Saturday, November 28, 2009

Do You Want Fries with That?

"Do You Want Fries with That?" by Tim McGraw, a humorous musical interlude as a send off as I leave for vacation on the Disney Cruise. I’ll be back in a week with more French fry adventures - from the cruise ship the Disney Magic.

See you then, and until then, don’t forget the fries. Mmmm... fries...

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Friday, November 27, 2009

French Fry Diary 65: The Cannibals of the Cherry Hill Chick-Fil-A

The Chick-Fil-A across from the Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey does a crazy lunch business. It’s crowded inside and the drive-thru usually wraps around the restaurant.

The place also has a rather large parking lot, with a rear that backs up against a thin strip of trees, dividing the restaurant from the houses beyond. Because so many folks at lunch time just pull up there to eat their lunch, it has become home to a flock of very brave and scary seagulls.

These are no ordinary seagulls though. They sort through the litter and trash that some folks throw out there, obviously too lazy to walk the ten or twenty feet to the trashcan. Regardless of the laziness and ignorance of some people, the seagulls seem to make due with the food they find. Some folks even toss their waffle fries to the birds, which they seem to love (who can blame them?), and try to catch them in their beaks in the air.

The part that kinda freaks me out is that the seagulls also seem to enjoy chicken as well. Brrr... Don’t they know that stuff comes from other birds? These aren’t just carnivorous birds… they’re cannibals too. Come on, I don’t care how good Chick-Fil-A is – that’s just damned creepy!

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

French Fry Diary 64: Memories of Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes have always been a huge part of Thanksgiving, and for a potato connoisseur like me, especially so. There are various casseroles, and sweet potato variations (even pies) and of course yams, but what I’ll be talking about today are mashed potatoes.

Many times during the year, as a time saver, or if she just wasn’t feeling up to it, my mom would do the easy thing – instant mashed potatoes. Usually these were the Idahoan variety. They weren’t bad, but you could tell when they weren’t home made. Also, those now-long-gone gigantic cans always bring back good memories. I can remember both wooden blocks and Tinker Toys being kept in those huge cans.

My mom’s home made mashed potatoes started with white potatoes skinned and boiled, then mashed with a fork before being sent to the mixer for a good whipping. Somewhere along the way equally mashed and mixed turnips would be added as well as butter. These smooth tasty mashed potatoes were a treat at many a dinner throughout the year and especially Thanksgiving.

Happy Holidays, folks!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

French Fry Diary 63: Nodding Head

I had the chance recently to go to the Nodding Head on Sansom Street in Philadelphia when celebrating a friend’s birthday. This brewery/bar/restaurant has quite a reputation and I’ve wanted to go for a while. The birthday gave me a chance to finally try their famous Spanish fries.

For the uninitiated, Spanish fries are fries that are specifically deep-fried using olive oil, always an interesting touch. Those at the Nodding Head were very good. Hot crispy versions of Five Guys fries, they were natural regular cuts tossed with parsley and served with a honey mustard dipping sauce. These were crispy good with soft hot potato-ey goodness inside and a spicy kick outside. It was a big helping and hard to finish, and this is a good thing.

The Bride ordered a steak salad, basically a salad with hot peppercorn steak strips over top – and a side of fries. That’s right, a salad that came with fries. Does it get much better than that? Thumbs up for Nodding Head, and Happy Birthday, Andrea!

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Monday, November 23, 2009

French Potatoes

Ahem. Not the kind of French potatoes we usually talk about around here – these are missing that all-important word “fried” in the middle. Still, it’s a great recipe, this one, another from the Just-Potatoes group:

French Potatoes

2 large or 3 medium baking potatoes
1 large onion
1/2 cup parsley sprigs minus stems
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground white pepper
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter

Pare potatoes and slice very thin. Peel onion and slice paper thin. Separate into rings. Mince parsley.

In a buttered 10 x 6 x 2 inch baking dish arrange 1/2 of the potatoes. Layer with onion and parsley. Cover with remaining potatoes. Sprinkle each layer with salt and pepper.

Heat together the water and butter until water boils and butter melts and pour over the potatoes. Bake in a preheated 450F oven until potatoes are tender about 40 minutes. Top layer of potatoes will be dry. Serve hot. Makes 4 small servings.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

French Fry Diary 62: Short Hills Restaurant & Deli

I visited the Short Hills Restaurant & Deli in Cherry Hill NJ for dinner with family recently. It was the first time I’d been there since a fire gutted the place a few years back. I was impressed by how everything had been restored almost perfectly, and even better. But you don’t care about that stuff, you want to know about the favorite fried food, right?

Short Hills has a variety of potato products – potato skins, shredded breakfast potato home fries, many different flavors of Herr’s potato chips, even sweet potato fries, all with the standard toppings – but the French fries are something else.

The Short Hills fries are natural cuts, thinner than regular cuts but not quite shoestrings, neither crispy nor soggy but just right. They lack salt but you can apply that yourself to your pleasure. The best part is the presentation – in a wax paper cone, Belgian style. How can you go wrong with that? A tasty treat well worth the trip, check them out. Recommended.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

French Fry Diary 61: Apple Peeler Machine

Checking out the Irish Hog the other day I came across the blog of The Spiteful Chef. There I came upon the entry about apple peeler machines.

