Thursday, January 27, 2011
Over the last couple of days I've had an inexplicable craving for potato chips, spicy ones. Maybe it's because I saw someone eat a bag the other day or simply because I'm craving some sort of salty starch as comfort food. The weather has been gross all week here in Halifax aside from one nice sunny day with no precipitation. It was -8 and it felt like spring, I tell ya. It felt balmy, in fact. I sweat as I walked outside. It was amazing. Today everything is rainy/snowy/slushy wet and icky. It's warm enough but it doesn't take away from the fact that you feel like a soggy wet mess by the end of the day.
As I dreamt of potato chips, my mind wandered to hash browns and then tater tots. I wasn't about to buy the frozen kind, seeing as I knew I had two perfectly wonderful potatoes at home. So I decided to experiment... I looked up the basics for tater tots, first I was thinking of frying them, but I thought that was a little too similar to latkes. Some recipes call for boiling your potatoes first and then shredding them while others insist on shredding the potatoes raw. I opted for boiling my potatoes. I then shredded then with a regular ol' cheese grater, skins on. I don't mind the tough skins and I like to think that it's leaves some sort of nutritious part of the vegetable. (Yes, nutritious, even though I will be frying these suckers later).
The recipe that I used, can be found here: http://www.grouprecipes.com/50365/tater-tots.html
It called for 8 potatoes and 4 tablespoons of flour. I only had 2 potatoes, I eyeballed and added 3 tablespoons of flour. I seasoned as called for with salt and pepper and added cayenne to spice things up. I also decided on a whim to add some onion, and I did what I've never done before. I grated an onion so it created onion pulp and mixed it in with the potato shreds in a bowl. I then opened my cupboard to find the perfect experimental ingredient. Chipotle cheese herb powder. I know, I know, cheese powder?? This is a little less repulsive, I must say, because I bought it from a stand at the farmer's market in the fall. The couple puts the stuff together homemade by themselves. You usually add it to mayo and sour cream to make a sauce. I've put it on burgers before, trust me, it's delicious. So I threw in a generous dusting of the cheese powder and began to form my little tater balls.
Alas, no vegetable oil in the house, so I panfried the taters in olive oil,browning two sides. Then I placed them on a baking sheet with aluminum foil for about 15 minutes in the oven on 350 degrees.
Being home made, I like to think that this is healthier than the store bought stuff and it's kind of nice to know one can make their own tater tots to their own liking. This could get fun.. I can think of the possibilities... bacon tater tots, sausage tater tots, bell pepper tater tots, ginger garlic tater tots, herb tater tots...
And this is a great little snack for kids too, and if you finagle it right, you can make sure they get some little veggie in there as well. They might even like to make the little tater balls! Lookin out for all the parents and kiddos out there, 'cause I'm going to be having yet another niece or nephew (that will make 4).
And for me, that's a culinary success! To make a somewhat improvisational meal that can have so many other variations according to your own taste!