As I was reading TJOC, I realized I had missed a graduation post on the dinner side dishes. I am pretty proud of my graduation cooking--I was able to knock out about nineteen dishes over two days (putting me much closer to my 201 recipe in 2010 goal).
Twice-baked potatoes (p. 297) have always been interesting to me. I love potatoes but am usually underwhelmed by the twice-baked variety. They usually seem bland. I was nervous about making these because twice-baked potatoes have always seemed complex and time-consuming to me. On the other hand, they are a great side dish because they can be almost entirely made ahead of time and then just popped in the oven as needed.
Thankfully, for my nerves, my Uncle Denny was around and he was an expert on this particular dish! So he walked me through it. I took potatoes, cut them in half, and scooped out almost all of the potato. I added butter, hot milk, and salt to the pulp and then added it back into the potato shell. Well, to be honest, Denny added the mixture to the shell:
I sprinkled Parmesan and paprika on the top and popped them in the oven:
They weren't very difficult, which was a huge surprise to me. I've taken to making a ton of baked potatoes every couple weeks and this would be a really easy use for them. I think I could vary up the recipe with different cheeses and spices and really make a knock-out dish. They were tasty! I think they would have been even better with some bacon.
I also made Creamed pearl onions (p. 287). I'm not sure why I decided to make this recipe. If I was to refer to a vegetable as my enemy, it would be pearl onions, hands down. They are SUCH a pain. And you have to peel so many of them to make a reasonable dish. Even if you use the blanching method and force your mother to help you, it still takes about an hour. An hour than feels like twelve hours.
I like this picture because it looks to me like the potatoes are watching the caged onions.
I melted butter in a saucepan, added flour, and then added milk, half-and-half, salt, pepper, and a bit of nutmeg.
I poured the milk mixture over the onions and then topped it with delicious cheese:
It was baked for about fifteen minutes:
The pearl onions were really good! I would have thought that an entirely onion side dish would be way too strong but between the milk mixture, the mild flavor of pearl onions, and the delicious crisped cheese, it was really good. If you like onions, this is a dish for you. It's a pretty unexpected side dish.