Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fresh Shoestring Potatoes and Another Confession

It's not what you think, but here it goes. Despite my strict ground rules for this past weekend's hot dog social (that all toppings aside from ketchup & mustard be lovingly homemade) ...early Saturday morning I found myself blankly staring into the freezer chest at my local grocery store. I was scanning for an acceptable, thinly-sliced french fry I could pass off as my own. ...As my own? I mean what was I thinking, did I really believe they wouldn't notice? The dishonesty gnawing away at my conscience, was only usurped by the panic and desperation I felt, having so much left to do. Our guests arriving at noon...I was in search of divine intervention!

As I stood there (frozen as the fries I coveted), fellow shoppers maneuvered their way around my cart. Like Bubba in Forrest Gump, I began reading aloud, "steak fries, wedge fries, waffle fries, curly fries, sweet fries, spicy fries, tater tots ..." I watched grocery dwellers come and go, grabbing various bags of fried potatoes. I don't know if it was the woman's cart bursting at the seams with sodium rich, children's frozen entrees... or the young, fit, girl donning sweatband, merely using the aisle as a pass through to get to her organic milk...but I snapped out of my trance and hot-footed it over to produce. There amongst a sea of fresh greens, reds and yellows, stood a huge display of beautiful, earthy, Idaho potatoes (seemingly awaiting my arrival). As I placed the spuds in my reusable bag, all seemed right with the world!

I've had a few days now to think about my actions. I'm not saying I'm too good for frozen fries (noted on this blog I love these) but it was the consideration and contemplation of lying to family and friends, that leads me to this post. On one end, I was the hostess Nazi, "only homemade toppings will do, oh and put some love into it would you....?" and on the other end, I was the hostess cheater, "they'll never, ever know!" It made me realize, the passion I have for the kitchen, eating, entertaining and "the party" sometimes compels me to do crazy things. My behavior becomes erratic (like mowing down the guy at Whole Foods or hiding avocado from my unsuspecting family) and I turn into a person I'm not even sure I like.

So, all I can say is I'm working on it...or at best trying to define, "it." In the meantime, I'll continue cooking, testing recipes, entertaining, planning parties and writing this blog - because it's what I love to do. Putting pen to paper (or keys to screen) is leading to some startling self-revelation. These words may just be the first step (in a process of many) that is "understanding my condition." And perhaps...just maybe... there are people out there reading, who think all of this sounds way.... WAY too familiar.

*signifies only do this step if time allows

Scrub potato clean - don't peel

Cut in half lengthwise

Cut your halves in 1/2 lengthwise

Take your 4 pieces and cut those all in half perpendicularly

Cut lengthwise into tiny strips (you'll have thin rectangular like potato strips)

Take a few of those strips and stack them on top of each other and cut into strips again lengthwise

Or someone buy me a nice mandolin because I desperately want one!

*Place a clean kitchen towel on counter and cover it with two paper towels

*Place potato strips on paper towel

*Cover with two more paper towels and another kitchen towel

*Weigh down with heavy pot for an hours to get potato strips as dry as
possible before frying

Heat a few inches oil in pan to 360 degrees.

Fry in batches until crispy and golden brown (about 3 minutes).

Carefully remove from oil with slotted or mesh frying spoon and place on
brown paper bag or paper towels to dry.

Sprinkle with kosher or sea salt while hot and serve.


Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Its so nice to see that I'm not the only food/hostess Nazi that almost caves when the pressure gets to me!!! BTDT w/ the frozen fries (or cake, or pie or whatever!) but GOOD FOR YOU for sticking to your guns in the end & making these awesome fries!! They look really good - and I can bet that someone would have noticed the Ore Ida ones as not being yours :)

PS if you find the mandolin fairy send her to me, too, please :)

Unknown said...

Thanks Andrea, makes me feel better! And if I find that fairy, you're next on my list!!!!!

Gabrielle said...

I have pondered my inner food Nazi a lot this morning. I now understand my entertaining motives when I insist that at "Nobody bring anything!" I am not, as I would like to believe, an altruistic host but rather a no-nonsense gym teacher in stilettos. For example, I threw a party last winter (names shall be withheld to protect the innocent)and my friends INSISTED on helping me. When a crock pot of frozen meatballs mixed with tomato sauce and grape jelly were heaved through my door (by my tiny, muscular friend who runs 10 miles a day and sustains herself on crackers and raw veggies), a wave of inner hysteria rushed my system. Could I hide them in a corner behind a plant? Could I throw some shredded lemon grass in them to go with my (albeit subtle) Thai theme? Could I simply place them on my crowded counter and claim later that "Oh no! I forgot about the meatballs!"

But when I saw the eagerness of my little buff friend plugging the crock pot (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LET ME AT LEAST PUT THEM IN A NICE CHAFING DISH!!!) into an outlet over my kitchen table, I took a deep breath and walked away. I decided that the kitchen table would be "her" domain. And I let every guest know it. "Oh, thank you for coming! When you have a chance to eat, the main dinner is in the dining room and LAURIE'S MEATBALLS are on the kitchen table."

After three or four (let's be honest) five glasses of wine I finally worked up the nerve to try on of my friend's processed balls of flavor. And guess what? They were terrible. Which is why i still always insist, "Just bring yourselves!" whenever I throw a party.

Unknown said...

I knew there were more of you out there! I think I smell a "Guest Blogger" here......! Let's talk!