Thursday, October 1, 2009

Drive-In French Fries

After reading The Farmer's Daughter's comment on EnviRambo's post about Michael Pollan on Tuesday, I knew my world had shifted. French fries five years out, UNrotted? As I admitted in a follow-up comment to hers, I have not successfully broken the fast food french fry habit.

I was still reeling from the high school french fry report hours later when I picked up my son from first grade. I told him all about the teacher whose teenage students wanted to do an experiment about french fries to how long it would take for them to go bad. Only they haven't gone bad yet! I explained with horror. My son said, "I bet homemade french fries would go rotten. We should do our own experiment!"

And thus this post was born. First I hunted for a good french fry recipe -- not oven fries, but fried-in-saturated-fat french fries. When I saw the word batter right in the intro, I knew this was the recipe for me. Next I went shopping for my ingredients during a day trip to the beach: russet potatoes, and oil suitable for high heat (I had the rest of the spices already).

Next I...well, you know what they say about photos! So here's a little photo tutorial for everyone reading out there.

Step 1: peel your potatoes

Step 2: cut into fry shape (I used my mandoline)

Step 3: dip into the batter (chopsticks work very well)

Step 4: heat your oil

Step 5: self-explanatory

So after soccer practice, I sat my boys (son and husband) down at the dinner table. I revealed the efforts of my hard work and they gleefully grabbed at the piping hot fries. Not much talking going on, but lots of "mmmm" sounds and non-verbal cues of approval (i.e. exuberant thumbs up).

Afterwards, and with great drama, I produced a McDonald's french fry for each of them, demanding a taste test.

Step 6: if you can't tell which is which, you're in trouble. ;)

I don't really need to say that my boys voted for my fries. And granted, drive-in french fries are a lot more labor intensive than drive-thru french fries. But it's worth every single step. Now I am wondering if there are ways to streamline the process; i.e. dip the fries in the batter, freeze individually on a cookie sheet (in order to freeze in bulk) and then all you'd have to do is the frying part? What do you all think?

As for the Great Experiment, I'll report back at the first sign of mold!


DreamCatcher said...

Oh God! Everytime I read an American/Northen European blogger talk about cooking, I sigh.Deep.
You don't need to freeze your french fries. It takes a total of 15min to peel,cut,fry,eat!
Here is the process:
1. Put enough oil in a pan and turn the heat on.
2. Start to peel in a bawl
3. Wash the potatoes
4. Cut in similar sizes
5. Salt
6. Put potatoes in the pan carefully.They must be as dry as possible. The oil should be hot enough. Don't put too many too fast or the temp will go down fast and you don't want that.
7. Bon apetit

-Do not use butter.Totally unnecessary and unhealthy.
-Try to use olive oil, and because I know that where you live it's price must be in the sky, you could use sunflower oil. But the taste is not the same! Trust me!
-If you slice the potatoes try to slice them thin enough. But if you cut them in the french fries shape the thicker the taster!
That's the greek way of frying potatoes and it's a very very usual side dish in the average family weekly menu
Hope I've helped

Green Me Alison said...

lol. I started off being offended by a harsh comment, but then I remembered the absolute BEST French Fries I've ever had were made by a Greek man in France...perhaps DreamCatcher is right! And perhaps the invention of French Fries needs to go to the Greeks :)

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

I've been making homemade french fries the way dreamcatcher describes for years now, and they are not as addictively tasty as a fast food fry or even the frozen bags of fries from the supermarket (maybe I'm doing something wrong -I'm not Greek) so I'm excited to try this version with the batter. Thanks for sharing!

Green Bean said...

These look awesome. I'm totally going to try them. I may try DreamCatcher's too - just for fun. One cannot have too many homemade french fries!

Jessica Nichols said...

I must be one slow, unskilled woman in the kitchen because these took me way, way longer than 15 minutes to make. Maybe I shouldn't do them on minimum school & soccer days either, because I definitely wanted a short cut for next time. I dunno...

Jessica Nichols said...

Also being of Italian heritage, I do love my olive oil but I thought it was not supposed to be used for frying. Has anyone else heard that too?

DreamCatcher said...

@Green Me Alison: sorry, my intension was not to offend.

@Jessica Nichols: I can't know about your cooking skills but...nevertheless...making french fries is extremely easy and quick. Try this link for more info on olive oil

Farmer's Daughter said...

Can I just tell you how much I love that you did this experiment with your son? That it was his idea and you're actually doing it! That's so awesome.

And yeah, those fries sit in my classroom, with a label that says "Caution: Science Experiment. French Fries Purchased 12/13/04."

I've got about 30 years left til I retire, then I figure I'll hand them down to another teacher.

Green Bean said...

Jess: I always thought you weren't supposed to use olive oil for frying too. Helpful link from DreamCatcher.

Abbie: WHAT!!!! You're retiring?

fearlesschef said...

We always make our own fries and potato chips. We make giant batches that take up most of the evening for the chips. Then, I store them in ziploc bags and they will last for 2 weeks or until they are gone; whichever is sooner! I talked my husband into trying to make our own and now that's all he wants... so nice!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

@fearlesschef - Do you have a recipe for the chips in your blog? That's something I've been wanting to try. Also do you have to freeze or refrigerate them to get them to last 2 weeks?

scifichick said...

The french fries you made look so yummy! When I saw Supersize Me and they did an experiment with french fries, that just really grossed me out. And they didn't even do it for that long! 5 years is just crazy! Do they still smell OK?

daharja said...

Your fries look sooooo good! And me on a health kick and all...oh well...

Seriously, I have a vague suspicion that your fries will go mouldy before the McNasties.

As an interesting (maybe) sidestory, did you know that cats won't even eat McDonalds Big Mac meat?

True. Years ago, my mother brought home McDonalds for our family, and there was an extra Big Mac.

No one wanted it, so she took out the patties, and cut them up for the cat.

And the cat turned her nose up at them.

Now, this cat would eat *anything*... dead rats, bogong moths, spiders...but not a Big Mac.

And I don't eat them either even since then. I figure there's no way I'm eating something a cat won't eat!

Please blog on how your experiment turns out!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin