Tuesday, February 24, 2015

French Fry Diary 651: Herr's Cheese Waffles

Okay, we're going off the reservation a little bit here, but I think it's okay because it's a Herr's product, and Herr's makes darn good potato chips, so hang in there.

I've talked about the Jelly Belly effect here before, usually in relation to the more bizarre potato chip flavors in Lay's Do Us A Flavor contests. Jelly Bellys are jellybeans with a variety of odd flavors, many where taste and texture don't match up and don't feel right. For instance, buttered popcorn, bubble gum, and toasted marshmallow are just weird when in the form of a jellybean.

Herr's Cheese Waffles, subtitled 'zesty cheese sandwich snacks' that come in a cheddar flavor, are just such a case. They are crunchy waffle-shaped and cheese-stuff-filled treats that taste exactly like grilled cheese sandwiches. And they are damned addictive. A small snack bag was purchased for the household, and devoured in minutes. What can I say, we do like our grilled cheese around here.

Monday, February 23, 2015

French Fry Diary 650: Ore-Ida Bold & Crispy Zesties!

Even though Ore-Ida's Bold & Crispy line is new, at least two of their styles are just rebrandings. Zesties! and Zesty Twirls have been around for a long time. Ore-Ida has even trademarked the phrases, and rightly so, these seasoned fries are unique in the fry world.

The Zesties! are just a little larger than usual regular cuts with a spicy battered coating of seasoning, pretty traditional stuff like pepper, onion powder and paprika along with other stuff at add heat. That said they aren't hot as much as they are seasoned. It's a bold taste, with just enough kick to get your attention.

The batter gives them a bit of a crisp while the insides are baked potato-ey and hot, temperature hot that is. The Zesty Twirls are much the same, only in skinnier curly fry form. However, be sure to watch these fries as they cook. The directions can be shaky with your particular oven, and if they get too crispy, they're not so good. Watch them!

Zesties! is a good name for these fries, they're very good, with a kick, even with their new rebranding.

Friday, February 20, 2015

French Fry Diary 649: Lay's Stax Korean BBQ

As far as potato chips in a can go, I'm a big fan of Lay's Stax over Pringles. Other than Pringles having easier access to the chips, Stax is the overall winner in my book. The BBQ Stax in some cases are better than the standard BBQ chips - thick, tasty, and uniform, always good for dipping.

Now while I am a fan of meat on the street on a stick, I have never actually had real Korean BBQ. So this flavor - Korean BBQ Stax - was an adventure for me. When I opened the can, there was a distinct meat chip aroma. Checking the ingredients, I found beef fat among the chemicals, and notably MSG. I would still try these.

These are close to the regular mesquite BBQ that Stax has but with a bit of a kick to them. Not unpleasant and not too much of an aftertaste either. These are pretty good and with their thickness they are excellent for dipping, with the dip cutting any heat. I liked these quite a bit.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Random Tater Pic of the Day #186

Here's another from friend, fellow writer, world traveler, and FFD contributor Sarah H. Miduski. On a recent trip to WDW, she went to Tamu Tamu in Animal Kingdom and took a pic of her lunch including some amazing homemade BBQ potato chips. You can read her complete adventure, including the chips, here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

French Fry Diary 648: Ore-Ida Bold & Crispy Garlic and Pepper Steakhouse Fries

One of the new fries in Ore-Ida's new Bold & Crispy line are these Garlic and Pepper Steakhouse Fries. They immediately got my attention because of their lengthwise crinkle cuts, closer to the old Gulliver's type than Famous Dave's. I was looking forward to trying these.

When you first open the bag, the garlic aroma is very strong and will remain so as they bake, but not so much when they're done. Your kitchen will smell nicely garlicky for about ten minutes or so, but it's a good thing.

These lengthwise crinkle cuts allow for extra crispness, but I would watch and adjust the heating directions as appropriate for you. My fries were done with seven minutes to spare by their instructions on the bag.

While the smell is good, I thought I had cooked the garlic out of these fries. Mind you, you'll still need a breath mint after having some, but nowhere near as garlicky as one might think. And while I can see the pepper and seasoning on the fries, they don't have much of a kick, so I get the 'crispy,' but not the 'bold.'

