Thursday, May 25, 2017

French Fry Diary 735: Fries on the Grill


The last week or so down here in Florida, besides being in the middle of a drought, the weather has been spectacular.  So, we've been grilling pretty much every day.  And if know me, or if you're a regular reader of this blog, you know there's going to be French fries in the mix. 

Now the brave among you will want to do them from scratch, that's not a problem. Cut the potatoes however you want, as fancy or as simple, with or without skin to your taste. Remember, small and thin will cook quicker, and also may fall between the slots of the grill, just as thicker might not, but will take longer to cook. I would advise coating the taters with a bit of oil and/or nuke them a little beforehand as I did here. They might take a bit longer, but they'll be delicious.

Even though Ore-Ida no longer makes its Grillers which were, as the name implies, perfect for the grill, and even if you don't make them from scratch, you can still have fries on the grill.  Any frozen fries, onion rings, or any potato product can go right on the grill.  And they cook faster than scratch, because they're already partially cooked when you buy them by the magic of par-fry.

Use a grill pan or basket if you're afraid they'll fall through.  A good one can be had for just a few bucks if you don't get fancy.  I use basically just a sturdy but disposable screen I got at the local Walgreens for a dollar.  If you choose, veggie baskets can get pricey, but it all depends on your needs.  I wouldn't use aluminum foil as some folks suggest, unless you like getting burned trying to retrieve those fries once they're done.

If your grill has a temperature gauge you can stay close to the instructions on the package, but remember with the lid closed, the grill is more like a convection oven than a traditional oven.  If no gauge, just keep an eye on them, but remember, the thinner the fry, the quicker the cook.  Golden brown is always good. 

Enjoy! 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

French Fry Diary 734: Blog March – Would You Like Fries With That?


While French Fry Diary is not officially part of Blog March 2017, that doesn't mean there might not be something I can add here.  If you want to read my entry, it's right here, and you can learn about the Blog March here, and see the schedule here.

My entry talked about the differences between Trump and President Obama, and outlined reasons why I could no longer be silent about politics.  I fear for my rights and the rights of my family and friends.  What does this have to do with French fries you're asking, right?  A lot.  I think the preferred fries say a lot about a man.  This isn't a meme you see on Facebook, but just some observations I've had. 

President Obama liked Five Guys, and would treat his staff and guests quite often. Trump appears to have a liking for KFC, and also McDonald's. If I'm being honest, these facts make me want to frequent Five Guys more, and KFC and McDonald's maybe not so much.

I know we can't blame KFC or McDonald's for who buys their product, but this information definitely makes me think twice. Do I want to be seen where Trump goes? And let's take a closer look at that pic of Trump eating KFC – he's using utensils, not a crime, but definitely odd. The thing that is a crime though is the fact that there are no fries. Who goes to KFC (or sends an intern to KFC) and doesn't get those delicious potato wedges?? What kind of monster does that?

In all seriousness, this blog is a fun and silly thing, I do it because it amuses me and I love the favorite fried food, but, the actions (or inactions) of Donald Trump, our current President, and the disputed leader of the free world are very serious business. He must be watched and our freedoms safeguarded, especially our freedom of expression, be it fries or art or protest. Join the March.

If you're not an official stop on the Blog March tour, do it anyway. Speak your mind, write your heart, and get the word out. Link back to us so we can help you spread the word.

Please join and/or donate to ACLU, vote, or register to vote if you haven't already, support People for the American Way, Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, Lambda Legal, and Public Television.

Check out the next stop on the Blog March right here tomorrow, and here the next day. A full schedule can be found here. And thank you.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #269



This random tater pic comes from my bro-in-law Bruce, who took this photo of his favorite brunch made by my enabling but loving big sister Bobbie. Bruce added to me in a text, "Here are the home fries and ham brunch your sister makes. Eat your heart out!" Mmmm...

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

French Fry Diary 733: The Fries of the Camden Comic Con


Now I've talked before about how French fries and comic cons don't go together, the idea of collectible paper and grease mixing, even though they entail two things I love - comics and fries - are simply not compatible.

Now at this year's Camden Comic Con things were a bit different.  This year outside the con there was an awesome assemblage of food trucks, and it should be noted that as a podcaster at a table, it's not as easy to mix the two elements as it is for a attendee walking around with a bag full of comics.  We were free to sample the wares of the food trucks and record our reactions for both French Fry Diary and The GAR! Podcast

Outside the Convention there were three food trucks serving the needs of the event - My Four Sons, Wahlburgers, and family friends The Pop Shop in their new food truck, The Pop Shop aGoGo!, I love that name.  My co-host Ray Cornwall and I had planned ahead of time to have lunch 'on air' in a special FFD segment to try each of their fries. 

Wahlburgers was a major disappointment.  First because I was looking forward to trying their stuff, as they had already escaped me once, opening in Philadelphia a mere week after we had moved to Florida.  And now at the con, their food truck came only prepared to deliver tater tots, and not fries.  When one of the other two food truck choices has some of the best fries in the South Jersey area - Pop Fries - we skipped Wahlburgers completely, their loss. 

