Thursday, June 29, 2017

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries Poutine

A Riff on a Canadian Classic

I tried to make the steak look like a Maple Leaf 
Nothing says Canada quite like poutine.

A mix of crispy fries, hot savory gravy, and delicious melting cheese, it’s a fast food favorite in the great white north and I just had to make one in honor of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

My take on poutine represents the flavor preferences of the Canadian forefathers: Sweet potatoes are a favorite of Canada’s first peoples, the British love brown gravy, and the French love fine cheese and butter and were the inventors of the French fry (look it up).

Though the fries in poutine are traditionally fried, I opted to roast mine for a slightly healthier and lighter dish. They come out almost as crispy and allow you to worry less about burning the house down. Though cheese curds are the preferred cheese of choice for poutine, I opted for good Canadian cheddar as the flavor is a bit more interesting.

Try it! It may open your eyes!

Here’s How You Do It

Difficulty Level: Medium
Prep: About 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour and 30 Minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 Large Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks

3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

2 ½ Tablespoons of Montreal Steak Spice – Divided – This is a steak spice unique to Montreal – it’s a combo of salt, paprika, coriander, and a couple of different kinds of pepper and other things. If you can’t find it in the grocery store, google a recipe and make it yourself as you probably already have the ingredients among your herbs and spices OR buy any steak seasoning mix. It will do the job just fine.

2 Minute Steaks – Minute steaks are thin lean steaks typically used in sandwiches. They’re a lot cheaper than regular steaks and cook very quickly – perfect for this recipe.

1 Teaspoon of Vegetable Oil

¾ Cup Old Cheddar – finely chopped or grated – This will allow the cheese to melt when the gravy hits it. If you want to feel extra Canadian, use Canadian cheddar.

1 ½ Cups of Chicken Stock – boxed or canned is fine, available in the soup aisle

¾ Cup Dry White Wine – Whatever you have that’s cheap and easy to get hold of

2 Tablespoons of Softened Butter

2 ½ Tablespoons All Purpose Flour

2 Teaspoons of Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce

½ Teaspoon of Dijon Mustard

Salt and Pepper – To Taste

Equipment

1 Whisk

1 Frying Pan

1 Baking Pan

2 Small Bowls

Measuring Cups and Spoons

1 Fork

1 Spatula

1 Knife and Cutting Board

Preheat your oven to 350 oF .

Dump your sweet potatoes in your baking pan, add the olive oil and a Tablespoon and a half of steak spice.

Mix it all together with clean bare hands, shake the pan so most of the fries are lying flat and pop the pan in the oven.

Walk away for 35 minutes.

When the time is up, flip the fries over using your trusty spatula and pop them back in the oven.

Walk away for another 35 minutes.

Turn the oven off but keep the fries in the oven to keep them warm and crisp.

Season the steaks with the remaining steak spice.

Put the finely chopped cheese in a bowl on the counter and set it aside to get to room temperature so it will melt properly when the gravy hits it.

In another small bowl, mash the butter and flour together with a fork and set it aside.

Heat your frying pan on high and add the vegetable oil.

Cook the steaks for a minute and a half on each side and then transfer to a cutting board to rest.

Dump the chicken stock, wine, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, and Balsamic Vinegar in the frying pan and whisk together, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with your trusty whisk to get all those tasty bits of your cooking steak left behind.

Bring it to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and let the liquid reduce a bit and become more concentrated – about 10 minutes.

Add the butter and flour mix and whisk together until you can no longer see it. This will thicken your gravy.

Simmer until the gravy is slightly runnier than you like it and turn the stove off. Any residual heat will thicken your gravy even further while you assemble the poutine.

Cut your rested steak into strips.

Take your fries out of the oven and dump into your serving dish or individual bowls.

Top with the cheese pieces.

Add some steak strips and pour a generous amount of the gravy over top, making sure to leave some fries bare so you can enjoy some of their crispy sweetness.

ENJOY!

AND HAPPY CANADA DAY!

-Samantha R. Gold


Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.







Sunday, June 18, 2017

Oven Cinnamon French Toast


French toast is one of the ultimate comfort foods. A cross between toast and pancakes, it’s great not only because it takes simple ingredients everyone has but also because it’s a great way to bring life back to stale bread, hence the French term for it, “pain perdu” or “lost bread”.

Unfortunately, making French toast can be a royal pain in the butt as you have to figure out how to soak your bread without it falling apart before it hits the pan, and then making sure the inside is cooked before the outside is charred. Even I, the not-so-culinarily-challenged have had trouble with this…

…That is until I found a better way.

I make French toast in the oven. This way not only allows for even cooking, but also allows you to walk away while your oven does most of the work, not to mention that you can prepare large batches with minimal effort.

Here’s How You Do It
Difficulty Level: Easy
Prep time: 5-10 Minutes
Bake time: 20 minutes

Feeds 2 but the recipe can be doubled as needed

Ingredients

5 Slices of your favorite bread

2 Large Eggs

1 ½ Cups Whole Milk

1 ½ Tablespoons of Honey

1 Tablespoon Melted Butter + more to grease the pan

1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract - Optional

4 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar - Optional

Maple Syrup or Powder Sugar to Serve with

Equipment

1 Large Baking Pan

1 Mixing Bowl

1 Whisk

1 Spatula

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Preheat your oven to 350 0F.

Grease your pan with a combo of about a teaspoon of melted butter and the vegetable oil.

In your mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey, milk, melted butter, and cinnamon.
Dunk a slice of bread in the mixture and put it in the pan.

Repeat the process until the pan is full.

Sprinkle with some brown sugar if desired – it adds a bit of caramel flavor but it’s not necessary.

Walk away for 10 minutes.

Take the pan out of the oven and carefully flip the French toast over with your trusty spatula.

Walk away for another 10 minutes.

Take the pan out of the oven and serve with either powdered sugar or Maple Syrup.

Enjoy!

-Samantha R. Gold

Questions? Comments? Requests?

Bring it on!

I can be reached at:  for.the.culinarily.challenged@gmail.com

Trolls will be unceremoniously deleted and dismissed.