The Potato Chip Contraption

 

The Potato Chip Contraption is a nifty thing I picked up this past weekend.

Many of you know I am advocate for eliminating processed foods. My mantra is ” If it has to be processed, process it yourself.”

It’s amazing though how easy it is to “forget” that when it comes to potato chips.

I/we really like them.

A lot.

So our chip bin has been a bit sparse since I began to process all of our own foods.

I’ve been thinking about deep-frying and not being very attracted to using all that fat at home, especially for potato chips.

Because, you do know that you’d just have to make fries too, since the oil is hot and the potatoes are out. And you want to make the most efficient use of all resources. It is also highly possible that some chicken wings may have to follow.

It just makes sense. Right?

I wandered out of the house last week, just to get out for a while.

I found myself in a kitchen store, imagine that.

When I saw this handy thing, I thought “Well, Hello Chips!” It was less than $10 so it came home with me.

The Potato Chip Contraption

The Potato Chip Contraption

I love it!

From the top to the bottom: Hand guard, slicer, chip rack, serving bowl

The 4 pieces of the contraption

The 4 pieces of the contraption

Homemade Potato Chips Not fried

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: simple; contraption required
  • Print

1 Potato Chip Contraption

1 russet or Yukon Gold potato

Light Drizzle of oil

Seasonings of choice: salt, pepper, garlic, onion etc.

Method:

Take a potato; wash it. Peel it, if you want. I like the peel and it carries nutrients too. I recommend just a good scrub.

Hold the potato with the hand guard if you want, I don’t use it, but if you’re not sure, use it. The blade is really sharp.

Slice the potatoes into the bowl

Slice the potatoes into the bowl

Slice the potatoes into thin slices. I find it works best to make small round slices rather than long oval ones. Why? They fit better on the contraption.

Drop the potatoes into a separate bowl, drizzle with a few drops of oil, then season.

Sliced 'taters

Sliced ‘taters

Place each potato slice into a slot on the chip rack; filling up the rack. This will use about 1/2 of a potato which is a perfect one portion size. It takes 24 slices to fill the rack.

Line the potato slices up on the rack

Line the potato slices up on the rack

Place the rack in the microwave and cook the potatoes for 3-4 minutes. Timing will vary. These took 4 minutes, but other batches took less time.

Check them, if you see potatoes turning brown, get them out as they are done!

Turn the chips out into a bowl and serve. Be careful because they will be hot at first. Remove them from the rack while still warm because if you let them cool, they become very crisp and break when you try to remove them. So work fast!The Potato Chip Contraption

Here’s what I love the most about this contraption:

  • Crispy chips NOT deep-fried!

  • I love to eat good chips and not support processed food manufacturing.
  • We eat fresh chips, not old ones.
  • We get to eat chips without a lot of added fat and we control the salt and seasonings.

Ever read the ingredients on the “Salt & Black Pepper” flavored chips? . . . just saying. . .

Just in case you get a wild hair on and make a bunch of chips, here is a link to:

Potato Chip Cookies!

Crispy, home made potato chips

Crispy, home-made potato chips

 

 

 

 

Pita Bread From Laurel’s Kitchen

The other day I was reading about a basic bread recipe in one of my favorite old cookbooks Laurel’s Kitchen. She suggested to make one loaf from half of the batch of dough and then make about a dozen pita breads out of the other half.

Puffed Pita

Puffed Pita

My curiosity was peaked. I’ve taught how to made pita bread in the bakeshop classes before, but I never considered making them at home. So, I though I’d give it a try.

I divided the dough into 12 round smooth balls, rolled them out and baked then on the hot pizza stone.

Dough balls for pita

Dough balls for pita

Here’s the recipe from Laurel’s Kitchen, not quite verbatim.

This is half of the original recipe since we aren’t making an additional loaf here today.

Pita Bread

  • Servings: about 12
  • Difficulty: moderate to skilled
  • Print

  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3 cups whole wheat bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups warm water (not over 110°F)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Mix the dry ingredients, make a well in the center of the bowl. Mix the wet ingredients then pour them into the well made in the dry ingredient bowl. Mix on low-speed in a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with a dough hook  until everything comes together.

If the dough seems too dry at this point, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach  the desired consistency. If the mixture is too wet, add more flour.

The perfect dough will feel slightly sticky, not firm and clay-like.

If kneading by hand, knead for 20-30 minutes. Using the mixer, knead on medium speed for 8-10 minutes until the dough in elastic.

Oil the surface of the dough, cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size.

Pre-heat the oven to 450°F, place a baking stone (if you have one) on the bottom shelf. Remove all other shelves before you heat the oven.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide the dough into 12 or so smooth round balls. Cover and allow the dough to rest in a draft free area for 10 minutes. Laurel claims this step is essential.

Starting with the first ball made, roll out 2 or 3 balls into a disk “about the thickness of a good wool blanket” or 1/8 of an inch thick. The circles should be about 6″ around.

Roll to a thickness of a heavy wool blanket

Roll to a thickness of a heavy wool blanket

If using a heated baking sheet, place 2-3 dough circles flat onto the hot stone. Move quickly to retain heat in the oven, but don’t get burned either.

Quickly shut the oven door and set the timer for 3 minutes.

Turn on the oven light and watch the pita bake.

At 1 minute they look like Mrs. Douglas’ hot cakes on Green Acres; the next minute the magic happens as the dough begins to puff up like a balloon! It’s fun to watch! Let it cook through the third minute. The dough is done when the bottom side is lightly brown and the top side slightly moist, but not shiny wet.

Poofy Pita!

Poofy Pita! I flipped these over so you can see the brown on the underside. Don’t let the top get brown or the bread will be too crispy.

Don’t let the pita get golden brown on top too or else the pita will dry out and be crispy instead of flexible and all foldy like.

