The Garlic and Egg Guy with a daughter in College was grinning like a madman when I walked up to his booth last week - in his hands, he cradled several tiny purple tubers, like they were semi-precious hunks of stone. I nodded, handed him a couple bucks, and walked away with about 15 small, purple taters.
These would make awesome tater tots, I thought. But there's no way I'm deep-frying anything in 95 degree heat.
Since I have this whole fake-air-circulation "system" set up in my tiny kitchen runway, using the oven isn't as scary as it sounds. Just pop 'em in there and turn on the fan, close the curtain, let 'em bake.
As I started scooping flesh, I got this overwhelming memory of my geode collection (and by collection, we're talking 6 or so "specimans", all lined up on homemade paper "stands") when I was in my rock hound phase, at age 7. Translucent purple, striations and crystalized shapes, this was so cool.
What better way to eat a geode than with a healthy helping of blue cheese?
Purple Potatoes, Twice Baked
15 small purple potatoes
8 oz soft blue cheese, crumbled (if semi-firm) or chopped while chilled (if very soft)
1 egg white, beaten
2 tablespoons sour cream
Chopped chives, fresh, 1 tbl reserved for garnish
Salt to taste
Pepper, freshly ground, for garnish
Splash milk or cream to smooth potatoes
Bake your baby taters in a 375f degree oven for about 25 minutes. Remove to a cutting board to cool, or plate them and stick them in the freezer.
When they're cool enough to handle, slice them in half lengthwise. Take a small condiment spoon and scoop out the flesh, leaving about a millimeter's thickness of potato. Mash the 'taters with the milk and sour cream until very smooth - use a hand mixer for ultimate velvet factor. Stir the blue cheese and chives in, mixing the cheese with the potatoes but making sure to leave some chunks intact.
Taste for salt. Add, if needed.
Add your beaten egg and scrape the filling into a small plastic bag. Cut the corner off. Pipe the filling into each potato and put the filled taters on a baking sheet. Bake them at 350f for about 20 minutes, or until they're puffed and browned around the edges a bit.
Remove and toss chives over the top. Eat warm. Makes about 30 finger-sized taters. Yum!