Home-Fried Potato Chips

After a couple of so-so attempts at frying my own potato chips Ample Bites stumbled across an article in the October 2014 issue of Bon Appetit that enlightened me. Four key steps ensure extra-crispy Home-Fried Potato Chips that are neither excessively oily or “over-fried”.

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First, rinse the potato slices in cold water several times to release the starch from them.

Second, soak the slices for about 2 hours in a solution of white vinegar and cold water.

Third, pat the slices dry before frying them.

Fourth and finally, fry them at a lower temperature of 300F.

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Yesterday I followed those directions and the process yielded wafer-thin, light and crispy Home-Fried Potato Chips that I could not stop eating. My next attempt to improve my frying skills is likely to involve Fritto Misto.

Home-Fried Potato Chips
(Mark Kelly with knowledge from Bon Appetit, October 2014)

Makes about 6 servings

1 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
Kosher salt
Vegetable oil for frying

Slice the potatoes crosswise using a mandoline.

Place the slices in a large bowl and submerge them with cold water. Stir the potatoes to help them release their starch. Drain the water. Add new water and repeat until the water runs clean after stirring. After draining, cover the potatoes with cold water and the vinegar. Let stand for about 2 hours.

Remove the potato slices from the vinegar water and pat them dry by placing them on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. While the slices are drying prepare the fryer or frying vessel by bring the oil to a constant temperature of 300F.

In batches, fry the chips for 5 – 6 minutes until the oil stops bubbling and the chips are a golden brown. Transfer the chips to a paper-towel-lined wire rack and season immediately with salt to taste. Continue frying in batches until all of the chips are done. Serve immediately of save for up to six hours in an uncovered paper-towel-lined bowl.

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Garlic Shrimp with White Beans

Garlic Shrimp and White Beans is a Spanish dish that Ample Bites found in a recent addition of Bon Appetit magazine. I was drawn to the simplicity of the recipe and the depth of flavor that dried chiles, paprika and garlic add to the basic palette of shrimp and white beans. The whole dish preparation, including peeling and deveining the shrimp, takes about 30 minutes. If you buy peeled and deveined raw shrimp, you can cut the prep time to about 20 minutes.

Garlic Shrimp and White Beans
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of BonAppetit Magazine, October 2012)

Serves 4

6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
5 garlic cloves, minced, divided
2 dried Arbol or Guajillo chiles
1 bay leaf
1 ΒΌ cups chopped tomato (about 8 oz)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
Finely grated hard white cheese to garnish

Preheat broiler. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add 1 garlic clove, chiles and bay leaf and cook, stirring constantly, just until fragrant, 1-2 minutes (do not allow garlic to burn). Add tomato; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and smashing tomato with the back of a wooden spoon, until tomato is completely broken down, about 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste is deep red and caramelized, 3-4 minutes. Stir in beans and broth. Bring to a brisk simmer and cook until juices are slightly reduced and thickened, 3-4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine remaining 2 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons oil, shrimp and paprika in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat shrimp. Scatter shrimp over beans in an even layer.

Broil until shrimp are golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons oil over shrimp and beans. Garnish with parsley and serve with bread.

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Healthy Fruit and Vegetable Smoothies

This trend is coming soon to the Ample Bites household. Sandy and I have both been introduced to some amazing smoothie recipes during the last couple of days. We feel compelled to give healthy smoothies a try.

Adding smoothies to our diet allows us to take in more vitamins directly from quality food sources, increase consumption of dietary fiber, and purported benefits including both healthy weight loss and increased energy. I sure can’t think of a downside to the smoothie trend … heck, you can even use up herbs and vegetable, like parsley, cilantro, celery and carrots, leftover from recipes made earlier in the week.

With the aid of a blender or smoothie maker and recipes like those in the Runners World article and the Parsley, Kale and Berry Smoothie from Bon Appetit magazine below, these delicious smoothies are easily within your reach.

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Parsley, Kale, and Berry Smoothie
(Courtesy of Bon Appetit, April 2012)

Before blending

Serves 2

Puree 1/2 cup (packed) flat-leaf parsley (leaves and stems), 4 kale leaves (center ribs removed), 1 cup frozen organic berries (such as strawberries or raspberries), 1 banana (cut into pieces), 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed, and 1 cup water into a blender until smooth (add water if too thick).

Calories: 100/serving Fat: 1 G Fiber: 4 G

I’ll let you know how this works out for Ample Bites. If you are already caught up in the trend or you are just starting to make your own healthy smoothies, let Ample Bites know about your favorite recipes and smoothie maker reviews.

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