Sunday, May 23, 2010

Baked Potatoes & Vidalia Onions

  I've got Georgia on my mind.  Dinner is in the oven, courtesy of two of my favorite cooks, that just happen to be from the Peach state - Alton Brown and Paula Deen. I'm using AB's methodology for baking potatoes and Paula's recipe for wonderful baked onions.  I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to eating it, because it'll be the first meal I've had in a week and a half that didn't consist of broth or ramen noodles.  Suffice it to say, I've been sick - hence not much going on here past few days.  So, to make up for a bit o' silence, 2 recipes!  Great thing about both of these, they are single serving, but so easy to scale as needed.

  A recipe for baked potatoes - some of you are out in la-la land, rolling your eyes.  Go on, skip this post, but the rest of us will enjoy a well-cooked potato because of it.  The key - the spuds will bake in the oven with no foil jacket, which holds in steam, making the skin soggy.  I was a bit skeptical the first time I did this, but I've not done it any other way since then.

The Baked Potato
Servings: 1

1 large russet potato
canola oil
kosher salt

Start by preheating the oven to 350°F.

  Scrub your potato clean under running water with a stiff brush.  Pat it dry.  Take a fork and pierce deeply a few times (AB goes 8-12 times; I go 10 - 3 on front and back, and 2 on the sides.)  Drizzle canola oil over the spud; it won't take much.  Rub the potato to make sure the whole skin is covered.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.

  Place a sheet of aluminum foil (or a cookie sheet) on the bottom rack- this will save you some heartache and oven scrubbin' later.  Position the potato on the middle rack over the foil - the foil will grab the drips.  Bake for 1 hour.  The skin will be crispy, and the potato flesh, oh so soft.  You can bake up to 4 without any time change, over that, add about 15 minutes to the bake time.

Saturday Night Vidalia Onions

Servings: 1

1 Vidalia onion
1 beef bouillon cube
1 tablespoon butter
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

  Cut a slice off the top of the onion.  Making sure you leave the root end intact, peel off the outer layer of the onion.  Cut out a small cone or core out of the center, again, leaving the root end untouched.  Cut the onions in quarters, stopping about 1/2 inch shy of the root.  Place a bouillon cube in the onion center.  Cut the butter into slivers and place over the bouillon and in between the quarter sections.  Pepper to taste.

  Wrap the onion well in a double layer of foil.  During the cooking, the onion will give off a lot of yummy juice that you don't want to lose.  Place in a 350°F preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or throw the wrapped onion directly on hot coals of a grill for 45 minutes, turning occasionally.

Variation - This was the first way I ever had a baked onion; momma made a similar dish using those microwave onion cookers.  She peeled the onion and sliced the top, added a little butter and Worcestershire sauce and baked in the microwave.  Absolutely wonderful, just like my momma.

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