Crispy Avocado Fries with Melty Cheese Dip

Avocado Fries with melty chess dip

It’s starting to look like I moved to New Orleans as an excuse to deep fry my California vegetables, make melty cheese dip, live off Red Beans and Rice, and plate after plate of fresh beignets.  That’s to say nothing of the sazeracs and oysters.

Truth is, I moved to New Orleans for the suffocating humidity alone.  

Not true at all.  No one has ever ever done that.  

We’ve entered into the 12 most beautiful days of the year here in New Orleans.  After living here for one year, I’m talking like I know…

These are the 12 days when it’s perfectly warm with pleasantly bearable humidity, long pink sunsets, and almost cool evenings.  It’s the perfection before the wrath of summer.  It’s… well, it’s what California is like ALL THE TIME.  

Let’s not talk about it anymore… let’s just fry these avocados. 

Avocado Fries with melty chess dip

Can I tell you a secret about free avocados?  

If you’re in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans or Brooklyn you can place an order with the awesome people of Good Eggs and receive a free bag of avocados!  Seems like the very best idea. 

Photographs by the lovely Gabrielle Geiselman with styling (aka throwing food around) by me.  Gabrielle is my friend, neighbor, and fellow avocado fiend.  

Avocado Fries with melty chess dip

Ripe avocados are sliced in half.  

Pit them too.  Do you know the trick?  Here’s the best way to pit an avocado.  It involves a big knife and a bit of gumption.  

Avocado Fries with melty chess dip

Lime, to keep avocados bright green and extra tasty.  

Avocado Fries with melty chess dip

Here’s what we’ll need to coat and batter the sliced avocados.  

Eggs beaten with a bit of water for glue.  Flour, combined with chili, spice, and salt.  Panko breadcrumbs for an extra crisp fried coating.  I mean… if we’re going to fry things they need to be crispy crunchy.  

Avocado Fries with pimento chess dip

I lightly coat the avocado slices in seasoned flour, moisten them with a bit of egg wash, and then go in for the panko coating.  

Nothing too heavy, but every bit of the avocado should be covered in either flour or panko.  Take it easy… just fries! 

Avocado Fries with pimento chess dip

A little flour here.  A little panko there.  

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a ton of oil to fry.  I used about 1-inch of oil in a medium, heavy-bottom pan.  A candy/fry thermometer is key.  We need to keep an eye on the temperature of the oil so that the fries to cook to slowly or quickly.  

Avocado Fries with pimento chess dip

Good and golden brown!

Avocado Fries with melty cheese dipping

To finish the fries:  fresh lime spritzes, Maldon sea salt is lovely, and an extra sprinkling of chili powder.  If you have beer on hand, even better.  If you feel compelled to make an easy melty queso dip…. I mean… YES!

Avocado Fries with Queso Cheese Dip


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For the Fries
  1. 2 medium ripe avocados
  2. juice of 1 lime
  3. 2 large eggs
  4. 2 tablespoons water
  5. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  8. generous pinch of cayenne pepper
  9. 1 1/4 cups panko bread crumbs
  10. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  11. 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  12. salt, lemon, cayenne pepper for sprinkling
For the Queso Cheese Dip
  1. 3 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  2. 1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
  3. 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  4. 1/4 cup whole milk
  5. 1 (4 ounce) can diced milk green chiles, juice reserved
Instructions
  1. Halve, peel and slice the avocados into long spears, it’s okay if they vary in size. Place the avocados on a platter and drizzle with lime juice.
  2. In a small bowl beat eggs and together water. Set aside.
  3. In a separate small bowl whisk flour and salt, chili powder, and cayenne.
  4. In a medium bowl, measure out panko crumbs, salt and pepper. Combine.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, you can set your breaded slices right on the sheet
  6. Dip the avocado slices lightly in the flour mixture, in the egg mixture, and finally panko crumbs.
  7. Clip a fry thermometer onto a medium heavy bottomed saucepan and heat oil to 375 degrees F. Using tongs, lower 6-8 avocado slices into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with a bit of salt.
  8. Bring the oil back up to 375 degrees before frying the next batch. Continue frying until all avocado slices are golden brown.
  9. Sprinkle all of the fried avocado with a dash of cayenne pepper and fresh lemon juice. Serve immediately with queso dip.
  10. To make the dip, place cheeses in a medium bowl, sprinkle with cornstarch, and toss to coat. Transfer cheese mixture to a medium saucepan over low heat and add milk.
  11. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is smooth and melted, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  12. Stir chiles with reserved juices until well combined. Serve warm with avocado fries.

