Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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twice-baked potatoes

These are actually Rebekah’s twice-baked potatoes. I don’t actually know Rebekah, but she knows her potatoes! Eggton posted about these scrumptious spuds a while back, and as usual her pictures make me want to eat my computer screen.

I haven’t changed the instructions much, but definitely check out the original post here.

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium russet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. of olive oil (or a little bacon grease, for the true Southern experience)
  • a few dashes of kosher salt
  • 4 Tbsp. butter (half a stick), cut into a bunch of smaller pats
  • 3 oz.+ whipped cream cheese spread (buy an 8-0z. container)
  • 1/4 c.+ heavy whipping cream (buy a half pint)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 c.  grated cheddar cheese
  • a dash of cayenne pepper

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Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. (Or 205 centigrade).
  2. Thoroughly scrub and dry the potatoes and poke a bunch of holes in each with a fork.  Rub olive oil into the skins, coating them thoroughly. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt. (I chose to generously sprinkle).
  3. Bake 45 minutes to an hour or more, until they give a little when handled with a potholder or they’re tender when pierced with a fork (it’ll depend on the size of your potatoes). Remove the potatoes from the oven and let them cool enough to handle (Eggton says you can just proceed here if you want, holding them in a towel or something – I was afraid of burning myself so I waited). In the mean time reduce the heat to 350 degrees (176 C).
  4. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out the insides with a spoon and transfer the insides to a mixing bowl.  Be careful to leave a little potato flesh on the skins so that the potato skin stays up like a canoe.  (If you dig too much out from the side walls, the papery skins will tear or collapse inwards and it’ll be harder to fill.)
  5. Add the butter and the whipped cream cheese to the baked potato and beat in a mixer until smooth.  (If you don’t have a mixer, you could use a potato smasher.)  Beat in the cream and some salt and pepper. Taste it. Here’s where Eggton adds more whipped cream cheese and more cream because, you know, what the heck. Some people also throw in pieces of bacon, green onions, and some grated cheddar at this point.
  6. Mound the baked potato mixture into the potato skins you hollowed out. It’s okay if the filling rises above the brim of the skin. Sprinkle some of the grated cheddar cheese on top of each and then sprinkle with a dash of cayenne if you want. (You should want the cayenne).
  7. Place the potatoes back on the baking sheet and return them to the oven until they’re heated through and the cheese is melted.

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I love me some potatoes, and I love me some cheese, so the combination is always a hit with me. I made some with less cheese for Evelina, promptly forgot which were which and we just ate them as they came. Try out the recipe, let me know what you think!

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france 

Only you have to say it in French…”Fraaance”. Also feel free to be a little snooty about it, but that’s optional.

Balcony views

Balcony views

In October Evelina and I travelled to Paris. My cousin has been living there for about a year with her husband and daughter and now their new-born son. Though his arrival was after our visit. Evelina and  had a great time visiting with them and catching up. The last time I had seen my cousins daughter she was only three months old, so it was quite different to get to play with her as an almost three-year old in the parks of Paris and bounce up and down on a seesaw beside the Notre Dame.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Seine

Evelina and I loved Paris. As they say the city is for lovers.

Eiffel Tower in the sunshine

Eiffel Tower in the sunshine

Walking around Paris

After we got home I took the opportunity to work on number 15 on my 30 before 30 list. I made a map matte.

Here’s the example picture I found on Pintrest:

Pintrest

And here’s my crack at it:

my frame

I just loved the idea of using a map as a matte! I got in almost everything in the matte that we did/went to. We stayed by the Eifel Tower, visited the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, as well as strolled along the Seine eating baguettes in the sunshine.

Louvre

Paris is for lovers

Paris is for lovers

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pastelon, yes that’s a food

I’m back from vacation! With a bang. The bang being my head exploding as it re-entered the real world of work, studying and training. After putting most of the pieces back in order I’m here and ready to write!

Although not on my list of upcoming posts, a resolution update has been in store for a while. Now, I know what you’re thinking, here comes an update on my 2014 New Year’s resolutions. I will stop you there my friend. For two of my resolutions for 2013 are as of yet incomplete, so we’ll start at the very beginning (it’s a very good place to start).

2013 I aimed to find and cook a lasagna recipe Evelina likes as much as I do (also on the famed 25 before 25 list). A challenge because Evelina doesn’t like cheese, a main ingredient in most lasagna recipes. So I searched out a lasagna recipe with very little cheese, and found this one. (Original website still un-re-found, if you know where this is from, lemme know stat!)

