There’s some funny stuff that happens when you’re home alone with a baby. There’s the one-sided conversations about healthcare in America and the reading of articles about how you’re baby probably already knows Chinese even if they can’t speak yet. You could find yourself wondering which of our daughter’s toys* would be the leader if they were to come alive when you left the room via Toy Story mythology.
But the other thing I started doing is imagining the meetings that have decided the world around me. Think about it… almost everything around you from the color of the seats you sit on everyday on your way to work to the jewelry commercial story lines that seem to play on loop during this time of year came from decisions that were made at a meeting somewhere. I can’t help but picture them… like the meeting where they decided what music Sadie’s jungle bouncer should play. Was there one guy who was like – “That’s a lot of boings in there. I think it could use a few more elephant trumpets.” and his boss was like – ” Damn it Roger! I said cool it on the elephant trumpets! And where’s the Itsy Bitsy Spider sample? Didn’t you get my memo?!” **
Or what about the meeting where some advertising team was pitching the 2010 Christmas commercial for Stella Artois? Were they given instructions to make guys who drink Stella sexy or when they were doing their pitch were they all “Everyone knows Stella is popular amongst ice sculptors but do they know that’s the sexiest part of Christmas?!” and the folks from Stella were like “We’ve always thought that! Can you make that happen?!” and the advertising guys are like “Yes we can.”
Dan does not share my enthusiasm for these imagined meetings. I paint the picture of how these meetings would go down describing the mean bosses who doubt anything new or different like pink sheep on baby pajamas or the overly eager pitch people dying from excitement to share their love for potato chip flavor contests and Starbucks mug designs. And that’s OK. What we do share is a love of potatoes.
Fried – both French and Home style. Mashed. Baked. Hasslebacked. Au Gratined. Latked. Gnocchied. Totted. Boiled***. Chipped. Samosaed… the list goes on and on. Until this recipe we had never “smashed” them per say. Smashed potatoes are when you take a whole baked potato and place it on a cookie sheet and smash it once with a masher, doll it up a bit and then bake it. It’ll all make sense in the recipe.
So let’s make some while we imagine a meeting at Pinterest where they look at what kind of potato photos are being posted in an attempt to find new ways to promote their site with home chefs. I’ll start us off… a young intern with stars in her eyes stands up to start her presentation. The first slide comes on and it’s this:
She fidgets with a pen and says… “For years people have pushed the boundaries of where potatoes could go by changing their appearance and texture. Smashed potatoes asks – What’s wrong with just being a potato?” and the room lets out a collective gasp…
Vegan Bacon Ranch Smashed Potatoes
- 10-12 Whole Red New Potatoes
- 3-4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Crushed Pink Himalayan Salt
- 11/4 teaspoon Crushed Black Peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 2-3 Tablespoons Diced Fresh Chives
- 2-3 Tablespoons Vegan Bacon Bits
- 1/2 Batch Vegan Ranch Dressing ( We recommned using the recipe that comes with the Bourbon Buffalo Chick-Pea Pockets)
- Step 1 If you don’t already have vegan ranch dressing, start by making some using our recipe with the Bourbon Buffalo Chick-Pea Pockets. Seal in an airtight container and put in the fridge to chill out while you make your potatoes.
- Step 2 Start your potatoes, by bringing a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Once your water is boiling, toss in your potatoes whole and let boil for about 20 minutes or until they’re tender. How long they boil will really depend on how big your potatoes are. Larger ones will take longer obviously.
- Step 3 While your potatoes are boiling, heat your oven to 425.
- Step 4 Drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil over a foil lined cookie sheet. Once your potatoes are tender enough to pierce with a fork using little effort, move them one at a time to the cookie. Be very careful they are in fact hot potatoes and will burn you just like the stereotype warns.
- Step 5 Try to place your potatoes in spots where the oil has pooled but keep them spaced apart so they don’t crowd each other. They’ll brown best that way. Using a potato masher, gently push directly down on each potato once. If any potato has cleaved off or crumbled – use a fork to pile those loose bits on top of your smashed potatoes to create little mounds. Those little rouge bits will burn if they’re left all alone on the sheet so really try to keep ’em together.
- Step 6 In a small bowl, mix together your crushed salt, peppercorns and onion powder. Then using your fingers sprinkle the seasoning over your potatoes in an even layer. Then drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the top of your potatoes. Put in the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes.
- Step 7 Pull them out when they have crispy edges and are a golden color. Drizzle with your ranch dressing and sprinkle the chives and bacon bits over the top ad serve hot.
*My moneys on Skunk.
**Boy I’m glad I wasn’t at that meeting. Eeek.
***OK maybe not just straight up boiled so much.