June 20, 2013
French Fries at Home, With Kids
Cooking with my kids makes me ridiculously happy. It’s unfair, really, the power they have over my moods simply by saying, Yeah, sure when I ask them if they want to make dinner with me.
A couple of nights ago my daughter Noa walked into the kitchen as I was throwing together a last minute, late-work night dinner and said, “I want to help.”
I played it cool— Yeah, sure—but it made my day.
We kept it simple. As the kids get older I feel the clock ticking on the time I have left to teach them how to fend for themselves in a kitchen. Oh my God, can Adi even sauté a chicken breast?! – I actually woke myself up one morning thinking that.
As if after they turn 18 and leave home, I’m no longer allowed to show them anything. As if they can only watch Bobby Flay, but not me.
Of course that’s ridiculous, but still—I want them to leave with the basics. Grill a fish. Cook an omelet. Make pasta. Poach an egg. Whatever they like to eat, they should learn to make. The Talmud says it’s incumbent upon a father to teach his children to swim. But if the mother doesn’t cook, who will teach them to cut an onion?
We decided on turkey burgers with grilled peppers and French fries. Noa mixed the ground turkey with salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and Dijon mustard. I showed her how to shape them into almost tennis ball-sized rounds, then slightly flatten them. No one likes a thin, dry turkey burger.
Then we sliced peppers and onions and fried them until they were soft and caramelized. She cut the tomatoes and avocado and lettuce to pile on the bun-- truly some of the best turkey burgers we've ever had.
For the French fries, I showed her all the tricks: use a gizmo to cut them evenly. Soak them in three changes of water, fry them twice, once to blanch, again to brown. Serve them in a newspaper cone— because newspaper absorbs the oil, it looks cool, and, hopefully, it will remind her of her dad.
[RECIPE]Newspaper French Fries
4 small baking potatoes
Peel potatoes. Use a Veggiematic or Frnech fry cutter to cut all at once in thin fry shapes. In heavy Dutch oven or cast iron pan, heat oil to 400 degrees. Drain potatoes and dry well in cloth kitchen towels.
Add 1/3 of the fries to the oil and cook about 2 minutes, until just soft but still white. The oil temperature will drop. Remove with slotted spoon and let cool. Do the same with the rest of the potatoes. Allow the fries to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Return the oil to 400 degrees, add 1/3 of the fries and cook 3 minutes until golden brown. Remove to a sheet pan and place in the oven while you cook the remaining fries.
Form a sheet of newspaper into a paper cone. Fill with hot fries, sprinkle with salt and serve.
Reheat oil to 400 degrees.