Homemade Microwave Potato Chips

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hello? Anyone out there?

It’s me again, your long lost friend who loves to eat a lot.

I started a lot of blogs in my adolescent years (anyone else remember xanga?), and I would always start off posting “I am finally going to start a website and actually keep up with it!”.  Then, like clockwork, I would post 3-7 posts and then lose my way.  Well, with this site I’ve had a pretty good track record since I started it almost 3 years ago but recently it’s been a lot of radio silence.  My bad.

So, I am back with a resolution to resume cooking and posting more. And today we are back with a doosie: homemade potato chips.

I’ve been thinking about food a lot lately- how it’s linked a lot to family memories.  So I am commemorating my return to Cinnamon Freud with a food my family (especially my dad) loves: potato chips.  And they are fun to make homemade and (despite the damage of a permanent black circle in the middle of one of my mom’s plates and burning the tips of my fingers) all in the microwave.  I promise: it really works!

HOMEMADE MICROWAVE POTATO CHIPS
From the kitchn

INGREDIENTS

Russet potatoes
Kosher salt (or other desired seasonings)
Paper towels

DIRECTIONS

Slice potatoes extremely thin using a mandolin. Soak potatoes in warm water. Working in small batches at a time, dry sliced potatoes.

Line a plate with a paper towel. Place potatoes in a single layer on top. Season with salt. Microwave at full power for 3 minutes. Flip over. Microwave at 50% power for 3 minutes until golden brown. Repeat with remaining batches.

Fish and Chips: Improv Blog

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

How about a nice batch of fish an chips, eh? Chip, chip, cheerio?  Chim chim chimmery?

In my head, this entire post is read with a British accent.  Please oblige me.

Fish and chips have been on my culinary bucket list for a while. So when I saw this month’s Improv Challenge was to make something with fish and chips, I knew I wanted to go the traditional fish and chip route.

So ‘a fish fryin’ we went.  My family and I grabbed some beers and hung out in the backyard while we fried up dinner.  The fish is dipped in a beer batter and fried until flaky and tender.  And the French fries- oh the French fries.  I have baked up some pretty good fries before and even fried a few good batches, but people, hear me when I say, the double fried French fry is where it is at.  They are crunchy, tender, and wonderful.

The best way to enjoy a fish and chip dinner is to clear the dinner table, put down newspaper, and dump it all in the center.  Serve with tartar sauce, ketchup, and vinegar.  Battle it out to get the crispiest fish pieces and French fries . Drink beer.

When we ate our fish and chips, I chose the optimal seat at the dinner table where I got to eat on the newspaper article about Dennis Quaid.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

FISH AND CHIPS
Fish Slightly Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Chips Slightly Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

INGREDIENTS

For the Fish:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 pounds cod

For the Chips:
3-4 large Russet potatoes, peeled
Vegetable oil, for frying
Salt

DIRECTIONS

For the Fish:

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, 2 teaspoon salt, cayenne, and paprika.  Transfer 3/4 cup of flour mixture to a rimmed baking sheet. Stir in baking powder to flour mixture in the bowl.

Heat oil to 375°F.

Cut the code into equal, bite sized pieces. Dry with paper towels.  Dredge fish in dry flour mixture. Lay fish on a wire rack.  Stir beer into flour mixture in bowel.  Dip fish into beer batter and let excess drip off. Dredge through flour mixture again.  Fry fish in batch until golden brown, 4-8 minutes depending on size.  Drain on paper towels and salt if desired.

For the Chips:

Cut the potatoes into 1/4 inch wide sticks.  Place in large bowl and cover with water.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes, up to 1 hour.  Drain and pat dry.

Heat oil to 300°F.  Fry potatoes in batches, for 3-5 minutes.  This first fry is to cook the potato, so it should be soft and able to be cut with a knife.  They will not yet be golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

Heat oil to 375-400°F.  Fry in batches until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Salt while warm.

Serves 3-4.

<!– end InLinkz script

Oven Baked French Fries

I love French fries, and I love that 99% of restaurants include them as a side with their meals.  No, Mexican or Italian cuisine should not include French fries, but hey, if an establishment decides to offer them, I won’t say anything if you won’t. Nothing takes a restaurant down a notch in mind than if they serve potato chips with their sandwiches instead of French fries.  No, no. That is a deal breaker.

Now, whether you know it or not, there is a French fry hierarchy in place that we all need to remember.  On the bottom of this ranking are soggy, limp, and thick French fries.  On the top: skinny, crispy, and salty.  In my opinion, the best French fries are super skinny, deep fried, crunchy, and salty.  I unashamedly admit that McDonald’s is among my top favorites.  But, going to McDonald’s whenever I want a French fry is just not pragmatic.  So, I needed an easy method to make them at home.

