So, here I sit, unwilling to eat a great many things. Many of my previously known “favorites” are sadly neglected, and I’m searching desperately for something that appeals. It’s rather disconcerting-you know. I’m a food person, and it seems that I’m not so interested in food, of late. And the larger problem is this: yesterday’s interests are thoroughly uninteresting today. Leftovers? Nope. I keep trying to pawn them off on Scott. I try to avoid opening the fridge if I can, because of the refrigerator smell- do you you know what smell I mean? It never used to be so offensive, but now, now, with my over-sensitive nose, I steer clear of the fridge if I can… “Scott, will you look in the vegetable drawer and see what we have in there?” “Scott, do we have enough milk for my cereal?” “Scott, what are you making me for dinner tonight?” And by the way, thank goodness that guy can cook a great meal! I’d be lost and starving without him! (Well, I seem to be starving anyway, but not for lack of eating…)
Last night I found myself cooking dinner for the first time in a month-and-a half. Start to finish- I did it all! Perhaps it wasn’t a complete meal, but it tasted good to me and I figure, that counts for a lot right now!
A friend of mine was telling me about his trists with twice-baked potatoes. “Oooh” I said, “that sounds really good. Maybe I’ll do that for dinner tomorrow night”. And I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I dreamt about it that night and shopped for the ingredients first-thing the next morning. He said he used triple-cream cheese (one that contains at least 75% butterfat) in the filling rather than the commonly used sour cream/ chedddar combo. Mmmm. I followed his lead and made these really yummy stuffed potatoes. And you know what? I made five of them, hoping, hoping, hoping that I’d be interested in the leftovers. And you know what? I am!
I had the idea to throw olives into the mix because of the super-delicious twice-baked potatoes of my childhood. Has anyone ever been to Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola? My best-friend’s parents used to take us on day-drives down to Capitola and Santa Cruz where we’d nibble, browse and play our summer days away. Those twice-baked potatoes have never left my consciousness, emblematic of “the golden life”- to be sure!
Twice-baked potatoes a great idea from Ken!
yields 5 servings
- 5 medium russet potatoes
- 6 ounces triple-cream cheese (I used our locally made Mt. Tam)
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- 15 each medium sized olives, pitted and roughly chopped (anything but the American canned black olive will do!)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- kosher salt to taste
- a drizzle of pure olive oil or vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, scrub the potatoes and lightly coat them with oil. Pierce each one with a knife (to prevent explosion in the oven!) and set them on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 1 hour, or until they are easily peirced with a knife, showing no resistance. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
When they are just cool enough to handle, slice off the top 1/4 of each potato and set the “hat” aside. Using a spoon, gently scoop out the flesh into a medium bowl, leaving about a 1/4-inch of “shell” behind. Lightly scoop the “hats” too, using the same premise. Lightly sprinkle the shells and hats with salt and put them back in the oven to crisp for about 10 minutes, while you mix the stuffing.
With a large fork, break the potato flesh down and begin to mix in the cheese, scallions, melted butter, olives, salt and lots of pepper. Remove the shells and hats from the oven and carefully fill each shell with the stuffing. As for the hats, you can do a couple things…give them a shmear of the stuffing for “potato skins” or throw them in the freezer for a mid-day snack later on! (I froze mine, and have cheddar cheeze and bacon bits in mind!)
Choose a saute pan or baking dish that can go in the oven. Drizzle a bit more oil in the bottom of the pan, and place the potatoes on top of the oil (this will help to make their bottoms nice and crispy!). Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 more minutes, then increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees for 5 more minutes. They’ll brown lightly on the top and form crispy bits.
I highly recommend letting them cool for about 5 minutes before digging in- they’ll be like molten lava!