My very favorite meal – baked potatoes and salad

Might as well start this blog off by introducing you to my favorite meal. It’s as simple as it gets: baked potatoes and salad.

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To non-vegetarians these may sound like side dishes but I tell you, it is all about the toppings.

Just in case you have never baked potatoes, it’s as simple as it gets. Rinse them, scrub them, rinse again. Prick with fork*, put in oven at 450 degrees and forget about them for 45 – 60 minutes.

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I do mine in our little convection oven. I have no idea if it is actually an energy savings over using the full-size gas oven but it heats up the house less in the summer and it has a timer on it so I can truly forget about them once turning it on.

Then it’s toppings time! I keep it simple, I like just cheddar cheese and green onions. but it has to be good cheddar cheese.Image

My husband has been eating Tillamook sharp cheddar all his life. It is the best cheddar cheese I have ever eaten and the company gets high marks for sourcing their milk from small dairies that treat their cows (relatively) well.

Other toppings: sour cream, salsa, refried beans, olives, tomatoes… A surprisingly delicious combo is butter (or margarine/earth balance, what have you), fresh squeezed lemon and a little salt. Yum!

Now salad is an art. A very simple art for which you can grow all your own ingredients. But I think I will cover that in my next blog entry. Stay tuned.

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* Gabe always contended that you do not need to prick potatoes with a fork before baking them. He said there are always imperfections in the skin that will allow the steam to escape. They are not going to explode. And I believed him. For years. Until one day, one exploded all over the oven. So, to be on the safe side, puncture that skin with a fork or knife before baking!