How to make food soar: sweet potato chips, “Lays style” potato chips, panko baked pearl onion & sweet potato salad and super easy & cute sushi napkin folds.
The premise of this blog is to share cooking, crafts and many laughs and many of you already know that I am extremely ostentatious in all of my efforts whether culinary, presentation of dishes or otherwise but never gaudy! I love exciting food and to say that I am disambiguous would be an understatement especially since I am more than eager to transform anything into more ways than one and totally override an ingredient’s current potential. So, today I am going to do just that share a recipe, a craft and many a laugh in the form of a couple of jokes, (hopefully, not too indecorous for your taste!) Oh! c’mon, are you going to sit there and tell me that when friends get together that one of them is not liable to let loose a “dirty” joke? Its funny because normally, I am the one that is easily embarrassed. I always turn red as a tomato and in the process mess up the entire joke he! he! Isn’t it fun to be a little naughty?
Tomato flavored potato chips and Chinese 5 spice sweet potato chips
Everyone has a favorite chip and a different term of endearment for this comfort food, whether they are gaufrettes, crisps, frips or like a former neighbor of ours in South Africa would say ‘KRIPS” ( this one always cracks me up!). “Wil jy ‘n pakkie krips he?”
Nevertheless, they all have to be crispy! My favorite were “Tomato chips” back in South Africa. Unfortunately, I cannot find this flavor here, so, I made my own. I made my spice with tomato powder ( on its own, this powder lacks va va va voom), so I toasted some pink peppercorns in a hot pan, and a few more toasted ingredients to make up the most captivating blend! This spice blend is to die for and imparted a very good flavor to my popcorn, french fries and roasted tomato soup as well. I also made a Chinese 5 spice, a little cinnamon, & a few more toasted ingredients, a custom blend, for the sweet potato chips as well. I made a note of all so that I can get the same flavor every time! Don’t you just hate it if you did not!
See some good tips below on how to keep the chips crispy!
Please use organic ingredients when possible
- 2 big Idaho russet potatoes or Yukon golds or more
- 2 garnet sweet potatoes or more
- Bob’s Red Mill potato starch ( so silky, you do not even have to shake off the excess! I love Bob’s Red Mill!!! & this makes the spuddy extra crispy!
- peanut oil for frying
- kosher salt
- my special tomato spice blend
- my special Chinese 5 spice & cinnamon blend (for sweet potatoes only)
Method and tips for making a batch of “Lays style” chips
Warm half of a saucepan with peanut oil and if you drop in a piece of bread, it should immediately crisp up, this is your queue to drop in the chips. Meanwhile scrub the russets, (do not peel some of the potatoes, keep it rustic), under running water and thinly slice with a mandolin. It is fun to use all the different settings on the mandolin like the waffle and many others. Rinse the russet slices until water runs clear and pat dry with paper towels. Do not let the potatoes sit in water!!! They will become water logged and will steam instead of crisp up! These slices should be very dry and then toss them in the silky potato starch and then drop immediately into the electric fryer or a Dutch oven, ( cast iron pot). These two utensils tend to maintain the temperature of the oil and allows anything to be fried evenly. Do not overcrowd the pot, you do not want to steam the potatoes. Fry for about 2 mins until golden brown and drain on a cookie sheet covered with paper towels. Season with your choice of seasoning. If you have a big batch to make, keep the cooked potato chips in a 300 degree convection bake oven until you are done with the rest and no longer than 15 mins. I use the convection setting because the air flow further dries the residual oil and hence the crispy appeal!
Scrub the sweet potatoes in the same way and dry with a paper towel but do not rinse the slices in water. Toss with Bob’s Red Mill potato starch and fry in the same way as for the regular russets. When the Chinese five spice blend hit the sweet potato chips as it came out of the fryer, the dry cold weather outside seemed like a cinch to bear.
I actually sliced the garnet sweet potatoes very thinly by hand and let all the slices air dry the night before I fried them. This is a kick a.. snack for Thanksgiving !
*Try this as well if you dare!
As the regular russets or Yukon golds come out of the fryer, lightly drizzle with malt vinegar and kosher salt. Do not put on any of the spices I mentioned on this batch though, it will clash with the vinegar! This is a British influence on the tater and was taught to me by my Mom.
Actually now that I remember, it was the Portuguese fish & chip shops that would sell these in South Africa.
