When all you have is a point and shoot digital camera, food blogging starts to feel like a summer activity. Gone are the days when my tiny Brooklyn kitchen (with Southern exposure) was filled with food flattering daylight until 5, 6, even 7 o’clock at night. Now, it’s a race home from the grocery store on my earlyish days off to see what recipe I can rush through – if only to grasp those last precious moments of 4pm sunlight.
Kitty to Santa: I really really really want a new camera. With a food friendly flash. And maybe a tripod.
Until that day comes, however, many-a-meal goes by without being chronicled. It’s not as if we stopped, eating, or anything. Or are on diets. That would be crazy talk. But when I whipped up these Thrice Baked Potatoes last week, as a dinner side dish, I just knew I had to make them again on my day off so I could share them with all of you. They are that good.
Oh…and they also happen to be an excellent veggie fake-out.
Kitty’s Thrice Baked Potatoes
makes 2 – 4 servings
2 russet potatoes
1 & 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
1/2 cup chicken broth or water
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream
1/4 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
salt & white pepper
optional: cooked turkey bacon, chopped
Step 1: In a 450F oven, bake your well-washed, fork pricked potatoes, for around 45 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from oven, and cool until easily handled. You can give them a head start by slicing them in half after a few minutes.
Step 2: Meanwhile, steam your cauliflower florets for 10 minutes or so in the chicken stock. You could sub water, but the chicken broth (or even veggie broth!) will make a HUGE taste difference. When done steaming, mash the cauliflower up with a potato masher.
Step 3: Use a teaspoon to scoop the potato flesh out of the potatoes, into a large bowl. Be careful not to tear the skin of the potato. Place the empty potato skins onto a baking sheet, and pop them back into the 450F oven for 3 or 4 minutes.
Step 4: Mash the potatoes with a potato masher, and add the mashed cauliflower to the bowl. Add some salt and ground white pepper, along with the butter and sour cream. Using a handheld mixer on the low setting, whip the mixture until smooth.
Step 5: Stir 2/3 of the cheese cubes into the mixture.
Step 6: Gently spoon the mixture into the potato skins, making sure to go slowly and not rip the skins.
Step 7: Dot the tops of the potatoes with the remaining cheese cubes. Place the potatoes back onto the baking sheet, and return them to the oven, for 5 – 10 minutes. The tops will start to brown, and the cheese will be completely melted. If you like them very brown, put them under the broiler for a couple of minutes.
Step 8: Garnish with the scallions and turkey bacon, and maybe a dollop of sour cream.
The whole point of returning the empty skins to the oven is to insure that you get a nicely crispy potato skin, which I love. My husband, however, scooped and ate up the whipped and cheesy middle, completely neglecting the thrice baked crispy skins. Husbands are funny like that sometimes.
If it’s a veggie fake-out you tuned in for, this one is sure to please. Cauliflower, from the mighty cruciferous family of vegetables, is loaded with vitamin C (91% of the daily requirement in just a one cup serving!), and is also swimming with heart healthy folate and fiber. Cruciferous veggies are believed to help prevent cancer, fight rheumatoid arthritis, and assist in detoxing the liver. And how’s this for a statistic? According to the the National Cancer Institute: “One serving of cruciferous vegetables a week HALVES advanced prostate cancer risk”. One serving! Eat your veggies!
On our official veggie fake-out broccoli head rating scale, I give this recipe 8 out of 10 heads of broccoli.