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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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I thought I would begin this post with a little spring. I know I’ve been complaining a lot about the weather. A lot. So, in light that this past weekend we finally got some spring-like temperatures and it seemed that everything just burst into bloom, I wanted to share my joy. Yes, spring has sprung in Toronto (about damn time). Here are a few lovely blooms from my morning 8 km or almost 5 mile power walk through High Park.

This is our little Japanese Cherry Tree.

This is our little Japanese Cherry Tree.

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These are Japanese Cherry Blossoms in High Park.

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There are several places that these beautiful trees are planted so each one has a slightly different time-table depending on how much sun and if they are in the valley like these, they aren’t quite in full bloom yet.

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The Forsythia bloomed at the same time as every thing else.

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The Saucer Magnolia, almost there.

Karma. It gets you every time. Case in point: last week I assisted on a national brand motion shoot (video for commercial), two action packed days of sorting through frozen product looking for the ‘perfect’ specimens and then deep frying said specimens. Yes, indeed my friends, deep frying! Now those of you who’ve followed Kitchen Inspirations over 7+ years know that I am not a fan of deep fried foods (yes, I know, it’s blasphemous) so deep frying two days straight was an experience, to say the least. And yes, I did smell like Eau de Frire!

This little recipe can be deep fried but it needn’t be, pan frying does the trick too. I made these for a special celebration coming up this weekend, my father in law turns 90! We’ll be springing him from the long term care facility to bring him to our house to party on. We’ll be breaking out the good china to celebrate! Happy Birthday Dad!

MiniRostiPotatoes_2632

A crisp potato ‘cracker’ with crême fraiche and smoked salmon with a little dill and chives.

Mini Rösti Appetizers

Makes about 60 x 3 cm (~1.25 inch) diametre rounds

Ingredients:

  • 600-800 g (1.3-1.8 lb) Yukon Gold Potatoes (actually, you can use any potato you would use as mashed potatoes)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Peel and chop potatoes in half (you want a chunk large enough to grate without grating your knuckles).
  2. Put the potatoes into a pot with cold water and salt (this step was prevalent in many recipes, something to do with cooking evenly) and bring to a boil. Keep on the boil until there is still some resistance when you poke the pieces with a fork or cake tester — you definitely DO NOT want to cook them 100%.
  3. Remove potatoes from the pot and allow to cool completely.
  4. On a large grater, grate the potatoes entirely. Using a 3 cm (~1.25 inch) cookie cutter, sprayed with non-stick cooking oil, press a good tablespoon of grated potato into it and compress slightly. Lift cookie cutter off and repeat until all the potato is used up. Heat a large cast iron skillet with a few tablespoons of oil (err on more than less). Add the little rounds of potatoes and cook until they are crispy and golden on each side. Drain on paper towel, cool and then freeze on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, pack them into a zip lock bag. Use as required.
  5. To reheat: pre heat the oven to 300F and bake frozen potato rounds until warmed through, about 12 minutes.
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Using a smallish ice cream scoop, I was able to keep each one about the same size.

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Yes indeed, that is a honey wand that was repurposed as a plunger to flatten each disk out.

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They made quite a few!

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They’ll crisp up again when you reheat them.

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Just a bite-sized nibble.

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Way back in December we had our good friends Lee and Stefan for dinner. JT and I decided to make Barb’s Salmon that’s like Candy (with a few minor alterations, will blog soon about it) with Swiss Rösti potatoes, German Red Cabbage Slaw (coming soon) and John’s Yogurt Dill Sauce. It was a huge success and the best part is that these potatoes may be made in advance and reheated. The Swiss usually have this for breakfast, and I know I’m breaking all the rules by serving it for dinner…so arrest me (did you say you had hand-cuffs ;-)?)

These famous potatoes can be purchased ready-made that you just slip them into the frying pan and reheat, but I wanted to make them from scratch; how hard could that be? I searched and search the web and came across several variations on the preparation of this classic side dish, and after much deliberation I chose my method. Some of the recipes par-boiled the potatoes and some did not; I chose to par-boil to cut down the finishing time (plus I had read that not par-boiling makes the interior of the rösti a little starchy tasting).

