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Posts Tagged ‘chips’

 

KaleChips_first

A few years ago we purchased a reasonably priced (read cheap) awning for our cocktail patio; I never loved the fabric, it was a pinkish/beige stripe that weathered into a more horrible pinkish colour over the years, but it was about 1/10th the price of one of those swanky awnings that you can order with custom fabric, so I compromised. It wasn’t bad enough that the colour sucked when it was new, it sucked even more over the years and the birds loved to bathe in the water that collected in the divot when it was closed and they also loved to peck little bugs that drowned. Sadly, their pecking caused many tears and eventually the awning looked so tattered and torn that we hadn’t unrolled it in two years!

Old Awning

This was the last time we unrolled the awning at my benchmark birthday party a couple of years ago. That’s my lovely SIL, Wendy. The colour just gets better and better.

Fast forward to 2015 and my cousin and his lovely wife are coming for a visit from Europe in June. What is better than an actual deadline to get those nagging projects completed? So we are in fix it mode! The list is long.

Last year, I priced replacing the fabric with an awning company and discovered that it’s still out of reach (I’d rather spend the cash on a vacation than an awning!) so I checked Youtube and found a really good video on how to remove and replace the awning fabric (click here for the video) and even though our awning is a different manufacturer, the basics are the same. So off I went to purchase 11 m or 12 yards of fabric! And specialty thread (nylon in case you are interested), a specialty sewing machine foot and of course heavy duty leather sewing machine needles! If you’re interested, I can post instructions on how to sew the awning, but it’s a cooking blog so I won’t bore you with it now.

The worst part of sewing this type of project is finding the space to accommodate the enormous volume of fabric (3.2 m x 3.4 m or 125″ x 135″ finished size) so I ended up sewing it on the dining room table and pinning and cutting on the wood floors in our bedroom. Sewing on the dining room table and that I can see the awning from my kitchen window is my reason for using this post in Celia’s In My Kitchen series.

PinningAwning

I had to fold the fabric in half because that’s all the room I had!

It didn’t take me long to make the awning but I had to wait 3 days to install it because it was raining and hailing (in April)! The installation went smoothly but you really do need two people to help feed the ends into the hardware. JT was great and we got it working in less than an hour! Now we wait for summer. Hopefully!

Awning3

This is the view from my kitchen window. I guess I could have opened the window and removed the screen for the pic.

Awning1

We chose a light grey fabric.

Awning2

The awning actually extends all the way to the far end of the deck but it was too windy and I didn’t want to risk issues.

A couple of weekends ago, we had amazing weather and JT and I enjoyed lunch on the patio. I had a lovely bunch of fresh kale and I wanted to try something different so I baked Kale Chips! I know it’s been done to death, but these things were actually really tasty and if you’re looking for a healthy snack, I would suggest you try and bake some of these. I used Charles’ recipe which you can find here, the only thing I did differently is that I dressed the chips in some grated parmesan and sea salt. They didn’t last long.

KaleChips3

The olive oil gives them a gorgeous sheen and helps maintain the bright green colour.

Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • 400 g Curly Kale
  • 2 tbsps Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup fine grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 93° C (200°F )(I used my convection (fan) setting).
  2. Wash kale and remove thick ribs. Cut into bite-sized pieces keeping in mind that they will shrink to about half their raw size.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over kale and toss to coat evenly. I gave them a quick, light massage.
  4. Spread on a cookie sheet so they are on one layer and not over lapping. Bake for 15-20 minutes tossing occasionally until crisp. Sprinkle cheese over hot kale and toss to coat.
  5. Serve immediately.
KaleChips2

They were crispy and very tasty.

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PotatoChips_3280

A crispy unfried chip

Did I just hear you loudly gasp an incredulous “WHAT?” Yes indeed dear reader, that post title is correct and the unthinkable has happened: potato chips (or crisps, depending on which side of the pond you reside) that are not deep fried. And they are delicious!

I first saw vegetable chips on my friend Kelly’s blog over at Inspired Edibles, she’s a Dietician who posts incredible and tasty recipes. Kelly’s chips were gorgeous but sadly mine did not work out, perhaps they were just too thick and they shrunk so much I hardly had a chip left, so we didn’t pursue them. And then almost rubbing salt in the wound, Charles over at Five Euro Foods made a wonderful batch here. I thought all had been lost but recently I was at  a Winners (TJ-Max for our American brothers and sisters) and spotted this cool gizmo for less than $10, so I got it thinking it would make great chips…

The first batch turned out OK but the chips stuck together (couldn’t be helped because of the size of the device); then it got a bit worse which only made it a challenge to figure out how I could get perfectly unfried chips just like the photos on the package. And after about an hour of experimentation it got a lot worse: my microwave shut down…for good. Yup, I killed it! In all fairness it was older than most of my lovely readers so it owed me nothing, but my $6.99 potato chip maker now ended up costing a whopping $145! Don’t you hate it when that happens? Lesson learned. Or maybe not.

Fast forward a week later we purchased our third microwave of our lives and I’m back at it making chips to take to the cottage (no mw up there). This time I let the microwave sit between ‘bakings’ to cool down. The result? Perfectly unfried potato chips.

