Loaded Baked Potato Scones

I don’t think I have to explain my undying love of potatoes to you. I think you just get it. If I were to say to you that potatoes are the best vegetable/starch ever, like in all the worlds, well you would know I wasn’t lying. You’d most likely agree with me, because umm hello, potatoes. I have this obsession with potatoes. That’s where Potato Tacos and Potato Balls come into the picture. Not like a “they’re so good I’m obsessed can’t get enough of them” kind of obsession. While yes that’s true, it’s more like a “I need to eat potato everything and anything because they’re that good,” kind of obsession. I think it’s a healthy addiction. Nothing to worry about. It’s quite common if you really think about it. Don’t look at me like that!

I know that at some point I’ll be asked if these are scones or biscuits, and to tell you the truth, I’m not quite sure myself. I have no idea. Let’s be frank, they look exactly the same. All I know is that they’re flaky and delicious and I want to eat them all. I guess we can call them biscuit scones. Biscones. Or sconsuits. Hey look at us, we’re inventing new things. Aren’t we clever? The answer is yes. Always, yes. In all honesty, jokes aside, scones and biscuits, they’re pretty much the same thing, right? I mean, I can’t really tell the difference. Some sources claim to know the answer. The answer being that scones have eggs in the dough. Um no. I know plenty of scones that don’t have eggs in them so therefore, are they biscuits? Others claim that scones are scones if they are triangular and biscuits are biscuits if they are circular. This might be the case but at the same time, I’ve seen circular scones so I don’t think there’s a right answer here. I think the people who invented each of them got together and decided to play a trick on all of us. They wanted to mess with our heads. 

The bottom line is I made these potato scones/biscuits with bacon and cheese and I can’t think of anything more delicious at the moment. They’re something out of this world, especially right out of the oven all warm and flaky and delicious looking. Am I convincing you yet? These biscuits/scones are sort of like the ultimate snack, perfect for on-the-go. It’s potatoes, cheese and bacon and bread in a small package that you can eat with one hand while you (safely) drive to work or school or where ever else you drive. How about now? Are you convinced? These scones/biscuits are all like, “Hey look at us, we’re loaded with potatoes and crispy bacon and delicious cheese. You need to eat us!” They’re calling out to you because they know you can’t resist. Don’t fight it anymore, go on and make these biscuits/scones for yourself. 

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Fried Chicken and Waffle Sandwiches

Before we can dive, mouth first, into this post we need to discuss one important topic. It’s more so answering a critical question, really. It happens to be the biggest question ever asked in the food world. The answer to which is the most vital piece of information that can ever be granted. You might be wondering what the question is. I’ll tell you that it’s a question I’m most often asked. Perhaps you’ve been asked it too. You’d be surprised how may people inquire about such a topic. Pancakes, waffles or french toast? My answer is always waffles. Waffles to the very end of my existence. Waffles for life. Waffles, always and forever. Waffles for the win. And not just because this happens to be a waffle post, no, but because crispy on the outside, moist on the inside waffles are to die for. Although not on pancake days. Tall stacks of warm flapjacks with butter and maple syrup, perhaps with a few chocolate chips thrown into the batter? Definitely pancakes. Pancakes to the very end of my existence. Pancakes for life. Pancakes, always and forever. Pancakes for the win. Yet french toast, however, is kind of the best thing on the planet, isn’t it? Challah or brioche french toast with a dusting of powdered sugar, perhaps even stuffed with cream cheese and berries? Most definitely french toast, hands down one hundred percent. French toast to the very end of my existence. French toast for life. French toast, always and forever. French toast for the win. Do you see my dilemma? I can never get anywhere with this.

