Tag Archives: potatoes

Best Potatoes for Oven Fries

oven friesThe other day while I was at IGA I came across something I had never seen before:  yellow-fleshed, red-skinned potatoes.  The brand name is Pisonneault, and they are grown here in Quebec- in Saint-Michel to be exact.  Though sadly not organic, the potatoes are very local, and are produced by a family farm.  Additionally, they make excellent oven fries!  I have never had such delicious, crispy oven fries.

Just follow these simple steps in order to make your own batch:Pinsonneault Potatoes

1) Procure your potatoes: remember, not all potatoes are created equally, and some varieties will make better oven fries than others due to starch content, etc.


2) Wascutting friesh potatoes, remove any eyes, then cut them up. I rarely peel my potatoes unless I’m making mashed potatoes or somesuch; there are a lot of nutrients in the skin, not to mention a lot of flavour. It’s also less work!

 

3) Soak your fries in water: Even if you only do it during the time it takes your oven to preheat, don’t skip thissoaking the fries step.  It will help make them extra crispy.  You can even leave them soaking in the fridge overnight, so that they’re ready to go the next day!

4) Preheat oven to 425 F, and season your fries.  You want a fairly hot oven for oven fries.  Once your oven is heating, it’s time to strain the fries, removing as much water as possible.  You can even dry them off with a towel, if you like.  I like to season them right on the baking sheet, but you can use a bowl if you want to be all proper.  You’re going to need oil, enough to coat all your fries well- I always use olive oil.  And you’re going to need salt.  You can also add pepper, paprika, smoked paprika, curry, oregano, cayenne- whatever spices you like.  Toss your fries to make sure the spices are evenly dispersed.

Seasoning the oven fries5)  If your fries are not already on a baking sheet, put them on one.  However, make sure that your baking sheet is large enough to ensure the fries are not crowded.  If you don’t have a large enough baking sheet, use two…or three.  This is important if you want crispy fries.

6)  Once your oven is hot enough, it’s time to get that (or those) baking sheet(s) in there.  About every 6 minutes or so, use a spatula to move the fries around so that the same side is not always facing the baking sheet.  After about twenty minutes, they should be done.

7) Enjoy!

Emson Smoker

emson smokerSo, my boyfriend and I were at Walmart today (not the most sustainable store, I know, but sometimes you have to pick your battles), and we came across the Emson Smoker/pressure cooker on sale for $70. I’m not exactly sure why it was so cheap, since even on Amazon.com the list price is $179.99. Based on the the cheap price, and the pretty positive reviews, we decided that it would be a good buy. Anyway, Emson bills this as ‘the only combination pressure cooker and indoor smoker’. What’s really cool about this device is that you can both hot and cold smoke with it, and it can be used indoors. Whilst hot smoking, food will cook more quickly, due to the combination of hot smoking and pressure cooking. You can also use this device as a regular pressure cooker. Another feature that’s pretty cool is the option to program the smoker to first cold smoke, then hot smoke, automatically.

For my first experiment with this machine, I decided to do smoked baked potatoes (one of the recipes provided in the Emson smoker instruction and recipe booklet). All I had to do was put some wood chips in the little wood chip container (I decided on apple chips), put 1/2 a cup of water in the bottom of the cook pot, scrub the organic PEI yellow-fleshed potatoes that I had decided to use, place them on the racks provided, put the lid on the smoker, and place the weighted knob on the pressure cooking valve to seal it. I programmed the machine to hot smoke for one hour, as per the recipe.

The smoke smell, though detectable, was mild, kind of like shisha smoke, and did not set off the smoke alarm. However, according to some of the reviews that I have read (again, on amazon.com), the cold smoke setting releases more smoke into the surrounding area than does the hot smoke setting (I suppose because during hot smoking, you are pressure cooking, whilst during cold smoking, you are not). I plan to try cold smoking with the smoker soon, perhaps with eggs.

Potatoes in the smokerSmoked potatoes

The potatoes were perfectly cooked, and had a nicely smoked taste, almost like potatoes cooked on the BBQ (at least, that’s how my boyfriend put it). I used the minimum number of wood chips recommended in the recipe, so as not to overpower them with smoke flavour the first time around. Obviously, the amount of wood can be adjusted for more or less smokiness. I’m sure the the potatoes will be delicious with some salt, pepper, and sour cream!

smoked potatoSo far, I’m quite satisfied with this purchase and am excited to try smoking cheese, tofu, tomatoes…the possibilities are endless. My boyfriend has a littlechef smoker, but it cannot be used inside, and stays at his house, because there is more outside space at his place. This little Emson Smoker provides a lot more flexibility and possibility for experimentation.  I look forward to said experiments!

Till next time,

Sarah