Sunday, June 12, 2011

salt and vinegar potatoes

grilled salt and vinegar potatoes
sometimes i see a recipe and i'm
instantly angry at myself for not
thinking of it first.

that's how i felt over a year ago
when i saw
grilled salt & vinegar potatoes
on 101 cookbooks, just under
a year ago. it just seemed so
obvious - but really was it?

i'm embarrassed to admit it,
but even though, at the magazine,
we constantly infused potatoes
with everything from garlic and rosemary
to lemon, before mashing,
i never made the leap to slices.
or to liquid infusing.
or to recreating a potato chip.

but, i'm getting ahead of myself.

i like salt and vinegar potato chips.
when it comes to potato chips are
they my absolute? no. but, i enjoy
the occasional puckered torture.
when i saw this recipe, it just seemed
so smart. and, as is my new,
lease on life - pretty easy.

(not to say that i'm always taking
the simple way out. for some reason,
that i cannot explain, i spent most of last
week preparing fish tacos -
just for larry and i - for days.
on sunday, i shopped for the ingredients.
monday, before meeting my family
for dinner, i pickled the red onions.
tuesday, when i got home from work,
i broiled tomatillos, an onion, cloves
of garlic and a jalapeno
before throwing them into the
food processor with lime, cilantro and
scallions for salsa.
the next night (taco night),
i made a lime crema, then
marinated and cooked the fish.
so that's ok, but sometimes chopping an onion
and garlic and opening a can of tomatoes
for a crazy quick marinara
is just too much.
it's ok - i don't always understand me either.)
potatoes, vinegar
anyway, the potatoes.
they looked very fast and hard to mess up.
it was a very hot night and
i loved that they could be mostly prepped ahead
of time and then, only cooked for only 10 minutes on the
grill. and, i loved that the recipe
was made from very simple ingredients:
waxy potatoes,
white vinegar,
olive oil,
salt and pepper.
sliced potatoes
sliced potatoes in white vinegar
and here's what you have to do.
you slice the potatoes pretty thin,
and place them into a saucepot, already
filled with 2 whopping cups of vinegar.
once that mixture has been brought to
a boil, let them briefly simmer
and then turn off the heat.
after that? you walk away for 30 minutes to
cook something else. or if you're like me,
decide that all this hard work has earned
you the right to watch an episode of gilmore
girls that you've probably seen before.

when the time is up,
you drain the potatoes. again, if you're like me,
this is when you freak out, thinking that it is such
a waste to just throw out all that vinegar. but
then you remember that it's all potato starchy
and that if you're going to use it, this is probably
your only chance. so, you drain the potatoes over
a bowl, pour the vinegar back into the saucepot
and bring the whole thing to a boil. you're not
sure what you're going to do with the reduced
mixture - or with a house that smells of vinegar -
but at least you were not wasteful.

so then, you toss the potatoes with
olive oil, salt and pepper, taking care not to
crush them (and again, if you're like me,
this is the part you will be most afraid of,
but, i promise, you will be ok.)
par cooked potatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper
grilled potatoes
next you'll throw the slices
(actually, maybe you'd
be better off carefully placing them -
i'm sad to say i lost a couple)
on the grill. cover and cook for
a few minutes before flipping
and repeating. and then,
sprinkle with salt. or if you're like me,
sprinkle them with
the sriracha salt you had to make
(but actually had no plans to actually use).

oh, and i almost forgot.
serve that reduced down vinegar on the side,
for dipping. maybe you'll be the only one
who feels like you need that extra kick.
maybe you'll be the only one who wants
to add a little torture. but, at least you
weren't wasteful.
potatoes (way better than the burgers)
salt and vinegar potatoes
adapted from 101 cookbooks
i really enjoyed these potatoes - they were a great side dish to a pretty bad main course (we're not talking about that, though) and they were fun. i think i probably could have simmered them for an extra minute or two and maybe grilled them for a minute less. but, nonetheless, they were good. and we enjoyed them.

2 cups white vinegar
1 pound waxy potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
sriracha salt or additional salt of your choosing

pour vinegar into medium saucepot. using sharp knife, cut potatoes into 1/4" slices, adding them to the vinegar as you cut, to prevent them from browning. make sure that the potatoes are completely submerged in the vinegar.

set saucepot on stove; bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, or until they are just fork tender. turn off heat and let potatoes sit 30 minutes. drain potatoes. (as i said above, at this point, i drained about a cup of vinegar into a bowl, returned it to the saucepot and boiled for about 15 minutes, or until reduced and slightly thicker. i used it as a very (obviously) vinegary dipping sauce. not necessary, but i liked the extra tang it gave to the potatoes.)

place potatoes in bowl; add olive oil, salt and pepper. toss to coat.

heat grill to medium-high. grill potatoes covered, 6-10 minutes, turning once, or until golden brown and marked on both sides. remove from grill; sprinkle with salt or sriracha salt.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

sriracha salt

sriracha salt close-up
i box myself in. a lot.
i made the sriracha because
we like sriracha. because i wanted
to make something instead of buying
it in the store. i made it as an experiment.
but, if i'm being honest, bottles of sriracha
that we buy spend a long time in the fridge
before they're finished.

but, then. i did it anyway.
i made a huge quantity of a sauce
that says it's best used within one month.
i'll admit, i tend to ignore those time frames,
often viewing them more as suggestions,
than an absolute rule. but still - i was nervous.
i had a lot of sriracha.

so, i searched out recipes.
i found two that were intriguing - one
for a cheddar bread that is swirled with
sriracha and a second that didn't even involve
an oven or a stove: sriracha salt.
i haven't made the bread yet.
kosher salt
but, the next morning, while larry was
making the coffee, i pulled out a baking sheet,
parchment paper and salt. larry and erin, who
had spent the night, looked at each other.
they clearly were worried. i think they were
imagining an elaborate sunday morning breakfast
that they would not actually get to eat until
well into the afternoon.

i promised them that it wouldn't be bad
and that it would be over quickly. i begged
larry to keep making the coffee.
i placed the salt in the bowl and from there,
erin took over. she added sriracha, stirred
it into the salt and then spread it onto
the parchment-lined baking sheet with
much more patience than i would ever have.
wet sriracha salt
drying out
and that was it.
i placed it on the side of the kitchen,
stirring it probably three times over three days.
the first two times, i worked to break up a few
of the clumps that had formed.

when the salt was completely dry,
i transferred it to an air tight container.
have i used the salt?
once - in three weeks.
the irony is not lost on me.
sriracha salt
sriracha salt
adapted from the sriracha cookbook via
i loved the idea of this and if you don't mind the fact that you'll have a sheet pan sitting out in your kitchen for a couple days, it's a fun recipe to try. i wish that the sriracha flavor was more pronounced. every once in a while, when weirdly tempted to try it, i get a spicy grain. But otherwise, the infusion is, what i would call, mild. the grains are, however, quite a pretty pink color.

1/2 cup kosher salt
5 teaspoons sriracha

in bowl, stir together salt and sriracha. on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread into as thin of a layer as possible. let sit, stirring once or twice, for one to two days, or until completely dry. when i stirred, i broke up the small clumps that had formed.

store in a small airtight container.