Monday, December 12, 2011

Homemade Potato Chips

 "This is the best thing to make with potatoes! This is the only thing you should ever make again with potatoes."
I might not have gotten that quote right, but my hubby said something along those lines tonight. By it, he meant that these are so much better than anything else you can make with potatoes, so why bother making anything else?!
I don't exactly think that's true (Mashed potatoes! Baked potatoes! Hash browns!), but these chips sure are tasty!! And so unbelievably easy, you'll never want to go back to spending so much money on a half-crushed bag at the grocery store!

Homemade Potato Chips
Printable Recipe

Three ingredients. Yes, THREE!
Potatoes (2 or 3 should be plenty, but I decided to make a HUGE batch here)
Oil (whatever you like for frying)
Sea Salt
 Wash your potatoes. Scrub em clean!
 Now, you can hand slice your potatoes with a sharp knife, but if you can, use some kind of slicer or mandolin. It ensures that everything is cut easily and takes so much less time! I have this handy little attachment on my manual food processor.
 Grab a potato and just slice a little bit off of one end. Then, go ahead and start slicing! (Be careful not to get your fingers! I wasn't being very careful today. "Brad! Can you get me a band-aid!")
 They should be beautiful little chips, like these. :)
Here are the slices from 6 potatoes. There are a LOT of them. If you are doing a big batch like this, plan on it taking about an hour from start to finish. For only 2 or 3 potatoes, 20-30 minutes is all it takes.
 Now fill a large bowl with some very cold water.
 Throw in some ice cubes for good measure.
 Now, add your potato slices.
 We are going to let them soak for at least 10 minutes, and up to 30 minutes.  Give them a stir every once in a while because they tend to stick to each other.
Once they are done soaking (it removes a lot of the excess starch, which helps them crisp up better), give them one more quick little rinse.
 Grab some clean kitchen towels or a few paper towels and lay them out. Now, lay out your potatoes in a single layer to let them dry. (Don't mind my cuticles. Utah air is not good to me.)
 Doesn't that look like a quaint little cobblestone road? So cute!
 Cover them up with some more towels and pat them dry. I actually made two more layers of potatoes on top of these, that's how many slices I had!
While they are drying, you can start to heat up your oil. You want about 2 inches of oil, so it really depends on the size/shape of your pan/pot as to how much you will need. The oil should be about 350 degrees, but I don't have a thermometer, so I just do the old "add a small drop of water and see what happens" trick. You can also add one potato slice and if it starts sizzling, you are good to go.
 Add some slices in a single layer to the oil. You will need to do a few batches so you don't crowd the pan.
 After about 3 minutes, they should be a beautiful golden brown.
 Go ahead and fish them out of the oil now. I like to use this skimmer. Works wonderfully. :D
Transfer them to some paper towels to soak up the excess oil and immediately sprinkle with some sea salt. (Or you can use whatever seasonings you like: parmesan, paprika, dried herbs, whatever. . . )
Once you've fried everything up, it will probably take 5-10 minutes for them to be really crispy. They're still a little chewy when they are warm, but trust me, they get crispier the longer you wait, no matter how hard it is to wait.
While I was standing in the kitchen making a million potato chips, I whipped up some Winger's Sticky Fingers since I already had a pan full of hot oil! It worked out perfectly and dinner was super scrumptious.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Alright folks, I am about to unveil my absolute favorite salsa. EVER. Don't get me wrong, I love a good fresh pico de gallo with chips or some mango salsa with my nachos every once in a while. However, THIS salsa is amazing on EVERYTHING. Quesadillas, burritos, tacos, chips, nachos, on a spoon. . . Just kidding about the last one. ;)
Every time Bountiful Baskets offers the Mexican Pack, I get SO excited because it has everything I need to make this salsa (not that I couldn't just pick everything up at the grocery store, but still. .  .)

I totally spaced on the "ingredients" picture. Sorry!

