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How to cook food The Best Baked Potato

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A step by step guide to making the Best Baked Potato. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, the perfect Jacket Potato is yours, ready and waiting!

For real, who doesn’t love a good jacket potato? The perfect comfort food for literally any occasion. As an ambassador of baked potatoes myself, it’s safe to say i’ve spent too much time perfecting the art of baking potatoes. We’re all looking for a beautifully crispy skin with a fluffy inside right? You know what guys, after years of baking spuds, I think I’ve cracked it.

Here I have compiled some quick game changing tips, to help you finish with the perfect jacket potato every single time. All you need is some spuds, an oven and salt/oil. These steps couldn’t be more simple but the effect they have is huge. So strap yourself in and get ready to never bake a potato the same way again!


5 Top Tips for the BEST Baked Potato

1. Type of Potato – Russets are the most popular for baking as they’re usually very large, with thicker skins and starchy centres. Other large floury potatoes which work well are Maris Pipers and King Edward. For your convenience, most stores will have varieties called ‘Baking Potatoes’. In terms of Sweet Potatoes, you can bake them but because they have a much larger water content it’s difficult to get them crispy and fluffy. Check out this quick Know Your Potatoes article for a little more info on types of potatoes and their uses.

2. Prep – Unless you’re truly at one with mother nature, make sure you wash with cold water to remove any dirt. I also stab my potatoes around 6-8 times (evenly spread) before baking them. This helps release the steam inside whilst it’s cooking, which reduces any chance of an exploding potato in the oven. I’ve also found that not stabbing it sometimes results in the skin becoming too moist from the steam and leaves it a little wilted, instead of firm and crispy. Here’s a great article on To Poke or Not To Poke your potatoes.

3. Oil and Salt – Adding salt not only seasons the potato, but it will also help draw out moisture from the potato and help produce a fluffy interior. Rubbing the potato in oil before baking will finish in a super crispy skin. It’s also pretty convenient in helping the salt stick.

4. Temp and Time – Unfortunately there is no ‘one size fits all’ regarding time, as the size and type of potatoes used will vary. However, I tend to find that 80mins at 180c (355f) and then blasted up to 220c (430f) for 10 minutes works superbly.

5. Topping – Whatever topping you choose, start with butter. It just turns the fluffy inside into rich, creamy goodness. For me? It HAS to be Baked Beans, Cheese and Worcestershire Sauce. Tuna Mayo and Chilli Con Carne are also popular choices. But always butter, ’cause butter makes everything better.


Common Mistakes to Avoid when Baking a Potato

1. The microwave is not your friend – Of course, starting in the microwave is quicker, but your potato will never get truly crispy skin with a fluffy centre. Microwaving produces too much moisture for that. It also cooks the potato unevenly.

2. Ditch the foil  – Straight out the window! Giving your jacket potato and extra jacket to bake in will lock in the moisture and keep the skin from getting crispy.

3. Oven Etiquette  – Aim for the middle of the oven and spread your spuds out evenly. I also find that using an oven rack instead of a tray helps for a more even bake. Sometimes when using a tray, your baked potato forms a hard flat surface on the bottom.

4. Don’t wait! – No seriously, what are you waiting for!? Crispy baked potatoes don’t stay crispy for long, so get those Instagram snaps in quick!

How to make the Best Baked Potato (Full Recipe)

  • 4 Baking Potatoes
  • 4 knobs Butter
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Preheat oven to 180c (355f)
  • Begin by washing your potatoes under cold water to remove any dirt.
  • Dry with a paper towel, and stab with a fork several times all over, wiping away any extra moisture.
  • Coat in a glug of Olive Oil and a good pinch of Salt.
  • Pop on an oven rack (not tray) in the middle of the oven, evenly spaced apart.
  • Bake uninterrupted for 80mins and then crank up the heat to 220c (430f) for 10mins or until ultra crispy.
  • Slice open, add a knob of butter and enjoy with your favourite topping!

a) Calories based on 1 Large Russet Potato with 1 tbsp Olive Oil and 1 tsp of Butter

Calories: 445kcal

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The Crisper Whisperer: How to Glaze Root Vegetables Recipe

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One of the first lessons you learn in culinary school is the unyielding power of mispronounced French words. Culinary French don’t sound purdy, but it can inspire a vast range of emotion, from dread to desire, among the clog-wearing set.

Few words wield more fury than the unassuming-sounding tournage, the name for the meticulous cutting of vegetables out of hand into small, seven-faced footballs, often for hours at a stretch. If the ability to tourne carrots, turnips, and potatoes is not particularly relevant for the vast majority of professional chefs these days, schools don’t see that as reason to cancel the plumage-fest that its teaching inevitably becomes.

You might not think this topic bears heavily on the home cook, but it does. Because of tournage, home cooks have been robbed blind of one of the simplest and most delicious methods of cooking winter’s abundance of root vegetables. The classic French practice of glazing is quick and rewarding and produces a surprisingly elegant result (which bears little resemblance to the cloying dishes sometimes called glazed vegetables in the United States).

