Posts Tagged ‘good eats: the early years’

The Baked Potato (Alton Brown Style)

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Oh look, another Alton Brown recipe.

This one is so simple, it hardly deserves a recipe. Except that this really is “The” Baked Potato recipe. It shouldn’t have been anything special, but the texture inside the potatoes was perfect, and they had a great crunchy skin that made you want to eat every bite–like a restaurant potato. If you’re looking for a basic baked potato recipe, I don’t think you’ll ever need a different one.

baked potato

Alton Brown’s Baked Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 large russet potato (If it looks like Mr. Potato Head, you’ve got the right one.)
  • Olive oil, to coat
  • Kosher salt

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees and position racks in top and bottom thirds. Wash potato (or potatoes) thoroughly with a stiff brush and cold running water. Dry, then using a standard fork poke 8 to 12 deep holes all over the spud so that moisture can escape during cooking. Place in a bowl and coat lightly with oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and place potato directly on rack in middle of oven. Place a baking sheet on the lower rack to catch any drippings.

Bake 1 hour or until skin feels crisp but flesh beneath feels soft. Serve by creating a dotted line from end to end with your fork, then crack the spud open by squeezing the ends towards one another. It will pop right open. But watch out, there will be some steam.

If you’re cooking more than 4 potatoes, you’ll need to extend the cooking time by up to 15 minutes.

Note: Next time, I think I’d use one of my more special salts–the Maldon crunchy sea salt, or the Himilayan Pink Sea Salt that I have. I think this is one of those things where you’d really have a chance to taste the difference in the salt. Sorry about the low quality picture, but you know what a baked potato looks like anyway. This one doesn’t look like anything special, it’s just an easy, serviceable method with solid results. My one disappointment is that this recipe didn’t show up in the new Good Eats: The Early Years cookbook, despite being featured in the second episode. Alton makes baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, and a potato gratin, and only the mashed potatoes (plus a potato pancake recipe that wasn’t on the episode) made it into the book. I thought they were all supposed to be there, so I’m going to have to do a bit more investigating.

Alton Brown Book Signing at Borders in Chicago

Friday, October 16th, 2009

It’s no secret, at all, that we love Alton Brown around here. The recent Good Eats Anniversary special on Food Network called Alton’s classic show “Good Eats” one part Julia Child, one part Mr. Wizard, and one part Monty Python. That’s about the most apt description I can think of. Ten years ago, Alton set out to create a cooking show that would be fun and educational, and I don’t think anyone is doubting that he was successful. Even the shows about things I don’t like (Brussels Sprouts, Okra) are fun to watch. Sometimes, they even make me think, briefly, about trying those things. As I’ve said before, when we’re looking for a go-to recipe, for pretty much anything, Alton’s the guy. Below is a snapshot of all the Alton dishes I’ve made for the blog. The best thing about an Alton recipe is it quickly becomes a standard. Many of the things you see below are made frequently around here.

  • Pancakes
  • Salmon
  • Rice Pilaf
  • Stuffed Pork Chops
  • Pork Wellington
  • Pan Roasted Steaks
  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches
  • Fried Chicken
  • Fajitas
  • Baked Brown Rice
  • Homemade Pizza
  • Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese
  • Chicken & 40 Cloves
  • Baby Back Ribs
  • Cheese Fondue
  • Waffles
  • French Onion Soup
  • Coconut Macaroons

So when we heard that Alton Brown was doing a signing for his new book, Good Eats: The Early Years, we were there. (P.S. Amazon has it for half the price of Borders! If you want it, I recommend you get it there)

ab book2

I plan to review the book in full once I get through it, but from what I’ve seen (Mostly from the time I spent waiting in line!) it looks excellent. The book goes through all of the recipes from Seasons 1 -6 of Good Eats, and provides updates, behind-the-scenes info, and even deleted scene-style additional recipes that didn’t make it into the original episode. I’m excited to look back over some of our old standbys and see what new tips Alton has for us!

Borders, on the other hand, gets a not-so-great review. When we saw Alton at Crate & Barrel a few years ago, there was a crazy-large crowd, but they still managed to let everyone at least have a chance at hearing the discussion/demonstration that he did. We really enjoyed that demo, but in this case, Borders had people waiting in all different sections of the 3 level store. Determined by an unpublished wristband system. We were on the same floor as Alton, and you could hardly hear that he was speaking, except that the group closest to him laughed every now and then. Why not at least broadcast that audio through the speakers over our heads, instead of the innane music we could also barely hear?

Ultimately, David and I were the only ones out of a group of 4 that stayed. The wait was too long, with too little reward it seemed. And I mostly agreed. David and I already had a signed book from the Crate & Barrel appearance, so why wait around? On the other hand, once you’ve waited around for 2 hours, what’s another hour and a half? At least we do have a signed book to show for all that waiting.

Dave’s friend Phil left reasonably early, and his friend Mike left about an hour or so after that. Dave and I stuck it out. When we’d gotten pretty close to the end, AB walked out into the crowd and offered to sign books for children so they could go home. It was a nice gesture, but it also happened right next to us in line–and it was fun to hear his conversations with the little kids.

ab kids signing

When we finally got up to our turn with AB, we introduced ourselves, got our picture taken and were pretty much on our way.

ab signing

Except, in an amusing turn of events, when we mentioned that Mike had gone home earlier (but we were still hoping to get his book signed) Alton added a tongue-in-cheek personal message to his autograph:

ab mike's book

It was all in good fun, I promise.

P.S. I also had a chance to flip through the Cake Wreck’s book while waiting in line, and I feel like buying it for everyone I know for Christmas. It’s such fun, and a great intro to the Cake Wrecks blog. I really wish I’d gone to Jen’s book signing when I had the chance, but Skokie seemed a little far for a Thursday night. *shrug*