Category Archives: Side Dishes

Liberating French Fries

I had a hankering for french fries this past weekend. Like I HAD to have them. And I’m not even a big french fry person-I am SO picky about french fries. They must be thin, crispy and light feeling. Not burnt and not chewy-gross! I also try to avoid any kind that you can get through a drive-through, and I have never seen any advertised in a restaurant that says they were cooked in a HEALTHY oil.  The affordable frozen pre-made variety are always only so-so and usually have nasty things in them like trans-fat, msg, etc. So, I generally just don’t eat them.

But we were grilling up some fantastic grass-fed cheeseburgers this weekend and I told my husband that I MUST have french fries. I think I was tempted originally by a recipe over at The Cheese Slave and decided that I had to give it a try. We have made french fries that were fried in olive oil before and baked in the oven but they never compared to that boardwalk fries taste I was going for.  So I decided to give french fries fried in grass-fed tallow a go.

Here is a bit of information about why animal fats are in fact good for you (in moderation) as opposed to vegetable oils in “The Truth about Saturated Fatsby Mary Enig, PhD, and Sally Fallon:

Before 1920 coronary heart disease was rare in America; so rare that when a young internist named Paul Dudley White introduced the German electrocardiograph to his colleagues at Harvard University, they advised him to concentrate on a more profitable branch of medicine. The new machine revealed the presence of arterial blockages, thus permitting early diagnosis of coronary heart disease. But in those days clogged arteries were a medical rarity, and White had to search for patients who could benefit from his new technology. During the next forty years, however, the incidence of coronary heart disease rose dramatically, so much so that by the mid fifties heart disease was the leading cause of death among Americans. Today heart disease causes at least 40% of all US deaths. If, as we have been told, heart disease results from the consumption of saturated fats, one would expect to find a corresponding increase in animal fat in the American diet. Actually, the reverse is true. During the sixty-year period from 1910 to 1970, the proportion of traditional animal fat in the American diet declined from 83% to 62%, and butter consumption plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to four. During the past eighty years, dietary cholesterol intake has increased only 1%. During the same period the percentage of dietary vegetable oils in the form of margarine, shortening and refined oils increased about 400% while the consumption of sugar and processed foods increased about 60%. Check out the rest of the article, it’s very information packed.

So here is the actual recipe for 5 very generous servings:

  • 5 clean ORGANIC russet potatoes-scrub them clean and cut into small french fry shapes. The thinner the better in my opinion, but it’s up to you
  • About a quart of grass-fed beef tallow (rendered beef fat-check your local beef farms, you can easily render your own tallow from the fat, I’ve just never done it before) OR expeller pressed coconut oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Filtered water for soaking
  • Lined cookie sheet

The How to:

According to The Cheese Slave who got it from another book, it’s recommended to soak the cut potatoes in water for at least a half an hour before frying and to double fry. It is supposed to make for a crisper fry. That’s what I did and the results where perfect. So start off by soaking your freshly cut potatoes in filtered water for at least a half an hour, they will expand some. While they are soaking heat your tallow up in either a deep fryer or a heavy bottomed stainless steel skillet like I used. You want to make sure that you heat up the tallow very slowly or it will smoke. You don’t want it to smoke so go very slowly. Now go ahead and line a cookie tray with parchment paper because you will be frying the potatoes in small batches and you need to keep them warm until you do the second frying.

One the tallow has slowly warmed up to about 350 degrees or even up to 450 and your potatoes have soaked you can begin the frying process.  Make sure that the potatoes are dried completely before frying them. Now you can add a small batch of the potatoes to the tallow and allow it to fry for about 5 mins, moving the potatoes around every now and then. Once the time is up, remove them from the fat and put them on the cookie sheet, and place it in the oven to keep warm. Now simply repeat this process until all the potatoes are fried the first time, making sure to allow the tallow to heat back up between batches. You want to make sure that the fat is hot enough so that it boils pretty well while the potatoes are frying-otherwise you just end up with soggy fries-yuck.

Once you have gone through the first round of frying, just repeat again in small batches until you have double fried them all. The second time may take less time-you want the fries to look sort of brown. Once you are done just season them with as much sea salt as you like and serve right away! You will be in french fry heaven-I promise!

This recipe is Shared at Pennywise Platters Thursdays 5/12Fight Back Fridays 5/13 , Primal Friday #2, Weekend Gourmet Blog Carnival 5/16, and Monday Mania 5/16


Baked Pasta in Vodka Lemon Cream Sauce

This is an easy yet fantastic pasta dish.  It’s kind of like a good Jewish Kugel that met and fell in love with an Italian pasta dish. It is good enough as a stand alone meal or paired beautifully with chicken breast and a vegetable such as broccoli. This recipe was adapted from Pioneer Woman’s version.

2/3 box thin spaghetti

2 tbls butter

few tbls EVOO plus for tossing pasta

salt and pepper to taste

juice of 2 lemons

1/2 vodka (white wine can be substituted)

3 cloves garlic, minced finely

2 cups sour cream

1/2 cup Italian Cheese trio

Chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375

Cook pasta in salted water to al dente

Toss pasta with few tbls. olive oil-just enough to coat

While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce:

Melt butter and olive oil in a medium size pan and add minced garlic. Allow to simmer GENTLY on low to medium heat for about 3 mins. Then add the lemon juice and vodka and continue to simmer gently for another 5-7 mins. or until well incorporated.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Turn burner to low heat if not there already and add sour cream slowly, being sure to incorporate it into the sauce.

Once all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together toss with the pasta and put in an oven safe dish. Bake in preheated oven for about 10 mins or until the pasta is slightly browned.

Take out the pasta dish and turn up the oven to 425 and top with cheese. Put back in the oven until cheese is melted and slightly browned about 5 mins.

Place onto serving dishes and top with fresh parsley and more shredded cheese if desired and enjoy!

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