However, the same does not go for the prep of my homemade french fries, here you can actually let the french cut style potatoes sit longer in cold water. This will release more of the starch, you will have to dry the cut potatoes very well with paper towels and then deep fry in hot oil. The result, a very crispy, french fry!
I share with you this really cute sushi napkin fold that I folded by using fabric remnants. You could use paper napkins as well! This will be great for a sushi party!
“How to fold the sushi napkin”
For the inside napkin:
- Fold the napkin in half with the folded edge on bottom & iron flat
- Fold the napkin into 2 & half inch wide bands, starting from the bottom to the top. Do not worry about the little piece sticking out, when you reach the top.
- Roll the napkin tightly, starting from one end into a “roll” and set aside.
- Lay the second napkin in a diamond shape and fold the bottom point up to about 2 & half inches and continue folding into 2 &half inch bands until you reach the top and then flip over.
- lay the first napkin roll about 2 inches from the left side of the second napkin and roll the outside napkin around the first like a sushi roll all the way to the end. The bottom edges of the sushi rolls should be aligned. Secure with a corsage pin or just tuck the loose end into the folds of the second roll.
*Baked panko sweet potato balls & half pearl & half boiler onions “onion rings” salad. My take on a potato salad. I made this as a pot -luck dish for friends and went over really well even with those “burly, bad boys!”
This is a totally vegetarian meal! ( not that I have anything against meat because I do indulge every so now and again )
There is a bed of sesame vinaigrette slaw ( julienned carrots, cucumbers & parsnips) on the bottom of my panko sweet potato balls and crispy pearl onion “rings” & tomato salad. I made the mayonnaise also from scratch and lightly coated this unique potato salad. Both the little panko sweet potato balls and the pearl & boiler onion rings (balls) were baked.
I say unto all carnivores in light of this menu, “Eat your hearts out!”
Looking at these pictures, one would think that these are meatballs, but I kid you not, they are baked panko sweet potato and onion balls. The pearl onion balls had a very cool coating on it as well & no it is not a regular flour coating!!!
You will love this homemade version of this light & creamy ” Hellman’s style” mayonnaise and believe it or not, no raw eggs were used!
BTW, I am still getting tomatoes from my patch! See post below for the tomato patch and spicy tomato jam!
A funny senior citizen joke
“You’re getting old when you get the same sensation from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster.
| A married couple was in a terrible accident where the man’s face was severely burned.
The doctor told the husband that they couldn’t graft any skin from his body because he was too skinny.
So the wife offered to donate some of her own skin. However, the only skin on her body that the doctor felt was suitable would have to come from her buttocks. The husband and wife agreed that they would tell no one about where the skin came from, and they requested that the doctor also honor their secret.
After the surgery was completed, everyone was astounded at the man’s new face. He looked more handsome than he ever had before! All his friends and relatives just went on and on about his youthful beauty!
One day, he was alone with his wife, and he was overcome with emotion at her sacrifice. He said, ‘Dear, I just want to thank you for everything you did for me. How can I possibly repay you?’
‘My darling,’ she replied,
How to ask your Boss for a salary increase..?
One day an employee sends a letter to her boss asking for an increase in
In thi$ life, we all need $ome thing mo$t de$perately. I think you $hould be
under$tanding of the need$ of u$ worker$ who have given $o much $upport
including $weat and $ervice to your company.
I am $ure you will gue$$ what I mean and re$pond $oon.
The next day, the employee received this letter of reply:
I kNOw you have been working very hard. NOwadays, NOthing much has changed.
You must have NOticed that our company is NOt doing NOticeably well as yet.
NOw the newspaper are saying the world’s leading ecoNOmists are NOt sure if the
United States may go into aNOther recession. After the NOvember presidential
elections things may turn bad.
I have NOthing more to add NOw. You kNOw what I mean.
State of mind joke!
It doesn’t hurt to take a hard look at yourself from time to time, and
this should help get you started
During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the director what
the criterion was which defined whether or not a patient should be
“Well,” said the director, “We fill up a bathtub, then we offer a
teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to
empty the bathtub.”
“Oh, I understand,” said the visitor. “A normal person would use the
bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup.”
“No” said the director, “A normal person would pull the plug … Do you
want a room with or without a view?”
That’s it folks, oh dear, I need a room with a view!!!!
I decided against the really bad jokes after all!