Whew, this has been one crazy long weekend! When we weren’t busy seeing friends and family, running errands (including multiple visits to grocery and liquor stores), we were in the kitchen cooking. Trust me, you’ve got lots to look forward to in the coming days!
Joseph e-mailed me at work earlier last week telling me that he wanted to make some oven baked fries and a ligher, healthier aioli. I wasn’t going to argue with him. And let me tell you, he was a man obsessed. He picked up some potatoes before he picked me up at work on Friday and was ready to go home and make them right then and there as an appetizer to the pizza that we were going to make. These may be healthier fries and our homemade pizza may be healthier than a the pizza joint down the street, but I don’t know if the two of these things together is so healthy. I told Joseph he was welcome to make the fries, but I was heading to the back porch with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. And you know what? He decided to wait another day and joined me on the porch. And then another day became another day, and then another day, but today Joseph finally got to make his fries. And I have to admit, they were definitely worth obsessing over!
When we did finally get to the fries, I suggested that Joseph try the nice OXO mandoline that we got for Christmas but still hadn’t used. He sort of shrugged it off, but then came back to look at it and then decided against it once again. I told him he could go ahead and cut up all the potatoes by hand if he wanted, but what did he have against the mandoline? Turns out he just didn’t want to learn how to assemble and use it. He later admitted that the 5 minutes that it took him to figure it out was definitely worth the 10 minutes it saved not having to cut up the potatoes by hand. The mandoline is frankly nothing short of magical. It comes with a little handle thing to spear your food so you don’t have to hold it as you glide it over the razor sharp edge (I rather like having all my fingers) and just a few swipes and your potato goes from spud to beautiful pile of perfectly shaped fries! I’m just sad we’re just now using it. It was the winner in America’s Test Kitchen’s mandoline equipment test (and doesn’t cost $200 like the other one they loved), so we should have realized how easy it would be to use and enjoy.
Oven baked fries are often kind of soggy and less fun than fries from the deep frier. Joseph went to Cook’s Illustrated to find out how to make the perfect oven baked fries. (I know, here I go again. I promise, I don’t get any kickbacks from Cook’s Illustrated or America’s Test Kitchen, I’m just obsessed with them because they are right about everything). First, soaking the potatoes in hot water before cooking them removes some of the starch. Next, Cook’s Illustrated recommends letting the fries cook covered in the oven for five minutes so they can steam, and then letting them cook 20 – 35 minutes uncovered in the oven till they’re crispy and golden. Continue reading
Who doesn’t love a good sweet potato fry? I know that given the choice at a restaurant, I will never pick regular ol’ fries over sweet potatoes fries. They’re just so irresistible! They’re sweet, salty, and oh so addictive.
This recipe takes sweet potato fries to the next level. Now, I have to warn you, they are spicy. I have a relatively high tolerance for heat and these had me sweating a little bit! But sweet, salty, and spicy? These are way too good to pass up!
We may have just gotten back from our trip to Europe, but we decided it was time for another vacation (if only life could always be like this). We started our trip to Maine right after work on Thursday and worked our way up to Greenville where we were staying the night before heading to West Branch Pond early the next morning. We were eager to start the Maine experience and followed glowing Yelp reviews to Fisherman’s Catch in Wells, ME on the way up. There was a 70 minute wait, but we figured it would be worth it, in part because people people kept telling us just that as they exited the restaurant patting their bellies. A Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale with wild Maine blueberries bobbing about made the wait easy. The beer itself is tasty, but the berries, which explode with fresh blueberry sweetness and the the subtly fruity ale they’d been soaking in, were the real highlight.
The meal itself was less satisfying. So many of the Yelp reviewers raved about the fried clams and the menu alerts readers to the fact that the clams make it into the book 1001 Things to do Before You Die. Or so I thought…. I found out later that it actually said 1001 Things to do Before You Diet. I find this considerably less exciting because the first is not limited to food. Regardless, when we ordered the Captains Platter for 2, which was loaded with fried scallops, clams, shrimp, and haddock on top of french fries and hey, why not throw in some rolls because there’s not enough white/yellow food, we found that it pretty much all tasted the same. Maybe it’s because we don’t eat much fried food? I don’t know. It really all just tasted like the batter, which I would say was only so-so. But maybe it’s just Joseph and me, because everyone else just loved it. Next time I think I’ll just stick to the lobster.
I was excited to see the feature on Serious Eats on the Clover Food Lab truck over by MIT because friends had just told us last week that we needed to check it out. That was all we needed to convince us to ditch our plans to go to the gym and head on over before they closed at 7:00. It was fantastic. They gave us a “sample” of freshly made watermelon soda while we waited and believe me, a sample that’s 2/3 the regular serving certainly gets me in the mood for a good meal.
Joseph got the soy BLT and I got the chickpea fritter. The soy BLT was more about texture, while the chickpea fritter had more substance (and was very pretty to photograph). We also split the rosemary fries which were pretty awesome – the little fried rosemary leaves were tasty on their own, not to mention with the fries. And we got all that for $13. Not bad.