We are back in Los Angeles, and back to work (or at least some of us are). And I am back in the kitchen, which for me is the silver lining on this cloud we call reality. Tonight my husband is fighting off some kind of flu-ish horribleness, so I decided it was time for comfort food. Namely, twice-baked potatoes with yummy things mixed in, and a green salad.
I found the inspiration for this recipe in Cooking Light magazine a few months ago, and tweaked it to my liking. The flavors are bold, both a little bit spicy and a little bit salty. If you abstain from bacon, feel free to leave it out. It will be missing a little something (umami, as I have recently learned in one of my favorite Christmas gifts, The Flavor Bible). But it will still be tasty. Absolutely do not leave out the chipotle, as it is the best part. I have recently discovered the joy of chipotle chiles in adobo and I can't stay away from them. You can find cans of them in the "ethnic" aisle of your grocery store, and if you refrigerate the part you don't use in tupperware, it will last for months.
Spicy Twice-Baked Potatoes
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
Serves at least 2, up to 4 (depending on how hungry you are)
(look at the potato trifecta! just waiting to be twice-baked and eaten!)
3 large baking potatoes
Olive Oil spray
2/3 cup skim buttermilk (or 2/3 cups skim milk whisked with 2 tbsp lemon juice)
3/4 cup shredded extra sharp white cheddar, divided
3 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 1 tablespoon of the adobo
a pinch of ground sea salt
2 bacon slices, cooked, drained and crumbled
1. Preheat oven (or toaster oven, which I would recommend for energy-saving purposes) to 450. Pierce potatoes with a fork, spray lightly with olive oil spray, and pop them in the oven for 50 minutes. Turn once about halfway through.
2. While the potatoes are baking, combine the buttermilk, 1/2 cup of the cheddar, and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
3. When the potatoes are done, let them cool for a few minutes. Cut them completely in half when they are cool enough to handle. Scoop the potato pulp out of all three potatoes, leaving about a 1/4 inch thick shell. Discard two of the six shells (or save for a later use - potato skins tomorrow, anyone?). Add the potato pulp to the mixture you made in step 2, and mash with a potato masher until everything is combined.
4. Spoon potato pulp mixture evenly into the four remaining shells. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup cheese evenly over the potatoes. Bake at 450 for an additional 10 minutes, or until you can't stand the delicious smell any longer.
Serve alongside a simple green salad for a balanced meal. I made mine with mixed baby greens, sliced grape tomatoes, and topped it with a home-made red wine vinaigrette (3 parts EVOO + 1 part red wine vinegar + a splash of lemon juice + salt + pepper). Enjoy!