Two Potato

Last week I talked about turning out a well-baked spud.This week I’d like to talk about all the wondrous, glorious things you can put inside said potato.  This time of year, it’s an easy cheap meal, that once you get in the oven practically does all the work for you.  And if people are coming over, baked spuds with a topping bar and a big salad make a nice easy spread.

A lot of these ideas will be delicious on either a russet or a sweet potato.  But some just work better on one or the other.  At the end of each idea, I’ll tell you what I think.  But hey, you do you.  Let that baked potato freak flag fly.

…but not that kind of tuber experiment.

And if you’ve got an awesome topping you like that I didn’t mention, drop me a line and let me know—I’m always up for a little tuber experimentation (That sounded kinda creepy, didn’t it?  Sorry.).

I’ll list the suggestions from the healthiest to the most indulgent.

Okey-dokey, let’s play!

Salsa, with some canned black beans stirred in.  Then top it with some non-fat Greek yogurt in which you’ve mixed in some lime juice, cumin, and cilantro.  Works with regular and sweet.Shredded chicken from a store-bought rotisserie and drizzled with chicken stock spiked with lemon juice, and thickened with a cornstarch slurry which you’ve studded with defrosted frozen peas.  Again, works with both types of spud.

One of my favorite things to do with holiday leftovers: drizzle a sweet potato with some fat-free (as fat-free as possible) turkey gravy, drop on a few dried cranberries, and speckle it with some freshly ground nutmeg.

Top with some giardiniera; Italian spicy pickled vegetables, roasted garlic (Cut head in half, drizzle with olive oil, season, wrap in foil and bake 1 hour at 350.), and top with a little Italian dressing.

One of Petey’s favorites is chili with a small sprinkling of grated cheddar and a dollop of light sour cream.

My brother Bud’s favorite: broccoli with lashings of cheese sauce.  He likes the neon orange, plastic sauce from a jar, which aside from being full of chemicals and sodium, is surprisingly low in fat and calories.It may sound really weird and trendy enough to make you wanna holler, but I love creamed kale on a baked sweet.  If you can’t face kale anymore, try creamed spinach.

Fry up a couple pieces of bacon, and set them aside.  Pour off most of the fat, but leave enough to sauté a peeled, cleaned, and cubed apple or pear.  Season it traditionally with cinnamon and nutmeg, or get crazy with some Chinese five-spice.  Add some dried cherries, and deglaze with something alcoholic like brandy, rum, or applejack.  Top with some butter toasted pecans.  Best on a sweet.

Caramelize a couple of yellow onions, sprinkle in some dried thyme, and deglaze with white wine.  Top with some crumbled goat cheese, cashews, and fresh chopped parsley.  Works with white or sweet.Drop on some diced ham and a poached egg or two.  Then spoon on the hollandaise.  Best with white.

Crisp up some pancetta.  Set aside and with some of the fat, caramelize mushrooms.  Add heavy cream, thyme, shallots, and cook until thick and creamy.  Spoon into russet and top with crispy pancetta.  Best on regular.

And, finally the classic: butter, sour cream, and chives.  It’s the classic for a reason.  But do it right, or do something else.  Use thick, tangy, full fat sour cream, the fanciest butter you can afford, and fresh chives.  Done right, this is a poem.  And, good on both.

But, what do I know?  As a kid, I put mayo on mine.Thanks for your time.