The key is to be sure the dough circle lay flat on the stone or the baking sheet, whatever you use.

Cut the pita in half and you’ll see the perfect pocket for stuffing!

My favorite pita sandwich is a couple of slices of roasted chicken, turkey or ham filled with chopped salad and drizzled with Italian dressing, top with shredded cheese.

The chopped salad has lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, radishes and shredded carrot in it, cut so it fits easily into the pocket pita.

Try it if you want, I sure had fun!

We’ve had pita sandwiches of all kinds, pita pizza, and toasted some for pita chips to go with the guacamole.

If you make them, be sure you watch them rise. It really is like magic!Baked pita

A word about Laurel’s Kitchen: The New Laurel’s Kitchen is a vegetarian cookbook published in 1976. It was one of my favorite books when it came out. I have literally worn out 2 copies and am working on a third.

A Pile of Pita

A Pile of Pita

Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream

Cashew cream is easy to make, tasty and versatile. Use it to replace cream and sometimes ricotta cheese in many recipes.

The consistency can be controlled by the mount of water added when pureeing the soaked cashews.

Here’s how to do it:

Make Cashew Cream

Using raw cashews, not toasted or salted, soak the nuts over night in 2 times the water. (1 cup raw cashews to 2 cups water)

It is best to soak over night or for 3-8 hours.

Soak the cashews

Soak the cashews

Next drain the nuts, add them to a high-speed blender and process for 3-5 minutes or until the consistency is where you want it. Add clean fresh water to thin it out. If you want a ricotta consistency, use just a little water, for cream like, add a bit more.

A good high-powered blender is strongly suggested for this in order to really get the cream smooth. I used both a Vita Mix and a Ninja blender, both worked just fine. I have not tried making it in a food processor just yet.

Add water to get the desired consistency

Add water to get the desired consistency

Finish with a pinch of salt and a few drops or so of fresh lemon juice.

With the cashew cream, I made a cashew Mac and Cheese.

Take cooked pasta, toss it with cashew cream, a bit of shaved Parmesan and a few scallions and parsley. I filled a few small side dishes and warmed them in the oven and topped with fresh cheese shaving to serve.

If you wanted to keep this dish vegan, you can use vegan cheese, but to me vegan cheese isn’t “real” cheese, so I use just a touch of the real stuff.

Simple enough, huh?

Other suggestions to use Cashew Cream:

If using as a substitute for dairy cream on the stove, stay with it as it will thicken much faster than regular cream.

Make creamed corn or spinach, a creamy broccoli soup or use it thicker and add chipotle peppers to top tacos or other Mexican dishes, use it to top baked potatoes. It can even be whipped to make a cashew whipped cream.

And, if you have any left over, freeze it; or make ice cream!

It is so versatile and handy to have an alternative to real dairy cream.

Yummy! Cashew Cream!

Yummy! Cashew Cream!

Almond, Date, Cranberry and Lime “No-Bake” Cookies

A Morsel of Almond Date Cranberry Lime Cookie

A Morsel of Almond Date Cranberry Lime Cookie

Almond, Date, Cranberry and Lime “No-Bake” Cookies are a real treat!

They are a “no-bake” cookie which puts them in the raw category; they are no sugar, eggs or butter so they also fall into the vegan category. With all natural ingredients so they also fall into the healthy foods and nutritious category.

Personally, my favorite category for  these morsels: Delicious!

Keep in mind some people might be put off thinking they are eating a raw cookie. So change the language and present these delicious morsels.

NOTE: Don’t fall prey to marketing ploys and think that because the label claims “healthy, all-natural or nutritious” does not mean low in calories! Learn to read a nutrition label and compare information.

Here’s the recipe for the cookies. It’s pretty much put it all in a food processor and pulse until a dough forms. Have fun!

Almond, Date, Cranberry and Lime “No-Bake” Cookies

  • 1/2 cup pitted Medjool Dates
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup crunchy almond butter
  • 1 generous Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • Zest and juice from 1 lime
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a dough forms. Leave some nuts chunky for a cookie that has some crunch.

Taste the dough and see if it need adjustment: a bit more salt? More vanilla or lime?

Form the dough into about 18 balls. Place the balls on a cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie with a fork.

That’s it.

Flatten the dough balls with a fork; like you would peanut butter cookies

Flatten the dough balls with a fork; like you would peanut butter cookies

The texture is kinda like fudge but in a much better way. If you leave some nuts slightly chunky, your cookie can have a crunchy texture too, but if you want a smooth cookie, pulse until smooth.

You can choose to roll the cookies in coconut, chopped nuts or cocoa with a dash if cinnamon if desired. Use peanut butter, cashew or almond butter with cocoa in it. I guess in a pinch you could use Nutella but the point here is to avoid added sugar and processed foods in delicious ways.

(OK, so now I have to make another batch using the cocoa!!!)

Most people would never realize these are considered “raw food” but they are.

These certainly aren’t low in calories but the sure supply great nutrients: Potassium, fiber, iron, B-6 and magnesium and vitamin E.

Just a note, you can leave the coconut oil out but it adds so much, I would use it.

Oh, and don’t bake these beauties for any reason! If you try, all that will happen is the oils from the nuts will leak out and leave you with a rather unpleasant mess. So if you want  a baked cookie recipe, use another recipe, not this one.

Hopefully you make your own vanilla extract, if not, go get ya some vanilla beans and some 100 proof vodka and make some!

Click this link: Perpetual Vanilla Extract

Please make a batch of these and let me know how you like them and how they go over with friend and family.

Raw Almond Date Cranberry Cookies  Rather than "raw" let's call them "No Bake"

Raw Almond Date Cranberry Cookies
Rather than “raw” let’s call them “No Bake”