Swiss Röstli Potatoes

Crispy yet soft on the inside

Crispy yet soft on the inside

Serves 4-6 (depending on how hungry you are)

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 Medium Sized Yukon Gold Potatoes (actually, you can use any potato you would use as mashed potatoes)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Peel and chop potatoes in half (you want a chunk large enough to grate without grating your knuckles).
  2. Put the potatoes into a pot with cold water and salt (this step was prevalent in many recipes, something to do with cooking evenly) with salt and bring to a boil. Keep on the boil until there is still some resistance when you poke the pieces with a fork or cake tester — you definitely DO NOT want to cook them 100%.
  3. Remove from the pot and allow to cool completely.
  4. On a large grater, grate the potatoes entirely.
  5. Heat a large cast iron skillet with a few tablespoons of oil (err on more than less). Add the potatoes so that they evenly fill the pan, and lightly compress. Cook until it is crispy on one side.
  6. If preparing ahead, allow to cool and set aside now.
  7. To reheat: Flip. If you are brave, use this method, if you’re like me, then two dinner plates will do the trick very nicely. Cook the underside of the Rösti until crispy and the potatoes have heated all the way through.
  8. Serve by cutting into wedges. I served this dish in the cast iron pan I cooked it in because I wanted it to maintain the heat on the table.
  9. Service with Yogurt Dill Sauce.

We had barely enough leftovers for breakfast the following day — that’s how good they were. In fact, this is a meal I will make again; it’s rustic yet has a certain sophistication with all the flavours going on.

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While in Barcelona, Spain we enjoyed many tapas that we’d never tried before and one particular tapa was the Potato Omelet. Now you know that I am not a huge potato eater, but for some reason I really wanted to try it. The starch in the potato makes for a very dense and slightly chewy omelet, which was usually served as a small cube, sometime with bread but most often not.

The potato omelet is the cube centre back.
We enjoyed this plate while dining along side of the Mediterranean Sea!

Now that we’re home, I’ve experimented with other ‘fillings’ for this simple treat and yesterday I think I hit the jackpot. I made this little hors d’œuvres with a shallot, finely diced chorizo and a sliced mushroom. What made it hit the jackpot for me was the texture and because I wasn’t using a potato in this version, I needed to add something to help thicken the egg. I remembered Sissi’s recipe for a Korean Pancake (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and she added corn starch to the egg batter to firm it up. So that’s exactly what I did. Thanks Sissi. It made eight 2.5cm squares (1″) that were tasty and incredibly easy to make. You can even make it in advance and reheat.

A lovely dense texture and a little spice from the Chorizo

Chorizo, Shallot and Mushroom Omelet Tapa

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole egg and 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 mushroom, sliced about 2mm thick
  • 30 g finely diced chorizo (I didn’t add extra salt as I find Chorizo salty enough)
  • 20 g finely chopped shallot

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Beat the egg and white together, add the corn starch and beat until all the lumps have disolved.
  3. Generously grease a small loaf pan 7cm x 13cm (2.75″ x 5″) or 200 mL (3/4 cup size).
  4. Add the chorizo, shallots and mushrooms and make sure they are distributed evenly in the pan. Pour the egg batter over it and tap a few times so that it reaches under and over all the inclusions. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until egg is entirely set. You may serve immediately or cool completely and reheat this mixture prior to serving.

And definitely don’t let my ingredient mix stop you from trying something you have on hand…for example, ham and gruyère cheese!

Ham, Gruyère cheese and a little Dijon

The possibilities are definitely endless. I do hope you enjoy this snack.

The potato and bacon omelet took a nose dive out the pan. It must have been possessed! And NO, for all the guys, the three second rule did NOT apply.

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Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad
(today would have been their 52nd anniversary)

We don’t often buy potatoes; it’s not because I don’t like them, I do, but they are carbs and I would prefer to eat other vegetables with less carbs and a lower glycemic index. But I bought two medium sized potatoes two weeks ago and only used one for a recipe. I had that potato sitting on my counter for another week before I figured out what to do with it.