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

10 Tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 small Onion
2 cloves Garlic, unpeeled
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Green Chile (I used an Anaheim Chile) ((Wait, is it Chili or Chile?))
1 Jalapeno
1 Lime
3-4 Tbsps Brown Sugar
2 tsp Sugar
Cilantro! 1/4-1/2 Cup

Turn on your broiler.
Cut the tomatillos, peppers, onion and chile to about the same size. Toss them all in a large baking dish. I lined it with foil to make for an easier clean-up. Toss the garlic cloves in there too, still unpeeled.
Stick the pan under the broiler for 7-12 minutes, turning everything once or twice while they're cooking. The longer they are under the broiler, the more "roasted" they will be. Your salsa will have a deeper flavor the more it's roasted. I like it that way, but this time I wanted the flavor to be a little more "fresh."
As you can see, the stuff isn't too charred.
Once it's done, make sure to fish out your garlic cloves. Being careful (they are hot!), remove the peel and just add the garlic back to the baking dish.
 Now, dump everything straight into a blender.
 Whiz that up until all the big chunks are gone.
 Look! I got a picture of a couple ingredients! Here is where you're going to need the sugars and the lime.
 Add your salsa to a saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar.
 Then add the white sugar.
 Now cut that lime in half and squish all the juices into the salsa!
 Mix it all up and cook it just until it starts to boil.
 There's a bubble! It's boiling! Remove from heat now.
Now, chop up your cilantro. Is it weird that I was smelling this cilantro and then told my husband that I wish there was a cilantro perfume that I could spray myself with? Yes? Oh well. I love that smell!!!
 Add it to your salsa.
 Stir it all up. You really don't need that much cilantro. I just have an obsession.
 You can go ahead and serve it warm. . .
 . . . or stick it in the fridge and chill it up. It tastes great both ways!

Extra notes: This particular recipe is a little mild. I mean, it definitely has some kick, but I also like to spice it up some more by just adding an extra jalapeno into the mix. For a little bit of a richer flavor, you can roast the veggies at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes. I am not usually that patient though. :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bread Bowls

Hallelujah, my daughter is down for a nap! We've entered the final stages of teething, those last 4 molars. Yikes. Anyway, between drool and boogers, it's hard to find time to blog! But alas, here I am! I've made these bread bowls a few times and they are consistently DEE-licious! I actually made these, along with some homemade corn chowder, for a neighbor who recently had a C-section and she and her husband loved it! It really makes you feel good when someone likes the food you make. :)
These aren't exactly "traditional" bread bowls. They are softer, a little shorter, and I think a little more dense. However, I find it easier to eat the entire bowl because of these qualities. :D

Bread Bowls
Thanks Mel's Kitchen Cafe!

1 1/2 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast
2 1/2 Cups Warm Water
2 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Veggie Oil
7 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Cornmeal

The flour is not pictured, but I measured out about 7 Cups into a medium sized mixing bowl.
 Dissolve your yeast in the warm water. Do this right in your stand mixer, or just a bowl if you're doing this by hand. (Good for you!) Wait about 10 minutes.
 Now, add your salt, oil, and about 4 cups of flour.
 Mix it all up! Keep adding flour, about 1/2 Cup at a time. I actually saved the last cup of flour for later. You'll see why. :)
 I like to work out when I bake, so I stopped it at this point so I could knead in that last cup of flour by hand.
 Set up your station! You've got your dough, that last cup of flour you've reserved, and a nicely floured counter top.
 Plop that dough out onto the counter and knead away!
 Gradually add flour as you knead. You may not even use all of it. I only used about half, which amounted to 6 1/2 Cups total for my dough. Different climates will yield different results, of course.Just add flour until it isn't really sticking a bunch anymore.
 Knead for 6 minutes and then you will have this gorgeous little dough boy.
 Pop him in a nicely greased bowl (turning the dough to coat with the oil/Pam).
 Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for about 40-45 minutes. I have limited counter space and thus stuck the bowl in the oven to rise.

After said hour, it should be doubled and ginormous!
 Here's the best part of any yeast dough, punching it down! Of course, when you punch this dough, it isn't as dramatic as rolls or bread. This dough is a little stiffer.
 Sprinkle some cornmeal onto a baking sheet that you've lightly greased and try not to spill a bunch in one corner. ;)
Shape your dough into 6-8 dough balls. I did 6, obviously.
Cut 2 little slits in the top of each one.
Now cover those up and let them rise for 30-35 minutes. Because I use my oven as a result of limited counter space, I took them out of the oven after about 20 minutes so I could start preheating. You'll want to preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Mm! Puffy! Stick these beauties into the oven for 15-18 minutes.
Golden! I made a nice little one for my Little One.
Slice the tops off and scoop out the insides. Fill with some yummy, creamy soup, and enjoy! And eat the whole bowl! And the innards! And the lid!
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