The plan tonight was to make Rachael Ray’s Stuffed Potatoes with Ham, Thyme, and Gruyere. Part of the attraction–aside from the fact that it’s mostly comprised of potatoes and cheese, two of my favorite things–is that it involves the use of Gruyere (my Ingredient of the Week) and broiling (my current Two-Week Technique). Gotta love two-for-one deals!
I should have known by the fact that the one and only shallot I’ve ever purchased was MOLDY, that nothing about tonight’s cooking would go as planned. I placed my potatoes in the microwave, as the recipe instructed, and struggled to come to terms with the fact that my stuffed potatoes would be shallotless. While the potatoes “cooked” (thought I cringe to think using a microwave is “cooking”), I sliced the ham and grated the Gruyere.
Per the recipe, I should have microwaved the potatoes for “12 minutes or until tender.” At 12 minutes, they didn’t feel very tender at all. I let them go another two minutes before I took them out and let them cool.
Then disaster struck.
When I tried to scoop out the potato innards, the skins peeled away like dead skin off a healed sunburn. This was terrible! How do you stuff potato skins without any potato skins? But it was horrifically obvious to me that these “stuffed potatoes” weren’t going to happen.
This is what I was left with: a bowl full of mashed potato, sliced ham, grated Gruyere, thyme, butter, and milk. (I am, however, proud of myself for researching how much dried thyme equals a tablespoon of fresh thyme. I’ve finally learned some discipline when it comes to making estimations!) Anyway, I was hungry as a Milton Bradley hippo and plan B was a necessity. What was plan B, you might ask? A mountain of ham and potatoes, that’s what.
This was literally all I could come up with. I threw everything on the baking sheet, stuck it under the broiler, and let it sit until the top was a little crispy. Unfortunately, while the top was perfectly done, nothing underneath really heated up. Had I let it sit under the broiler long enough to get hot, the top would have charred, leaving me with a volcano of potatoes instead of a mountain. Dinner was a plate of lukewarm potatoes, nearly cold ham, and half-melted cheese.
It is with great regret that I report that this attempt at broiling was nowhere near as successful as the first. My fingers are crossed in the hopes that my next try will be a trillion times better. I might cross my toes, too, for good measure.