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mythbusters Vs. McDonald's

Recently Grant Imahara of "Mythbusters" visited the McDonald's 'French fry factory' and was able to 'reverse engineer' what was really in their French fries.

You can read (and see) the whole story here.

Props to buddy and GAR! Podcast partner Ray for hipping me to this.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

French Fry Diary 647: IKEA Potatischips Saltade

Those of you who remember my first FFD adventure to IKEA know it's not my favorite place to eat. Hang out and shop? Oh yeah, I love it, but for eating? Um, no. On a recent shopping excursion I saw something in their grocery that caught my interest - potato chips - so I figured I'd try again.

Packaged and sold by IKEA, they're called Potatischips Saltade, assumedly potato chips salted in Swedish. I like the bag, 5.3 ounces or 150 grams, very colorful, and the ingredients are very simple - potatoes, canola oil, and salt, and a lot of that last one.

Once opened, the bag yielded small but thick chips. They have a big crunch that usually only kettle chips have, and they're very salty, perhaps too salty. Of course, that said, they're also quite addictive. Their thickness and saltiness might make them perfect dippers for something cold and seer like ice cream.

I liked these a lot, and definitely a lot more than IKEA French fries.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Patricia Wells' Fake Frites

This one comes from Food52

Patricia Well's Fake Frites

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients: 2 pounds baking potatoes, such as Idaho russets or Bintje, peeled and cut into thick fries, 3/4 inch by 3 inches, 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, Fine sea salt to taste.

1. Preheat the oven to 500° F. Bring 1 quart of water to a simmer in the bottom of a steamer. Place the potatoes on the steaming rack, place the rack in the steamer, cover, and steam just until a knife inserted in a potato comes away clean, 10 to 12 minutes. (The potatoes should not be cooked through, or they will tend to fall apart.)

2. Transfer the steamed potatoes to a bowl and drizzle with oil. Carefully toss to coat evenly with oil. (The potatoes can be prepared to this point several hours in advance. Set aside at room temperature.)

3. With a large slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes in a single layer to a nonstick baking sheet. Discard any excess oil or liquid. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake, turning so they brown evenly, until the potatoes are crisp and deep golden brown, 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, season generously with salt, and serve immediately.

For the complete recipe, with more images to help you along step by step, click here.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

French Fry Diary 646: Tyrrells Hand Cooked English Chips

When you start using words like 'hand cooked' and 'English' around a French fry and potato chip connoisseur like me, and you have my attention. So when I saw this bag of Tyrrells Hand Cooked English Chips at the store recently, I was all in and took them home.

I selected the Lightly Sea Salted variation, but they also come in several other gourmet flavors and even veggie chips. Hand cooked in small batches at Tyrrells Court Farms, these chips made from local English Herefordshire potatoes, are healthful, gluten free, and all natural, with no MSG or other chemicals.

The chips themselves are smaller chips, skin on, with a bit of a kettle vibe to them. Lighter and not as crunchy as kettle chips, these tasty chips are addictive and good for dipping despite their size. I just wish they had a barbecue flavor. I liked these potato chips quite a bit, two thumbs up.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Random Tater Pic of the Day #185

These fries come from friend and FFD contributor Sarah H. Miduski. During her trip to New York City to see Matilda The Musical, she visited Lillie's and got these fabulous parmesan truffle fries. Mmmm… Thanks, Sarah! You can read her full blog entry on the trip here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Are We Really Running Out of French Fries?

Yeah, I'm doing that thing, that panic thing that news services do to get folks' attention, you know, like when the local news does that "one of these soft drinks can kill you, details at eleven." Let me clarify, there have been potato shortages in some parts of the world recently, but no, we are in no way running out of French fries any time soon. Not happening.

In Japan in December there was some concern due to contract disputes in the shipping industry here in the United States, as the US is the world's leading supplier of potatoes. This caused Japanese McDonald's to temporarily remove Large and Medium size fries from their menus.

Venezuela is having similar problems, but they seem to be more internal than external. You can read about that here. And just so you think it's just McDonald's, KFC is also taking heat.

Bottom line, while some international markets are having trouble staying in French fries, and potato chip prices are going up, we have lots of potatoes here in the US, and should be fine. We are not running out of French fries.