Sunday, September 23, 2012

World-Class Baked Steak Fries

     If you say something is 'world class', you better bring your A game, but we've made these several times now, and have finally perfected the recipe!  Baked fries, while not exactly good for you, are far better health-wise than their deep-fried counterparts, and they're much easier to make in the average kitchen as well.  Simply take 2-3 medium-large white potatoes, scrubbed briefly under cold water, and cut them up into steak-fries.  In a large bowl, pour 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil over the potato wedges and toss well with a long-handled spoon of some sort.  This recipe serves two, and so one tablespoon of canola oil is not too bad at all, with only 14 grams of fat; split two ways, that's not much at all.  The thing is, sometimes, 1 tbsp isn't quite enough to get the fries good and crispy, so my suggestion is to go with 1.5-2 tbsp and just make the rest of your day a little bit healthier in other areas.    After the wedges are coated well with oil, sprinkle liberally with Emeril's ESSENCE, which can be picked up at any grocery store, or made at home with the recipe here, and a touch of cayenne for a kick if you so desire. 
Fries prior to baking
Place on a large cookie sheet in a single layer, and bake at 480 for approximately 30-35 minutes, shaking the pan and tossing the fries every 8-10 minutes or so.  After 30-35 minutes, cut the heat, and let them coast just a bit longer.  These bake up nice and crispy on the outside, but just slightly firm on the inside, just like the fries you might get at a high-end steakhouse!  Sprinkle with a bit of grated parmesan or parmesan blend (we used HyVee's Parmesan/Romano blend and it was awesome).  Serve with whatever dipping sauce you prefer, and enjoy.  We may never eat steak with baked potatos again!   

Pumpkin Ale Beer Bread (with a twist)

     Today was another church potluck and, since the weather was so amazing this weekend, we decided to try to do it outside at Nancy's house.  Jessi and I wanted to do something new, but something that was also suitably fall-ish.   Oh, and I had some leftover Schlafly Pumpkin Ale from last year which, while still good, needed to be used up so's I can get a sixer of the fresh stuff from down the street at Prairie Home General Store (who now stocks a small amount of good beer and wine)!  At any rate, these factors conspired together to produce today's treat: Pumpkin Beer Bread!
Possibly the best pumpkin ale out there!
     The original recipe upon which mine is closely based, is found here.  To be honest, I had planned to make this recipe exactly as is (except to possibly add chopped pecans or walnuts), because it looks just about perfect, but in my rushed state I overlooked the fact that we didn't have any whole-wheat flour.  Come to find out, we also didn't have any nuts (at least other than peanuts, which would not make a very good pumpkin bread), since I used the last of the walnuts in the bacon-banana bread.  Well, church was in a little over an hour, so I improvised.  I'd heard that chocolate makes a good companion to pumpkin and (after having tried this combination in a martini...more on that later) I decided I'd try it here as well. 
The finished product...
     In the end, I followed the original recipe, but with a couple of changes.  First off, I used all all-purpose flour, because it's all we had.  Also, I added 3/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter.  The original recipe called for baking at 350 for around 60 minutes.  I upped this to 360 (I was, as per usual, late for church) and it finished perfectly in about 57 minutes.  Flipped right out of the pan (greased with cooking spray) and people really seemed to enjoy it. 
Good, but that's a whole lotta chocolate...
     We'll likely make this again.  I'm dead sold on using Schlafly Pumpkin Ale for this.  After all, it's one of if not the best pumpkin ales out there, is local, and is readily available.  Also, since it's slightly stronger than the average pumpkin ale (8% abv) it lent a slightly alcohol/fruity/molasses flavor to the finished product that was very nice.  If we make this again with the chocolate chips, we'll probably drop the amount down to 1/2 a cup or maybe even a touch less.  I was going for pumpkin bread with a hint of chocolate; this came out as a chocolate/pumpkin bread.  If that's what you're going for, keep the 3/4 cup of chocolate chips, but it was a bit much for us.  Also, next time around, we might try the original recipe (i.e. w/some whole-wheat, or maybe even barley flour), but add some toasted pecans or walnuts.  At any rate, this was a solid recipe that we'll definitely be returning to!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...