Saturday, September 3, 2011

Baked French Fries

Fridays have become Carnival Food Night for me over the past few weeks.  I must make my apartment neighbors envious once I turn the overhead fan on, and the smell of french fries wafts from my studio window into their homes. 

Alas, I am not skilled enough in the culinary arts to make my own corn dogs, but I do not hesitate to allow my dear friend, Trader Joe, to do that for me (TJ's soy corn dogs are better than the meaty equivalent in my opinion)

Ketchup, which is made from a vegetable (or fruit, I suppose) creates a balanced meal.  Snicker, snicker.  Well, don't feel too bad--the fries ARE baked, but they're not any less tasty because of it.

Baked French Fries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

1 large baking potato, scrubbed clean of dirt (unless you like earthiness, than by all means...)
1 TB vegetable oil or olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste, Lawry's seasoning salt is nice too, or garlic salt if you're a proud single lady like me

Cut potato into thin slices like so,

Cut slices into thin strips,

Place fries-to-be in  a large mixing bowl, pour oil over, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, yumminess, etc.  Roll up your sleeves, and get your hands dirty, coating potato bits in the oil and seasoning.

Place fries on a roasting pan.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, flipping fries over halfway between baking time. 

This recipe makes about two servings, but the other half can be frozen in a Ziploc bag, and crisped in the oven again when your next Carnival Food Night comes to town. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Courtney's Favorite Granola

There's something about crunch.  Is it the sound?  The satisfaction we get from chomping down with our teeth into the armor of a crispy little nugget of goodness?  I can't say for sure, but I can say that this granola sates my otherwise endless craving for crunchiness.  Oh, and like all good things, it's sweet!
From a little Internet researching, a little cookbook sleuthing, I came up with this recipe, pretty much the first recipe I have ever created "on my own." It can easily become "your favorite granola" simply by customizing it: keep the ratios of the liquids and dry ingredients the same and you really can't go wrong.  One word of caution: watch this stuff like a hawk in about the last ten minutes of baking, because that's when it tends to get moody, and say, "I'm going to burn if I want to, and you can't stop me."  Otherwise, smooth sailing, and happy mouths.

Courtney's Favorite Granola
Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Mix dry ingredients:
3 cups oats
1 cup of walnuts (or almonds, or any other nut you like)
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Mix wet ingredients and spices
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1 TB vegetable oil
2 tsp cinnamon (or 1 each of cinnamon and nutmeg for a Christmas-y feel)
1 tsp vanilla, almond, or maple extract
1/2 c applesauce (I use sugar-free)
2-4 TB brown sugar

Incorporate mixed wet ingredients into mixed dry ingredients.  Sprinkle with a dash of salt.  Spread mixture on a greased jelly roll/roasting pan.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring after about 20 minutes.  After baking, allow granola to rest in pan for about 5 minutes to finish baking completely.  Spread granola onto a sheet of foil paper or a different pan to finish cooling completely.  Mix in dried fruit if desired (I like dried cranberries, dried apple slices, or raisins).  Store in airtight container for about a week, or in a Ziploc bag in the freezer for up to a month or two (not sure how long it lasts to be honest, because I eat it pretty quickly, but this seems to be the general consensus among other granola bakers).