The DARKest DAY of the YEAR

Just happens to be the FarmGirl’s birthday. 

Raise your hand if you’re shocked by this.

That’s what I thought.

So, my brother and cousin started razzing me years ago about being born on the Winter Solstice because it’s the day with the least amount of daylight.  And for some reason, they saw me as a dark person.  (Again, show of hands?)  Could it BE the dry sarcasm? 

Real plates are for wussies.

Eh.  It’s fine.  I am in no way offended.  I am a Solstice Baby.  It’s a very magical day, a day of rebirth and new beginnings and clear dream visions, and those are excellent things to be associated with in my opinion.  So there.

So yesterday, being the Darkest Day of the Year, was my fortieth birthday.    And dudes?  I think someone messed up my birth certificate because there’s no way I’m 40.  Right? [insert polite comments here or feel free to post below ; ) ]

Trixie the Terror

But thankfully, my wonderful mother makes me my favorite dinner each year on my birthday – potato pancakes.  Thomas loves them, and I think my dad likes equal parts pancake and sour cream.  Once a year, I love these things, and I know just how time consuming they are to make, so I appreciate my mother’s sacrifice and thank her profusely from the bottom of my heart.  Love you, Mom!

I posted last about our Open House and how busy we’ve been.  Add to that an eleven-week old kitty, and Christmas for a 6-yr old and it’s pretty hectic around here. 

But as promised, I’m posting the recipe for those technicolor ‘twice-baked’ or ‘stuffed’ potatoes that I wrote about last time.  I had them in the fridge for a few hours before I popped them back into the oven for the final bake and they were done when I returned 45 minutes later.  In setting up our tree I discovered, or rather was INFORMED, that we needed more lights (“Wow, there’s a lot of bare spots!”) so off to CVS we went.

Twice Baked Adirondack Blue Potatoes with Leeks

4 Blue (baking) Potatoes, each about 6 1/2 – 7 oz
1 1/2 cups very thinly sliced leeks, quartered first and rinsed well
2-3 T Butter, divided
salt and pepper (surprise!)
2 T dry white wine
1/3 – 1/2 c Sour Cream (light works fine)
3 T half and half or milk
1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated

Bake the potatoes (prick them with a fork or knife point first!) for about 45 minutes in a preheated 400° oven.  When a knife pulls out easily, potatoes are done. 

Remove from oven and let cool for about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, put leeks and 1 T butter into a small saute pan.  Season well, then let cook over med-low heat, stirring often, until very soft and barely colored, about 20 minutes.  Pour the wine over and let the liquid reduce, then remove pan from heat and set leeks aside.

If they weren't going into the potatoes, they'd be killer with scrambled eggs.

Now that the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice off about 1/4 of the top of the potato using a serrrated knife.  Scoop out and reserve all of the lovely interior and the large bottom shells.  Toss the tops into the compost bin or eat ’em up with a pat of butter and some salt. 

Scoop out flesh, leaving about 1/4-inch of 'shell'

Mash the potato innards using a ricer or masher, stirring in the remaining 1-2 T butter, the sour cream and half and half.  Add about 2/3 of the grated parmesan cheese and season well with salt and pepper. 

A ricer makes the creamiest, lightest mashed potatoes. Thank you, Fletch!
Of COURSE you must sample.

Next, divide the leek mixture among the 4 potato shells (reserve a bit for the tops), then fill with a generous pile of mashed potatoes.  Put a little more leek on top, then sprinkle with the rest of the parmesan. 

Like a treasure buried deep in the 'Adirondacks'. HA!
Fill 'em up good and high!

Place the filled potatoes into a baking dish (I like Pyrex) and cover with foil.  Bake at 375° for about 45 minutes, removing foil for the last 10 minutes.  Test them by putting a knife into the very center of the potato for several seconds, then removing.  If the knife is steaming hot to the touch, so is the potato!

Serve with an additional dollop of sour cream (of course!).


THIS is why you eat good healthy food, Thomas, because you want MUS-KELS!
Right, Papa. Whatever you say. Blah, blah, blah.