Over the weekend I was housesitting/cat sitting for a friend. It was a nice get-away for me, as said friend lives by the beach. Now I know what you must be thinking, “But Jonathan, you hate the beach!” If you weren’t thinking it before, you’re thinking it now. And you’re right, I’m not a beach person—I’m not much of a sun person really—but I am a cooler weather person. So I’m all for houses by the beach and gloomy overcast days. I decided to get some work done—in between constantly taking pictures of her cat and getting on his nerves with hugs and kisses of course—while I was over there. I always think it’s fun to cook in someone else’s kitchen. You get thrown out of your comfort zone, out of your element. It’s sort of weird preparing for a post in a space I’m not familiar with, especially since my friend also bakes and cooks and shoots and writes. It’s like walking around in someone else’s shoes for a day, ones that take you a while to get used to. However, I did manage and I actually had a lot of fun shooting somewhere different. Somewhere that wasn’t my own house for a change. I’m sure Miller, my college studio lighting teacher would be oh so proud of me for that, so this post is for him for forcing me out of my comfort zone (it only took me a year to do it). In the end I love how the pictures turned out, but lets be honest, shooting with the cutest cat in the world, certainly helped. He’s a hoot, constantly sneaking up trying to get food, thinking he can’t be seen. Oh I can see you Jules Stevens, I can see you and you’re adorable. I guess when it comes to fried chicken and waffles none of us can keep away.

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Breakfast Pizza

I’ve figured out yet another way to use my pizza dough recipe, but I think the real important factor here is that I’ve found a way to have pizza in the morning, and actually have an excuse to eat it so early. Hey don’t get me wrong, I love cold leftover pizza in the morning just as much as the next guy…but this is actually a breakfast pizza. Pizza-For-Breakfast, are you understanding the magnitude of this situation? Where have you been all my life? All those mornings that I wanted a simple and yummy breakfast?

I have to thank Smitten Kitchen for once again opening my eyes, taste buds, and nose to yet another wonderfully fantastic recipe, that of which I could never live without now. It’s actually a great concept/idea recipe because you can top it with anything you’d like. As long as you have the basics down, like the cheese and the eggs, then the rest is up to you. Want veggies? Add them. Don’t like bacon? Skip it, although I don’t know who doesn’t like bacon. Well, maybe The Canadian. Sorry, but I held out as long as I could. You have to give it to me……but the bacon was calling out to me. Taunting me!

Eat me for breakfast on top of some pizza, with eggs and cheese, it was saying. Tons of cheese. Eat me because I’m nothing but pure deliciousness. Well, it beckoned and I answered.

Grab your bacon.

Ahhhhhwwwwwwwww…….as the heavens part, and a light shines down onto the bacon.

Cut the bacon down into small bite sized chunks.

Throw it into a hot skillet and cook until its crispy and brown.

Oh sorry I got quiet there for a second. I lost myself to the aroma of crisping bacon.

Once the bacon is crisp, transfer to a napkin lined plate, with a slotted spoon, to allow the excess fat to drain.

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Not Your Ordinary Potato Salad

Potatoes and I go hand in hand. I wake up every day and thank the heavens that I did not live during the potato famine. In fact, it happens to be my favorite vegetable.

Ever.

Period.

Point blank.

Hands down.

If I could I would have it in every dish, each and every day. I can’t even begin to tell you how many 10 pound bags I go through a year. With potatoes, the no two starches rule, goes flying out the window for me. Baked, fried, mashed, roasted, grilled….and I forget all about those silly rules. Its not a starch, its a vegetable of course! (Ok ok, it is a starch, but still…)

I decided to make potato salad as a side, the other day. But I wanted to upgrade the tired old recipe. I wanted to remix it and knock people out of the park. So this isn’t a plain, ordinary jello of  a potato salad. This is the crème brûlée of potato salads.

The ingredients:

Are you drooling already? I know I am.

First thing we need is hard boiled eggs. Place the uncooked eggs in a pot, and fill it with cold water. Don’t try to take shortcuts by using hot water, thinking it will boil faster. Always start with cold water when you are boiling. Why should your food suffer? What did the eggs ever do to you, beside provide you with pure deliciousness?

Bring the water to a boil.

Once boiled cover immediately with a lid (my pot doesn’t have a lid, so I’m improvising here). Leave covered for 10 minutes.

Then pour out the water and run cold water over the little eggs.

Construct a make shift water bath by throwing in a bunch of ice, to completely shock the little guys. Again, why dirty another bowl? This works fine.

Lastly, peel all the eggs under running cool water.

Boiling eggs is that easy! So now you know.

