Larrupin

Uncommonly Good

One Potato, Two Potato…

I love a good baked potato. Typically I wash the potatoes, prick the skin with a fork, slather with olive oil, wrap in foil, put them in a 400° oven… and wait for an hour until they’re cooked through and tender.

But a recently I had a booth at a local flea market and a couple came up and asked if I had any potato bags. I thought they wanted cotton bags for storing potatoes, but she wanted a bag for cooking potatoes in the microwave. She described it and then I went home and made one.

This is a great way to brown bag your lunch. You can cook the potato at home and warm it in the microwave. Or if you don’t have to share the kitchen you can cook it fresh when you’re ready to eat.

Baked Potato Bag

Who knew this simple cotton envelope could make such fluffy creamy baked potatoes?

And then I baked a couple of potatoes in it.

Baked Potato Bag With Potatoes

Scrub the potatoes and wrap them in a paper towel.

Scrub the potatoes and while they’re still wet wrap them in a paper towel and put them in the bag. You can wet the paper towel if you want, but I didn’t and my potatoes turned out fine. BTW, don’t prick the skin when you cook them like this. You want the skin to seal in the moisture while it cooks.

Baked Potatoes are done

I was surprised at how wet the bag was after the potatoes were done.

I’m not sure how long it took. My microwave is REALLY old… It was my grandmother’s and I think my she got one of the originals. It’s a Sharp Carousel… it has a turntable (thus the Carousel in the name). The timer is an old-fashioned turn dial.  I’m not sure of the accuracy. Suggested cooking times range from 4–6 minutes, up to 10–15 minutes. It all depends on the size and number of the potatoes and the actual wattage of your microwave.

And just like foil-wrapped oven-baked potatoes, you can press on the potatoes see when they’re done. They’ll give a little when they’re tender inside.

A Microbaked Potato

Be careful! The steam that makes the potato moist can also escape and burn when you open the bag.

No knives allowed when you get ready to eat. Just stab it with your fork and twist to break it apart.

Baked Potato

Now, it's ready to dress.

Top it with whatever suits your fancy. My dressings start with butter. Then it depends on what’s in the fridge: cheese, any kind; chives; sour cream…

Baked Potato with all the trimmings

Traditional oven-baked potato with traditional toppings.

I might top it with chili, Sloppy Joe meat, tuna, or grilled chicken or steak. Or… maybe I’ll build a salad on top and drizzle the whole thing in salad dressing. Avocados and crumbled bacon is good on top.

That spare potato that’s still in the bag?  It went into the fridge and made the best potato salad I’ve ever made! Details on that coming soon!

I’ll be selling these at the next flea market June 10, 11 at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds here in Norman.  Instructions and recipes will be included.

Larrupin!

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May 25, 2011 Posted by | Brown Bag, Potatoes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Once de Guacamayo

Avocados are on my top ten list of favorite ingredients. I wanted to share this recipe last week on Cinco de Mayo (which, by the way, is not a celebration of Mexican independence) but I couldn’t find any good guacs at the last minute. So now, on the eleventh, I’m sharing this Once de Guacamayo recipe.

If you want to make guacamole and can’t figure it out on your own you’ll find recipes that call for 4 or 8 or 12 avocados, and piles of fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions and more. Unless you’re feeding a crowd it’s way more than you want to make and all that chopping and slicing and dicing is a lot of work for a simple snack.

So here’s my shortcut. Two ingredients. Avocado and salsa. Lime is the essential third ingredient and if I have some fresh cilantro anyone who eats it will swear I made it all from scratch.

Here’s how it goes. Cut an avocado in half by starting at the pointy end and sliding the knife all the way around.

Avocado, Onion, Serrano, and Jalapeno

Twist each half of the avocado in opposite directions to loosen it from the seed.

Twist the sides in opposite directions to pull it apart.

Split Avocado

This avocado is perfectly ripe and ready for anything.

Remove the pit by striking it with the blade of your knife. It will slice into the pit and stick. Twist the knife, still attached to the pit, and pull the pit out of the avocado.

Remove the Avocado Pit

Remove the avocado pIt by whacking into it with your knife. You can see I've already sliced and diced the avocado half on the left. It's ready to scoop into the bowl.

