Something about January

Archived | January 11, 2011 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I spent the day cooking and baking and wound up with a pan full of meatballs, a pot of black bean soup, a dozen twice baked potatoes, a batch of molasses cookies on the counter, and a French silk pie in the freezer. Something about January. I’m constantly thinking about what I might cook next, and for whom, and with what new recipe I might bake up a storm of chocolated batter or nutmegged dough. Sometimes I even dream about food. Not about eating as much as creating, and those are almost as good as flying dreams.
My friend Angela dreamed last night about making a dress out of pasta. She told me all about it on the phone today, how the dress was made of dough dyed with black squid ink. The top of the dress lay in Grecian folds, with a similarly layered bodice while the skirt was more of a tube. The dress was a project in a competition for some reality show where you make stuff out of food, and in the dream, she won. Princess Pasta of the Milky Way. There was no prize, but I think she deserves a crown of semolina and a year’s supply of chocolate. I mean, come on. She ought to win just for coming up with the idea of a dress made of dough.
I’ve never worn a dress made of pasta, but I have thought, on occasion, during my bake fests, that I might like to be dipped in chocolate and decorated with dried fruit. I would resemble a work by Klimt and could be photographed and made into a postcard reading, “Welcome to Minnesota. Enjoy!” Or we could shoot for a Jackson Pollock and I could be splattered with condiments. Or maybe dip me in lingonberry jam and roll me in phyllo and sprinkled me with powdered sugar. Lord Almighty.
So much for paying bills this morning. Though I will say that every life needs a little bit of mystery, a bit of fun — whatever it is that makes a dream happen in a day. I don’t plan to greet Mr. Sundberg wearing a dress made of pasta. He’d tip over for sure, and we don’t want that. But I refuse to accept that I’ll never know what it feels like to dive into a pool of warm maple syrup. It’s in the realm of the possible. Sure is.
This recipe will engage your creativity in a big way. You may have to make these potatoes two or three times to get them just right, but it’s worth the effort.
Twice Baked Potatoes To Your Liking
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large, whole russett or Yukon Gold potatoes
sour cream (about a cup for 6 potatoes)
sour cream
bacon bits
Wash potatoes and prick with fork. Bake at 350 or so until soft inside. Scoop out the entire inside of potato into a bowl, leaving skins intact.
Add to potatoes — in amounts to your liking — the sour cream, butter, salt, pepper, cheese, and bacon bits (the consistency can range anywhere from being somewhat chunkier to exactly as smooth as mashed potatoes). Add milk to thin out a thicker mixture. A few green onions is also optional. I like throwing in some shredded cheddar and a bit of garlic salt.
Spoon mixture back into potato skins and top with more cheese and whatever else sounds good. Bake on foil in a 9×13 cake pan in a preheated 375°F oven until cheese is melted.
For added color, sprinkle chopped parsley and paprika on top as a garnish. Enjoy!