Thursday, June 11, 2009

Basic Cooking Skills: French Fries

Every other Thursday we will post about different basic cooking skills. Knowing how to prepare meals from scratch is a very important step in becoming self-reliant, which in turn is a crucial component of being prepared. Being able to cook meals for your family will give you confidence, more family togetherness time, and lower your food budget=more money for food storage! If you have a basic cooking skill you'd like to learn, email us!

I love fries. I could eat them every day. I just thought I would announce that.

Fries that you get at most restaurants are fried (not so much healthy for every day consumption) and much more expensive. You can buy potatoes fairly inexpensively and they are so versatile: baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, baked potato soup, and fries. You can buy one bag and use it over the course of several weeks for many different meals.

Ingredients: potatoes, salt, oil

I usually will cook up, one potato per adult, a half a potato per child.

Or all of them if I open the pantry and they look like this.

Gee, these potatoes are a little past their prime wouldn't you say?


Give all your potatoes a good wash. My mum has a potato scrubbing brush--I scrubbed it over really well with my fingers. Potatoes are always dirty so it's important to wash them well. This is a great job to give to a child/teenager/spouse. You can't really mess up scrubbing a potato.

I like using my fingers so I can pop off all the sprouting 'eyes' from the potatoes with my fingertips.

Dry the potatoes off with a towel

And look the potatoes over for any dark spots. Especially if you've had the potatoes for a while.

If your potatoes have dark markings on them, or are sprouting, don't worry. They are still edible. Just carefully cut away the bruised spots and pop off the sprouts.

If when you cut away the dark spots, it is dark underneath, keep cutting until there isn't any more dark. The rest of the potato is fine. At least, I haven't died yet. If you have to toss a whole potato, that's okay too.

Most of the time, if you use your potatoes in a timely manner, you won't have to worry about the "maintenance." When your potato looks fine cut it in half lengthwise.

Then turn the potato cut side down for stability, and slice it into wedges.

Now depending on how you like your fries you can do two things. One, keep them nice and thick for steak fries, or keep slicing them until they get to the size you like. Mountain Man loves a good steak fry. I'm partial to the skinny minny.

If you see a dark spot, no worries

Just nip it off quick with your knife

After you've cut up all your potatoes, layer them on a cookie sheet and drizzle with oil (olive or veggie). You can line your baking sheet with foil if you want, but keep in mind the oil will probably sink down around the foil so you'll likely be washing the pan anyway.

Sprinkle with salt

Use your hands to toss the potatoes around so they all get covered with salt and oil

Bake at 450 degrees F. Pull out the pan and stir it around every once in a while so the fries get evenly browned. Cooking fries can take any where from 40 minutes to an hour, depending on how many potatoes you are cooking and how brown you like them. Be sure to keep checking and stirring them so they don't burn. It's a good idea to start your fries first, and then make the rest of your dinner while they are baking.

It's a great side dish, kids love 'em and you won't feel guilty about eating them because, potatoes are a veggie right?


Cafe Johnsonia said...

We make these all the time! They are so good.

Molly said...

We make these too! my mother in law pointed out to me that they cook faster and dont dry out as much if you cover with tin foil before cooking. =)

preparednesspro said...

I sprinkle my baked french fries with pepper, too - it's delish! My favorite thing to eat with fries is a dollop of sour cream and chopped green onions. It's also absolutely amazing with gravvy. On another gal's blog recently, I saw her making sweet potato french fries instead and sharing the wonderful health benefits over regular potatoes. Definitely something to try.


stef80 said...

Potatoes are also super easy to grow. Just cut up old potatoes, with lots of eyes, and plant them about 3 inches depth and 6 inches wide. When the wines die, they're ready to be harvested.