Every time, and I mean every time I ask my husband Petey what he wants for supper, he gives me the same answer. You might think that he’s a picky eater with an extremely limited palate.
Actually, the opposite is true.
The abiding answer to my culinary query?
“Whatever you feel like making.”Petey’s response gives me complete freedom with my only limitations being price and availability. But, you know, sometimes I am completely out of ideas, and I’m truly seeking direction. Sadly, it never comes from him. Honestly, the fact that I still ask the question after 35 years of non-answers says a ton about me, and not about him.
But, that’s the man I married.I only learned about ten or twelve years ago that he’s crazy for coconut cake. It’s his favorite. That fact’s not something I’m proud of.
But, he doesn’t make it easy.
I buy this macaroni salad from Lowe’s. It’s really convenient to have on hand when we need a quick side dish. He always eats every bite on his plate.
Last week he told me he doesn’t like it.
C’mon! How am I supposed to have picked up on that one?
The man is almost militantly easy going when it comes to food. Planning a visit to a restaurant, I study the online menu like it’s an unknown Shakespearian sonnet. I want to know every conceivable option, the chef’s food philosophy, the ingredients’ sources, and whether they cook with gas or electric.
Petey orders the BLT.So, if the man voluntarily mentions something, or even shows an interest bordering on mild enthusiasm, I take notice. Frankly, it’s such a rare and magical occurrence, I would beg, borrow, and/or steal to produce it for him.
The other night we were watching a PBS cooking show, and there was a potato dish. Petey casually said, “That looks good. We should try something like that.”Of course, he said this after it was finished and the chef had moved onto something else. And of course, I hadn’t been giving it my full attention, and had no clear idea about ingredients or procedure. So, I watched an encore showing with laser-like focus, and a notebook at the ready. And in the viewing discovered the chef was awful at anything resembling details. I was effectively on my own.
So this is what I came up with.
Petey’s twice-baked potatoes
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into ¼ inch strips
2-3 pounds red skin or fingerling potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1 ½ cups sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1-2 tablespoons fresh chives or green onions, sliced thinly
1 ½ cup shredded parmesan or other dry cheese such as Manchego
Salt & pepperPreheat oven to 375. Cook bacon in skillet on stovetop until crispy, reserving fat.
Use reserved fat to grease 13 X 9 baking dish. Toss cut potatoes in 1-2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat and season with salt & pepper. Bake for 30 minutes until al dente.
While potatoes are baking, make sauce by mixing together in large bowl, sour cream, herbs, cooked bacon, and ¾ cups cheese.
When the potatoes have finished the first bake, raise oven to 425. Put potatoes into bowl with sauce and mix until coated. Pour back into pan, sprinkle on the rest of the cheese and bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before service.Serves 6.
If you can’t decide whether to make this dish, you might want to know it has Petey’s full-throated, enthusiastic praise.
His exact words?
“It’s not bad.”Thanks for your time.