Sunday, January 28, 2007

One Potato, Two Potato ...

Well, you know, not ALL grand culinary experiments turn out. I embarked on one such adventure today and have decidedly mixed feelings about the outcome. It seemed simple enough: baked potato chips. The advantage would be control over the amount of fat and seasoning -- a healthier 'tater chip, with a wider choice of flavoring additives.

I'm fortunate in having that dandy V-Slicer mandolin to get ultra-skinny, uniform potato slices. Two small potatoes were transformed into a pile of tidy medallions almost before I could blink.

Then I dumped the slices in a bowl and dribbled, oh, maybe a teaspoon of olive oil over them, plus sprinkled on some chili powder and paprika, then tossed the slices until they were all nicely coated. Next step was to place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then into a preheated 425 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

While they were baking, I was mulling over the range of seasoning possibilities for future bake-offs if this one worked out. Some things would be added before baking, like rosemary or dill or various powders and peppers or veggie seasonings like the Mrs. Dash combos. Some things you can sprinkle on when they come out of the oven and are still hot, like freshly grated asiago or pecorino or sharp cheddar.

I pulled the pan out after 22 minutes because I noticed the smaller end pieces had gone past brown to cinder. The remaining, larger slices ranged from the perfectly done crispy disk to those that were crisp around the outside and soft-centered. This tells me one would have to keep an eye on the baking process and keep removing individual chips as they reached their peak.

Such a bother for a relatively small amount of chips. Not that they weren't good. Both the crisp ones and the semi-crisp were quite delicious. (I forgot to mention I lightly sprinkled them with coarse kosher salt when I removed them from the oven.) But, frankly, I had to wonder if it was worth the fuss.

I did read one site online that swears THE way to go for homemade chips is to do them just as I described above -- but run them for 7 minutes on high in the microwave. Mmmm, well, maybe. I'm not at all sure I'm that fond of potato chips, if you want to know the truth. Even if the microwave version cooks more evenly, you would be faced with a much smaller batch so you'd have to keep at it until you had the intended amount all done.

Adding to the frustration, I didn't even like the way the photos of the 'tater chips came out. That's why I illustrated this entry with a shot of the Christmas cactus that is bursting forth with its second wave of blooms in about a three-month span. Curiously, this return engagement is sporting blossoms of a deeper hue than the first go round.

All things considered, I guess that works out okay. The 'tater chips provided food for my body and the blossoms provide food for my soul. God, as usual, seems to have the best recipe.


bb said...

Strange, my one cactus is setting blooms again but for the second time. The white one is just now opening, and the pink and white one just seems to be setting period. :-)

ava said...

I am one of those people who like potatoes no matter what you do to them. I remember trying to fry potato chips a time or two with only moderate success at crispiness, but I ate them anyway.

Ever eat sweet potato French fries? Yum.


Mage said...

Delightful.......all of you. From the logo, cheese, phones.....and we had one upstairs that stood upright, to your chips, I'm caught up at last.