Twice Baked Potatoes – Two Ways

Roasted potatoes in the oven always fills the house with great smell that gives me a calming effect. I serve these crispy potato skins two ways, the traditional way- cheddar cheese, smooth sour cream and scallions. Then the other way- filled with a lighter veggie filling, cheesy sauce and chopped broccoli.

Adapted from Nigella Lawson

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 40 minutes
Yield: Serves 4

  • 4 or 5 small Russet or Idaho potatoes
  • 1 glove garlic or garlic powder
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 1 cups shredded light cheddar cheese, save a sprinkling for top and garnish
  • 4 scallions, both white and green chopped
  • dry freeze chives for garnish
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • optional (crumbled bacon or soy bacon)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash and scrub the potatoes clean under running water. Dry the potatoes, and poke each potato, in several places, with the tines of a fork. This will prevent the potatoes from exploding. Rub the potatoes with a little of the olive oil. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet, and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. Remove the potatoes, and allow them to cool. Cut the potatoes in half, lengthwise. Use a spoon and scoop out most of the inside of the potatoes – you want to leave a thin layer of potato on the skin. Scoop all of the potato meat into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle each empty potato shell with a little salt, pepper, cheddar, and chopped scallion. Combine the sour cream, cheddar cheese, and remaining scallions with the potato meat. Mash the ingredients together with a potato masher, but do not over beat the potato meat. Spoon the mashed potatoes into each potato shell. Top with any remaining cheddar cheese. Bake the potatoes at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are heated-through.

Roasted potato

Scooped out potato skins

Cheddar cheese, scallions, potatoes and sour creamFilling added into the skinsTwice baked potato

Twice baked potato

I wanted a lightened up version of a potato skin. Instead of sour cream and starch. I thought some vegetables and cheese filling would be a nice change.

Adapted from Whole Foods Market

  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoons flour
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk
  • 3/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Steam broccoli until crisp tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in flour and salt to taste. Gradually stir in milk, whisking over med-low heat until thickened. Add cheese, stirring until completely melted. Season to taste with white pepper. Pour over steamed broccoli and serve at once by placing scoops into the potato skin shells.

Steamed broccoli and cheese sauce

Broccoli and cheese sauce potato skin

The Beehive, South End, Boston

After we tasted The Beehive’s Chef Rebecca Newell’s homage to her grandmother, truffled peirogis with homemade smoked salmon at the Chefs for Obama fundraiser, we knew we would be back to The Cyclorama to try Newell’s menu. The Beehive oozes cool with the red and gold curtains, funky art and its cavernous space.

Since 2007, The Beehive has been a Bohemian fixture in the South End offering creative cuisine, brunch, well crafted-cocktails and of course the jazz. We have been to The Beehive week nights for happy hour and birthdays, but never for a proper meal.

On weekends, the line is out the door and sometimes a long wait. The crowd can be hit or miss and the bar area uncomfortably overcrowded.  Our other favorite jazz haunts are Regatta BarWally’s and Darryl’s Corner Bar.

We were happy to enjoy the performance  of one of the most charismatic and talented young musicians Mark Zaleski and the angelic Aubry Johnson. Our friend Mark has toured with Jethro Tull and has been performing with Aubry for years now. Mark’s saxophone and innate musicality, whether performing solo or as a guest star, with his Brooklyn-based brother Glenn Zaleski or with a band, really inspires.

We noticed the acoustics varied throughout The Beehive. Although the band’s sound was clear and audible directly in front of the stage, it was difficult to hear Aubry’s airy, yet powerful voice well in the upstairs dining area. Next time, we will plan on requesting or going early for the seats closests to the performers.

In the upstairs dining area, performance footage was projected against the white wall and the holiday lights highlights a very mysterious area behind the brick wall. Super cool.

Our friends enjoyed their Pink Flamingo (Citron Vodka, Luxardo Maraschino Liquer, White Cranberry, Pomegranate) and the Beehive Honey Brew. Although I considered the Persian Kitty cocktail with Pomegranate and ginger liquor, per my friend’s suggestion, I tried the Valentino Martini (Vodka, Blood Orange, Passion fruit) for $11. I would definitely enjoy lightly sweet, tangy and smooth cocktail again.

The Valentino cocktail reminded me of one of my favorite fashion documentaries, Valentino: The Last Emperor, which displays the luxurious world of fashion icon Valentino Garavani, his partner Giancarlo Giammetti and features his last couture collection.

I am always moved by the romantic scene of the elegant ballerinas floating in the air to a haunting opera.  I mentally cheer when Valentino responds to the comment, “There are a lot of people who say no one can replace you.” The designer cleverly states, “Après moi, le déluge.” (After me, the deluge).

When we were in our teens, both my sister and I played jazz piano in the local jazz band. Although we no longer play, we deeply appreciate jazz music and continue to integrate it in our lives.  We love soulful trumpeter Jason Palmer, vocalist Whitney James and through an opera singer friend’s insistence, we are now following vocalist Rachael Price (love her renditions of I Only Have Eyes For You and Trolley Song).

The table shared the Beehive Frites with sage & sea salt ($9), which had the perfect balance of tenderness and crispness. The frites were aromatic and had the right amount of sprinkling of salt. I would order them again and for an additional $1.50, make them into Poutine with cheese and gravy (the Poutine at The Gallows is stellar).

The sole, made gluten-free, was tender, flakey and perfectly cooked. I really enjoyed the brightness from the lemon and the additional bitterness from greens.

I would return to enjoy the jazz brunch and try the Short Rib, Farmhouse Cheddar & Fontina Grilled cheese ($15) and the Borscht Soup for $9 (BMH’s attempt of Borscht and the only other place we know serving borscht is at the Lithuanian Club in South Boston). Just because we love fried dough, we would have to try the Basket of Beignets for $9 (the best beignets are at Cafe du Monde).

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