The Great Potato Fakeout

November 8, 2012

 

Greetings from Buttgate! I am still walking like The Penguin (where’s my umbrella?) but I think things are easing slightly, pain-wise, although I am frustrated with how long it’s taking to return to normal. Thank you, 40’s!

But I’m going to change the subject; nobody wants more Fox News updates re: my backside.

Onward.

***

A Wee Memo to the World: Human beings, particularly those of the female persuasion, have a passionate love affair with carbohydrates. As a young girl, I loved nothing better than a Saturday morning bowl of Uncle Ben’s converted rice, slathered in butter. Mashed potatoes? On board. Pasta with bacon? Bring it, baby. And guess what? The Carb Fairy never once slithered through my window and put an extra five pounds under my pillow. Well, until I had children. But I didn’t have my first child until I was almost 32-years old, so I think carbs and I had a pretty good run, don’t you think?

All of this anti-carb stuff in the media lately makes me a little nuts. A potato is not your ass’s assassin, unless you deep fry that potato in bacon fat, top it with more bacon, add a truckload of cheese, and snarf the dang thing at every meal.

I remember reading an interview several years ago with Gwyneth Paltrow (eww) during a press junket, and when asked about her dietary regimen she replied, “Oh yes, of course. It is lovely to have a little drop of food once in awhile.”

The only time I’ve eaten a “little drop of food” was after a particularly grisly tonsillectomy.

Alas, my arse is  a bit  a lot older than when I popped out delicious Miss D., so I have to be more judicious in my carb consumption. However, I will never give carbohydrates up (nevernevernever! Che! Che!).  Carbohydrates bring joy and little pink butterflies to my life.

While I can’t subsist exclusively on them anymore, now that I’m mainlining wrinkle cream and wearing jeans that have “stretch” in them, I’m still going to eat them, dammit.

I just may have to use a few tricks and stealth maneuvers in my aged years. Maneuvers to help me figure out a way to eat them and not blow the hind-end out of my “stretch” jeans. With age comes wisdom, right? Jesus, I hope so. Otherwise, I’m already rolling down the big hill.

This recipe from Food Network magazine intrigued me. In the past, I’ve made mashed cauliflower, (sorta successful at tasting like potatoes but not quite there) but I preferred this recipe because I got to eat my cauliflower and my potatoes, too. Plus it has a splash of bacon, and bacon makes the world a better place.

Guess what? I served this sneaky devil to my family and they scarfed it down. They had no idea it was any different from the twice-baked potatoes I serve on a regular basis. I am waiting for my Certificate of Awesomeness to arrive in the mail any day now.

I made a few modifications, because the original recipe intended for the stuffed potato to be the main dish at the meal, and I wanted to serve it as a side. I also substituted some Parmesan cheese for the cheddar, for extra punch.

Whether you are young or old, if your belly is craving some carbohydrate action, I’d encourage you to try these. I think it will be a welcome surprise.

Sneaky Stuffed Potatoes

slightly adapted from Food Network Magazine

serves 6

 

3 slices bacon

6 small (about 4 oz. each) russet potatoes

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 cups cauliflower florets (cut from about 1 small head)

1/2 cup buttermilk (may need a bit more)

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon white vinegar (I used white balsamic)

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

6 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese

freshly chopped parsley, for garnish

 

Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Open oven and prick potatoes (several times) with a fork; shut door and bake another 15-20 minutes.

In a medium pot, bring a cup of water to a boil. Place cauliflower in a steamer basket; set in pot and cover with a lid. Steam cauliflower for 6-8 minutes, or until almost falling apart.

Place steamed cauliflower, buttermilk, garlic, vinegar, paprika, bacon drippings and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Add pepper to taste.

Slice a thin layer off the top of each potato. Scoop out the potatoes, leaving about 1/4-inch border (to form a wall). Mix the scooped potato flesh with the cauliflower mixture, adding more buttermilk if the filling seems dry. Add parmesan. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Scoop potato/cauliflower mixture back into potato shells. Top each potato with a tablespoon of grated cheddar and some bacon crumbles. Bake until filling is hot and bubbly, at 400 degrees, for about 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

ps: Ass update. Still needing painkillers and the donut, so I’m sorry if you haven’t seen me around. I’ll be back, I swear!

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