Tuesday, March 27, 2012

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American Classic: Where's the Beef?!

Good Morning to all! The sun is shining, partially blinding me on this chilly Spring day. I'll take chilly and sunny over cloudy and snowy ANYDAY. It's probably a good thing it's been on the chilly side, since the heat wave temperatures seem to melt away any motivation to do anything productive in regards to school. So I'll take it as a blessing (though I wouldn't turn down a little 70 degree, not a cloud in the sky kinda day ; ) )

Now on to the "meat" of my post, but as the title implies, there's no actual meat. Having been a vegetarian for 5 years now, I've tried most every kind of meatless burger out there. Garden. Boca, Char-grilled. Black Bean. You name it, I've tried it. Now I have settled on a favorite brand, which also happens to be the cheapest at my grocery store. They're from Meredith Farms and offer selections from Garden Vegetable, Portabella, or Char-Grilled. I most often go for the Portabella, just for personal taste. Craving french fries last night, I decided to do a spin on the American Classic of a burger and fries. If you've never baked your own french fries, I STRONGLY suggest doing so. I'm addicted. Of course nothing tops a plate of fresh-out-of-the-fryer, salty plate of fries, these actually don't fall far. They're crispy, salty, and (drumroll please!) healthy! Potatoes are in fact healthy despite the bad rep from it's deep-fried counterparts. They're full of vitamins, minerals, and since I leave the skins on a bit of fiber. They regularly take about 40 minutes to bake to their golden deliciousness, but being ravenously hungry, I par-baked mine in the microwave this time around. Being too impatient to wait any longer, I said screw it, and took them out earlier than I should have, which you may notice in the picture. Regardless, the recipe to follow will guide you to golden baked perfection. There's a lot of ingredients so pay attention. (again, it's hard to pick up sarcasm when typing.)

Oven-Baked French Fries
serves 1, but easily expanded for more

1 potato ( I used an All-Purpose, but White Potatoes work well)
1 tsp oil
seasoning (old bay, cajun, garlic powder, etc)

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. If you want the short-cut preparation, which takes about 20 minutes instead of 40, wash and poke your potato, and microwave for about 2-3 minutes depending on it's size. If you are already baking something, it's appropriate to skip that part and follow the regular prep. Next, slice your potato into wedges. I do this by chopping off all four sides so that the potato resembles a rectangle, and slicing into thin wedges, but slice how ever you want. Put wedges on a baking sheet and drizzle with the oil. Next, sprinkle with salt and any other seasonings you like. I used old bay this time around which was rather tasty. Now toss to coat, making sure every wedge has a good dose of oil and seasoning.
Cruddy Photo due to lighting and a grumbling stomach. You get the point though.

Now bake in the oven for about 8 minutes if taking the shortcut, or 15-20 for the regular prep. Remove from the oven, and give them a good stir. Rotate the baking sheet and toss them bake in for another 10-15 minutes until golden and crispy. Enjoy pipin' hot with a side of ketchup. 

Another cruddy photo. Thank you camera!
I served my fries alongside my burger topped with homemade ketchup, mustard, and romaine on some homemade wheat bread. Both recipes are soon to follow, if only I can perfect them! I hope you give these a try, since they are so simple and delicious, and a fair trade from deep frying. I may be assuming, but I think the oven is more often found in the average kitchen than a deep fryer. Unless your name's Paula Deen.

What's your favorite dipping sauce for fries?

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