Take this as you will, friends, but I’ve been thinking in terms of lists lately. Writers, restaurants, cities, television shows, movies. Excluding favorite books (a list that very nearly exploded across an entire notebook page with little chance of hierarchy), the things I like can be grouped into genre castes comprised of twos and threes. For example: Comedy and Drama shows divide themselves, respectively, into 30 Rock and Arrested Development; Mad Men, Lost, and Walking Dead.
I find it interesting to reevaluate whatever it is I appreciate from time to time, because-let’s face it-we are consistently bombarded with new things. And while a number of those unfamiliar items fade quickly from the foreground, some like to linger on our minds. I am totally open to the fact that, in our overstimulated hysteria, it can, surprisingly, be possible to find something new to appreciate. In other ways, too, this bombardment can strengthen our bonds to the things that inspire us.
Sometimes, in this process, I find that I have changed. As my fears of becoming Noah Baumbach’s endearingly awkward character, Frances Ha, seem to become increasingly realized, so, too, have certain preferences revealed themselves. Suddenly, I’ve noticed, my interests have shifted toward art history-inspired pieces, toward science fiction everything, toward whatever makes a good story. Admittedly, my appreciation for empowering perspectives, snort-worthy jokes, and chocolate are still at an all-time high.
I think perhaps the most surprising of these shifts in preference is my sudden taste for dill. Some people complain about cilantro (and genetics and blah blah blah, I get it), but goodness, was dill a thing I simply could not stomach for the longest time. Seriously. Cue the apocalypse, because that phase of my life is over. I want dill and sour cream to smother every starchy potato that comes near me, forever and ever, moving forward. And if those potatoes happen to be arranged into crispy, tender hasselback slices and scented with vibrant cumin and warming chili, such is life. Change can be good, especially when it involves fancy baked potatoes.
P.S. I would like to point out that my last post, Mozzarella Grilled Cheese with Harissa, Dates, and Scallions, talked about a short film that recently WON AN OSCAR. If you haven’t seen Bear Story yet, now is the time!
Hasselback Potatoes with Dill Sour Cream
3 medium Russet Potatoes, rinsed and scrubbed
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp high-quality salted butter, melted, plus more for serving
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili flakes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, for serving
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp dried dill
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice each potato thinly (about 1/8-inch apart), leaving the 1/4-inch at the bottom unsliced. In a small bowl, stir olive oil, melted butter, cumin, chili flakes, sea salt, and pepper. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and brush with the butter and olive oil mixture. Bake until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, about 55 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together sour cream and dill and reserve for serving. When potatoes are cooked through, top each with additional butter and sea salt. Serve with dill sour cream.