Do you like a moist potato or a dry fluffy one? How about the skin? Dry and crisp or with a light coating of oil? Do you like the skin to have a light coating of salt or be rolled in oil and dried herbs? All of these choices are possible, let’s start at the beginning.
Most of the upscale steak houses such as Morton’s or Smith & Wollensky use an Idaho® Russet Burbank variety potato. They typically choose a 40 or 50 count potato, which weighs about a pound each. Budget steakhouses such as Sizzler or Golden Corral typically use a slightly smaller potato, such as a 70 count or 80 count, the same size you’ll find at most grocery stores in the loose potato displays. Since they use their ovens for lots of different food cooking applications the chances are that they are cooking the potatoes longer and hotter than you do at home. The potato is done when the internal temperature is 210°F or a minimum of 185°F.
If you want a little moister baked russet potato choose the Russet Norkotah. This is the variety commonly sold in grocery stores. Personally I find that this variety needs to be baked a little longer, typically ten more minutes.
Of course, I am assuming that you looked for the “Grown in Idaho®” seal on the nearby bagged russets and found that Idaho is one of the few states (in fact, the first) to label the variety right on the bag or plastic white enclosure tag, called a quick lock. Look for the words Russet Norkotah or Russet Burbank or other Idaho variety names such as Ranger, Umatilla, Alturas, etc. If you find a variety you like, ask the produce buyer to continue to stock it.
Don’t store the potatoes in the refrigerator; the natural starches will convert to sugar and the potato will taste sweet when baked. Store in a cool dark place such as your pantry or where you store your dry cereals.
Don’t wrap the potato in foil, this just steams the potato and makes the skin wet. Yes, some restaurants do this but primarily they are trying to hold the potatoes longer and dress them up. The brown skin may not be the prettiest vegetable but it does not improve the flavor when the 80% or so water content is trapped inside a wrapper.
At home, I just set the oven at 400°F and then wash off the potatoes using a brush to get any dirt or sand out of the deep set eyes. I use a fork to pierce the potato on both sides to let steam escape and then I place the potatoes (with spacing around each) in the oven right on the racks so they will cook evenly and faster than if bunched together or on a cold metal tray. Use one hour as your guideline, some potatoes may bake in a little less time but with various sizes and different oven temps (have you had your oven checked to see if it is the same temp as the dial? The gas or electric service usually will do this and calibrate the oven for free).
When a potato is done baking you can usually start to smell the aroma leaking out of the oven or vent. Pull one of the potatoes and poke it with a fork till you don’t see the tines of the fork. Just like baking a cake, the fork should come out nearly clean once the potato is thoroughly baked. Or, use a meat thermometer and check the temp to see if you are above 185°F. If you need to hold a potato until dinner is ready, turn off the oven but keep the door closed and the heat will stay in for another 10-15 minutes. That’s about how long it takes for me to start a steak on the BBQ, 8 minutes on the first side and six on the second if the propane gas has already heated the BBQ grill to 300-400°F and is turned on high.
Don’t cut a baked potato with a knife, it just compresses the starch cells and when the interior glazes over the butter or sour cream will make it soggy. I open the potato with a fork, cutting a cross into the top of the potato. Then I push in both ends of the potato and it will blossom open, just like at your favorite steak house. If the potato is still moist inside I pop it into the micro wave for 30-45 seconds, pull it out and put on salt, pepper, sour cream or cottage cheese or low fat yogurt. For a healthier option (which I love for a lunch entree) I put fresh salsa on the potato with no dairy products. It tastes great.
This rosemary Asian pear crisp is a fun twist to the normal fruit crisp. Packed full of sweet ripe Asian pears, golden raisins, minced rosemary and finished with a super crunchy oat topping. Perfect when served plain, sprinkled with powdered sugar or a big scoop of ice cream.
FOR PIE FILLING
1/3 cup brown sugar
In a medium sized bowl add brown sugar, flour, unsalted butter, baking powder, apple pie spice and kosher salt. Mix until crumbly and stir in rolled oats.
For pear crisp:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 8x8 pan with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl combine all ingredients together and stir to evenly coat. Add pears to the prepared dish and top with prepared topping.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the pears are soft.
posted by NUTMEGNANNY
Bette’s Baked Kale Chips
1 head of kale, washed and thoroughly dried
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Remove the ribs from the kale and cut or break kale into 1½-inch pieces.
Place on a baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil and salt, and toss together until coated.
Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes.
Then serve and enjoy!
4 medium-sized artichokes
2 cups breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
¼ cup water
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
Rinse the artichokes well, remove the small outer leaves from the bottom row around artichoke, cut off the stem and slice about 1 inch off of the top. In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and pepper. Add the melted butter, water and oil and mix well. If needed, add more water or oil to make stuffing very moist.Turn the artichokes upside down and press firmly to spread the leaves. Turn right side up and stand the artichokes in a large pot with about 1 ½ inches of water in the bottom. Cover and steam over medium-high heat about 20-25 minutes or until the artichokes are tender, checking the water level occasionally and adding more water as needed. Stuff the breadcrumb mixture into the center and inside surrounding layers of leaves. Put onto microwavable plate and microwave for approximately 3-4 minutes or before serving put into pan covered tightly with foil and place in 350° oven for approximately 20 minutes.
