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Fries are one of those things that almost always taste better at a restaurant than they do at home. I'm sure the industrial fryer is part of the reason, but the real secret is that the restaurants who make great fries cook those potato slices twice. Yes it takes a little longer, but the results are outstanding. The procedure is similar to what we used making kettle chips at home. I've managed to make great fries this way twice, without any assistance from Robin, so I'm pretty sure anyone can do it.

Homemade Handcut French Fries

French Fry Ingredients
2 large Russet potatoes
24oz Canola, peanut, or California rice oil
Salt and Pepper


Equipment
Cast iron dutch oven
Thermometer

Procedure
1) Heat oil in cast iron pan, with thermometer in oil to make sure temperature reaches 305 degrees.

2) As oil heats, clean your potatoes and cut them into long strips of approximately the same size. Place sliced potatoes in a bowl of water to keep them from turning brown.

3) Remove potato slices from water and pat dry on paper towels, place enough slices in oil to have one layer covering the surface of the oil.

4) Allow slices to blanch, cooking until they turn from a shiny color to a more matte appearance. This is typically about the time the temperature starts rising in the oil again. Remove from oil with tongs and place in a pan lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.

5) After blanching all potato slices, increase the temperature of the oil to between 350-375 degrees.

6) Repeat process of layering potato slices in the oil, this time cooking them until they turn a golden color. Cook longer for fries that are more crisp.

7) Remove from oil and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil, season with your favorite salt while still hot. Garnish your fries with herbs, garlic, or any other flavor that suits your palate.

1. Make your own croutons. All you have to do is cut day -old bread into cubes, toss with olive oil, season with salt and pepper or any other spices and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Keep checking every few minutes to make sure they don't burn
and mix them while you check.


2. Use every type of fruit can you can find, Pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, dried fruit or mandarins in a can. Just toss them in and you have a great salad.

3. Crunch is the key. Anything works; granola, All bran cereal or crushed crackers. Just make sure you get the crunch in there.

4. Yogurt. A little yogurt goes a long way. When you are not in the mood for lettuce but
you know that you need to eat some. Just pour some yogurt on top and mix it in. Top it with some Zaatar, a Mediterranean spice and you get an interesting salad.

5. Flavored Salts. Salts come in all flavors today. Get some truffle salt, some
Nicoise flavored salt or any other salt that can add that flavor you need. Try Secret Stash salts for a large variety of unique salts.

7. Go Nuts. Cashews, sunflower seeds, almonds or any other nut that you can find. They all add the protein and flavor you need.

8. Pickles. I know it sounds odd but chopped up pickles add a salty and wonderful touch to a salad.

9. Eggs. Hard boiled eggs chopped and added to a salad add a certain creaminess along with a nice serving of protein.

10, Cheese. Every cheese adds a different touch. Use a microplane grater to grate the cheese into a puffy topping. You will end up using less and tasting more. Ideas: Parmesan, Ricotta Salata, Blue Cheese, Goat Cheese or Cottage Cheese.

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Between our regular grocery list and trips to the farmers market, we ended up with too many potatoes in the house. An obvious solution - make some potato chips. Sure, it's faster to buy a bag of Kettle brand chips from the store, but they never taste as fresh and you're limited to the standard seasonings and flavors. Making your own potato chips allows you to choose the type of oil. While I used the canola oil we have on hand, I considered tracking down some California Rice Oil Company oil, after recently reading in Cook's Illustrated that the smoke point is much higher than canola or peanut oil. You can also use seasoned salts like truffle salt or fennel salt to subtly enhance your potato chip flavor. At Robin's recommendation, a two-staged frying process was used to achieve a crisp golden brown chip.

How to make kettle potato chips

Ingredients
Potatoes, sliced
24oz Canola, peanut, or California rice oil
Truffle salt

Equipment
Cast iron dutch oven
Thermometer
Mandolin slicer

Potatoes Sliced for Chips Blanching Potato Slices

Procedure
1) Heat oil in cast iron pan, with thermometer in oil to make sure temperature reaches 300 degrees.
2) As oil heats, clean your potatoes and slice with mandolin slicer set to approximately 2mm. Place sliced potatoes in a bowl of water to keep them from turning brown.
3) Remove slices from water and pat dry on paper towels, place enough slices in oil to have one layer covering the surface of the oil.
4) Allow slices to blanch, cooking until they turn from a shiny color to a more matte appearance. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place in a pan lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
5) After blanching all potato slices, increase the temperature of the oil to between 350-375 degrees.
6) Repeat process of layering chips in the oil, this time cooking them until they turn a golden color (or until crisp with purple or blue potato slices).
7) Remove from oil and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil, season with your favorite salt while still hot.