Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sweet Potato Chips with Chili Salt

Can you think of anything more tasty than a thin, crispy french fried potato? How about thin, crispy french fried sweet potato chips?

A few years ago, The Fly Rod Gawd and I were visiting St. Michaels in Maryland and we stopped at this great restaurant whose name I can't remember. It was one of those great evenings that no matter how hard you try, you just can't recreate.

As we were sitting in the dinning room, looking out over the Chesapeake, our waiter brought us a plate of fresh sweet potato chips. We had never had crispy sweet potato chips before, but as soon as we tried them we wondered where they had been all our lives!

Not only were we lovn' the chips, but just as our dessert was being served a Barbershop quartet that was having dinner at the same time broke out in song!

It was such a wonderful night and one that we will never forget.

You will be surprised at how easy these chips are to make and everyone seems to love them. They can take on a lot of different flavors, but we like them with a spicy chili salt and a lime sour creme.

Sweet Potato Chips with Chile Salt

6 cups Canola oil
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon chipotle pepper powder
1 lime
8 ounces sour creme
2 large sweet potato

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan to 375 degrees.

Mix the salt and chipotle pepper in a small bowl, set aside. Add the sour creme to a small bowl and mix in the juice and zest of the lime, set aside.

Peel and slice the sweet potato very thin. Fry the sweet potato's in batches until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. Immediately season with the chili salt. Serve with the lime sour creme for dipping.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Honey Wheat Pizza Dough

This week, I have been trying to decide what to do for Superbowl Sunday. I need something to serve that is easy and basically self serve, but I didn't want to just do buffet food. Of course I'll have the usually line up of snacks and finger foods but for the main event, I wanted to do something fun. What I came up with is a pizza bar. Everyone loves pizza right?

My challenge is to find a way to make it a little bit healthier but still have a great tasting pizza. This week I have been playing around with whole wheat bread dough and I think I have finally come up with a winner. By adding a little more honey and some garlic to the dough, the result was a hearty dough with a lot of flavor. The best part, is that it also made a really good sandwich roll as well.

I'm not sure who will be playing in the big game, but I do know that the pizza bar at The Saucy Bird will be open for business!

Honey Wheat Pizza Dough

1 1/2 cup water, warmed to 110°F
1 packet active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil

Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil and set aside. Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Combine flours and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture, honey, oil and garlic, stir until dough begins to form -- it will be slightly sticky. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth but still tacky -- about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to the prepared bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until the dough doubles in volume.

Punch the dough down, remove from the bowl, and let dough rest for 5 minutes. Divide the dough in half and turn one piece out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into desired shape and size.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Buttermilk Onion Crisps

Whew!!! The holidays are finally over and this year I can't say that I am sorry. The Fly Rod Gawds Mother has had some pretty serious health issues and adding hospital tests and doctor visits to the already hectic season really wore me out.

I have been trying to get these french fried onions posted since New Year's day but haven't been able to get to it. Well, I probably could have but we had to watch the bowl games. And then, I had to get the Christmas lights down, at least from the front porch. (I was beginning to feel a little Gretchen Wilsonish).

So everything, is finally down and boxed, just waiting for The Fly Rod Gawd to stow the boxes in the shed. I am always surprised at how blah the house looks when the decorations come down.

Anywhoo, these crispy onions are the result of my first experiment with the mandolin Santa brought me for Christmas. I have been wanting one for a long time now and it is one of those things that I just wouldn't buy for myself. Well all I have to say is: THANK YOU SANTA! I LOVE IT.

It made these crispy fried onions sooooo easy. Just zip zip zip and they were sliced perfectly. Now I just have to figure out how to keep from eating them so I have enough for everyone else. They made the perfect football snack and I think they would make the perfect topper for mac and cheese.

Buttermilk Onion Crisps

3 large onions
1 cup self rising flour
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground sage
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 cups canola oil
Kosher salt or Celery Salt

Peel the onions and slice thin on a mandolin. Pat dry with paper towels and place in a large bowl. Mix together the flour, pepper and sage. Spoon some of the flour mixture over the onions and stir to lightly coat. Beat together the egg and butter milk. Pour some of the egg mixture over the onions. Stir to evenly coat. Spoon the remaining flour mixture over the onions and stir to coat.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan to 375 degrees. Place the onions a little at a time in the hot oil, sitr with a fork to break apart and fry 3 to 4 minutes turning occasilnally until golden brown. Season with kosher salt or celery salt and serve warm.

Try not to eat too many!