cleverchickadee


Home Frites, because you are fancier than home-fries by quornflour

Sometimes, when a restaurant wants to seem fancy, you call French Fries “Frites”, I am pretty sure they are the same thing, but frites sounds fancier, “Oh look at me with my fancy steak frites!”

If you do not have a deep fryer, you might think, “oh bummer, I can never make frites like the fancy restaurants, oh woe is me.”

I am here to tell you that you are WRONG. Yep, that is correct, you can make super delicious fancy frites right at home without a deep fryer.

This recipe does take a little more work and time than others, but the great thing is that you can make a lot and freeze some for later to cut time when you need them. They are also more delicious than a lot of (though delicious) oven baked fries that often just make you say, “meh, they just are not as delicious.”

You will not be saying this about these.

You will need:

  • 5 or more pounds of potatoes (I prefer Yukon gold or red potatoes myself, regardless you are better off picking ones with a thinner skin so you do not have to skin it, because I ask you, “who loves skinning potatoes?” pretty sure the answer to that is, “sadists.”
  • 32 oz olive or coconut oil
  • Salt

You are also going to need to make sure you have a 4-5 quart Dutch (or French) oven, baking trays and a Chinese mesh strainer.

  1. Cut your potatoes into “fry” shaped pieces, about ¼ to ½ inch by the length of the potato
  2. Heat your oven to 350
  3. Pour the oil into the Dutch oven and bring up to temp, you will know it is ready because if you put a piece of potato in it, it will bubble wildly.
  4. Using the Chinese wire strainer lower a few potatoes worth of the cut potatoes into the oil, this should cause the oil go into a rapid boil.
    1. Remember oil is hot; it will burn if it hits you; so it is best not to make these naked.
    2. Once you are done frying all of your potatoes you can strain the oil with a coffee filter into a jar and save for a second use later.
  5. Cook these in the oil until they just barely start to brown on the edges (about 15 seconds) and remove them, spread them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 until golden brown (about 10 minutes)
  6. Set aside to cool. If you are going to freeze some for later, once cooled to room temp, spread them on a baking tray and place in the freezer, once they are frozen put them in a bag until ready for use.
  7. When you are ready to use them, heat a cast iron skillet, add about a tablespoon or two of olive oil, toss the potatoes in the skillet until brown and hot and crispy, serve warm.

If you want to make them extra fancy, this third cook is when you add spices or garlic. Some great things to add are: sage leaves; basil, garlic and parmesan; crushed red pepper flakes; curry powder; fajita seasoning… the options are endless. Some other great recipes that go well with these fries are: chicken nuggets, curry mussels, garlic mussels, spicy Buffalo chicken strips or even just on their own.

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Wicked Good Lobstah Suppah, paht 3 –mussel madness by quornflour

As I stated before: mussels are my favorite mollusk. Not only are they delicious but they are also a pretty versatile protein source.

Did you know that a 3 oz (6oz with shell on, about 10 mussels) serving of mussels provides 340% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin B-12? Those 3 oz are about 145 calories and loads of other minerals your body loves. Wanna talk about protein for a second? 10 mussels provide about as much protein as 4oz steak with only a fraction of the fat and most of that fat is the good stuff.

They live above the mud hanging on to rocks with their beards and do not end up with the gritty sandiness that is often associated with their sweeter cousin the clam.

Sea birds also like mussels, however their hard shell can be a deterrent, a mussel will open to move and to eat, but when it senses danger it snaps closed. Birds, such as seagulls will take a mussel, fly high above a rock and drop the shell to the rock below to crack it open, then swoop back down to collect and enjoy the meat.

As humans we have tools and fire, which make enjoying mussels a little less taxing, when cooked a mussel will relax and open making the meat easily accessible. If a mussel does not pop open when cooked, I just assume let it be as I would a shrimp with a flat tail.

In childhood I remember mostly just eating them steamed in water and dipped in butter.