Sauté garlic and oil until lightly browned and add broccoli rabe; sauté until tender. Strain the broccoli rabe and garlic mixture to remove the excess liquid. Chop the mixture finely, and set aside for later use. Cook the sausage meat and the diced onions until the mixture is fully cooked. Drain the sausage mixture of any excess liquid. Make sure the sausage and onion mixture is chopped, without any large pieces of meat. Add sausage mixture to the broccoli rabe mixture. Blend well. Next, add the ricotta, mozzarella, grated cheese and egg. Stir until mixed well. Add broccoli rabe and sausage mixture to the pie crust, and distribute evenly. Add pie crust over the top. Cut a vent hole in the center of the pie. Pinch the edges of the two crusts together. Brush the top of the pie and the edges with a beaten egg yolk. Place pie on a cookie sheet, and bake at 375° for 45 minutes to an hour, or until golden brown. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving 3
4 strips thick-cut pancetta
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
1/2 large onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
INGREDIENTS Serves 10
4 large ripe persimmons
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter,room temperature
3 extra large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
3/4 cup dried currant
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.
Butter and flour Bundt pan.
Press pulp through coarse sieve into medium bowl.
Measure 1 1/3 cups persimmon puree into small bowl.
Mix baking soda into puree and set aside.
Beat sugar and butter in large bowl until blended (mixture will be grainy).
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Mix in vanilla
Sift flour, cinnamon, salt, allspice and cloves into butter mixture; blend well using rubber spatula.
Mix in persimmon mixture, walnuts and currants.
Transfer batter to prepared pan.
Bake cake until tester comes out clean, about 55 minutes.
Cook cake in pan on rack 5 minutes.
Turn out cake onto rack; cool completely.
Sift confectioners’ sugar over cake
Recipe by Evelyn/Athens
My Persimmon Story
If you're lucky enough to have a persimmon tree, you're guaranteed to have plenty of gorgeous persimmons come autumn. Or, if you have a neighbor with one, you're bound to find a bag of persimmons on your doorstep one fall day. The prolific trees are especially striking when the leaves drop and the traffic-stopping bright-orange orbs are still clinging to the bare, gnarled branches, silhouetted against a clear autumn sky.
Even if you don't have a tree, or a neighboring one that you can benefit from, you might have seen persimmons at the market. Most likely they were Hachiya persimmons, the most common, elongated-shape variety. It's the one I recommend for this cake. They must be squishy soft before they can be used. If you buy them rock-hard, leave them at room temperature until they feel like water balloons ready to burst. When ready, yank off the stem, slice each persimmon in half, then scoop out the jellylike pulp and purée it in a blender or food processor.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
6 Large Apples ( A mix of different apples is great)
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 Teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 Teaspoons instant tapioca
1 Baked 9-inch pie shell
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup ( 1 1/2 sticks) butter
Preheat the oven to 375*F
Peel, core, and slice the apples and place in a large bowl. Add the sugar,
cinnamon, and tapioca and stir together until the apples are well coated.
Spoon the apple mixture into the pie shell. Dot with butter or margarine
and set aside.
For the crumb topping, place the flour, cinnamon, and sugar in a large
bowl and cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the
mixture has the texture of course cornmeal. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top of the apples.
Bake the pie for 40 to 45 minutes.
Enjoy the Taste of Fall
Skip the can and make your own pumpkin puree at home. It’s easy, smells incredible and works perfectly in your favorite pumpkin recipes. Look for baking pumpkins often labeled “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins”. There’s lots of variety so if you are buying directly from the farmers at farmer’s markets, ask them which pumpkin works best for your needs. This method works with most winter squashes — think butternut , acorn or Cheese Pumpkin. You can make ahead and store Pumpkin puree in the fridge for up to one week or freeze for up to three months.
Makes 5 to 6 cups pumpkin puree
1 small baking pumpkin, 4 to 6 pounds
Fine sea salt, optional
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Rinse and pat dry the pumpkin. Cut the squash from stem to end, but don’t try to cut through the stem (it’s too tough). When you’ve cut through the pumpkin, just pull each half apart. We do this in two parts. Cut one side from the stem down to the bottom of the pumpkin. Remove the knife, rotate the pumpkin to the opposite side then do the same. When there is a slit down both halves of the pumpkin, put down the knife and pull the halves apart. They should separate at the stem.
Scoop out the seeds and most of the stringy bits. Lightly season the inside of the pumpkin halves with salt then place cut-side-down onto the baking sheet. Bake until the pumpkin can easily be pierced with a knife in several places and the flesh is pulling away from the skin, 45 to 60 minutes.
Cool until you can safely handle the halves then scoop out the soft flesh into a food processor — depending on how large the pumpkin is, you may need to do this in two batches. Process until very smooth, 3 to 5 minutes
1 Preheat your oven to 425°F.
2 Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the brown sugar, white sugar, salt, spices—cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, cardamom, and lemon zest.