I also had a 1/2 celeriac (celery root) in the vegetable crisper just waiting to get brown and tossed so I decided to take my celeriac cauliflower “mash” and change it up a bit with the potato. Since I didn’t have a head of cauliflower either I just made Celeriac Potato Mash. Now I love roasting vegetables because it really brings out the sweetness, so I simply roasted the celeriac (and a few cloves of garlic), boiled the potatoes and presto; what a “mash” this turned out to be! LOVE it!

Celeriac has fewer calories and carbohydrates than a potato as well, it is lower on the glycemic index than a potato so keeping the celeriac ratio higher than the potato was the right decision for me. The potato adds creaminess that you expect from mashed potatoes. This is a bit more labourious than normal mashed potatoes, but I promise you it is worth it. I hope you enjoy it. To see a whole mess of mashed potatoes head on over to Greg’s blog, he has gone all out with this savoury dish.

The star of this photo is the mash, not the pork. The pork is a Primadonna!

Celeriac and Potato “Mash”

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium celeriac, peeled and diced
  • 4 medium cloves of garlic, peeled to the outer skin
  • 2-4 tbsp EVOO
  • salt to taste
  • chicken stock or milk or cream, depending on how healthy you wish to make it.

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 400° F. Spread the celeriac evenly on the pan and very lightly coat with olive oil and salt.
  2. Put garlic cloves into a small ramekin and add about a finger’s depth of EVOO and salt.
  3. Bake the celeriac and garlic until both are fork tender. About 30-40 minutes into the roasting, add about 1/2 cup of water to the celeriac roasting pan and give the celeriac a good stir. When the water evaporates, they should be fork tender (if not, then add another 1/2 cup of water and repeat until fork tender)
  4. While the celeriac is baking, in a large stock pot add enough water to cover the potatoes entirely, salt generously. Cook until they are fork tender.
  5. Drain potatoes and allow to sit for a minute so that all of the water evaporates. Either rice with a potato ricer or mash gently with a fork (you don’t want to develop the starches so for heavens sake, don’t blend this with an immersion blender). Don’t add any liquid as the celeriac mash will be a touch wetter than necessary and we’ll need the potato on the dryer side. Set aside
  6. When the celeriac is fork tender, remove from the pan into the immersion blender container, squeeze out the roasted garlic, pour in the oil from roasting the garlic and blend. Blend until it is smooth, smooth, smooth, adding chicken stock, milk or cream to achieve a mashed potato consistency. Celeriac doesn’t have the same level of starch as the potato so this is the only way you will get it smooth. Push through a fine sieve and fold the mashed potatoes into the mix. Keep warm over a bain marie. Serve with the most amazing Fig Stuffed Pork Tenderloin ever (link won’t be active until Nov 21).

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Happy Independence day! We’ve just returned from our weekend with Paul and T, or I should rather say, we’ve survived another weekend with Paul and T! Great company with lots of eating and drinking and some exciting activities (tubing, believe it or not)! We thoroughly enjoyed cooking at the Lake House and I’ll recreate a few of our recipes in the coming weeks.
But for now, we’re back to reality. Now that patio season is in full swing, and the cocktails are flowing, we need a good repertoire of hors d’œuvres to serve whilst sipping our poisons. I was scrounging around the freezer and found these mini potato latkes I made a couple of months ago and thought, hmmm, what would go well with that? I was over at Norma’s wonderful blog and of course, she posted recipes from the Locust Grove’s Sunset Sensations…and there it was. It hit me like a stone (I always get it wrong!). Smoked Salmon Mousse. Thank you Norma for the inspiration. Although the recipe provided by Chef Ed of Lola’s Cafe and Crave Restaurant was a bit rich for my taste, I adapted it slightly lighter and I wanted to use up some ingredients hanging around my refrigerator this week. It’s so easy, you could do it with both hands tied behind your back…oh, my, my. 😉

Two for me and one for you!

Mini Potato Latkes and Smoked Salmon Mousse

For the mini latkes, please see Martha Stewarts recipe here (I make mine small, about 5cm in diametre and freeze them after I cook them)

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 30 g smoked salmon
  • 1/4 cup softened goats cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp cream or milk
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill
  • 1 tsp fresh chives, minced
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Add all of the ingredients except the chives to a small food processor. Processes until smooth.
  2. Heat latkes until crispy. Spoon about a tsp onto each latke and garnish with chives.

I always make an extra, just in case

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