It sparked my interest as I just got rid of one of these things at a yard sale. I could never get the darned thing to work. Yes, it leads you to believe it can peel apples, and potatoes, among other things, with ease – but I couldn’t do it. It makes me wonder if maybe I gave up too quick on it. The possibility of homemade spiral-cut potatoes is almost enough of an incentive to get another one...

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Monday, November 16, 2009

French Fry Diary 60: The Irish Hog

For a little while now it has seemed like This Is Why You’re Fat hasn’t really been trying. When we get entries like the perfectly delectable and nearly harmless chocolate-cover potato chip, I would think it’s time to re-access the website and its mission statement.

However, this week they have redeemed themselves with the Irish Hog. This work of cholesterol-death-art is a deep-fried spiral-cut potato encasing a strip of deep-fried bacon, served with brown sugar BBQ sauce. And artery-clogger or not, it looks delicious, Health Nazis be damned.

It looks like This Is Why You're Fat is back on track, back on the fat track, that is, and that's a good thing.

Picture courtesy of The Spiteful Chef.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Potato Dumplings

Another great recipe from the Just Potatoes Yahoo! group. This one's a terrific idea with Thanksgiving coming up.

Potato Dumplings

4 medium potatoes, boiled
1/2 cup sifted flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 T grated onion with juice
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp melted butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 quarts boiling water
1/2 tsp salt

Rice the potatoes. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Combine riced
potatoes, flour mixture, onion, bread crumbs, butter and egg.

Mix well. Shape into 12 small balls and dredge lightly with flour. Chill. Drop dumplings into boiling salted water. Cover and boil 15 minutes. Serve. Enjoy.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Truffled Fingerling Smashed Potatoes

From CHOW:

Truffled Fingerling Smashed Potatoes Recipe

Chef Garces folds truffle oil into smashed potatoes to make them even more irresistible.

What to buy: Fingerling potatoes are white potatoes with a thin skin. They can be found in gourmet grocery stores and at farmers’ markets. If you can’t find them, use Yukon Gold potatoes instead.

Truffle oil can be found at gourmet grocery stores.

This recipe was featured as part of our Suckling Pig for the Holidays menu.


* 5 pounds fingerling potatoes
* 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1/4 cup white truffle oil
* 4 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Place potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover the potatoes by 2 inches, salt well (the water should taste like seawater), and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer potatoes until fork tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Drain potatoes, return to the pot along with butter, and cook over low heat until butter is melted. Using a hand-held potato masher, smash potatoes until butter is incorporated, leaving some lumps. Add cream, truffle oil, salt, and pepper and fold together. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Difficulty: Easy


Total: 1 hr
Active: 10 mins
Makes: 10 to 12 servings

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Monday, November 09, 2009

French Fry Diary 59: Alexia Crunchy Snacks Waffle Fries

The package may look misleading, but I got this bag off the grocery shelf, not the freezer aisle. Alexia is known for their frozen potato funchies but now they are moving into a different snack territory, the potato chip-ish variety.

The full name of my purchase is a mouthful – Natural Alexia Crunchy Snacks Waffle Fries Naturally Flavored Bold & Spicy BBQ. Wow. And that’s not counting where they have the words “potato snack” way down at the bottom of the bag, as if they were hiding the fact this was in fact a potato product.

The package has a hefty price for a five-ounce serving bag, $3.49. But one would think that it might be worth it, or at least worth it for the Health Nazis, cuz they have “25% less fat than regular chips” and no trans fat.

The shame is that it’s not all good news. These aren’t good. There is an after-taste that will stay with you for hours and require near constant hydration to recover from. That might be a problem with the very strong bbq spices employed. The waffle chips themselves, almost identical in shape to Chick-fil-A’s famous waffle fries, have a solid if dry potato taste – reminiscent of home-made microwave potato chips. This variety however was a bit too strong for me.

Alexia has several varieties of these non-frozen potato snacks, so perhaps the others might be pretty good, but for me, this one is a fail.

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Orange Night Out

From the folks at Whataburger:

"11/10/09 - Orange Night Out

It never ceases to amaze us how many dedicated fans there are of Whataburger. Well, here's a great chance for you to prove yourself as part of that crowd. On Tuesday, November 10th from 5-8 pm, we invite you to get decked out in orange from head to toe for an Orange Night Out. So dress up, dine in, show us how much orange spirit you have and get a Free Whataburger."

And don’t forget to get some fries to go with that free burger. Mmmm... fries...

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Food Wishes - How to Make Crispy French Fries

The folks at Food Wishes show us in a quick YouTube video how to make crispy (don't break your cheek bone) French fries...

An excellent example of par-frying, one of the best kept secrets of good fries. Mmmm... fries...

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Details' Most Fulfilling Drive-Thru Stuff

Deatails Magazine has recently presented this article proclaiming the "The Best Fast Food in America: The 25 Most Fulfilling Things to Order at the Drive-Thru."

Among them, of course, are quite a few varieties of the favorite fried food. There are the seasoned curly fries at Jack in the Box, the onion rings at Carl Jr.'s, McDonald's French fries, Sonic's tots, and in sixth place - Chick-fil-A's waffle fries. Mmmm... fries...

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