Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

March 15, 2009

sweet-potato-fries1So while winter seems to be taking a break for tonight, it wasn’t because suddenly the weather is more spring-like. If anything, it felt (and smelled) like full blown autumn. So what else was I to do than make myself some pork chops with a maple-apple glaze and some spiced sweet potato fries for dinner?

While my invented pork chops were less than stellar (honestly, a complete disaster.  They both looked and tasted like dog food), I feel the need to pass along the Sweet Potato Fries recipe, because it was incredible. I took Ina Garten’s basic recipe and made a few changes, although I think that next time I will change it again. Her recipe is incredibly versatile and you can cater it to complement almost any main dish you’re cooking. Here was my variation:

Spiced Sweet Potato Fries:

Ingredients:
2 medium peeled sweet potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp granulated light brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp plus more to taste fresh ground black pepper
nutmeg, sprinkled
cinnamon, sprinkled

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Cut potatos into medium-sized wedges
3. Place wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over potatoes and toss to cover wedges evenly.
4. Sprinkle brown sugar, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon over wedges. Place in over and bake for about 30 minutes, turning once.
5. Remove from oven and add more salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Ina’s original recipe is essentially the same as above minus the nutmeg and cinnamon. While what I ended up with was incredible-tasting, I would make some changes. First, I would toss the fries in the olive oil in a bowl before placing them on a pre-oiled baking sheet. The excess oil seemed to pool on the cookie sheet and I had to blot some off the fries. I would also have cut my potatoes much thinner to make them more crispy and less potato-y.

Here’s some variations I would try:
Sprinkle the wedges with McCormick Seasoned Salt (my favorite store-brand seasoned salt).
Sprinkle with a different spice such as paprika (hungarian) or cayenne.
Toss with minced garlic before spreading out on the baking sheet.
Drizzle with maple syrup, honey or brown sugar before baking.

In a nutshell, you can do anything with these babies! Not to mention they’re relatively fast cooking for a potato side and massively easy to do. Enjoy!

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Trader Joe’s Barbeque Popped Potato Chips

March 3, 2009
The barbeque kind looks just like these, but the bag is bright orange

The barbeque kind looks just like these, but the bag is bright orange

I am always on the lookout for a way to fulfill my desire for potato chips without giving myself a heart attack from all the saturated fat I would be consuming by eating a bag of Utz everyday.  I keep coming across various forms of “popped chips” in grocery stores lately, so when I was at Trader Joe’s I snatched up a bag of Trader Joe’s Barbeque Popped Potato Chips.  What are popped potato chips?  Not fried or baked, they’re potato chips cooked under heat and pressure until they “pop”.  Apparently this means they’re much healthier than regular chips.  Side-by-side with Lay’s Barbeque Potato Chips, they contain 30 less calories for a 1 oz serving (in the case of the Trader Joe’s chips, this translates to about 19 chips) and less than half the fat.  They are also free of saturated fat and cholesterol.  They do, however, contain 20 g of carbohydrates to Lay’s 15 .  Curious, I looked at the ingredients.  The first ones named are potato flour, potato starch safflower oil and/or sunflower oil, barbecue seasoning, onion and garlic powder.  In a nutshell it sounded like a pretty darn good combination of flavors.

Assured that these would not, in fact, kill me, I gave them a try.  In one word, these are AWESOME and not lacking in flavor like the sad cardboard excuses for potato chips that baked chips are.  Each od the popped chips has a very generous amount of the barbecue seasoning on it, giving the chips the necessary bright orange color.  The seasoning had a nice smoky, spicy mesquite flavor to it.  They are roughly the same size as regular potato chips, although they are circular and slightly thicker and airier and seemingly grease-less (they do, however, still have a fantastic crunch to them).  My only complaint is that they were a little too salty, but it did keep me from eating the whole bag.  Overall though, these were absolutely incredible and have officially become my new favorite potato chip!  I will have to try the regular store version (Popchips) in comparison.

Stars: 5/5

Nutritional Information: Serving Size: 19 chips (28g).  Calories: 120.  Total fat: 4 g.  Saturated fat: 0 g.  Total Carbs: 20 g.  Protein: 1 g.  3 Weight Watchers Points

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