Crunchy Oven Baked Fries with Herbes de Provence

Oven Baked Fries with Herbes de Provence

I’m a flake.

Ok… maybe that’s a little harsh.

I flaked on plans I made last Friday night, and I felt guilty until exactly this morning.

See… (I’ll try keep this short) I was supposed to go to see a friend’s play on Friday night.  You know,  it’s just one of those things you do.  Friend.  Theater.  You just go see it.

I was on the list.  The play was showing walking distance from my house.  I had no other plans.  The weather was gorgeous.  Really… I’d have to be a complete jerkface to not show up, right?  Well I didn’t, and here’s why…

I threw on my favorite jeans.  I was wearing my cute jacket and scarf.  I walked myself over to the theater feeling pretty good about the world.  That’s when I saw it:  a crowd of strangers.  I froze.  All the charm and clever wit that I might have possessed simply drained out of my system.  I suppose that happens to the best of us sometimes.  In my case, rather than facing my spontaneous fear of strangers, I turned myself right around and walked back home.

On the way home I concocted an elaborate lie to tell my friend the next time I saw him.  It was full of stress, drama, lost time and regret.  I stopped myself.  Literally.  In the middle of my street.

Why lie?  Why not keep it simple?  Why not express a little vulnerability?  Why not just say I couldn’t handle strangerdanger that particular night?

That’s just what I did.  Next time I say my friend, I simply apologized, looked him directly in the eye and told him what a ‘fraidycat I was.  It felt like one of those simply, human moments when you just lay it all out there for better or worse.

Life is complicated enough.  Why disguise your vulnerabilities with lies?  And why disguise your potatoes with a bunch of nonsense?

Oven Baked Fries with Herbes de Provence

Oven Baked Fries with Herbes de Provence

There are few things in the world more simple and honest that a potato.

These Oven Baked Fries with Herbes de Provence are a lovely way to celebrate simplicity.  Herbes de Provence is a spice mixture that usually contains thyme, rosemary, basil, bay leaf, marjoram and lavender.  It’s gentle and kind, and a classy touch to these oven potatoes.

Oven Baked Fries with Herbes de Provence

Oven Baked Fries with Herbes de Provence

Crunchy Oven Baked Fries with Herbes de Provence

inspired by Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes

Print this Recipe!

serves 3 or 4 (about a potato per person)

3 or 4 medium sized Russet potatoes, rinsed and dried (you can peel them if you like)

2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil plus 1 teaspoon (or olive oil if you have it on hand)

1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence

1/2 – 1 teaspoon sea salt (depending on how salty you like your fries)

Oven Baked Fries with Herbes de Provence

Oven Baked Fries with Herbes de Provence

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Pour 1 teaspoon of oil on baking sheet and spread around with a paper towel, greasing the sheet before you add the potatoes.

Slice cleaned potatoes lengthwise into 1/3″ thick slices, then slice those slices into smaller potato strips.  Place on the baking sheet and drizzle with 2 Tablespoons of oil.  Toss the potatoes in the oil to coat.  Place in oven for 25- 35 minutes, removing the tray every 10 minutes to toss and stir the potatoes, then returning to the oven.  Cook until browned and irresistable.

Remove from the oven and immediatley add salt and Herbes de Provence.  Toss and serve.

