Twice Baked Potato Casserole

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By cooking these potatoes in their skin and then peeling them, you benefit from more nutrients being absorbed into the potato’s flesh. Plus, they are much easier to peel after they’ve been cooked; just rub them with a paper towel or a butter knife. This makes a large batch and is great for serving half and freezing half for later. We reheat a lot of pre-made meals from the freezer. For this reason my man, Eric, says our dish is really thrice baked. Har Har.

For fluffier boiled potatoes, after you drain the water, cover the pot with a double thickness of paper towels and the pot’s lid. In ten minutes, steam will be absorbed by the towels and your potatoes will be dry and fluffy.

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Serves 12

2 1/2 quart boxes of Everblossom new potatoes (about 7 pounds)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 or 2 pieces of bacon, chopped
2 small onions, finely chopped
1/2 pound sharp white Cheddar, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Scrub the potatoes well and rinse under cool running water. Start them in a pot of cool water and bring to a boil together for the most even cooking. Boil in salted water for about 20 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle.

When the potatoes have cooled, use a paper towel to rub off their skins. Place the potato flesh in a large bowl and add 1 stick of the butter, the sour cream, heavy cream, salt, and pepper and mash until chunky-smooth.

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Fry the chopped bacon until the fat is melting and then add the onions. Stir until the onions are softened and absorbing that bacon flavor, about 5 minutes.

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To the mashed potatoes, add the bacon and onions, cubed white Cheddar and eggs and mix thoroughly.

Butter two 8×8-inch casserole dishes (or a single 9 by 13-inch casserole) with the remaining tablespoon of butter.

Place the potato mixture in the prepared casserole. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges and heated through and the top is lightly browning. Serve hot.

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Buttermilk Dressing served over a salad of boiled potatoes, tomatoes and peas

A simple salad of boiled potatoes, tomatoes and peas drizzled with buttermilk dressing

A simple salad of boiled potatoes, tomatoes and peas drizzled with buttermilk dressing

STILL have buttermilk left over? What do you like to make with it? And, why do they sell it in such big containers? We originally bought buttermilk to make some good old fashioned Pennsylvania Dutch sugar cakes and then went searching for inspiration on what to do with the rest. Cinnamon Bread and Eggplant Gratin (see previous post) did not use it all. So, we moved on to salad dressing…try it over this week’s peppery salad mix!

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup buttermilk

3 teaspoons champagne vinegar

1/4 cup chives, finely chopped

Pinch of salt

Liberal amount of freshly ground pepper

Garden Potato Salad

Lunch: a bowl of garden potato salad

Lunch: a bowl of garden potato salad

Serves 6

This potato salad has been my very favorite since Elaine’s first season back in 2005 . I can eat just a bowl of it for lunch. It uses your Everblossom potatoes, garlic, basil, and Elaine’s variety of beans.

My hamstrings and I had the opportunity to help pick a row of her beans last week.  It is the hardest crop to pick in my amateur opinion and could be made easier only if you had a hover craft. It was, however, a great time to think and talk with Elaine as we moved slowly hunched over, eyes on the stringy prize, our hands busy. Our dad said it was heartwarming to see us working out there together. There is something pure and good about farm work with your sister. But, the next day my legs suggested that maybe next time just sitting around together could be nice too.

clockwise from top, Dragon Tongue, Provider, Indy Gold, Burgundy

clockwise from top: Dragon Tongue, Provider, Indy Gold, Burgundy

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon pepper
2 large handfuls of string beans cut into 1 ½” pieces
2 tablespoons salt
2 pounds assorted potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1 ½” pieces
1 small bunch of basil, chopped

  • Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, and pepper together in a large bowl. Reserve ¼ cup of dressing in measuring cup
  • Boil beans in salted water until crisp, but tender, about 4 minutes. Remove beans with a slotted spoon and transfer to a colander to dry. Then add to large bowl with dressing. Toss to coat.
  •  Add potatoes to the still simmering water and cook until a paring knife can be inserted without resistance, 7-10 minutes. Drain in a colander and add to beans and dressing. Toss to coat. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  •  Just before serving add basil, and reserved dressing. Toss gently.

Cooking in Foil Packets

Elaine likes to whip up foil packet feasts in the summer. Here are just a few ideas to get you started. This method makes cooking large amounts really easy – and no pots to clean. Cook these packets in the oven, on the grill, or on campfire cinders. Either way you’ll find that it seems to heighten the flavor as all the ingredients steam together.

the root foil packet

“root” foil packet with thyme

Make a foil packet: take a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, generously sized, but appropriate to the amount you plan to cook. Drizzle with olive oil; add prepared veg; fold together opposite sides of the foil, rolling down a few times, but leave a little space for the steam to circulate. Then, fold up each end to seal.

Cook in a pre-heated oven at about 375oF or grill at medium heat until contents are fork tender.

  • Root Packet: Cut into even pieces your choice of potatoes, onions, beets, and carrots. Drizzle with olive oil; add sprigs of thyme, parsley or your favorite herb, salt, and pepper. Cook approximately 15 minutes.
  • Rustic Ratatouille: Evenly chop summer squash, tomatoes, garlic, and peppers. Drizzle with olive oil; add choice of herbs like oregano, thyme, parsley. Cook approximately 15 minutes. Serve over pasta or rice.
  • Chard: Rinse and chop or rip the leaves and stems of a large bunch of Swiss chard. Add to packet with some olive oil. Add juice of half lemon and then toss in the lemon too. You can also add a slice of tomato to help the steaming process. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Roasted Garlic: There is no easier way to enjoy the sweet nutty goodness of roasted garlic for making garlic mashed potatoes, garlic bread, or bruschetta. Use cloves or bulbs of garlic (peeling optional), drizzle in olive oil, and wrap in foil. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until tender. The soft sweet garlic will squeeze right out of the peel.
  • Roasted Onion: Leave the peel on an onion to prevent it from burning. Cross-cut ¾ of the way down the top of an onion and stuff it with rosemary, thyme, and a hunk of butter.  Add salt and pepper; wrap in foil. Cook for about 10 minutes or until softened through.

Watercress Salad with Apricot and Blue Cheese Potatoes

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How I love cable access television! I just watched Elaine’s latest interview on ACTV (Adams County Television). She was recently a guest on Mark Berg’s show, Community Focus where he featured CSA’s. Watch it at https://vimeo.com/62109515. It makes me wish AGAIN that I had a job on television. Her first interview on ACTV was many years ago with me asking the questions – pretending I was Samantha Brown from the travel channel.
Elaine, what a smart, confident and knock-out representative of farmers you are!

And, it reminded me that I owe my blog a recipe. I made this for dinner after our last CSA pick-up. It uses Everblossom potatoes, parsley, butter crunch lettuce and watercress. I served it with baked chicken breast tossed with olive oil, salt pepper and Everblossom rosemary. My oldest, Audrey, actually cheered, “Hooray Hooray, Mamma made the best supper today!” I think she knows exactly what she’s doing.

The proportions in this recipe serve 3 to 4 comfortably.

The Salad
The peppery watercress is complemented by the tart apricot and sweet dressing.
Combine the following in equal portions:
1 head of butter crunch lettuce, rinsed, dried and chopped
1 bunch watercress, washed and chopped
1 handful of diced dried apricots
Poppyseed dressing (we love Brianna’s)

The Potatoes
I LOVE blue cheese on potatoes.
Peel about 15 to 20 small potatoes. Steam them in a steamer basket for 15 to 20 minutes until fork tender.
Remove them and empty the water, then put the potatoes back in the pot with 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup blue cheese dressing and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.

…p.s. food photography is hard.