Slow-Fried French Fries
There are certain foods that are better when not made at home, like french fries. To achieve golden-brown perfection, you have to fry them twice: first at a low temperature, to poach them; then at a high heat, to crisp them up. Very tasty, very much a pain in the neck. A few years back, I read about how French chef Joel Robuchon supposedly does it at his house: He puts sliced potatoes in a pot of cold oil, turns on the heat, and lets them go. It sounds too simple to work. But as the temperature rises, the potatoes cook from the outer layer in until the fries are wonderfully crunchy outside and creamy in the center. You’ll never make fries any other way-even if you’ve never made them before.
Preparation Peel 2 lb. large russet potatoes; cut into long french-fry sticks, about 3/8×3/8 inches thick. Rinse; shake off water.
Transfer potatoes to a large deep heavy pot, spreading potatoes so they’re no more than 2 layers deep. Pour in safflower or vegetable oil to cover potatoes by 1″. Place pot over medium heat. Cook for 15 minutes (oil will begin bubbling gently). Continue cooking, occasionally loosening potatoes from the bottom of the pot with a heatproof spatula, until potatoes are very tender, 25-30 minutes more. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes longer (oil will bubble more vigorously).
Using a slotted spoon, transfer fries to paper towels to drain. Season with coarse sea salt.
Lynn Warren – I wrap asparagus in phyllodough that’s been brushed with melted butter and parmasean cheese, you wrap the asparagus with it and bake. very easy, and can be eaten at room temp, etc.
Sounds ridiculously excellent & easy. If you’re a fan of asparagus, you may enjoy it steamed, grilled, roasted, or even nuked. I love the stuff if it’s prepared well. This sounds like it would go over quite well. Parmesan cheese is always a win. Maybe some Romano… and I may add garlic. If we wanted to get really nuts, we could wrap ’em in bacon & and the dough.
Made this for dinner last night, it was pretty tasty. I baked the chicken breasts instead of boiling. I used full-size breasts, rubbed with olive oil and peppered, and roasted them at 375° for about 45 minutes.
I saw this on Twitter, and had to post. My aunt makes a version of this that she picked up from her ex-in-laws. It always shows up at family picnics, and is generally always a crowd-pleaser. The version we get is most definitely the Catalina dressing, not French… and Doritoes instead of Fritos. If I were making this, I may substitute taco sauce for salsa, and I’d cut out the onions. And… if you’re buying shredded cheese, why go for cheddar when you could get Colby-Jack, “taco cheese” with seasonings, or “four cheese Mexican” (whatever that is)?
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (you can add more if you like)
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup diced red onions
1/4 cup Kraft Catalina Dressing you could also use a French dressing
1/4 cup salsa
sliced olives (optional)
In a skillet over medium heat brown ground beef, when almost done drain fat, and add taco seasoning mix. If you are using a package of taco seasoning mix add the amount of water recommended on that package. If you are using the Copykat taco seasoning mix add about 1/3 cup of water, and let the meat simmer until fully cooked. Once meat is fully cooked turn off the heat, and allow the meat to cool slightly.
Prepare salad toss together lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, shredded cheese, and corn chips. In a small bowl prepare salad dressing by mixing together prepared salad dressing and the salsa, mix well. Toss together the seasoned beef, salad dressing along with the lettuce. Garnish with sliced black olives if you desire. Serve immediately. This salad does not hold well, so be prepared to eat in one setting.
Recently, we had a ridiculously excellent fall dinner. I could eat this meal several nights a week, and not grow tired of it.
First up was the acorn squash, which is really easy to prepare once you get the damn thing cut open. I have recently stopped trying to go through the whole thing at once. I use a serrated knife and poke from the beside stem into the center, then slice out form the stem all the way back around until I hit the stem again, then crack it open.
After scooping out the seeds (which I always wonder about cooking like pumpkin seeds) and stringy gross stuff, I placed the two halves orange side up in a glass baking dish in about ½” to ¾” of water. Don’t worry, they actually generally do sit up that way without a problem. I sliced the tops/insides a little in preparation for the next part…
I melted some butter (or some Country Crock spread actually) in the microwave, probably about 3 tablespoons worth, and added a little bit of brown sugar, stirred, then ladled it on the top & into the cup formed in the middle. Add it to taste. I don’t really ever measure this. If you’re looking for a measurement form me, add what you think is too much brown sugar, then add a pinch more. I also added a tiny bit of black pepper & paprika to mine this time… but I add that to almost everything.
After that, I placed it in the already pre-heating oven at 400° for about an hour and 5 minutes. I was going for somewhere between an hour and an hour & 15 minutes, and it worked out closer to the hour this time. Check on it around the hour mark. This one was roasted perfectly… the meat of the squash was just melting on to the spoon, & peeling right off of the skin inside. It was really a great flavorful vegetable. I don’t know if this is baking or roasting, but whatever it is, it works. It would have also been good scooped out & served like groovy orange mashed potatoes.
Up next was the corn, figuring temperature was more important for the squash, I typically roast corn at 425° or 450° for 20 minutes to a half hour… but figured why not let it ride along with the squash here?
