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Whinesday [Apr. 11th, 2012|06:42 pm]
The small can of Crisco I keep around for crisping baked potatoes has gone bad. It has a very stale smell, and I don't want to put it on the potatoes for fear that it will impart a rancid flavor to them. Crisping baked potatoes is the only thing I use the Crisco for, so even the smallest can I can buy always goes bad before I can finish it. Maybe I should learn to make shortbread, so I can use the stuff up.

I've tried using vegetable oil on the potatoes, but it doesn't work very well. The skins barely crisp at all. I might as well put them in foil to bake them, in the manner of barbaric suburban chain restaurants. I'd never do that. Maybe I should just have fried potatoes tonight instead of a baked potato. I was so looking forward to that crunchy skin, though, and you can't get that from frying, either.

It's been misting off an on all afternoon, after raining most of the night and early morning. Once in a while the sun will break through and make the water drops on all the leaves and the lawn glitter like jewels, but the sun is about to set and there will be no more free diamonds today. It's going to be another chilly night, and I'll be breathing furnace air, though it will still be chilly as the furnace is set at 66 degrees. If I ever get another house, I'd like it to have radiant heat in the floors, and a heat exchanger for the ventilation system.

There's an acorn woodpecker hanging out in my mulberry tree. His bright red crest adds a cheery note to the gray evening. He'll be going to bed soon, though. I'll miss him.

[User Picture]From: forioscribe
2012-04-12 10:52 am (UTC)
I've long been annoyed that putting olive oil on potatoes before baking did not produce crispy skin, but thanks to you I now know how to do it! Great tip.
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[User Picture]From: flying_blind
2012-04-12 09:16 pm (UTC)
I recall my mom telling me that my grandmother used to smear a dollop of lard onto potatoes before baking them, but mom substituted vegetable shortening. My grandmother learned to cook from a Mexican woman who was her family's housekeeper when she was growing up, so lard must be the Mexican way of crisping potato skins.

The English mother of one of my childhood friends said that in England they smeared a bit of duck fat on the potato skins to get them crisp. Apparently only a fat that is solid at room temperature works. If it had occurred to me last night, I could have tried using a bit of the bacon dripping I've got in the refrigerator. I've never tried that before, but it might work.

Also, the skins won't crisp in a microwave oven. Gas is best, followed by electric. I've never tried it in a convection oven.
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[User Picture]From: forioscribe
2012-04-13 10:59 am (UTC)
I've got a little Black & Decker toaster oven and a Google search tells me that a potato will bake in one hour. The microwave will do the job in about five or six minutes, but then, as you say, the skin never gets crisp. Decisions! Decisions!
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[User Picture]From: flying_blind
2012-04-13 11:42 pm (UTC)
I've never tried a toaster oven, but it ought to work as well as a regular electric oven. I've thought about buying a toaster oven, as it would use a lot less electricity than my full-sized oven, but then I don't think I use the big oven often enough to justify cluttering more of my limited counter space just to save fifty cents a month (and which would only become a real saving after the cost of the toaster oven itself had been covered.)
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[User Picture]From: forioscribe
2012-04-14 09:31 am (UTC)

Those Were The Days, My Friend, We Thought They'd Never End!

When I was much younger I never thought I'd end up paying so much attention to food preparation, since I had a wife to take care of it. These days in my solitude I regularly bake bread and cornbread muffins, make yoghurt, big pots of chicken soup (which I ladle into tupperware containers to freeze), etc., etc. Also pay careful attention to my consumption of killowatt hours and get great satisfaction in seeing on my bill that I use WAY less than others in my neighborhood.
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