Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pommes Frites's all about the sauce

Pommes frites are just french fries – but since I don’t make them like traditional french fries I like to differentiate them so I can keep the recipes separate. Not only that but by using the term pommes frites I tend to think of them in a slightly better frame of mind, foodie wise, than french fries (which seem so McDonald’s like to me).  Don't get me wrong I'm a big fan of McDonald fries.

This is a twist on a very classic worldwide pairing – mayo (or even mayo and ketchup mixed together) with fries is VERY traditional, its not overly common here in the USA however. So try it next time if you haven’t yet. .
In parts of Utah, Nevada and the Northwest USA there is a popular sauce usually called fry sauce'

Fry Sauce Ingredients

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ketchup
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
salt & pepper to taste

Mix ingredients till well blended.

Instead of cayenne pepper I have used a product I found when driving thru Oklahoma awhile back  called Slap ya Mama.  Nicely spiced, white pepper blend which is marked as a Cajun seasoning.  It is made by Walker & Sons from Ville Platte, Lousiana.

I also have used less ketchup and added a good BBQ sauce.

Now to the pommes frites

I try to always use russet potatoes as they produce the best fried fry. Anything else doesn’t get as crispy or dehydrates leaving only a shell behind. The only exception would be sweet potatoes, which make fantastic fries in my opinion.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Peel potatoes and cut lengthwise into quarter-inch thick slices. Cut again into 1/4-inch thick fries. Place the potatoes into a bowl with cold water; this will help keep the fries crisp. Just before cooking, drain water and place on paper towel, pat dry.
Put the potatoes in a bowl; add canola oil, 1 tablespoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Toss well and lay out in 1 layer on nonstick baking sheet. Bake until light brown. Cook for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, turning frequently until golden brown.

Remove from oven, allow to cool for 1 or 2 minutes and serve with some of that sauce you made while cooking your poomes frites.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Steam driven cookies

There is a subset to the science fiction genre called Steampunk and the Underground Art Show chose it as their theme this year. Basically this fantasy sub-culture is what technology produced without electricity in the Victorian-era using steam driven engines would look like. Think Wild Wild West and you've pretty much got it or Willy Wonka, or the recent Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey, Jr.

Gear driven machines are at the heart of it all so my submission for the dessert table is all decked out appropriately. This post is more of a product review than anything else because these are just plain, rollout and iced sugar cookies. I knew what I wanted to do and talked to PBE's resident chef Teri, she had the solution, Wilton's Color Mist, a spray on editable color. I made my own stencils out of heavy cardstock and iced the cookies with royal icing to give a smooth base. Then laying the stencil over the cookie and gently spraying gave me the look I was going for. I played with different layers of color. Of course you can use this spray on any dessert and a quick spray would dress up plain white cake or cupcakes.

Things to know:
  • Practice spraying first on something you can wash off
  • Give yourself lots of space because there will be overspray
  • Shake often, really shake a lot
  • Spray in a sweeping motion so as not to "puddle" the color
  • Let dry at least an hour before stacking or adding another color
I do like this product and for about $4 a can it wasn't too pricey.
And, if you lived in the Victorian-era and played guitar, this might be what an electric one looked like. Google for more creative examples of this fantasy world "Steampunk".