While the avocado is still in the skin, use the knife and slice it one direction and then the other. Make your slices few and far between for chunky guac, and close together in all directions for smushy guac.

Diced Avocado Ready for Guac

The diced avocado goes into the bowl first.

Use a spoon to scoop the avocado out of the skin and plop it in your mixing bowl.  I used a small plastic container that held blue cheese yesterday. (The blue cheese went into meatballs. That recipe will come soon.) It was a handy size for dipping and would be a handy size for leftovers.

Add Salsa to Avocadotg178

Add a couple of spoonfuls of salsa to the avocado.

Add your favorite salsa. If this is all you’re going to do, mix and taste. But if you’re adding more ingredients wait to mix it so it doesn’t totally turn to mush by the time you’re done.

It just takes a small amount of any optional ingredients to make a difference in the taste and the texture. You may need to add another avocado if you get too rambunctious. A little goes a long way when you’re starting with just one avocado.

Jalapenos and Serrano Peppers

Jalapeno and Serrano slices are ready to dice for the guacamole. The Serranos were green when I bought them, but continued to ripen and turn red.

  • Finely diced red onions
  • Finely diced peppers: Jalapenos and Serranos are frequent choices; red bells add color and crunch but no heat; habaneros add color and a LOT of heat.
  • Thinly sliced green onions, including the tops
  • Crushed garlic
  • Garden fresh diced tomatoes
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs
  • Salt and pepper if you must
Avocado soon to become guacamole

The avocado is disappearing under a growing pile of finely diced red onions, green onions, jalapenos, Serranos and salsa.

My essential optional extras are:

  • fresh lime juice
  • fresh cilantro

    Lime and Cilantro

    Avocado and options are ready to mix. Lime and cilantro are my essential finishers for any salsa or guacamole.

Gently fold the guacamole together and finish it off with the essential optional extras: a generous squeeze of lime juice and cilantro.

Guacamole

Guacamole mixed and ready for the finishing touches.

When you’re done you can transfer the guacamole from the mixing bowl to a festive serving bowl if you’re serving guests. Or you can just eat it. Which is what I did.

Guac and a Tray of Chips

Guacamole and a tray of chips.

PS – if you end up adding too much heat (like, how could that happen?!) you can add more diced tomatoes. You can also serve it with a plop of sour cream or plain yogurt top. Don’t mix it in, just dip into it as you need to. The dairy will dilute the heat without diluting the flavor.

If you have leftovers, transfer to a lidded storage container. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the guacamole and press out any air bubbles. Press the plastic wrap up the sides of the bowl and around the top edge before putting the lid on it. Put it in the fridge.

I’d planned to take a picture of the storage set up, but alas, there were no leftovers available for the demonstration.

Larrapin! Continue reading

May 11, 2011 Posted by | Appetizer | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Salads, Baked Potatoes, Crackers and Cheese

Here’s what I’ve had for lunch the past few days.

Tuna on Salad

Tuna on Salad

Friday I put the leftover tuna salad on top of a bed of romaine and butter leaf lettuce topped with a few tomatoes, bread and butter pickles and honey mustard dressing.

I planned to get my lunches for the week organized over the weekend and have them read to go on Monday, but alas, I didn’t. I spent the weekend researching my family tree and editing a paper for my nephew so, nothing happened in the kitchen.

Baked Potato and Salad

Baked Potato and Salad

On Monday, I put together a pile of lettuce for a simple salad, grabbed an already baked potato, some sour cream, green onion, cheese and I was good to go. The salad was romaine, butter leaf lettuce, feta cheese, sunflower seeds, croutons, and honey mustard dressing. I cut the potato in half and zapped it in the microwave and then add butter, sour cream, green onion, and grated cheddar cheese.

The baked potato was planned, I just didn’t know when I would need it. One evening last week I baked about 5 potatoes. I doused them in olive oil and wrapped them in foil and put them in my toaster oven until they were tender. I ate one when they were done and turned a couple of small ones into hash browns sometime over the past few days and I had two left. I ate one Monday and had the last one today. Yesterday I had another salad and some crackers and cheese and tomato juice.

My desk is stocked with almonds, pistachios, peanuts, and dried apricots. I also have some crackers, cream cheese and Major Grey’s Chutney in the fridge at work in case of emergency. That has come in handy this week with my lack of preparation.

