Potato Skins with Artichokes and Fontina

I’m sure that other parts of the country are beginning to thaw (if they ever were really frozen), but up here in Maine, the idea of having the oven on for a couple of hours to bake potatoes, bread, pie and a roast while we pull our chairs up around the stove to warm our toes, hands and cheeks is still quite in vogue.

This is one I made yesterday when the wind was howling – still.  The crew was happy to run from the barn to the house to find a blast of warm air hit their cheeks as they came in for tea or to check on the new baby chicks.

Potato Skins with Artichokes and Fontina
5 russet potatoes
10 marinated artichoke quarters, coarsely chopped
6 ounces sliced Fontina cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pierce the skin of the potatoes with a fork and place on the middle rack bake for one hour or until the potatoes are tender in the middle and give a little when you squeeze them.  You can do this step ahead of time.  When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and scoop out the flesh on the inside.  Save the flesh for gnocchi or a soup and place the skins onto a baking sheet.

Reduce oven to 300 degrees.  Divide  the artichoke quarters evenly among the the potato skins and top with slices of  Fontina.  Grind the pepper on top and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer

Good to go in the garden as soon as the ground thaws

A Night with the Girlies

Our girls wanted to make dinner together tonight and learn how to make what we would eat.  They have absorbed a lot by osmosis, but don't always want to help me in the kitchen anymore.  Of course when they were little and wanted to be in the kitchen with me all the time, it took more time to clean up than it did to make anything!

This is the dinner menu they chose (after I nixed the boxed orange mac and cheese first, of course.)

Roasted Garlic with Herbed Crostinis
Poached Salmon with Rosemary, Pancetta and Mushroom Sauce
Roasted Asparagus
Baked Potatoes
Chocolate Chip Cookies made with Browned Butter and Sea Salt

And a word about the cookies.  We used the latest Cook's Illustrated recipe which promised chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside.  And does it deliver.  I'm so thankful it wasn't me testing 400 plus versions before arriving at this one.  This is the chocolate chip cookie I've been trying to create for years. 

And we may have added a new twist.  After tasting our first cooked batch I realized that with three cooks, we forgot the salt.  I sprinkled some on the top of the rest just as they came out of the oven and was it good!

Having fun with my girls

© 2009 Anne Mahle