Monday, December 6, 2010

Gluten Free Twice Baked Potatoes: A Labor of Love

I used to have these neighbors that would bring the most amazing food to pot luck dinners. Seriously, some of the best home cookin' I've ever eaten has been at pot luck dinners, and these guys did it up right. One time I had a baby and I got lucky enough that these nice neighbors brought me dinner, complete with one of my all time favorite side dishes: Twice Baked Potatoes. I called the next day to thank the wife for making such a lovely meal and she went, "Pfft, Byron does all the cooking!" Needless to say, I was flabbergasted and quickly began recipe stalking Byron. Lucky for me he's from Idaho and not stingy with his recipes. In fact, he reminded me a lot of Brian from Fire and Salt, another guy who flabbergasts me with his gluten free recipes sometimes. These Twice Baked Potatoes are also naturally gluten free, so they were one of the recipes I relied on when I first was clueless on what to eat without wheat.

Now, these are great, but I'm telling you they're a labor of love. They are like deviled eggs, pretty and tasty, but still, it's a hard-boiled egg, right? These are baked potatoes that turn into mashed potatoes and their carcasses become the serving dish, but they're still just potatoes. Delicious and addicting and completely to die for, but still potatoes. So that's why I'm posting about them now, during the holiday season, because so many of us host or attend parties and need to bring some filling, delicious food that also looks "pretty," so here you go.
Gluten Free Twice Baked Potatoes
6 washed Idaho potatoes
4 T butter
2-4 T milk
2 T minced onion (from your spice rack)
1 cup shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese
1. Wash potatoes and remove all dirt from skins. Pierce with a fork or simply slice down the center to create steam holes. Bake the potatoes in a 375 degree oven for about an hour, or until fork tender. Remove potatoes but do not turn off the oven.
2. Slice baked potatoes down the center and cut in half. Using a hot pad or a dish towel, hold half of the potato and carefully scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. Try not to rip the fragile but crispy skin.
3. When all the potatoes have been scooped out, add butter, milk, onion and 1/2 cup of the cheese to the bowl and whip with a hand mixer until mashed potato consistency.
4. Fill potato skins with mashed potato mixture so they are rounded and full. (You might not use every skin you scooped out.) Top with the rest of the cheese and return to the oven for 5-6 minutes or until cheese has melted. Serve with any meat main dish. Makes about 12 Twice Baked Potatoes.
There's another reason Byron chose to send these over when I was recovering from childbirth: they are excellent heated up the next day. Nothing like a good leftover to make me happy!
Happy eating!

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