My wife & I carefully pulled back all the husks… just pulled them back not off, then removed the silk.
We buttered (again, we used Country Crock’s butter approximation), salted, & peppered the corn.
Next we wrapped it back up, and tied the tops back together using a loose strand of the husk. This doesn’t always work out, so sometimes I use foil & make little caps to keep ’em all bound together.
I did a whole post on corn & why you should keep it in the husk, and never ever boil it unless you’re making soup. You can read that here if you’re interested. As you can see, “other stuff in the oven” is not even a good excuse to boil corn. It can go along for the ride. Proof? It turned out beautifully:
I wish my cell phone’s camera got better shots. I need to think farther than Facebook or Twitter when taking food photos, and get the real camera so I can post more to this blog. The corn husks did smoke a little… but I didn’t see any flames, and it let me know when it was done. Ha ha ha. I’ve grown to not rely on timers so much, but to go with temperature and a gut feeling.
Oddly enough for a carnivore like myself, the steak was not the star of this meal. We just got some thin skillet steaks and put them on the Foreman grill oiled, salted, & peppered for about 5 minutes, maybe a little less. They turned out fine. The Foreman Grill seems to be my go-to tool for cooking meat until I get new knobs for by real grill outside. I’m in a Yahoo! Group that’s a really good resource for innovative GFG cooking.
I topped it all off with the newly resurrected Duquesne Beer. [Insert zombie and or Jesus joke here.] I have a collection of antique bottles and have a Duke beer bottle in with my local stuff… so when I heard that they were making it again, I knew I had to try some. I was born after the company was dissolved the first time, so I can’t compare it to the original… but it is a nice mellow pilsner that goes well with this kind of dinner. It rounded out the meal perfectly.
It was aggravating to get my hands on some though… they’ve had a weird release schedule, and no 6 pack shops around me were carrying the stuff. When one local pizza joint was listed as having the stuff, I went there to buy some and they had no idea what I was talking about. I ended up buying a case, but luckily I don’t feel “stuck” with something that I don’t like.
The other night, the wife & I were in the mood for pizza, but not for any of the plethora of local pizza places. We decided to make our own. We were going to get one of those pre-made Boboli crusts, but while at the grocery store my wife came across one of those cardboard tubes of pizza dough by Pillsbury. We decided why not try that? I like a puffy doughy not quite fully cooked crust.
Well, this wasn’t that… but it was tasty. It seemed to be pretty thin, but it was flavorful. We bought the Giant Eagle brand jar o’ pizza sauce because it was way cheaper than the real brands. I added some brown sugar ’cause I like sweet sauce… but I’m getting ahead of myself.
My wife spread out the dough and I brushed on some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled on some garlic powder. Then we put down the sauce & brown sugar mixture, and a 2-cup bag of “4-cheese Italian” shredded cheese.
We put diced green peppers, turkey pepperoni, and canned mushrooms on the whole thing… and I put diced Canadian bacon & chopped olives on my half. I topped it off with a little leftover taco cheese, and put some crushed red pepper flakes on my side.
We baked it according to the instructions on the weird cardboard roll, and it turned out great. We need to do homemade pizza night more often! I think we’ll skip the EVOO step though… I don’t think it was all that necessary.
I’ve never made chili before, and in researching, I came across 50 billion recipes. So, this morning I made my own in the crock pot…
2 cans of condensed tomato soup
1 can of tomato paste
1 packet of chili mix
about ½ cup of water
1 tsp. of beef bullion
1 can light red kidney beans
however much ground meat was leftover from last night
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. black pepper
a dash of cayenne pepper
a dash of paprika
a dash of garlic
…and I slapped it into the crock pot on low for 8 hours.
Hope it tastes good when I get home. I’ve got shredded cheddar cheese for the top of it, & Super-Pretzels to go along with it. They always served pretzels & chili in my elementary school cafeteria so they belong together in my warped mind.
…Most of them use tomato paste, soup, sauce, juice, or diced tomatoes as a base… I even saw one that called for Spicy hot V8… and I think my mom always used soup. Tomato paste is usually bitter, so I figured the tomato soup would counteract it. All of the spices should be rockin’. I like my chili thick.
Oh yeah, about 1/2 the ground meat was cooked w/ some seasoning salt & A1.
Here’s what basically went into my chili. I’ll probably eventually make a blog about it with a narrative so I can remember what I did this time for next time… to see what I wanna change or what I wanna do again.
I ended up only using the one can of diced tomatoes (the one with jalapeños) and still kind’ve overflowed the pot by a small amount. So, next time I may cut out one can of tomato soup or a can of beans. Also, I want to try garbanzo beans in my next batch… and I’ve heard chocolate powder goes good in chili some times… so I wanna try that one day too.
I also tossed in 2 slices of Velveeta ripped apart, a dash of spicy brown mustard, and a drop or 2 of A1 Cracked Peppercorn Steak Sauce.
I think the meat that I used was too fatty or I didn’t drain enough fat (…even though I got a about ⅔ of a regular sized plastic cup full of fat out of it). I had to skim some excess grease off of the top when I popped it open this morning.
