I don't eat a lot of carbohydrates (mostly because gluten makes me bloated and comatose) but I have to say I'm a potato junkie. At least once every two weeks or so, I feel the need to have a potato. Fried potatoes, baked potatoes, twice-baked potatoes, rosemary roasted potatoes, and yes, mashed potatoes. I even will do scalloped or au gratin on occasion.
I think a potato is one of the most perfect foods on earth. You can eat one on its own, you can eat a potato as a side, it can become your main course (stuffed baked potatoes with ham or turkey, broccoli and cheese), or part of your main course (shepherd's pie, meatloaf frosted with mashed potatoes, Italian potato pizza or lasagne). When we go camping, I love to throw sliced potatoes in foil with garlic, onions and apples, and let them roast directly in the red hot coals of a campfire.
And of course, there is potato soup, and I'm especially fond of cream of potato with ham or bacon and chives.
My friend Mike swears by making leftover baked potatoes into a fried hash of sorts the next day, and I once saw a Paula Dean episode where she converted day-old mashed potatoes into fritters with the simple addition of an egg, a little flour, some milk, and a sizzling hot pan.
Here's my twice baked potato recipe-nothing too fancy, but it'll warm your tummy on these cold winter nights with the addition of a good ribeye or stuffed chicken breast or a thick pork chop.
Parmesan Garlic Twice Baked Potatoes
6 large baking potatoes
2 sticks butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Scrub potatoes thoroughly and use a fork to poke holes throughout the potato. Put potatoes directly on oven rack in center of oven. Bake for 1 1/4 hours or until they feel soft to the touch.
Remove potatoes. Turn oven up to 400.
Slice each potato lengthwise, leaving 1/2 inch on each end, to form a boat.
Remove potato pulp from inside of skin and immediately put in large mixing bowl with 1 1/2 sticks of butter. Using a hand mixer, mix together potato, butter, and parmesan cheese. Slowly mix in cream until you reach the consistency you desire. Season with salt and pepper.
Using a spoon or a piping bag, put mashed potato mixture into potato skin boats. Slice remaining 1/2 stick of butter into six pieces and garnish each potato with a thin butter pad and a tbsp of parmesan cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until potatoes are heated through and are a crisp golden brown on top.
Amy L. Schubert is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry and has worked in every aspect of bar and restaurant operations. A graduate of Marquette University (B.A.-Writing Intensive English, 1997) and UW-Milwaukee (M.A.-Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing, 2001), Amy still occasionally moonlights as a guest bartender and she mixes a mean martini.
The restaurant business seems to be in Amy’s blood, and she prides herself in researching and experimenting with culinary combinations and cooking techniques in her own kitchen as well as in friends’ restaurants. Both she and her husband, Scott, are avid cooks and “wine heads,” and love to entertain friends, family and neighbors as frequently as possible.
Amy and Scott live with their boys, Alex and Nick, in Bay View, where they are all very active in the community. Amy finds great pleasure in sharing her knowledge and passions for food and writing in her contributions to OnMilwaukee.com.