While I chatted comics with my friend Robert Repici, Ray went to lunch, and The Bride got my lunch from The Pop Shop aGoGo.  For herself, she got the buffalo chicken fries, and for me a burger and those great Pop Fries.  Now here's the difference between Wahlburgers and The Pop Shop - burgers weren't on the menu, but family friend Stink Fisher, who was running the truck, made me one special anyway.  That's why The Pop Shop rocks.  Thanks, Stink, you rule!

Friends Jeff Milliman and Jessy Lukens, who sat in with the recording, also happily partook from The Pop Shop aGoGo.  Ray on the other hand, got his lunch from the My Four Sons, including kimchi fries.  I did not try them.  I'm not sure if it was how they looked, whether I was already full from The Pop Shop, or if it was the conversation we'd had earlier about what the word kimchi really means - but I just wasn't brave enough. 

Looking at the My Four Sons menu however, I wish I had known about, and ordered their Tornado Potato, always wanted to try one of those.  Maybe next time, and maybe next time Wahlburgers will bring their fry game. 

For those not familiar, The GAR! Podcast is the Glenn Walker and Ray Cornwall weekly podcast where they talk unrehearsed about whatever happens to come to mind. It's an audio-zine for your mind, a nerd exploration of a nerd world, coming to you from the suburbs of New Jersey and the sunny lakes of Florida via Skype.

GAR!163: Lunch at the Camden Comic Con, the episode in question was recorded live at this year's Camden Comic Con and also features discussion with the mythical David Lisa, Janel Miller, Robert, Jeff, Jessy, The Bride, Ray, and myself talking comics, libraries, malls, and yes, the favorite fried food.

You can listen here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #267


Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fighting over fries from issue #10 of their comic book series. Don't miss the season finale of the TV series tonight on ABC, and my review later in the week at Biff Bam Pop!. You can see all my reviews of the television series right here.

Monday, May 15, 2017

French Fry Diary 732: Jerry Mother's Day Breakfast


My good friend Jerry Whitworth, who's also one of my partners on the Nerdfect Strangers podcast, yesterday for Mother's Day made his mom breakfast. Now he's contributed to French Fry Diary before, but his step-by-step making of Mother's Day breakfast yesterday via Facebook was something else.

Here's some pics, and Jerry's own words, along with great advice for Mother's Day:

"Making breakfast for mom. Hand shredded potatoes for homemade hashbrowns."


"Was just telling mom it was easier using fresh potatoes for hashbrowns than bag potatoes or reconstituted ones. I could flip the fresh hashbrowns with a spatula without breaking while the other way I need to slide it onto a plate to flip it." 

 

"Mom's watching a show where they asked what was the most important thing your mother taught you. For me, it was to always remain a kid at heart."

Thanks, Jerry, and a belated Mother's Day to everyone out there!

Friday, May 12, 2017

French Fry Diary 731: Idaho Spud


On a recent trip to Rocket Fizz, the amazing nostalgia soda and candy store, I picked up a candy bar called Idaho Spud, thinking it would make a good entry for French Fry Diary.  I got rather concerned shortly after purchasing the candy bar on the ride home.  It was squishy.  Not surprising in the hot Florida sun, but I was hesitant about opening it when I got home.

Having never heard of the Idaho Spud candy bar before, I did a little research before opening what might be a melted mess when finally revealed.  Idaho Spud has been around since 1918, one of the most successful candy bars produced by a small company, and as promised on the wrapper, "The Candy Bar That Makes Idaho Famous." 

The Idaho Spud is a coconut flavored marshmallow, covered in chocolate, then covered again with coconut flakes.  It's odd shape resembling a potato is where the name came from... but should it be squishy?  Before I tear away the wrapper, I should mention I was unable to find the meaning of the word Owyhee on the packaging other than it's a river in Idaho.

The candy was squishy, but more of a spongy to match the marshmallow center, but the chocolate and coconut flakes were definitely crumbling apart. Now I'm not much of a coconut guy, but this was all right, better than meh, but not great.  No potatoes, and not really looking like any potato I've seen, but worth trying out. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

French Fry Diary 730: Lay's Wavy Hickory BBQ Potato Chips


I've talked about Lay's Wavy Potato Chips before, and was rather impressed, and whereas I've seen chocolate, truffle, and even mango salsa versions of the Wavy chips, I have never seen my favorite flavor, BBQ, until now.

I found a bag of Lay's Wavy Hickory BBQ Potato Chips and I was pretty happy. Hickory BBQ flavor is a bit tricky, it's smoky, one would suppose from hickory wood, but mostly it has a molasses and maybe honey taste. Sounds good. Before opening the bag, I checked out the ingredients, and that was no help - "Hickory BBQ Seasoning" - just like the mystery ingredients of the Do Us A Flavor chips.

When I opened the bag the aroma was rich and sweet, I couldn't wait to dig in. Like the other Wavy Lay's, they are thick cut and excellent for dipping, especially cold stuff because of the heat of the flavor. It's a sweetness with a bit of a kick, and addictive, like all good potato chips. Thumbs up.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #266



This one comes from dear friend Robin Renee, who had these fries and broccoli rabe at Gallery Pizza in Atco, NJ. And if you're so inclined, please check out her fantastic Blog March, the schedule is here.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Monday, May 08, 2017

French Fry Diary 729: Tater Tot Grilled Cheese


So, inspired by the ThreadBanger YouTube video seen here sent to me by good friend Amy I set off to the kitchen to try this immediately. I had tater tots, I had cheese, and I had an awesome Cuisinart waffle maker, so why not?

