Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Foto: French Fries

Part of the discharge instructions when Marin left the hospital was for us to focus on feeding her foods that were high in carbs and fats, and low in protein, in order to try and reduce the diarrhea (at least until she kicked the virus that was causing it).  Kelli and I both immediately thought of french fries (which Marin loves anyway...).

While the preferred potato for making french fries is the Russet, we used Yukon gold potatoes, which is what we had on hand (they're a great, versatile, all-around tater).  I used the largest of three julienne blades on a mandolin to slice the potatoes into perfectly uniform fries (a mandolin also makes for quick work of the job of slicing potatoes).

The pre-fried fries were about halfway in thickness between a McDonald's french fry and a steak fry.  For me, they might be the perfect size...the ratio of starchy interior to fried exterior is ideal.  But a french fry of this size also presents a challenge - how to fry it in such a way that the interior cooks through but the outside doesn't burn or overcook.

In our cookbook (page 106), we describe a method of partially frying the potatoes, and then finishing them off by baking in the oven (a technique I learned from my mom).  You also have two other options: 1) double fry the potatoes, or 2) blanch the potatoes first by pre-cooking them for about 5 minutes in a pot of boiling water (which is what we did this time).  If blanching the potatoes, make sure you pat them dry well with a clean kitchen towel before frying.  Wet potatoes are dangerous with oil whose temperature is hovering around 375 degrees.  Remember: oil and water don't mix, and you risk either splattering hot oil, or flash steaming the water, both of which would make for a very bad day.  Take the extra minute and dry the potatoes off.

A sprinkle of kosher salt finished off the fries, and we were ready to eat.  I don't know exactly what it is, but homemade french fries always taste different than fries I have anywhere else.  I feel like you can taste their natural, made-fresh goodness.  So this summer, when you're busy grilling some hamburgers one weekend, why not pair those burgers with a side of fries?

- Pete

6 comments:

Marilyn said...

I want to know about that bun!!!!! Is it in your cookbook?

So glad Marin's doing better.

celiacman said...

The fries look great but tell me about that hamburger bun. Did you make that or buy it? I'm kind of getting tired of the "protein burger" and could really go for a nice bun.

Cheers!

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Beautiful fries, Pete! They have to be one of my favorite treats. I make some ultimate fries that I bake in the oven, but have not made them in a while due to the heat we're having. I like your comment on the perfect size ... indeed, I'm always looking for the potatoes that have the perfect ratio of inside to outside. ;-)

Hope Marin is feeling better and better! That's a tough road to go down. Our son was hospitalized twice when he was one for a week each time. The first time was a Rotavirus with dehydration. (We later found out that Rotaviruses are linked to celiac.) The second time was another virus/type illness that brought on a febrile seizure and deyhdration. Each time he was in the hospital 5 days, hooked up to an IV, and in a metal crib that looked like a prison cell. He was even there on his first birthday. It's definitely an experience a parent doesn't forget. I'm sending all healing hugs your way!

Shirley

carolsed said...

I want to know about the hamburger bun, too! I have been wondering if I could make rolls using your sandwhich bread. Can't quite picture how to do it, though.

The fries sound yummy, can't wait to try them.

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peterbronski said...

Hi Everyone... Thanks for the well wishes for Marin! So appreciated.

CeliacMan, I know what you mean about getting tired of the protein burger. At some point, you just start to crave a bun.

Shirley, sorry to hear you also went through a hospitalized little one! The hospital had one of those metal cribs that looks like a prison cell. Fortunately, the room also had a twin bed with bedrails, so Marin could stay there with either Kelli or I with her, which I think made her more comfortable. They initially suspected rotavirus, but the stool samples came back negative. Her blood work did point strongly towards a viral infection, though.

The hamburger bun was the Kinnikinnick brand. (http://consumer.kinnikinnick.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/products.home/productcategoryid/3). You can buy them in the freezer section of supermarkets. We defrosted and then lightly toasted the buns. They're pretty tasty paired with a burger. (I didn't enjoy them as much with pulled pork - the BBQ sauce soaked into the bun and created a weird, "slimy," melted marshmallow kind of texture.)

Cheers, Pete