Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Sweet Hamburgers with Stuffed Potato Skins

I hate making something really basic and simple without doing something creative with it. For example, making a hamburger pattie with nothing but ground beef topped with ketchup, relish and mustard is simply boring. In this particular instance I cracked some fresh pecans that come from my in-laws land in Mexico, the remainder of my fig and balsamic sauce, some honey, chopped onions, chunks of parmesan and a bit of Tabasco chipotle hot sauce. I'm trying to learn to balance flavours better. Sweet. Salty. Bitter. Creamy. And so on. Plus I don't mind making a burger pattie where beef is little more than a binding agent for other deliciousnesses.

Though I didn't buy fresh bread for the hamburger bun I toasted the halved buns on the grill and removed some of the flesh of the bun so that my hamburger isn't all bread. I hate having a sandwich or hamburger that's nothing but bread. It's like you have to procude five times the amount of saliva just to swallow one bite.

Given that I made an effort to make a tasty pattie, I kept my toppings simple and complimentary to the flavours already present. Some grainy mustard which has a nice sharp, earthy taste, a thin slice of tomato and some onion sprouts than are milder and earthier than regular old yellow onions. All in all, it was a nice tasting burger.

To accompany the burgers, I made stuffed potato skins. The recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook said to basically throw away the cooked flesh of the potato skins and sprinkle the potato skins with toppings such as tomato, bacon, green onions and cheese. Instead of doing that, I made a sort of mashed potato with the flesh and put all sorts of ingredients in the mixture. Here's the recipe....or something close to it

Impromptu Stuffed Potato Skins

4 medium sized baking potatoes
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tbsp butter

1/3 cup shredded cheddar, colbe, mozzarella
1/4 cup grape tomatoes, cut in irregular sized pieces (any tomato is good so long as it tastes better than those big wattery ones)
1/4 cup diced onion
1 hot pepper, sliced with seeds (be adventurous...go with habanero)
1/4 cup shredded and dehydrated Mexican style pork (or shrimp or bacon or assorted basically whatever protein you have on hand)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chilli powder
salt and pepper

1. Brush potatoes clean and prick all over with a fork. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and pop into a 475 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes.

2. Take potatoes out, slice in half and scoop out the cooked flesh making sure not to tear the potatoe skins. Mash potatoes together with sour cream and butter.

3. Add about one third of the cheese and all other ingredients to the potato mixture, season and fold together to distribute all ingredients evenly. Scoop mixture into the potato skins and top with remaining cheese. Put potatoes skins back onto baking sheet and bake for another 10 minutes to heat all ingredients through. Switch to broiler to make the cheese nice and golden. Take potato skins out of oven and serve without forks. It makes a mess that way. Fun times.

It's amazing that all of this meal came from my fridge which contains little more than leftovers and odd bits. I also threw away like 4 containers of sour cream. Why I had so much sour cream is beyond me. How does a person accumulate 4 extra containers of sour cream? And one had never been opened! Weird.

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