Note about the Joie Healthy-Microwave Potato Chip Cooker: I purchased this product after reading a few reviews I instantly googled on my iPhone. Even though it was only $6.99 I hate throwing money away and the google reviews were not bad, in fact they were more good than bad so I decided to purchase it. I should have realized that I was simply trying to justify the purchase and we all know that you can literally justify any purchase you want to make (logical or not) and so my new found wisdom I must tell you it’s just not worth it!

Here is my complete review: It comes in 4 pieces, a bowl, a mandolin top, a hand protector and a cooking rack; it’s plastic but reasonably well made. You remove the cooking rack and replace the mandolin top to make the cutter. The mandolin does cut thinner slices than my regular mandolin (you really need less than 0.5 mm or 1/16″ thick) but there is a design flaw in that the blade is too close to the edge and the slices end up cramming at one end (solution: open and remove potato slices frequently). All in all you really don’t need this gizmo, just a super thin slicer and some paper towel!

PotatoChips_3282

Deliciously thin and crispy. They even look like they’ve been deep fried. But they haven’t!

 

Unfried Potato Chips (Crisps)

5-6 people, allowing about  1/2 potato per serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 good size white or red skin potatoes (large diameter)
  • 3 tbsp sea salt (more if you prefer a saltier chip)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (to prevent oxidation)
  • 2-3 L very cold water for soaking

Directions:

  1. Wash potatoes skins well. 
  2. Dissolve the sea salt in very cold water (I used an immersion blender to help dissolve the salt in 1 cup of hot water). Pour into a large bowl of very cold water, add lemon juice and stir.
  3. Working on 1 potato at a time, cut 1 potato in half diagonally; using a wafer thin mandolin slicer, slice from the cut end of each potato tossing the cut slices into the cold salt water bath and allow to sit for 2-4 minutes.
  4. Remove slices from water and lay in one in a single layer on a clean linen cloth (allow to sit for 15 minutes if you have time).
  5. You may spray with some good quality EVOO or leave them plain like I did. 
  6. Lay two layers of clean, unprinted paper towel in the microwave and layer potato slices on the paper towel so they do not touch each other. Microwave on 100% for 2 minutes or until some get a bit of colour. Open the microwave door and allow the hot humid air at escape for 1-2 minutes (and the machine to cool down). Then cook for an additional minute on high, watching carefully as they burn quite easily. I found the slices I placed in the centre of the turntable cooked faster than the outside slices so I moved my larger slices into the centre. The slices will continue to cook a little after you remove them so don’t worry if they are a wee bit wobbly, but they shouldn’t be overly wobbly.
  7. Remove from paper towel and cool completely before putting into an air-tight container. Repeat slicing, soaking, drying and cooking until all slices are used up.
  8. When totally cool, store chips in a air tight container.
  9. Serve with your favourite home made dip.
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Chip tower

 

 

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Chip tower down. Mayday. Mayday.

 

Notes:

  • We bought the Panasonic NNST652W Mid-Size Inverter® Microwave Oven from Walmart for $119 (white because it sits in a cupboard so I didn’t care if it was stainless ($179)).
  • Microwave ovens cook food by exciting water and sugar molecules within the food with high frequency electromagnetic waves. The only power setting on a microwave is high, therefore to achieve lower settings the microwave pulses these waves intermittently. That’s why the power setting is described as a percentage and not a temperature; 50% means it’s pulsing 50% of the full pulse rate! An Inverter Modulates the power so it delivers a steady stream of power at the percentage required, thereby being able to cook food more evenly. If you want to read a good article on our microwave, click here

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Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! And anyone else who happens to celebrate Thanksgiving now. Hope you enjoyed an overload of turkey, stuffing and pies! And then there’s Black Friday, which for some reason Canadian retailers have jumped on and are promoting the heck out of it! Get out there and get some GREAT DEALS, but not before you leave me some of your lovely words.
Honestly, I don’t eat sweets. I just like to bake ’em! And fortunately, JT started a new job (and career) in June and his office are the perfect guiney pigs recipients of my baking! I wanted to bake another batch of the molasses spice cookies, but JT put in a request for something chocolate. OK, I can live with that. The cookies lasted less than one hour and JT only had two. He came home with a request for the next bake: macarons! Can you believe it?

A very tasty treat, if I do say so myself

The recipe is an adaptation from the wonderful Chocolate Crinkle Kisses I make every year at Christmas, but since it’s not Christmas yet (unbenounced to many department stores who are playing Christmas music incessantly) I altered the recipe to be a Chocolate Espresso flavour and I omitted the Candy Cane Kisses!

These cookies have a strong coffee and chocolate flavour and it’s texture is a little browny like.

An explosion of chocolate and espresso in every bite

Chocolate Espresso Crinkle Cookies

Makes about 30-36 cookies

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup espresso powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Sift icing sugar into a small bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the melted butter with the cocoa powder, espresso powder and sugar.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and vanilla Into the chocolate mixture.
  4. Slowly mix in all the dry ingredients until combined. Stir in the chocolate Chips.
  5. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll dough into a small ball about the size of a walnut; roll balls in the icing sugar and press flat with the palm of your hand.
  7. Place on parchment covered baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between the cookies. Bake 8-10 minutes.
  8. Let the cookies cool on the sheet; transfer to racks to cool completely before storing.

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