I’ll let you know the general consensus after it’s been consumed.
Mix all ingredients except potatoes in large bowl. Put frozen potatoes into pan, break clumps if necessary. Stir in cheese mixture, mix well.
Crush sour cream & onion potato chips and sprinkle over top of pan.
Cover with aluminum foil, bake for 1 hour at 350°, remove foil & bake for 10-15 min. longer.
Substitutions/Variations: I don’t use onions in mine… but I have bought the potatoes “southwest style” with green peppers. Also, if you don’t like cream of chicken… cream of mushroom or celery or potato or just about anything will do. I usually double the sour cream called for above, and use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter instead of butter or oleo. Also… in place of the chips I have seen corn flakes or Ritz crackers. Once you get it down, you can adapt it any way you like.
Enjoy the succulent sweetness of a freshly roasted pepper prepared at home.
Roasting peppers at home is remarkably easy. The whole process takes less than 40 minutes, uses very few kitchen tools, and is nearly foolproof. Both sweet and hot peppers can be roasted in this manner.
1. We have opted to roast two sweet bell peppers, one red and one green. We recommend using two teaspoons of vegetable oil for each pepper. Avoid extra-virgin olive oil as its smoke point is low and will burn when broiled. Preheat your oven’s broiler.
2. Coat each pepper evenly with oil. A pastry brush is a useful tool to use when coating the peppers, but fingers will work in a pinch if a pastry brush is not on hand. Make sure to coat inside the folds of each pepper.
3. Arrange the peppers on a baking sheet and place the baking sheet on the highest rack in your oven.
4. Keep a watchful eye on the peppers to ensure that they do not become too scorched. When dark splotches begin to appear on the peppers, remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully turn each pepper over.
5. The peppers will be very hot, so use tongs or some other kitchen utensil to do this. Once all of the peppers are turned, return the sheet to the oven.
6. When the tops of the peppers begin to darken again, remove them from the oven and place them into a bowl large enough to accommodate all of the peppers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, making sure that it is sealed all the way around. It is important that the peppers are in an air-tight container for this step of the process in order for them to be steamed. The trapped hot peppers generate the steam necessary to loosen their skins.
7. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle (probably about 15 to 20 minutes), pull the stems out of each pepper.
8. Hold one end of the pepper down on a flat surface and gently peel the skin off of each pepper. The skin should slide off fairly easily.
9. Lift each pepper up and hold it with one hand, while using your other hand to squeeze down the pepper’s length. The bulk of the seeds and pulp should drop out the bottom when this motion is completed.
10. With the backside of the knife, slit open the side of each pepper and spread them out (ribbed side up) on your work surface. With the dull side of your knife, scrape off any of the ribs or membrane that remains in the pepper.
11. Use these juicy, tender peppers to enliven sandwiches, spice up Mexican dishes, add to an antipasto platter, or toss with a crisp salad.
Providing more than five times the daily RDA for vitamin C, this flavorful, eye-catching side dish adds variety to ordinary vegetable fare.
Nonstick olive oil cooking spray
medium green bell peppers
medium red bell peppers
medium yellow bell peppers
teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
teaspoon dried basil
teaspoon ground cumin
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 15X10-inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray.
Cut bell peppers into 1-1/2-inch pieces. Cut onions into quarters. Place vegetables on prepared pan. Spray vegetables with cooking spray. Bake 20 minutes; stir. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, basil and cumin.
Increase oven temperature to 425°F. Bake 20 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender and edges are lightly browned.
Adapted from The Onion Harvest Cookbook by Barbara Ciletti (Taunton Press, 1998).
This dish is impossible to resist: tender roasted peppers topped with creamy cheese simply burst with summery colors and flavors. Olives and basil combined with the peppers and healthy garlic give this dish a visual appeal that matches the great taste and nutrition.
The best of the Italian garden on a plate.
1 head garlic, garnish
2 large red bell peppers
2 large yellow bell peppers
1 clove elephant garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Juice of 1/2 lemon
6 slices Bel Paese cheese, 1 inch in diameter
1/2 cup mixture of opal and green basil, thinly sliced, garnish
Kalamata or green Cerignola olives, garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1. Break the garlic into cloves and roast covered in an ovenproof baking dish 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven, then when the garlic is cool enough to handle, gentle squeeze the cloves out of their skins. Cut the cloves in half vertically and set aside.
2. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Place the peppers, with their stems intact, on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan, and roast 20-30 minutes, or until the skins darken and blister. Remove the peppers from the oven, and place them in a paper bag. Close the bag by folding over twice. Set the peppers aside to cool.
3. Place the elephant garlic, oil, salt, cloves, and lemon juice in a blender and mix 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture becomes a smooth sauce. Pour into a small bowl.
4. Take the peppers from the bag and remove the skins, stems, and seeds. If necessary, rinse the peppers to make peeling easier. Cut the peppers into vertical quarters and arrange on a serving dish. Top with the cheese rounds. Whisk the oil mixture 1 minute, then pour over the peppers and cheese. Garnish with basil, roasted garlic, and olives. Serve immediately.