Twice-Baked Potatoes (16 April 2008)

OK, to be fair, I measured NOTHING in this "recipe", so I'm guessing at approximate measurements to replicate it.

Baked 3 HUGE russetts in-skin, in microwave (took 15.5 minutes before they were done, and in a few places, I think the last 30 seconds might have helped...)

Pan-fried 4 strips of turkey bacon and chopped into 1/4"ish square pieces (nothing fancy, just ran my knife through them in a rough chop.)

I halved the potatoes and scooped out the innards, saving skins as possible (If you manage to save all 6 halves, bravo! I only got two!) even though that meant they were not scraped of all the flesh.

Mixed with maybe 1/2?cup of milk (I know I started with about a 1/4 cup, but they needed more, so I tossed in another healthy splash), and about 2? ounces of sour cream in my stand mixer. Added bacon, a handful of shredded romano, 1/2? 1/3? cup shredded sharp cheddar (somewhere between a 1/6 & 1/8th of one of those 2 cup bags) and a tablespoon or two of "trail dust", a boutique spice I found in a flea-market type booth here in town (yes it was sealed!). Added a stick (yes, an entire stick!) of butter (1/4 pound) and about a tablespoon or so of kosher salt as I mixed.

Scooped the two skins full and overflowing (if you save all 6 skins, you may not be able to do quite "overflowing") and had about a quart of mashed potatoes left. Sprinkled about a hand full of sharp cheddar on top and poof... will bake them off in the oven in a few minutes.

It's worth noting: cheddar was 2%, milk was 2%, sour cream was "light", and the bacon was turkey bacon. This SOUNDS horribly decadent, but it's not as bad as it could have been. Also worth noting: The only thing I had to buy specifically for this was the potatoes. I had the seasoning, the bacon, etc. I used up the remains of one bag of cheese in it, and took the cheese to top it with from another opened bag (no, I don't know why I had two bags of the same sort of cheese open).

They say the best cooking is the kind you don't worry or fuss about measuring out, and just put together to your tastes. This was that sort of cooking. Shoot, that's MOST of my cooking. I might start with a recipe, but I rarely follow it exactly (except for baking, where chemistry means I fiddle with things less than other recipes).

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