Friday, November 2, 2012
Loaded Baked Potato Bites
I had the opportunity last week to sneak into the local Fox 9 station as John McLemore, the CEO of Masterbuilt and his wonderful wife Tonya were filming a segment promoting their new book "Dadgum That's Good, Too". As I walked into the main building early that morning, I could smell the turkey almost immediately. I asked the security guard where to go and he laughed as he said to just follow the smell. The smell led me to the studio kitchen where a prep crew and John were busily working around the kitchen and two of John's indoor turkey fryers were happily frying away on the counter top.
That's right. On the counter top. Ever fried a turkey before? Usually it's on those huge outdoor propane blast cookers and a huge vat of hot oil. These fryers are pretty large (think big bread machine) but they can sit right on your counter, in doors, where it's warm, and cook that turkey in just over an hour. I was immediately impressed. And hungry. Turkey for breakfast? You bet.
I stood with Tonya as we watched John meticulously prepare the set and I shouted out questions as he worked. John's love for food and cooking is obvious in the way he talks about his experiences and the foods that he cooks. His life is centered around cooking food for his friends and family and creating great tools like fryers, smokers and grills to make it all even easier. His cookbook chronicles the story of his company through the eyes of many in their family and provides a unique look into the workings of this fun family.
As I read through the cookbook, I had to stop myself from turning down the corners as I found recipes I wanted to try right away, or else they all would have been turned down. I just recently got a smoker so it was great to read through all the recipes he has as well as the tips and tricks for improving how the recipes turn out. I'm definitely doing a smoked turkey for Thanksgiving this year.
The first recipe we tried though was a fried one. I had to give this fryer a go and these loaded baked potato bites were the perfect weekday treat. Simple to make and the kids loved them. You can also freeze a whole bunch of them for next time and make it even easier.
I've got a copy of the book to give away to one of my readers too! If you'd like a copy, let me know below which section you think you'd cook from first; smoked, fried or grilled! I'll choose a winner on Friday November 9th.
Loaded Baked Potato Bites
1 lb baking potatoes
1 gallon cooking oil
1 1/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 T chopped fresh chives
1 t kosher salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 t baking powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place potatoes directly on oven rack and bake for 1 hour or until tender. Let cool slightly and mash. You can leave the skin on or off - your preference. If you leave the skin on, make sure you mash into small pieces.
Fill deep fryer halfway with oil and heat to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, cheese, bacon, chives and salt, mixing well. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls.
In a large bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Stir in eggs and milk, mixing well. Dip potatoes in egg mixture and fry in batches for 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Use a metal slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve immediately.
*Disclaimer: I received a copy of John's cookbook and an electric turkey fryer. All opinions are my own.