More Whispers

For whatever reasons to do with peacocks and machismo and what have you, the perfectly proper way to glaze root vegetables requires that you tourne them first. But chopping them into bite-sized pieces gets you 99 percent of the way to perfection with maybe one percent of the effort. I’m no Good Will Hunting, but that looks like 100 to me.

French glazed vegetables are cooked in a shallow bath of water fortified with small amounts of butter and sugar. One of the few tricks to glazing (and it’s a trick home cooks should learn anyway, since it’s widely applicable and cheap as hell) is to cover the cooking vegetables with a cartouche, a circle of parchment paper with a hole cut out of the middle. This method makes the cooking liquid evaporate slowly, giving the vegetables time to cook through gently and leaving you with just the right amount of glaze. Unlike tournage, cartouche is the kind of poorly pronounced culinary French that you’ll want to keep in your vocabulary.

This week I’ve glazed carrots because that’s what we had in our crisper, but this method works beautifully with just about all root vegetables, from turnips to parsnips to beets to pearl onions. If you’re combining vegetables into one dish, classic technique would have you cook each separately to ensure perfect tenderness, but if you cut them all about the same size, it’s perfectly reasonable (I’d say a lot more so, in fact) to cook them all together. Just be sure not to crowd the pan beyond a single layer, or the veggies won’t brown properly.

Ingredients

    • 5 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (or other root vegetables, to yield about 2 cups)
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
    • Salt and pepper
    • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and/or chives, for garnish

Directions

  1. 1.

    Prepare a cartouche by cutting a circle of parchment the size of your sauté pan with a circular hole in the center. This is a good tutorial, except that you should snip off the pointy end of the triangle to make a hole in the center for steam to escape. (If this sounds like poorly pronounced French to you right now, it will make more sense after watching the short video.)

  2. 2.

    Melt the butter in a medium, heavy-bottomed sauté pan (preferably not non-stick) over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and toss to coat with butter. Sprinkle with the sugar and some salt and pepper. Pour in water to go about halfway up the carrots, not more than 1/2 cup. Cover with the cartouche and adjust the heat to maintain a brisk simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the carrots are just tender on the outside and still a bit too firm in the center.

  3. 3.

    Remove the cartouche, return the heat to medium-high, and cook the carrots uncovered, shaking the pan occasionally, until they brown in spots and the liquid is reduced to just enough glaze to coat the carrots, about 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley or chives (or other herbs of your choice) and serve.

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Dinner Tonight: Broccoli Sautéed with Crisp Garlic Recipe

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Gordon Ramsay’s In the Heat of the Kitchen has been fun to look through, but I haven’t really been able to put it to much use. Most of the recipes seem rather complex for a hectic weekday night. So I was a little surprised to find this quick little broccoli recipe stuck between “Caramelized baby onions with beet jus” and “corn fritters with lime crème fraîche.” With only eight ingredients, seven of which I had already, this proved to be a perfectly practical side.

While the crisp garlic is fun and those onions sure do add a lot of sweetness, what really separates this dish from a standard accompaniment is the oyster sauce. It somehow binds all the ingredients and transforms this into an interesting side dish worth paying attention to. It’s such a simple addition, too. This, of course, all depends on whether you have oyster sauce just hanging around the fridge ready to go in to random dishes. I do. Its cost is so small, and it keeps surprising me with dishes like this one.

Ingredients

  • 1 head broccoli, thick stems removed, and cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. 1.

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Also, get a large bowl of ice water ready. When the water is boiling, dump the broccoli in and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain the broccoli and transfer to the ice water. When cooled, dry the broccoli in a towel.

  2. 2.

    Pour the oil into a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic slivers and saute until golden brown. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

  3. 3.

    Toss the onions into the pan and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the broccoli and cook until hot, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat, pour in the oyster sauce, and sprinkle the garlic slivers atop. Season with salt and serve.

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James Peterson’s Pickled Chiles

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Pickled chiles are a versatile pantry staple. They can be used to add mouth-puckering tang to just about any place you’d ordinarily use hot peppers, they keep for weeks at a time, and they take all of five minutes to prepare.

While it is easy to throw just about anything into a hot pickle brine, James Peterson keeps his pickled chiles simple in Vegetables.

Encouraging readers to experiment with chile varieties (he recommends both hot jalapenos and mild poblanos), he provides a barebones description of the technique as well as a slightly more elaborate recipe. Still, even in the recipe, he adds only onion, garlic, and thyme to the chiles and covers them with brine made of nothing but boiling white wine vinegar and salt.

Ingredients

  • about 1 pound assorted large fresh chiles, such as poblano, Anaheim, or New Mexico, or 1 1/4 pounds small fresh chiles, such as jalapenos
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme or marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 3 cups white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar

Directions

  1. 1.

    Rinse off the chiles and remove their stems. Cut large chiles in half lengthwise and, wearing rubber gloves, pull out their seeds. Leave small chiles whole. Fill a 1-quart mason jar with the chiles, distributing the onion, garlic, thyme, and salt evenly among the layers or chiles. Bring the vinegar to a boil and immediately pour it over the chiles. Be sure the chiles are completely covered with the hot vinegar. Immediately twist on the cap and let cool without opening. Refrigerate the chiles and serve within several weeks.

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