Tom PapoutsisTom Papoutsis is a “Firehouse Chef” that currently holds the rank of Lieutenant with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Tom’s experience in the Fire Service spans over 29 years, 19 of which have been with Fairfax County. The bulk of his firehouse culinary expertise has been practiced during his tenure there. He was a national finalist in the 2004 Tabasco Cook & Ladder Competition finishing in the top 10 of the nations Firehouse Chef’s, and traveled to New York City to compete in a cook off with his peers. He has also been placed on the “charity” auction block several times to prepare meals for the highest bidder. Tom likes to specialize in Italian and Greek cuisine being of the same heritage, but also enjoys preparing Asian and of course “Good Ole American” foods as well. He concentrates on entrées but also has a few hors d’oeuvres and dessert specialties as well, such as his versions of Bruschetta and Amaretto Cheesecake. For the past year he has been studying the practice of making homemade Italian deli meats and sausages. Tom’s motto: “It’s just cooking, not rocket science, take a chance…..you might like it!” Residing in Chambersburg, PA with his wife JoAnn, twins Jonathan & Katie and “Buddy” their Golden Retriever. Tom enjoys cycling, hunting, fishing, woodworking, raising his children and helping form today’s youth while volunteering with son Jonathan’s Cub Scout pack. Tom can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]
Tom Popatis: Hi! I am Tom Popatis. We are back. Today, we are doing basic potato dishes and what we are going to do, very simple, very easy. You want to bake potato. Well, you take your potato and what we are going to do with these; we are going to microwave them. I am going to show you how easy it is to make a microwave baked potato. We are going to put a little spin on the end. So, essentially what I am going to do, I have taken my potatoes, I have washed them. A lot of people like to take in, they like poke holes in these things and everything else, thinking that so they dont explode. Well, I have done a lot of potatoes this way. You dont need to poke holes them. Sometimes, you might get one that does explode on you. You got a little mess to clean up, but its not bad. But nonetheless I have done a lot of them and this is a very simple, easy way to do it. So, what I have, I have a microwave safe dish. I am going to take our potatoes, just set our potatoes just like that on this plate or you can use a bowl like this if you have a bunch of them. What I do is, I will actually take and outline them up like this around the bowl and you can just put your potatoes if you dont like five or six of them. You can just lay them in there like this. We are going to do them for ten minutes and then a lot of times what I will do is, flip them and turn them, so we are going. If this is on top and this is on the inside, this is going to rotate like that, and we are going to do usually another five or ten minutes like that and they will be done, but then at the end, we are going to finish them off in the oven. So, for today, we have our plate, we are going to put them on our plate. We are going to pop them into microwave. Just put them in the center. We are going to go ten minutes and thats it. We let them go for ten minutes, at the end of ten minutes, we are going to turn them and we are going to do them again. We are back. We are almost done with our potatoes. For the first ten minutes I get about ten seconds to go, we are going to wait for that, we are going to flip them, start them over again and then we will come back to finish. So, in about one second there we go, we are done. I am going to take these and as you can see they are hot, so take your hands real quick, flip them end for end upside-down just like that. We are going to put them in, go another ten minutes -- lets go eight minutes on it. We will go for eight minutes.
Now, the way we are going to check these as if they are soft. Take them and actually kind of feel them that they are soft. If they are still hard on eight minutes, go another two minutes, check them, but when they are nice and soft, you will know when they are done and then its time to take them out of the microwave and then we will pop them into the oven.