Often when you bake fries in the oven, they turn out like roasted potatoes.  Let’s face it, roasted potatoes are not French fries.  However, this method from Cook’s Illustrated (love them) is the best way I have found to make crispy fries in the oven.  These fries are crispy, soft, and perfect.  I enjoyed these fries with some fry sauce and was a happy camper

Also, for you fellow Texan French fry lovers, my new favorite French fry is in Austin at Hyde Park Grill.  I may just order a big plate of fries for my meal when I go there.

OVEN BAKED FRIES
Fries Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
INGREDIENTS

For the French Fries:
2 russet potatoes
2-3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Fry Sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Pinch of salt
Hot sauce, to taste

DIRECTIONS

For the French Fries:

Preheat oven to 475°F.  Prepare a pizza stone or heavy duty baking sheet.  Grease the bottom of the baking sheet.

Slice potatoes according to your thickness preference (on average, aim for 1/4 inch).  Place in a bowl and cover with hot tap water.  Let sit for at least 15-30 minutes.

Drain potatoes and rinse.  Dry with paper towel and transfer to baking sheet.  Mix with canola oil and spread in a single layer.  Season with kosher salt.  Cover pan with foil.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 14-18 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through.  Remove from oven, and flip the potatoes.  Bake for an additional 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.

For the Fry Sauce


In a bowl mix together ketchup, mayonnaise, and salt.  Stir in hot sauce to taste.  Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Serves 3-4 as a side dish.

Poutine

With election day coming up, you often hear people say something along the lines of “If so-and-so wins, I am moving to Canada”.  Although people like this irritate me to no end (Facebook status political wars are only entertaining for so long), I support anyone’s decision to move to Canada.  Not for any political reasons but more due to proximity to poutine.
Never heard of poutine?  Get ready to have your life changed: it’s french fries (good), gravy (great), cheese (excellent) all combined together.  Now I have never had authentic poutine with real cheese curds since you have to get them shipped down to Texas, but I love this combination.  It’s salty, meaty, and cheesey.  Basically, it’s perfection.  I have very little to say for the recipe, as I am still searching for a perfect gravy recipe, but trust me on this: waffle fries make this even better.
POUTINE
From Cinnamon Freud
INGREDIENTS
French Fries
Mushroom or Beef Gravy
Fontina or Cheese Curds
DIRECTIONS
Top French fries with gravy and cheese.  Put under broiler for 2-3 minutes to melt cheese slightly.

Mom’s Cheesy Potatoes



Food is a powerful memory trigger.  Every time I get a waft of these potatoes roasting in the oven and take that first bite of cheesy goodness, I am transported back to a time when my mom made dinner for me every night.  Whenever I saw mom making these potatoes, I knew it’d be a good dinner (and lunch the following day).  Luckily, my mom has passed on to me her culinary secrets, and now I am passing them on to you!  This dish is pure potato magic.

Also, happy birthday week to my mom & dad!  Thank you for all those nights of making me dinner (and all that other stuff you did on the side raising me and all).  Soon, I’ll show what dessert I made for our at home celebration.

MOM’S CHEESY POTATOES
Adapted from Saltgrass Steakhouse via The Houston Chronicle
INGREDIENTS

2 pounds red potatoes
8 tablespoons butter
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese
1/4 cup shredded Romano, divided
1/2 cup milk
3 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

DIRECTIONS

The Day Before: Put potatoes in a large pot.  Barely cover with water and bring to a boil.  Cook until fork tender.  Drain, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut the potatoes into quarters and transfer to 9×13 inch casserole dish.  In a small saucepan, combine butter and garlic over medium heat.  Cook until butter is melted, then pour over potatoes.  Add cheddar cheese, Monterrey jack, 3 tablespoons Romano, milk, green onions, salt, paprika, black pepper, and white pepper.  Mix the ingredients together with your hands.  Do not overmix (there should still be large chunks of potatoes throughout).  Sprinkle remaining Romano cheese on top.  Bake for 35 minutes.  Serve immediately

Broiled Vinegar Potatoes

What is your favorite potato chip?  Mine is most definitely salt and vinegar kettle chips- they are addictive.  The saltiness and the sourness of the vinegar come together in perfect harmony.  Well, it may not be socially acceptable to eat a bag of potato chips for dinner, so instead you can make these broiled vinegar potatoes.  These potatoes are a great way to change up to a steak and potatoes dinner.
I made these one night when I had a cold because I wanted to make sure I could taste my dinner, and I was pleased to find that the vinegar and salt taste burst past my stuffed nose.  (Boiling the vinegar and accidentally taking a few direct steams to the face also helped cleared up my nose passages too- an added health benefits with this dish).  They tasted exactly like my favorite potato chips and were easy to make- a definite repeat to jazz up a weeknight dinner.