3 Mix in the pumpkin purée. Stir in the cream. Beat together until everything is well mixed.
4 Pour the filling into an uncooked pie shell. Bake at a high temperature of 425°F for 15 minutes.
Then after 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 350°F. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes more. The pie is done when the center of the filling reaches 175°F (79°C) when measured with an instant read thermometer.
If you don't have a thermometer, a knife tip inserted in the center comes should come out wet but relatively clean, and the center of the pie should still be a little bit jiggly.
(About half-way through the baking, you may want to put foil around the edges or use a pie protector to keep the crust from getting too browned.)
5 Cool the pumpkin pie on a wire rack for 2 hours. Note that the pumpkin pie will come out of the oven all puffed up (from the leavening of the eggs), and will deflate as it cools.
Serve with whipped cream.
Dip the eggplant slices in egg and milk mixture, then coat with bread crumbs, both sides. In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot and fry eggplant until golden brown; drain on paper towels. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together all of the filling ingredients.
In a large baking pan, place sauce on bottom of pan to cover.
Spread a thin layer of cheese mixture onto each slice of eggplant. Roll up tightly and place seam side down in baking pan. Once the pan is filled with the rollatini pour sauce over the rolls and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Also, sprinkle some Parmesan or Romano cheese over top.
Bake in preheated 350° oven for 20 - 25 minutes until cheese is melted and lightly browned.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Use an electric mixer, combine the butter, vanilla, 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, flour, and baking powder. When well blended, press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a greased 8-inch square or 9-inch round baking pan.
In a large bowl, mix the blueberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon until the fruit is well coated. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour. Serve hot or cold.
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, melted
· 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
· 1 cup all-purpose flour
· 2 teaspoons baking powder
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· 1 cup milk
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 3 to 4 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, thinly sliced
· 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375°.
Pour melted butter into a 2-quart baking dish (11x7 or 8-inch square). In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of the sugar, the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir to blend. Stir in the milk and vanilla until blended. Pour the batter over the melted butter. Toss the peaches with the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Arrange the peach slices over the batter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. The top will be browned and the cake will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Serve warm with a little heavy cream, whipped topping, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Preheat oven to 375°. Place blackberries in a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish; sprinkle with lemon juice. Stir together egg, sugar, and flour in a medium bowl until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over fruit. Drizzle melted butter over topping. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired. Garnish with fresh mint sprig, if desired.
For a neat presentation, bake for the same amount of time in 6 (8-oz.) ramekins on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
Serve this cobbler after your guests enjoy a simple, but impressive summer barbecue. This dish is vibrant and sweet. It would also be a perfect dessert for your Memorial Day barbecue.
This is a dish the entire family will enjoy. Swap out the blackberries for strawberries or peaches, if you please.
PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 can (20 oz) pineapple slices in juice, drained, juice reserved ( or fresh pineapple)
1 jar (6 oz) maraschino cherries without stems, drained
1 box yellow cake mix
Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). In 13x9-inch pan, melt butter in oven. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter. Arrange pineapple slices on brown sugar. Place cherry in center of each pineapple slice, and arrange remaining cherries around slices; press gently into brown sugar.
Add enough water to reserved pineapple juice to measure 1 cup. Make cake batter as directed on box, substituting pineapple juice mixture for the water. Pour batter over pineapple and cherries.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately run knife around side of pan to loosen cake. Place heatproof serving plate upside down onto pan; turn plate and pan over. Leave pan over cake 5 minutes so brown sugar topping can drizzle over cake; remove pan. Cool 30 minutes
Bette's Roasted Grape Tomato
2 pints grape tomatoes
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon oregano
Eight slices of bruschetta
Preheat the oven to 400°. On a large baking sheet, toss the tomatoes with the garlic, crushed red pepper and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for about 20 minutes, until they burst and their skins begin to shrivel, stir once during roasting.
In a medium bowl, pour the remaining olive oil. Add the rosemary and oregano with the olive oil. Add the tomatoes and their juices, stir gently and let stand for 30 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°. Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes, or until crisp. Spoon the tomatoes and juices over the bruschetta and sprinkle with salt before serving.
In a large frying pan, brown sausage. After sausage is cooked, cut into approximately 1/4" circular pieces and set aside. Cut off about 2 inches from the bottom stem of the broccoli rabe; rinse well and drain. In a large pot, put in broccoli rabe and add approximately 4 cups of water, cover and steam on medium-high until tender, stirring occasionally. In colander, drain broccoli rabe and set aside. In the same empty pot put in oil and garlic and sauté garlic until lightly browned. Add broccoli rabe, sausage, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to the sautéed garlic and oil and stir together. If desired, place broccoli rabe over cooked pasta and serve.
Cut bottom core off escarole and rinse leaves well. In a large pot, put in escarole leaves and add 4 cups of water; steam until leaves are tender. Drain in colander and set aside. Place olive oil and garlic in the same pot and sauté garlic until golden brown. Add escarole and the remaining ingredients into the pot and stir. Heat thoroughly
In a large bowl, mix together all the salad ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over broccoli and stir until well coated. Chill and serve.