I, finally, cooked up some pastelon in July. Here are the step by step instructions so you can make your own:

Ingredients: 1lb ground beef, 1 yellow onion, 3 cloves garlic, 1 green pepper, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 2 tsp adobo seasoning, 2 tsp oregano, 2 tsp vinegar, 1 envelope sazón (which does not exist in Sweden, so feel free to use 2 tbs of taco seasoning), 2 bay leaves, 8 green stuffed olives, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/4 cup tomato sauce, 4 plantains, 3 eggs, 2 tbs milk, 2 cups white shredded cheese, vegetable oil, salt to taste

  1. Buy plantains (and all the other ingredients listed above) at your local supermarket. Tip: Refrain from shouting across the produce section in glee when you finally find plantains in Sweden – you will get strange looks.
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  2. Bring ingredients home (just trying to be clear here).
  3. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  4. Begin with the ground beef, garlic, onion, green pepper, taco spices (or sazón if you don’t live in Sweden), cilantro & oregano
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  5. Chop onion, pepper, garlic cilantro & oregano. Place in mixing bowl.
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  6. Blend with ground beef. Fry the blend in a large frying pan.
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  7. Making sure your plantains are ripe (I allowed about a week for my plantains to ripen – as you see from the first picture they were green upon purchasing them, and mostly yellow & slightly green and brown when I was cooking.) Peel and slice the plantains thinly. Thinly! This is one thing I would have changed from my recipe – thinner slices!
    plantanes
  8. Butter the pan.
    buttered pan
  9. Begin to fry the plantains in vegetable oil. (Canola oil works great too.)
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  10. Add the raisins, tomato sauce, olives & bay leaves to the pan with the ground beef mixture.
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  11. While frying the plantains and allowing the beef mixture to lightly simmer, whisk the eggs with the milk. An idea I had while cooking was to add cheese to the whisked eggs, but seeing as Evelina is anti-cheese I didn’t do this. Try it out if you do like cheese.
    eggs & milk
  12. Begin layering ground beef and the freshly fried plantains. I ended up with three layers of each, plantains on the top.
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  13. Top with cheese. Not to beat a dead horse, but I only put a small amount of cheese over the top layer…as you may be able to guess, because Evelina does not enjoy eating cheese. Topping off the dish by pouring in the whisked eggs evenly.
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  14. Put the lasagna aka pastelon in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, checking on it after 15 to remove when cheese is bubbling and slightly brown.
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  15. Slice and enjoy!
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I think this made enough for Evelina and I to eat about three meals each (served with a nice fresh garden salad, of course). So if you’re cooking for six this will work, but you should double the ingredients for a party of 12. This is how math works.

The verdict from Evelina: a fine meal. Little upset my pastalon wasn’t a hit with her, but I really enjoyed it. I hope you try it out!

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seventeen. make homemade macaroni and cheese

Making homemade macaroni and cheese was one of my 2013 New Year’s resolutions. Yeah I pretty much cheated on all of those, and just took stuff off my 25 before 25 list.

And thus continues the countdown!

This December, in a frantic last-ditch effort to complete all my resolutions, I made some homemade mac&cheese out of whatever ingredients were lying around the place. Which in retrospect I do regret, it was tasty, and I have just no idea how I made that dish. Once in a lifetime opportunity. Done and gone.

Mac & Cheese

At least it means I’ve completed number seventeen from my 25 before 25 list!

Check it off.

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homemade macaroni & cheese

Yes, to close out the year I’m completing yet another item off my 25 before 25 list. Homemade macaroni and cheese is coming your way! I hope your expectations aren’t too high on this one. Partially because I’m not a cook, so results may vary. Results may also vary because I just do not know what I put into this masterpiece.

It happened like this. We had three different kinds of cheese in the fridge. I shredded them, and in the case of the Philadelphia cream cheese I spooned it out, and put it all in a pot. Added a little butter, a little milk. Stirred (over heat, that part is important).

All the while boiling up some pasta. When that was ready I mixed the two concoctions. (The one concoction with the pasta is probably more accurately said.) Put the lot in a large-ish dish sprinkled some bread crumbs and extra cheese on top and popped it in the oven.

Mac & Cheese

I hope you weren’t expecting to try this recipe out, because I honestly cannot tell you what cheese was used to make it. I plan on feeding it to my brother when he arrives this evening, so the jury is still out on the taste, but anything with this much cheese gets a good grade in my book.

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