Here's the first layer of tater tots. Rather than cooking them, I microwaved them for a couple minutes, or you could just let them thaw for a bit.


 Here's the next layer, great individual slices of Kraft American cheese, the orange stuff is always best. If this works out the first time, I'll add bacon the next time and see what happens.


And another layer of tater tots. There's a learning curve here as they are hard to stack. If the first layer of tots are hot, they will melt the cheese which will act as a glue to hold the second layer of tots together.


Mmmm… look at that awesome cheesy potatoey overflow!


I learned a few more things. Lesson one: don't overfill on the tots. Lesson two: more cheese (always a good rule no matter what). Lesson three: spray waffle maker with oil so you can remove the monstrosity easier when it's done. I used a butter knife and it was still stubborn.


The brown spots are the cheese leaking through to the bottom, so again, more cheese. It cooks up in the cooking so you need lots more. And on this first try, I definitely cooked them too long. On the plus side, you can always put more cheese on them afterward.

Thanks, Amy, you rock, and thanks to ThreadBanger who is insane but oh so cool. Incidentally, ThreadBanger was inspired by the folks at Tip Hero and their take can be found here.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #264



From friends Brian and Taryn's recent visit to Florida, this is the Full English Breakfast from Raglan Road, featuring Roasties, their crunchy and thick breakfast potatoes.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #262



From a recent Red Robin TV commercial, a bridge of fries... mmmm... fries... I wonder how they got them to stick together like that?

Friday, February 03, 2017

Happy National Tater Tots Day



I know, I missed National Tater Tots Day yesterday, but really is there ever a time not for tater tots?  Everyday is tater tots day...


Monday, January 30, 2017

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #260



Today's image is another place I miss from South Jersey. My big sister sent me this pic of her lunch at Donkey's, home of the best and most unique cheesesteaks in the area, as well as some darn good chicken tenders and fries too.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Random Tater Pic of the Day #259



Not really a tater pic, but within the realm.  This is a cheesesteak and onion rings from Pat's Select, the former being one of the things I miss most about South Jersey, besides friends and family.  Mmmm... cheesesteak...

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

French Fry Diary 728: Bojangles


On the way down to Florida, driving our cars down with friends David and Johnny, The Bride and I stopped at Bojangles. We made the trek on the day a hurricane was coming up the coast toward us, but scheduling being what it was, it was unavoidable.

We made North Carolina by lunchtime and we were starving and needing a potty break. At the time, North Carolina was making headlines for their insane bathroom laws. We had no choice but to stop there, we did not want to - get your head out of your ass, North Carolina. Nevertheless we ended up at Bojangles, a place neither native to New Jersey or Florida.

I stayed in the car with Snowy the cat, he'd had a rough time of it, with the long car ride and the constant rain and wind, which was still going on outside. I got a Country Ham Biscuit to split with the kitty, as he loves ham. The biscuit was heavenly, the ham was fatty but good, and either way Snowy loved it. With him happy and content, and acting more like himself than he had been the first leg of the trip, I moved on to the fries.

The fries at Bojangles are natural cut mini-steak fries, flat like Wendy's latest and not-so-great fries. They were spicy - paprika maybe, definitely pepper and Cajun seasoning - with a bit of a kick.

It was a pretty good meal all things considered. And while I had to eat in the state, I did not use the bathroom, even though I had to go, holding it for another two hours until we hit South of the Border. Screw you, North Carolina, but thumbs up to Bojangles.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

French Fry Diary 727: Copper Crisper


This As-Seen-on-TV product promises to transform your oven into an air fryer. There's no added oil or butter, it eliminates turning food, and allows heat to circulate around food. No sticking, no burning, sounds amazing, right?

Well, maybe. I am always skeptical of this infomercial stuff, especially when pitched by loud obnoxious after-midnight infomercial guys like this Copper Chef dude. That said, this copper color painted basket raised over a copper color painted bake pan does kinda do what it says it does.

Like a convection oven the hot air circulates around the food cooked all sides and eliminating the need to turn it. Five to ten minutes more is needed however to cook the food. That's just what I got from the two batches of steak fries I tried to cook this way. The slight crisp on the outside and fluffy potato on the inside works well for the thicker fries like steak fries, but I immediately wondered what shoestrings might be like in this thing, so the next time that opportunity came, I tried it.

Over the next few days, there was much experimentation. If nothing else, shoestrings worked better, and chicken nuggets and other breaded goodness worked as well, even refrigerated dough biscuits. Onion rings however, and anything you might want a bit of a crunch to - not so much. Five to ten minutes longer than directions tell you is the hard and fast rule though, sometimes longer.

The Copper Crisper is no air fryer, and neither is it a convection oven, but for an infomercial product, it is pretty darn good. I'm happy with it.