BROILED VINEGAR POTATOES

From Elly Say Opa, Originally Martha Stewart
INGREDIENTS 

1/2 pound potatoes
White wine vinegar
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch slices.  Put potato slices in a saucepan and cover with vinegar.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Continue to cook for 5-10 minutes, until fork tender.  Remove from heat and let potatoes cool in vinegar for 30 minutes.  Drain.

Preheat the broiler.

Toss potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Arrange in one layer on a baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes, until browned.  Rotate tray if needed.  Watch potatoes carefully to prevent them from burning.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Potato Leek Soup

Today we are making roasted potato leek soup.  Potatoes and leeks- how bad can that be? My husband Jeffery just loves this- somehow I get the feeling he may never eat any other type of soup again.  Meanwhile, all I eat is homemade chicken stock, arugula, and fennel all day long.  I just walk in my garden and hit Hampton bakeries and farmer’s markets in my free time.

That is my Ina Garten impression- I promise it’s much funnier in person. Now, I tease Ina with love. Her and all her cronies (TR anyone, am I right?) on Barefoot Contessa make me laugh quite a bit. While she may be unintentionally hilarious, Ina Garten also provides some delicious recipes, and I love her for it.

I am a lover of potato soups all around- give me any place that has potato soup, and I will try it. I have my favorites out at restaurants, but Ina’s roasted potato leek soup is my favorite to make at home.  Now the color may be a little offputting, but the soup itself is creamy, warm, and delicious. The leeks add another dimension of flavor to the soup, and the crème fraiche adds a delcious sour tang and richness. And it has cheese, need I say more?

Soup is perfect winter food that warms your belly up, so make this before winter is over Or, if you live in Texas like me, look up your weather forecast and make sure to make it on a day a cold front comes in.

ROASTED POTATO LEEK SOUP
Adapted from Ina Garten

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
4 leeks, chopped
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup white wine
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup half and half
8 ounces crème fraiche
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
For topping: chopped green onions, crumbled bacon, Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place leeks in a large bowl and cover with water. Agitate the leeks, making sure to clean out all sand. With a slotted spoon, take leeks out of water and dry. On a baking sheet, combine leeks, potatoes, and olive oil. Toss and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Add arugula and toss. Roast for an additonal 5 minutes, until arugula is wilted.

Remove baking sheet from oven. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock and white wine to deglaze the pan. Transfer the potatoes mixture to a food processor or blender in batches. Puree until smooth, adding the chicken stock as needed. . Transfer to a large pot over low heat. Add any remaining chicken stock.  Use an immersion blender to continue to puree if needed. Stir in the half and half and crème fraiche.  Stir in Parmesan cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Serve topped with green onions, crumbled bacon, and Parmesan cheese.  Serves 4-6.

Sausage Apple Hash



I have been making myself a lot of hash for dinner lately.  It’s easy and quick- just throw all your ingredients in one pan, cook, add any sauce and seasoning, eat and enjoy.  Out of all my hash combinations, this sausage apple hash has been my favorite so far.  Combining apples with hash is genius.  Not only do you get the crisp potatoes and flavorful sausage but also sweet, tender apples.  Plus, I knew I’d love the combination because my favorite sausage from Whole Foods is chicken apple sausage.  (If you are every looking for a variety of sausage link flavors, head over to Whole Foods- you won’t be disappointed.)

This time I decided to double up on the apple flavor and used chicken apple sausage.  Feel free to use any type of sausage you desire.  You can leave the sausage in the casing and slice, or you can can remove from causing and use ground meat. One thing: do not shy away from the ketchup & mustard sauce- it adds saltiness and tanginess without being overly dominant.

It’s time to hash it up! This is a hearty, energy building breakfast or a great change up for breakfast for dinner.

SAUSAGE APPLE HASH
Slightly Adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles
INGREDIENTS

2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced
Olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
2 sausage links
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 apples, chopped
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup ketchup
Parsley, chopped
DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Toss potato slices with a little olive oil.  Spread on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 20-30 minutes, until lightly brown and cooked through.  Set aside.
Meanwhile, put sausage links in a small saucepan.  Add water until about 3/4 of sausage links are covered.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cook for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through.  Remove from pan and slice.  Set aside.
In a large skillet, cook onions 5-7 minutes, until tender.  Add apple slices and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add sausage and potato slices.  Cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.  
In a small bowl, combine mustard and ketchup.  Add to pan, and stir to combine.  Cook for 1-2 more minutes.  Top with parsley.
Serves 3-4.