One of my favorite methods (probably because I love tomatoes so much) is to cook them in a creamy tomato basil style steam.

Here is what you will need:

  • 3 pounds of mussels
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 5 large tomatoes (heirloom tomatoes add a nice mixture of color) cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups of ½ & ½
  • ½ Cup grated parmesan cheese (or other similar hard cheese)
  • ¼ cup basil “grass”
  • 3 green onions cut into “grass”

If you want to make this more of a creamy sauce, you could start by making a roux, but to keep this gluten free and because I like the separation of the cheese for this particular recipe I did not.

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 4-5 quart Dutch oven, bring it to temp (spits when hit with a drop of water or thins like water)
  2. Add 2 cloves garlic and brown
  3. Once the garlic is brown turn the heat to low and add the tomatoes, stir and cover.

Meanwhile in a saucepan:

  1. Add remaining olive oil and also bring to temp
  2. Add 2 cloves of garlic and brown
  3. Turn heat to medium
  4. Add ½ & ½ and cheese and stir

And back to the Dutch oven we go…

  1. When it starts to form a light steam add to tomatoes and stir
  2. Add most of the green onions (save a few for garnish)
  3. Add mussels, cover until the mussels pop open (this won’t take long)
  4. Add basil
  5. Stir up and serve warm

Remember, like many sea creature, if you over cook them they will turn chewy and they will continue to cook for a few minutes after they are removed from the heat, so only steam them until they open.



Wicked Good Lobstah Suppah, paht 2 – flex those curry mussels by quornflour

Do not get me wrong here, I like clams. I like a good clam chowder and fried clams on the beach dipped in some tangy tartar sauce; but if I had to choose my favorite mollusk, this kid from Maine would not choose the clam. This kid would choose its dark cousin, the mussel.

As a kid I remember collecting mussels from the beach and dissecting them, perhaps morbid to some, but they are curious little creatures, occasionally you would even find a purl. With a taste similar to a clam, they are not as sweet and do not seem so… is gamey the right word to use here?

Anyway, recently I was co-hosting a lobster feast at a friend’s house and when ordering the lobster, I decided I would also order some of my favorite purly purple mollusks. With 6 pounds on the way, I figured I would do a Duo of Mussels – mostly because it was funny to say and seemed so foodie like and almost fancy.

I decided I would make a red curry mussel and a garlic tomato mussel; though different, the two have a number of similar ingredients and would give an opportunity for different taste buds to enjoy.

For each you will need a 4-5 quart Dutch oven.

The first time I had curry mussels, it was like my mouth lit up, not just because it was spicy hot, but because it was delicious. Though I had never made them myself, my ego could only ask, “seriously, how hard can it be?”

Here is what you need:

  • 3 pounds of mussels
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • Thai Red curry paste – usually around 1 tablespoon per can of coconut milk
  • 2 cans of coconut milk (light coconut milk is ok too)
  • ¼ Cup of sugar
  • 3-4 green onions chopped or cut into “grass”
  • 1 red bell pepper – chopped into ¼” wide and 2″ long pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper – chopped into ¼” wide and 2″ long pieces
  • 2 cups of green beans chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • ¼ basil grass (basil leaves cut into thin grass like pieces)
  1. Bring your Dutch oven to temp and add the olive oil, heat until water spits if flicked in, or it becomes thin like water
  2. Turn the temp down to medium and add the garlic and cook until browned
  3. Add curry paste, coconut milk and sugar and mix until there are no paste lumps and it is starting to steam
  4. Add peppers, and green beans and give them a minute to start to soften and for the milk to steam
  5. Add most of the green onion (put a pinch aside for a garnish)
  6. Add the mussels, stir in slightly and place the lid over and let them steam until the mussels all pop open
  7. toss in the basil and serve warm.

These are great with fries (or if you want to be fancy and impress your friends call them “friets”), or over rice, or all on their own.




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