• Bharathi Tardif

Loaded Baked Potatoes - Carbs Done Right

Some of you might read the title and ask, "Really? An entire blog dedicated to a potato?" Listen, if an entity can be fried, baked, roasted, mashed, and most importantly be turned into Vodka, congratulations, you're a keeper and you're on my blog.

I needed a straight-forward recipe that made the potato shine and the add-ons be the icing on the cake. Thank you Jeanine from Love & Lemons, I'll be using the crux of the recipe and adapt the toppings. Even if Joe Rogan served the dish with Sabaton playing in the background, there was no way David would eat Tempeh Bacon Bits with Cashew Sour Cream. Bacon is one of the reasons (amongst many), why I can never be vegetarian. Let's put it this way, if I ever declined bacon, you'd know an alien has killed me and is using my skin as a disguise.

I glanced through the recipe and it looks like the most strenuous part of the prep was taking the baking trays from the cabinet. Nice! As I reached to handle the bacon with my bare hands, I remembered Amma. My mom is a brilliant cook, talented, and can speak 4 languages; English, Tamil, Malay and yelling. The advice given in the last language came rushing back, "WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE YOU HANDLE ANY MEAT". That was usually followed by "Bharathi, do you want a tight slap?" Which used to confuse me, because who in the right frame of mind wanted to be slapped, let alone tightly slapped?

However, it was good advice since I vividly recalled it till date. Washed my hands, arranged the bacon in an orderly manner (thank you OCD) and let the oven do its magic. The great thing about cooking bacon in the oven is that it produces perfectly crispy slices without flipping AND it also helps to test your smoke alarm when bacon grease gets too hot. After waving at the smoke alarm with a towel and getting in my daily abs crunch workout, I treated myself to a slice of bacon. Fine. Slices. In fact most of them. I was left with the bare minimum.

What that meant was, there was not going to be enough meat to make the potatoes a sustainable dinner by itself. I guess it was David's lucky day, he was getting a well-seasoned rib-eye to accompany the potatoes. And yes, this not-supposed-to-be-eating-beef gal, has learnt how to grill steak to a perfect medium rare. As the slab of meat sizzled on the cast iron skillet, I loaded the potatoes. Sliced them open, feeling the steam emanate and giving me a mini facial in the process. Dolloped butter, that melted and dripped down the sides... Sprinkled grated cheddar cheese, that softened and filled the pocket... Squeezed sour cream in an artistic, criss-cross motion... Crumbled the bacon and sprinkled parsley... I mean, if you're going to have the carbs, you do it RIGHT.