  

  

Okay, back to the potato salad. It’s bacon time because everything is better with bacon…

…Sorry vegetarians. I can’t resist.

Ahhhhhhaaahhhhhhaaahhhhhhhwhwhwhwhwhw (the heavens just parted).

The potato is the star. The potato is the star. The bacon is the star. The potato is the star. The potato is a star.

Cut the porky salty strips in half.

Then dice it up. Any size dice you’d like. Small or big, depending on your taste preference. You could also fry up the slices and then just crumble it in with your hands, for a more rustic feel.

I can’t help it, I’m drooling already and it’s not even cooked yet. Place the bacon in a hot skillet and cook until golden brown and crispy.

Stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking and browning. About 7-10 minutes.

Once cooked, strain with a slotted spoon and move onto a plate lined with napkins, to soak up the excess fat.

Set aside for later. Try not to sneak too many bacon bites. One or two is fine. You have to taste the quality. Just keep telling yourself that. It works.

  

Are you still there? Have you passed out from the crispy bacon goodness yet?

How lovely….bacon grease. You know how many people would kill for this? Is there anything better. Two words for you.

Precious.

Commodity.

Let’s get started on the veggies. Grab some potatoes.

Cut the potatoes into a medium dice. I like to keep the skin on, not only because of laziness, but because of all the nutrients in the skin….okay mom!

Start by cutting the potatoes in half, length wise.

Cut the potatoes into long strips. Depending on the size, either 1-2 strips. I did 3.

Dice them, going in the other direction, making small to medium cubes. Make sure all your cubes are relatively the same size. You don’t want some big pieces and then some tiny ones, because they wont cook evenly.

Repeat with all the potatoes until you have a pile of them. A mound. A mini mountain ready to be climbed.

Mt. Tater. Looks more like a steep hill to me.

Tater Hill.

Place them on a foil lined baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.

Season potatoes with: Salt and pepper, paprika (more for color, than anything else), garlic powder, onion powder, and fresh or dried thyme.

Toss the potatoes to fully coat eat one.

Its a flavor bath.

Now this is what separates our potato salad from the ordinary. Place in a pre-heated 425 degree oven and roast for about 20-25 minutes.

Ooooh the crispiness of it all.

Oh yes I did….I just took it there.

Try not to continuously open the oven door to check on them. Forget about the little tots, opening only once, halfway through to toss the potatoes. You don’t want to lose all that hot air.

Its the crisping mechanism.

And we’re tossing.

When completely brown and tender (check by popping a cooled one in your mouth, yum) remove from oven and allow to slightly cool.

Forget about them as we make the dressing. Er – Sauce. What do you call it?

Grab a bowl. For the dressing. Sauce.

Drop in some mayo. And please no miracle whip. Don’t you dare. There’s no place for that here.

Squirt some dijon mustard. Or Grainy mustard *Note to self, that would taste great*

A splash of apple cider vinegar. My mom’s secret ingredient. Not a secret anymore. You’re welcome.

Hot sauce.

Salt and pepper.

Onion Powder.

Garlic Powder. These are powders not salt!!!

Old Bay Seasoning. Trust me.

 

  

Its missing a little green pop. Chives. Yup. We need chives.

Give them a good run through with your knife. Small, tiny pieces.

Toss them in the bowl.

Whisk the sauce, dressing until smooth. Taste, adjust seasoning accordingly.

Set aside.

Let’s cut vegetables now. Grab a red onion.

Grab some sunglasses and place them on. It helps with the crying.

Slice off the end. Peel the onion, and cut in half. Then make uniform slices across, from root to cut. Mince but cutting in the opposite direction.

Toss in a big mixing bowl.

   

  

Grab some celery.

Don’t forget about the leafy tops. I can’t believe how many people cut the leafy tops off and throw it away. I mean calm on people!!! There’s tons of flavor in them.

They want to come to the party too.

Make long, match stick-like cuts lengthwise.

Line them all up and give a chop. Similar in size to the onion. Toss into the mixing bowl.

Grab some scallions.

Slice off the ends and the very tips. Mince through and toss in the bowl again.

Oops, forgot the mince scallion beauty shot. “Insert imaginative picture here.” Use your imagination.

