Saturday, August 21, 2010
(Fully) Loaded Jacket Potatoes
Check out these potatoes - one way or another, they're ready for anything. The first is fully loaded with all the necessary tools to retrieve the fabled Spud of the Covenant (clutched securely in his manly [?] hand), while the second is...well, just kind of loaded. Either way, we are reminded of the endless versatility of that quintessence of comfort, the humble - yet withal noble - Solanum tuberosum.There's just something happiness-inducing about potatoes, whether mashed, roasted, fried, as the fluffy topping for a cottage or shepherd's pie, or, as they appear here, baked and stuffed with all kinds of salty, fatty, creamy goodness.
That said, I should come right out and admit that if you're looking for "health food," it might be best to close your browser window right now and go elsewhere, because this is without question the most packaged-food-laden recipe ever to appear on this blog: I would be (almost) ashamed to post it at all, except for the fact that these things are so damned good. We usually make them for over-the-top weekend brunches, but we recently had them for dinner, alongside breaded seitan cutlets and green beans almondine (we were going for an early-'60s, Mad Men vibe, including pineapple rightside-up cupcakes for dessert, courtesy of my partner's daughters), and this batch was so particularly outrageous that I decided to cross that invisible line into "processed crap," and type it up. I say we had them as an accompaniment to several other dishes, but be forewarned that this is the most filling "side dish" you're likely to encounter - I ate one potato half, the smallest cutlet available, a tiny scoop of green beans, and was Thanksgiving-level full (in a good way, but I'm just sayin'). Of course, this is actually a fine thing, since the inevitable leftovers will provide you with an excellently substantial breakfast the next day. So without further ado, I give you the loaded potato: the tuber that keeps on giving.
Loaded Jacket Potatoes
~ 6 large baking potatoes, scrubbed and baked (oven or microwave is fine; just wrap them in foil if you're using the oven, so the skins don't blacken), cooled
~ 2 tbsp. Earth Balance, or other vegan margarine
~ 1/4-1/2 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ 1/2 cup Tofutti sour cream or cream cheese, or a combination
~ 1/2 cup cheddar flavor Daiya (or other vegan cheese), shredded
~ 1 pkg. Lightlife tempeh bacon, cooked and crumbled
~ 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, paprika, dried parsley
~ 1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped fine
~ Preheat oven to 425 fahrenheit.
~ Scoop out the cooked potato into a large mixing bowl, being careful to leave the skins intact.
~ Mash well, then add the remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly with each addition (go ahead and add a bit more of anything you like to taste. We're aiming for a very creamy, whipped potato texture here.
~ Carefully scoop the filling back into the skins, and arrange them on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
~ When all the filling has been equally distributed, sprinkle the tops with a little extra parsley and paprika, if you're feeling decadent, a drizzle of melted margarine.
~ Bake at 425 for about minutes, until browned and beauteous (everyone's oven is different, so check occasionally to make sure they don't burn).
~ Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving to a chorus of rapturous yummy sounds. If you really want to go crazy, you could even top them with a dollop of vegan sour cream; I won't judge!