Friday, January 16, 2015

Potato Chips and the Beginning of Date Nights In

A couple of months ago I pre-ordered Ashley Rodriguez's cookbook Date Night In.  It came a few days before Christmas and I could not have been more excited (Merry Christmas to me)!  Its pages are filled with beautiful and inspiring food and words and I devoured every bit of it over Christmas break.  After finishing the book, I committed that 2015 would be the year for more date nights in.

Well last Thursday I decided sort of spur of the moment that I would have our first date night in that evening.  I decided on homemade potato chips (from Ashley's book), KBR (kale bacon & ricotta) sandwiches from Ashley's blog, an orange and raw pickled beet salad, and homemade crème fraiche ice cream with raspberries. (It worked out well that I had already made the pickled beets and ice cream a few days before.)

That afternoon I used my mandoline to slice potatoes paper thin and then gave them a quick dunk in a bath of cold water.  After being drained and patted dry, I watched them bubble around in a pot of hot oil and transform into golden, crisp potato chips.  I couldn't help but stand back and admire my lovely pile of potato chips.  Do you ever get that really tight excited feeling?  That feeling for me often accompanies really great food, Christmas time, and seeing my kiddies soundly sleeping and now for date nights in with Todd. 

While in the middle of frying my chips, Preston came home from school he asked me what I was making potato chips for.  I told him that it was for a date night in with Dad.  After tasting a few of the chips he asked me if I would do a date night in for him.  Someday Preston.

Potato Chips

Serves 2 to 4 depending on how many chips you want to consume

2 large russet potatoes
4 cups canola or vegetable oil
Kosher salt

Slice the potatoes into very, very thin rounds (about 1/16 inch thick) using a mandoline.  Place the potato slices in a large bowl of cold water and let soak for 5-10 minutes. 

Drain the potato slices.  Place the slices in a single layer on a triple layer of paper towels and then roll it up to lightly dry them.  Keep the slices rolled up in the towel as you cook off batches to keep the potatoes from oxidizing. 

Add the oil to a large saucepan.  It should be about 2 to 3 inches deep in the pan.  Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees.

Fry the potatoes in batches of 10 to 15 slices.  Be careful not to overcrowd the pan.  Carefully move the chips around with a slotted spoon or spider until the chips are golden brown and the bubbling oil has calmed.  If there is still frantic bubbling, there is still moisture in the chips (moisture equals a not so crunchy chip). 

Transfer the fried chips to a paper towel or brown paper sack lined baking sheet to dry.  Season with kosher salt while the chips are still warm.  Bring the oil back to 350 before adding the next batch.  Eat and enjoy.

Recipe slightly adapted from Ashley Rodriguez's Date Night In

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