Consider the potato…

The Snack: BBQ Potato Chips

Consider the potato: This starchy little tuber has sustained mankind since 8000 BC.  In fact, it is estimated that the introduction of the potato is responsible for a quarter of the growth in the Old World population between 1700 and 1900 AD. This is probably because they’re cheap, filling and relatively easy to grow—I, myself, grew some from the cuttings of one of the little bastards that sprouted mere days after purchasing from my local grocery store (WTF, Giant Eagle?!) and under optimum conditions they can be stored for up to 12 months…so seriously, WTF, Giant Eagle? Why are mine sprouting after two days? Where have they been?!  Anyway, I digress…

The best thing about potatoes is that they make great snacks. French fries, tater-tots, pierogies, ‘tater-cakes, boxty, and my personal favorite: chips. I, fucking, love chips in all the flavors, so, so much. I could literally eat chips infinitely, as in I could keep eating them forever. Which is why I really *try* to avoid buying/making them. But work was awful this week, this election season was rough, I read too much existentialism for my own good and it’s effing SNACK DAAAAY!!!

So, in order to avoid the annoyance, mess, and potential safety hazard of soaking the potatoes in water to prevent them from oxidizing, and then drying them because water and hot oil don’t like each other; I recommend making the BBQ Love Dust first and then slicing each potato one at a time. So, slice, fry, remove, slice, fry, etc… It’s what works best for me.

Equipment you’ll need:

  • Large cast iron dutch oven or deep fryer
  • Mandolin slicer (if you have one)or chef’s knife (if you have skills and patience)
  • Coffee grinder (in this case spice grinder)
  • Spider strainer or slotted metal spoon
  • Large sheet tray lined with paper towels

For Amanda’s BBQ Love Dust: This blend is smoky and sweet, you’ll probably have a bit leftover that you could use as a dry rub on chicken, ribs, salmon, sprinkle on popcorn or make actual BBQ Sauce…oooh or with shrimp and butter and maybe make a bourbon reduction…mmmm…anyway where was I? Oh yeah, the recipe…

  • 1 T. Smoked Paprika
  • 3 T. Maple Sugar
  • 3 tsp Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1 and 1/4 tsp. Powdered dried orange peel (ground in the coffee grinder in advance, optional I suppose if you can’t find it)
  • 1/8 tsp. Mustard Powder
  • 1/8 tsp. Powdered Dried Rosemary (Penzeys had it powdered, otherwise—you guessed it, coffee grinder)

Method: Mix all that ish together in the coffee grinder and grind it to a fine powder—I like to pulse it, it’s very cathartic.

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You’ll notice that the bulk of my spices are from Penzey’s, which I will confess is a little expensive, however if you use a lot of spices it’s worth it. They have the best quality product that I’ve ever encountered, and when I was in a poverty-level income bracket I splurged for their cinnamon and vanilla because theirs is choice and really stands out above the rest. No, they do not sponsor me in any way but, damn, I’d shamelessly plug them a year for just one jar of their pizza seasoning.

For your ‘tater chips:

  • 4 medium size russet potatoes, sliced super thin
  • 2 quarts of either canola, vegetable, or if you’re really fancy and rich peanut oil.

Heat your pot of oil to between 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, carefully add your potato slices in one at a time, you do not want to overcrowd the pot so probably around 20 or so slices will fit. Using the metal slotted spoon, give them a gentle stir and cook until golden brown (about 3 to 4 mins) then scoop the delicious little morsels out and place them on the sheet tray lined with paper towels. Give it a few seconds for the excess oil to drain and then sprinkle as much as the BBQ love dust all over them as you want. Repeat the process until you’ve made as many chips as your heart desires and move them to a big bowl for serving…you’ll probably want to add more BBQ dust. Be honest with yourself.

Although, I wouldn’t fault you for buying any regular old bag o’ chips, honestly. I mean my hair and my whole house smell of grease and I’ll probably end up deep frying more stuff over the course of the week, too in order to justify dumping $7 worth of oil into a pot.

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The Wine: Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere 2014

Goodness that’s wordy. So this lovely specimen is made of carmenere grapes from Chile. Carmenere is a French grape that was brought to Chile prior to the phyllorexa outbreak that just royally effed shit up in France in about 1867. Fun fact: a lot of wines from South America are grown on ungrafted vines making them sort of Old World and if there’s one true statement about me it’s that I like to keep it OG, son.  Carmenere isn’t as common in France anymore and when it is used it’s often used in blended wines, although there isn’t anything wrong with that.

I love this wine, this is my first time trying this particular grape and it has very quickly become my favorite. It has a beautiful crimson color and a very fruity aroma, the tannins are very soft and the taste isn’t terribly acidic, overall the flavor has a good balance of dark fruit—like black currants and earthy, herbal tones.  The finish is very smooth and lingers delicately; there isn’t anything that negatively stands out in the aftertaste. I feel like the sweet/smokiness will pair nicely with our snack. 10/10 will totes drink again.

I’d give it a few minutes to breathe after opening as I did notice that the second glass was more delicious than the first…and the third was more delicious than the second. After that I fell asleep.

The Movie: Slap Shot

slap_shot_movie_poster

Originally I wanted to watch classic chick movies with my wine and my snack because I guess I like to make myself cry, but I have to roll with the punches here and use what’s available to me at moment, but believe me, there will be Jane Austen in posts to come. It was written by a woman so that pretty much makes it a chick flick as far as I’m concerned.  I’d never seen this movie before so when I couldn’t find my usual flicks OnDemand and I saw adorable Paul Newman’s (second best lemonade on Earth) face smiling up at me I was like “Eh, fuck it” and that’s how it went down. I have to say, it’s hilarious, it has three of my favorite things vulgar dialogue, senseless violence, and hockey. I love hockey, I won’t pretend to know everything about it or to even follow it religiously but I do love it. I especially love hockey players; they’re always so handsome and can’t speak English (why would they? It’s not like they’re for talking to). I used to work as a cook/waitress/room service attendant in a hotel that was happily situated across from what was then Mellon Arena and while this hotel hosted a variety of teams from the NBA, NFL, and MLB as well, hockey season was my favorite because of all of the players in all of different sports, the hockey players were the nicest to me. Even Ovechkin.

So there you have it, an excellent way to spend a Sunday.

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