Grab some pickles. Yes pickles. Any kind works. I had hamburger pickles in the fridge….why not?

Give them a rough chop. Hack away.

Its the great pickle massacre Charlie Brown.

Grab the hard boiled eggs. Remember those from earlier? Super easy.

Cut in half.                             All of them.

 

   Chop Chop.                                  Toss in Bowl.

  

Admire all the yummy food confetti.

Give them a toss with a spatula.

Grab those golden brown crunchy potatoes.

Toss them all in the bowl.

Yes all of them.

Put the potato cube in the bowl.

Stop sneaking some into your mouth.

Give the ingredients a toss. Grab the dressing/sauce and pour it it.

Almost done.

My heart just skipped a beat.

Get it all in. Don’t waste any. Okay, you can lick the bowl.

Give it a good toss to coat completely, every single morsel.

STOP!! Don’t forget about the bacon!

What was I thinking? Toss it in. Reserve some for the top garnish.

Mouth. Is. Watering. Give it another toss.

You have to give it a try, uhh to check the seasonings of course.

Lucky for me I have a taste tester at hand.

When you get the go ahead, put into a nice serving bowl. It’s all about presentation.

Sprinkle with reserved bacon and chives.

That’s it. Total bliss. Make this and you ever look back to your plain old humdrum recipe. Take this to BBQ’s or pot lucks. Dinner parties, or just any night of the week. Fair warning though, you’ll want to eat the whole bowl. Or if you take it to a party, be sure to serve yourself some first, because it’ll be gone in two seconds – flat.

Enjoy.

Here’s the recipe. Although it can easily be accommodated to make any portion you’d like. Super easy recipe.

Not Your Ordinary Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 Eggs
  • 4 Slices of Bacon or more if you’re a bacon lover like me
  • 5-6 Small potatoes, or 3-4 large ones
  • 1 tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 Small Red Onion
  • 3 Stalks of Celery
  • 2 Whole Pickles or 1/4 cup Pickle Chips
  • 3 Scallions
  • Handful of Chives

For the Dressing:

  • 3/4 Cup Mayonaise
  • 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard or Grainy Mustard
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 Dashes of Hot Sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Old Bay

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Bring eggs to a boil in a pot. Once the water comes up to a boil, shut off the heat, and place a lid on it. Leave alone for 10 minutes, it’ll carry over cook the eggs to perfection. After ten minutes, run cold water over the eggs and add some ice into the pot, while the water is running. This will allow the eggs to cool completely and stop the cooking process. Once cooled, peel the eggs under cool running water, and set aside.

Pre-heat a small skillet over medium heat. Cut the strips of bacon into small pieces and place in the hot pan. Cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown and crispy. About 5-7 minutes. Once finished, transfer the bacon onto a paper lined plate, using a slotted spoon. Allow to cool. Set aside.

This dish can easily be made into a vegetarian dish by omitting the bacon. Or if you are religiously against it, by all means, leave it out.

Wash and dry the potatoes, or if you’d like, peel the potatoes. Cut them into a medium dice, all the same size to ensure even cooking. Drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle in the spices and thyme. Place in the pre-heated oven on the middle rack and roast for 20-25 minutes, turning over once, half way through. Once fork tender and golden brown remove from the oven and allow to cool on pan, on a cooling rack or counter top.

Meanwhile cut the remaining vegetables, red onion, celery, scallions, pickles, into uniform small pieces and put in a large mixing bowl. Dice the hard boiled eggs from earlier and put them in the bowl as well. Toss the ingredients to combine well.

Pour the warm potatoes into the mixing bowl along with the cut veggies. Toss.

In a small bowl place all of the dressing ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour dressing over potato veggie mixture and toss well, to coat all of the dressing into the potato salad.

Sprinkle in the bacon from earlier and stir once again, reserving some for the garnish. Taste to make sure seasoning is spot on. Adjust accordingly.

Place in a serving dish and garnish with reserved bacon and chives. Serve as a side dish for any number of summer recipes. Eat immediately or wrap with plastic wrap. Can easily be made days in advance, stored in the fridge. Actually gets better the next day, cold. Yum. Enjoy.