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Plain or fancy, the humble potato satisfies

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By Judyrae Kruse
Potatoes may be ever so homely and humble, but there's no denying they make up for their lackluster appearance with amazing versatility. And let's not forget about affordability, either, especially when the various spud types are on sale.
Fix 'em plain or gussied up, either way, they're always yummy. Happily, thanks to two Forum cooks, plus a grand Irish recipe, we have the how-to for all today.
The name of the first recipe, shared by Camano Island cook Ulale Gipson, is a fooler, so don't just skip on by it. Sure, it's easy. Simple, too. Best yet, though, it's also packed with a handful of options for using the finished potatoes.
Next up, everybody loves a good hefty stuffed potato, don't they? Well, then, here's a zippy must-try possibility, one of the new favorites cook Terry Brundage, formerly of Everett, has discovered since moving to Sequim recently.
Last but certainly not least, a fancied-up dish taken from "The Irish Heritage Cookbook.'' Good, of course, any night, but especially nice for Sunday dinners and special occasions.
Oven-boiled potatoes
With a stiff brush, scrub desired number of potatoes for use in the next few days. (Potatoes do not freeze well.)
Place in a casserole, add 1 cup of water, cover and place in a cold oven. Turn oven to 300 degrees and bake for 2 to 3 hours, until fork tender. Remove cover and let stand a few minutes to cool slightly. If desired, peel and mash, seasoning with salt, pepper and butter.
Divide in meal-size amounts and reheat as necessary. Or, cool potatoes and refrigerate in jackets for future hashed or creamed potatoes, salad or home fries, cutting as desired.
Double-baked Havarti superspuds
8 baking potatoes
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1 small sweet red pepper, chopped (save some for topping)
1 tablespoon dill weed or 3 tablespoons snipped fresh dill
3 cups shredded Havarti cheese with dill (save some for topping)
Salt and pepper to taste
Minced chives (optional)
Bake potatoes at 350 for 60 minutes or until tender. Let stand until cool enough to handle.
Remove a 1/2-inch slice from the top of each potato. Scoop out the pulp, leaving a 3/8-inch shell. Place pulp in a mixing bowl and mash with an electric mixer. Add sour cream, green onions, red pepper, dill, cheese, salt and pepper; spoon into potato shells and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with cheese, red pepper and chives.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through (or reheat in the microwave). Makes 8 servings.
"Irish Heritage Cookbook" potato souffle
2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
Boiling salted water
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 eggs, separated
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, thyme or tarragon, or 1 tablespoon dried
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and mash.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Liberally butter a 6-cup souffle dish.
In a small pan, cook butter and onions over medium heat until the onions are soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add to the mashed potatoes, then stir in the sour cream, egg yolks and cream. Season with salt and pepper, then add herbs and shredded cheese and stir until smooth.
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff, glossy peaks form. Stir 2 tablespoons of the egg mixture into the potato mixture to loosen it, then fold in the rest. Pour into the prepared dish and bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes (check after 15 minutes). Serve for Sunday dinner and for special-occasion meals.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Story tags » CookingFood

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