepper and mix well with a fork. Spoon the potato mixture back into the potato shells, top with the remaining cheese and bake at 400 degrees until hot and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with remaining onion greens.

All those leftover potato tops can be used in soup or other recipe.

How about  changing things up with the next recipe?

DSC_9875 [1024x768]

Photo by, who else, JeffreyW.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 sweet potatoes, washed scrubbed
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Baking sheet

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Pierce potatoes with a fork and place sweet potatoes on sheet tray and bake for 1 hour or until soft. Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle (again you can make a day ahead and refrigerate at this point).

Cut the top quarter from each of the potatoes and using a spoon, scoop the pulp from the potatoes into the bowl, leaving a 1/4-inch layer of pulp on the skin. Season the inside of the shells with salt and brown sugar and place the potato shells on the baking sheet.

In another bowl, add brown sugar, butter and cream cheese and the all of the spices and mash with a fork or rubber spatula. Add the butter and cream cheese mixture to the sweet potato flesh and mash completely. Add the filling back to the potato skins and place on a half sheet tray. Sprinkle tops with brown sugar and chopped pecans. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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Sammich Pr0n – Bacon, Basil, Tomato, and Fried Egg

DSC_6938 [1600x1060]I wanted to use a big tomato from the garden because it was just perfect and it’s hard to find a better place to put a big thick slice than on a bacon sammich.  I like the basil on these in place of the usual lettuce, and the fried egg is now considered as a required part of the ensemble.  I used sliced sourdough for this one.

Sammich Pr0n – Cheeseburger with Rings and Sauce

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Sammich Pr0n – Candied Hot Pepper Bacon Cheeseburger

DSC_6745 [1600x1060]

I had some bacon in the fridge that was getting old so I decided to cook the lot of it in the oven. I usually use maple sugar when I make this stuff but decided on brown sugar for this batch.  While rummaging in the cupboard I ran across a jar of ground red pepper.  The peppers grew on an “ornamental” pepper plant but they looked useful and I am loathe to throw things away.  I ground them in my spice mill and put them back, waiting for a special occasion.  Today I sprinkled them onto the bacon, along with ground black pepper and the sugar.  You can see the tiny seeds on the bacon in the photos.  This stuff is awesome.  DSC_6740 [1600x1060]Bacon is not hard to cook in the oven, lay it out on a rack inside a baking tray.  Cooking plain bacon you can get by without lining the tray with foil but this sugar coated stuff will make you wish you had the first time you forget.  Or the second time.  I’m slow.  I set the temp at 350 for this batch, thicker bacon wants a lower temperature setting.  Flip the bacon after 15 minutes and sprinkle the other side with the pepper and sugar.  (Maple syrup works great on these!) The bacon will render as it cooks and will give up moisture, in the last few minutes the rashers go from not quite done to just right and you better be ready because another minute is too much.  [Edit to add photo:]_DSC4626 [1600x1060]I mentioned that I was, um.. retentive.  These are the little peppers I dried and ground and saved.  In 2010.

Dinner Menu: Grilled Steak with Coffee Rub

A friend of mine spent a few months one summer experimenting with coffee rubs. This was one of my favorites. If you need something fun to do with your next grilled steak, this is a recipe to try. And with my love of blueberries, can’t go wrong with a blueberry coffeecake.  Yum.

On the board tonight:

  1. Steak with Coffee Rub
  2. Green Beans w/Bacon & Onion
  3. Baked Potatoes
  4. Blueberry CoffeeCake

Steak with Coffee Rub

  • 3 tbsp chili powder (pure ancho or a blend)
  • 3 tbsp finely ground coffee (espresso works best)
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika (use a good one)
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 to 1-1/2 lb of steak (rib-eye, sirloin, NY strip, etc) in 4 thick pieces

Mix together all spices. Lightly rub each steak with oil and then coat liberally on both sides with coffee rub. Now you can cook in a pre-heated skillet on medium-high heat, 5 to 7 minutes each side for medium rare. You can broil in the oven, using the second slot down from broiler, for 5 minutes each side, again for rare to medium rare, longer for medium. Or if you’re lucky (sigh) you can grill them outside. Cooking times will vary no matter which style you choose, so watch carefully and you’ll probably have to use a meat thermometer to really judge, because the rub makes it a little harder to eyeball it. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Green Beans w/Bacon & Onions

  • 1 lb fresh or frozen green beans (if fresh, snap off ends and snap into smaller pieces)
  • 2 strips bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

Sm. Saucepan, steamer and Skillet

Steam beans until slightly crisp, but tender. While beans are steaming, begin browning bacon until crisp. You can drain most of the bacon drippings, leaving 1 tbsp to lightly coat beans. Add onions. Drain beans and dab with a paper towel. Add to bacon mixture, mixing well, until beans are coated in bacon drippings. Cook on medium-low for 1 to 2 minutes, until onions are heated through.

Blueberry CoffeeCake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp cultured buttermilk powder (or 1 cup butter milk  & omit water)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 8 oz frozen blueberries

Topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup flour

8×8 baking dish, greased

2 bowls

In bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, buttermilk and mix well. Make a well in the center add egg, water & oil. Stir quickly until all everything is mixed well, but don’t over mix. Fold in blueberries. Spread batter evenly in baking dish. In bowl, mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the top of batter. Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Shopping List:

  • 3 tbsp chili powder (pure ancho or a blend)
  • 3 tbsp finely ground coffee (espresso works best)
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika (a good one)
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 to 1-1/2 lb of steak
  • 1 lb fresh or frozen green beans
  • 2 strips bacon
  • 4 green onions
  • 4 tbsp cultured buttermilk powder or 1 cup buttermilk
  • egg
  • 8 oz blueberries

Also: brown sugar, butter, flour, vegetable oil, vanilla, salt, baking powder, sugar, fresh ground pepper

Dinner Menu: Grilled Salmon with Orange Glaze

This is one of my favorite menus. The salmon is based on a dish from a restaurant and my whole table raved about and the garden fresh soup can be served hot or cold. Substitute any garden fresh fruit for dessert.

  1. Grilled Salmon w/Orange Glaze
  2. Tomato & Bell Pepper Soup
  3. Hearty Bread
  4. Raspberries & Blackberries w/whipping cream

Grilled Salmon w/Orange Glaze:

  • ½ cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil (or olive oil)
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4-6 oz salmon fillets, boneless, skinless
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds (toasted, opt)

Combine marmalade, oil, ginger, garlic & vinegar. Brush glaze on each side of salmon, grill 5 minutes each side. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Tomato & Red Bell Pepper Soup:

  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red onion, peeled quartered
  • 1 large red bell pepper, halved & seeded
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

grilling basket &  saucepan

Toss tomatoes, onions & bell pepper with oil, season with salt & pepper. Place vegetables in grilling basket, cut side down and grill for 6 to 8 minutes. Add vegetables, garlic, chicken broth, vinegar, sugar to blender and puree. Pour into saucepan, bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, add cream & basil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Garnish with bacon when served.

Shopping List

  • 4 oz orange marmalade
  • 2 oz white wine vinegar
  • 4-6 oz salmon fillets, boneless, skinless
  • 2 oz  sesame seeds (toasted, opt)
  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 16 oz chicken broth
  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • hearty bread loaf

Also: toasted sesame oil (or olive oil),  ground ginger, crushed garlic, apple cider vinegar

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