5/9/11

9 What Labor Pains?


I hope you all enjoyed your Mother's Day.  It's a wonderful time to appreciate and remember our mothers, whether she lives near, far away, or is no longer with you.  Some of you are mothers yourselves  or are patiently waiting to become a mother.

Have some of you been through labor?  You know, the acute, agonizing type of labor where you are in intense pain, trying desperately to push out a being with a head the size of a bowling ball, screaming at anyone for meds or for a two by four  to knock you out?  I have.  Once.  But then something magical happens.  The baby is born and the minute you hold that little bundle in your arms, all the pain seems to melt away. 

As it is with this recipe....It starts with the perfect marriage of spices: Salt, pepper, cayenne, oregano, onion and garlic powders are thrown together to make the perfect blend...not too spicy for this girl!


Next, russet potatoes are washed and cut into wedges.  Begin by cutting the potato in half length wise.  With the cut side of the potato on the cutting board, start with a cut down the middle...


and make 1/4" wedge cuts on either side...


Cool, huh?

Toss the potato wedges with 4 teaspoons of the spice blend and canola oil in a large microwave safe bowl.  Cover and microwave on high for 7-9 minutes...this is partially baking the potatoes.  You don't want to cook them all the way.


Arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer to cool for 10 minutes.

In the left bowl, is a mixture of all purpose flour and cornstarch.  In the right bowl is a mix of buttermilk and baking soda.  If you don't have buttermilk, you can use soured milk, a combination of lemon juice (or vinegar) and milk.


This is where the work, or labor comes into play.  While the oil is heating up, you dip a handful of potato wedges into the flour mix, shake off excess, and dip into the buttermilk mix, let it drip.....annnnnnd....back into the flour mix.

Doesn't sound hard, does it?  Dip, shake, dip, shake, dip.

Hee, hee hoo......hee, hee, hoo.....

I took a look at my finger tips.

There was something seriously wrong.  I had a blob of goo on each finger tip.

It was getting harder and harder to get a handle on the process while my fingers were getting layer after layer of flour, buttermilk, and more flour.  The malt ball sized blobs were growing by the minute....

Enter the tongs.  These saved my life.  And my fingertips!

See all that goo?


I thought I would be smart and use only half the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan.  I used  a candy thermometer, as not everyone is lucky enough to have a deep fryer.

Having a thermometer is crucial to deep frying.  If the oil is not hot enough, you will have a soggy, greasy product.  If it is too hot, you will have a crispy exterior and an uncooked center.

This recipe wants these taters to be fried at 340ºF.

Check.


I was only able to put 4-5 wedges in the oil.  The taters only take about 4-6 minutes to cook. 


The hot, freshly cooked wedges are put into a bowl and sprinkled with some left over seasoning.  The seasoned taters are then put on a wire rack lined baking sheet and kept them warm in a 200ºF oven.


After frying the third batch, I was regretting using the smaller saucepan.  I had spent 30 minutes standing over the stove, watching my itsy bitsy batches of taters frying, and there was still more to go....



If you have a large, heavy bottomed pan (or dutch oven) that will hold 3 quarts of oil, use it.  You will be able to fry up two pounds of taters in 15 minutes or less.

Lesson learned.

Time to sit down, hold this baby in my fingers and take a bite to see if this was all worth it...



Crispy.  Full of flavor.  Soft, tender melt-in-your mouth inside.

I'm in love.


Crispy Tater Babies
(4x6 recipe download)     (full page printable recipe)


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