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: I have got a fork and what I'm going to do is, I'm going to mash this potato up and that's what you are doing is you are actually making mashed potatoes. Mix it up, mash it, mash it, mash it just like that.
Now, take a little bit of milk like that, just a touch, just to wet things up a bit. We are going to take some butter, and I throw a little bit of butter in there with it, touch more there we go, and we are going to mix these around. Now, we are going to go with -- you are making mashed potatoes this is what you are doing, just keep work in those potatoes, take the times with your fork, keep pushing down on it, and that's going to mash your potatoes just like that. You can see how it has started to smooth out and get nice, there we go. You have got some nice, soft, mashed potatoes now. Now, this is what I suggest to do, set this aside, if you want cheese in your potatoes, take a little bit of shredded cheese, take a little bit, just put it in there, mix it around, incorporate it in with those mashed potatoes, now because you have mashed potatoes.
Now, you get cheesy mashed potatoes. We are going to take these, we are going to put this back in here, just like that. We kind of even them out between the two, there we go here, there is our first skin. Scrape this down. Actually I'm going to use my spoon for this, at this point it's going to do a little better job for me. So, you can see I have got my spoon loaded and we are going to take that, and we are going to load our potato upper real nice just like that, cover this, get as much as you can out of there, there we go. You can take and kind of scrape it like that, like that get as much on there as you can.
Now, there we go. There are our potatoes. Now, what I'm going to do is, I want to get a microwavable plate, I'm going to put these on a microwavable plate like this, just smooth this one out just a little bit better, once it looks a little nicer, there we go, awesome. So, we put them on our plate like this; take some of our cheese as a topping. You can put whatever you want on these things, but when it's all set and done, these are going to be an awesome treat for like a lunch or something. I mean you can have them for lunch the next day. I have got some baking bits, I'm going to kind of drizzle some baking bits on here. I'm going to load this up just like that, here we go. Got them loaded up, guess where they are going, back in the microwave.
I'm going to go one minute and we are going to see how things turn out. I know how they are going to turn out, they are going to be awesome. So, remember what we did here, take your potato, heat it up in a microwave, get it hot, get is soft, scoop it out into a bowl, we are going to take a little bit of milk, a little bit of butter, mix that around. We are going to make mashed potatoes. Take the mashed potatoes, if you want cheese in them, put some shredded cheese in there, mix it around again, put them back in your potato skins, and then we are going to top them however you want to top them, if you want chives, if you want sour cream, sour cream probably want to comes out, but just take those, top them however you want, put them back into microwave for about a minute, minute-and-a-half or so, let the cheese melt, let it get warm again and there you have it.
You have got a twice baked potato, but it's leftover. Was it baked twice? Yeah we baked it first time, and we are baking it again. So, there you have it, an easy simple way.