My crisper is running low, but I want to empty it before restock. If I buy too frequently I overlook something and end up having to toss it. With my slim budget I don’t need to be throwing food way.

I stopped by Target this evening for some dog food and got the very basics on my grocery list: milk, eggs, bananas, grapes, olive oil, yogurt… I think that’s about it. Tomorrow I’ll make a banana drink for breakfast. For lunch I think I’ll pull a frozen sloppy Joe patty out of the freezer and that for lunch. We’ll see if that pans out in the morning. 😉

April 28, 2010 Posted by | Brown Bag, Salad | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Tuna Sandwich

Tuna, tomatoes, lettuce, ready for the sandwich.

I know fish is good for your heart, and as hard as I try, I don’t get it into my diet as often as I should. But tuna is easy, so I add it to the menu when I think of it.

I make tuna salad with a recipe similar to most, but of course it depends on what I have in the fridge at the time.

One essential is celery, gotta have the crunch. This time I used bread and butter pickles, a few green onions, and mayonnaise. I had pickled peppers, tomatoes, a few almond slivers and lettuce on the side for building the sandwich.

Tuna Sandwich

Tuna Sandwich

I only used half the tuna today, so tomorrow I’ll make a green salad and add the tuna on top. One of my pet peeves is forgetting it’s in the fridge and having to throw it out, so I try to use it within a day or two.

What’s your favorite way to make tuna salad? Any favorite ingredients you can’t live without?

April 22, 2010 Posted by | Brown Bag, Sandwich | , , , , | Leave a comment

Eighteen Ingredient Salad

I took a few days off work last week, so I was out of practice when it came to getting my lunch together this morning, but it was worth it when it came time to eat. I’ll do better tomorrow. I listed all the ingredients below since it’s so deep you can’t see everything that’s there.

Salad, Monday, April 19

Eighteen ingredients plus a deviled egg made this tasty Monday salad.

For me, salads taste better when there is a lot of color, a lot of texture, and a variety of flavors. I like something unexpected in amongst the greens, something that pops when I bite into it. There were two pops in this salad. Craisins, and grape tomatoes.

I also prefer salads that aren’t a lot of trouble to eat.  I want to be able to stab my fork into the pile and pull up a little of everything, which is why I make paper thin slices of carrot, radishes, zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers.

I don’t want to have to use a knife to cut my lettuce so I tear all the leafy greens into bite sized pieces. Broccoli or cauliflower gets cut or broken into small bites.

I use grape tomatoes for several reasons. They don’t make the salad soggy like cut tomatoes do, and they are bite sized. Sometimes even cherry tomatoes can be a mouthful.

The plastic bowl I used came from Target. They make a pretty good Salmon Mango salad with poppy seed dressing that I’ve enjoyed a few times. I put the lettuces, and sliced veggies in the bowl, usually piled separately instead of tossed to keep from crushing the lettuce. A small block of feta cheese goes in too. I break it up as I eat the salad. Craisins and nuts go in separate small lidded containers and are tossed on when I’m ready to eat.

To make sure this lasts me all afternoon I make sure to add some protein. Today I piled on no-fat cottage cheese, and a deviled egg. Other, more filling options are well-drained tuna, salmon, baked or roast chicken, turkey, steak… and I’ll get into all that in another post.

Here’s my list of ingredients:

  • Romaine
  • Spinach
  • Butter Lettuce
  • Red Cabbage, thin sliced like for slaw
  • Broccoli, small florets (better blanched than raw)
  • Zucchini, paper thin slices
  • Yellow squash, paper thin slices
  • Green onion
  • Carrot, paper thin slices
  • Radish, paper thin slices
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Feta Cheese
  • Craisins, in a separate container
  • Cottage Cheese, in a separate container
  • Sunflower Seeds, roasted, but not salted
  • Almond Slivers
  • Croutons, rustic, homemade
  • Deviled Egg: picked peppers with jalapenos also added a kick to the salad
  • Dressing: homemade, of course.

Tomorrow will be similar. I already have the lettuce in the bowl ready to go. I’ll try to remember mandarin oranges for tomorrow. I also have some baked chicken I want to add. If I go with the chicken and oranges I’ll probably use walnuts and almonds for garnish.

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Brown Bag, Salad | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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