Thursday, September 23, 2010

Marisa's In 'Da House...Foodie House That Is!

I am happy to announce that today is our guest post with Marisa Musto at Cook's Book. She won the "Name My DSLR" contest, with the adorable name "Snaps" for my newly acquired Canon, and for her creative efforts she won a guest post here at Foodie House. You are soon to find out, that not only is she creative in the culinary arts but her writing and story telling brings an added comfort factor to her skillfully crafted recipes. I'm super excited to share her post with you. Get ready for some serious delish...

Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Loaded Baked Potato!

Thank you, Lauren, for choosing the name “Snaps” for your new camera and for kindly welcoming me into the Foodie House for this guest post.

There is barely a soul in my bloodline that I can trace to the cooking gene. I’m related to a few good cooks and a handful of good recipes, but nobody loves it like I do. In my family, now and in generations past, time spent preparing food has overwhelmingly been done out of necessity rather than desire.

I come from a household where grocery stores and kitchens are avoided at any chance and the best excuse for a home cooked meal is survival. Microwavable, canned, and frozen shortcuts are often welcomed with open arms, but not nearly as much as ordering out and eating at restaurants. So, where the heck do I come from with my dirty apron and weathered collection of recipes?

I actually learned to love food through these meals; in addition to other things, they played a large role in helping to spark my curiosity for exploring all that food can really be. Still, what beckons this inner desire and allows it to maintain its strength? I must have inherited at least some of my love and ability for cooking from someone.

My grandma and me making potatoes croquettes.

Grandma Tina, my dad’s mom, is the only one I’ve known to be a great, raved about cook in my immediate family. Although she is no longer here, her food is the kind that never fades from the memories of those she’s prepared meals for; they live on, just as her personality, in the stories that are so fondly told of her.

Fried eggplant and sauce, homemade macaroni, lamb roast, and her legendary manicotti are some of the specialties my grandma was known to whip up on the fly. There were no recipes, just pure instinct. She lived in Florida, and we would visit each other as much as we could and she would cook. I was too young to really remember her food, but one of her famous dishes is still made at my house on special occasions: potato croquettes.

Mashed potatoes formed into small logs breaded with seasoned bread crumbs and fried: that’s all there is to a potato croquette, and it is so good. We usually make about two dozen on holidays or when there are a lot of people coming over. They don’t last long. A while back I was watching Paula Deen and she was making something very similar to potato croquettes, except in true Paula Deen-style the potatoes were tricked out with all the fixings of a classic loaded baked potato. I kind of feel like it might have all been a dream now, because I have looked to reference the recipe on several occasions since and I just can’t seem to find it!

Here is my own recipe for loaded baked potato balls. Breaded with panko breadcrumbs, mashed potatoes mixed with butter, sour cream, scallions, and bacon are formed into balls and stuffed with a big chunk of sharp cheddar in the center that oozes out like the “yolk” from a Cadberry Creme Egg when fried. They are the Mini Me of the baked potato and the Americanized version of my grandma’s Italian classic. Enjoy!

Loaded Baked Potato Balls:

Yield: 20-25 balls

- 4 large russet potatoes, cut up and boiled until tender

- 3 strips bacon, diced and cook until slightly crispy (reserve fat)

- ¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced

- 1 pound butter

- ½ cup sour cream

- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into cubes

- Salt and pepper to taste

- Breading: 3 eggs, panko bread crumb, flour

• Mash the boiled potatoes. Add butter, sour cream, and reserved bacon fat while still warm and continue to mash until smooth. Fold in scallions, bacon, salt and pepper.

• Roll potatoes into golf ball sized balls; insert cheddar cubes into the ball and seal with potato.

• To bread the potato balls: roll in flour, dip in egg, and cover in bread crumbs.

• Fry at 325 degrees until golden brown. You want the breading to be crispy on the outside and the cheese to be melted on the inside. You may need to adjust your fryer temperature to achieve this result.

Thank you Marisa! Hope you all enjoyed this snippet from Marisa's plethora of creative endeavors. Make sure to stop by and check out her blog. Her current post is all about making adorable marzipan fruits with step-by-step instructions. Click here to see how to do it!
Love ya, Foodies!
P.s. Remember, today is the last day to vote for this round of Project Food Blog!!! 


  1. Oh my, great post and even better looking recipe! I must try these little balls out, they sound amazing!

  2. Wow! Marisa these little potato balls look amazing, I agree your grandma had a real good instinct and I think you inherited her genes:) Thanks Lauren for hosting Marisa and good luck on your foodie challenge à là food buzz:)

  3. Absolutely fantastic! I can't wait to give these a try. It's good to land on you too, Lauren. I'm looking forward to wandering around your blog now. :)

  4. Great guest post. Those potato balls are adorable and delicious looking!

  5. What a wonderful post - the potatoes are just scrumptious - your photos entice.

  6. Wonderful guest post! I always like seeing older photographs of bloggers in the kitchen. These sound just delicious. They would be so popular at any of my family events. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Snaps is a great name!
    The potato balls would disappear in 10 seconds around here.
    Nice to get to know Marisa!

  8. Marisa
    those loaded potato balls look so very very good!! thanks so much for sharing them with us!

  9. Love that name :) Well wherever you got you foodie gene from, you most definitely got it :) Love these loaded baked potato balls, so cute :)

  10. I think my comment just disappeared? Sorry if this shows up twice... Love the name choice :) And wherever you got your foodie gene, you got it. Love theses loaded baked potato balls, and they are so cute. Great guest post :)


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