Oven Baked Fries with Herbes de Provence

Baked Curry Sweet Potato Fries

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These were my Sunday morning breakfast….

because I’m weird.

because I was hungry.

because I couldn’t really wrap my brain around walking to the grocery store in the rain.

because all I wanted was potato goodness.

because I love the color of turmeric and curry.

because spicy is nice.

because curry totally does not go with coffee but I made it work anyway.

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Crispy, baked fries are spiced with curry and red pepper flakes.  Spicy.  Salty.  Yummy.  I used egg white as a binder because I like the way it makes the spices stick to the potato.  If you want to make these more of a vegan treat, you an simply toss the potatoes in olive oil and sprinkle the spice on top.  You know?

For the dipping sauce, I combined thick Greek yogurt with cumin, olive oil and salt.  Simple and delicious.  Healthy, too.. that’s just crazy.

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Baked Curry Sweet Potato Fries with Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Makes 1 potatoes worth of fries.  This recipe is easily multiplied

Print this Recipe!

1 plump sweet potato/yam/orange-fleshed potato, peeled

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large egg white

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Yogurt Sauce:

1/3 cup Greet yogurt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon olive oil

salt to taste

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Peel sweet potato and slice off the top  and bottom points of the potato.  With potato positioned north to south, use a large knife to slice potato into 1/3-inch potato planks.  Stack planks in two piles, and slice, north to south, into 1/3-inch sticks.  Fries!

Place potato sticks onto prepared baking sheet and toss with olive oil.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg white until foamy and frothy.  Add curry powder, cumin, turmeric, and crushed red pepper flakes and whisk to incorporate.  Pour the egg white mixture over the potato sticks and gentle toss to coat the potatoes.

Place in the oven and bake to desired doneness and crispiness, my fries took about 40 minutes.  While the fries bake, stir together yogurt, cumin, olive oil and salt.  Place in a small serving dish.

Remove fries from the oven and serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Recipe: Baked Curry Sweet Potato Fries

Summary: Deliciously spiced sweet potato fries

Ingredients

  • 1 plump sweet potato/yam/orange-fleshed potato, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Yogurt Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup Greet yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Peel sweet potato and slice off the top and bottom points of the potato. With potato positioned north to south, use a large knife to slice potato into 1/3-inch potato planks. Stack planks in two piles, and slice, north to south, into 1/3-inch sticks. Fries!
  4. Place potato sticks onto prepared baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk egg white until foamy and frothy. Add curry powder, cumin, turmeric, and crushed red pepper flakes and whisk to incorporate. Pour the egg white mixture over the potato sticks and gentle toss to coat the potatoes.
  6. Place in the oven and bake to desired doneness and crispiness, my fries took about 40 minutes. While the fries bake, stir together yogurt, cumin, olive oil and salt. Place in a small serving dish.
  7. Remove fries from the oven and serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Diet (other): Low calorie

Number of servings (yield): 2

Meal type: snack

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

My rating 5 stars:  ????? 1 review(s)

Homemade French Fries

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Some things are best learned the hard way.  Actually, the hard way seems to be the only way I learn.

I’ve been learning things the hard way for decades… literally.

It turns out that it’s easier to just study for the spelling test rather than try to wrap your 3rd grade brain around right, wrong, and Catholic guilt.  Plus… cheating is really hard when you’re in 3rd grade and cell phones don’t yet exist.

If I have to ask and lightly beg a dude to take me to the prom, I’m probably going with a fellow that doesn’t want to take me.  This dating lesson is hard learned and often repeated countless times through dating life.

I’ve learned what it takes to keep lights on, heat running, and food in the fridge.  The hard way… bills.

I’ve learned the hard way what it’s like to take someone for granted, to lose love that I’m still grasping for, to cut unfortunate bangs, and insist of fashion heels out of pure vanity.

I’ve learned the hard way what it’s like to make my own French Fries.  Hard.  Ok… not hard, just time-consuming.  The sweet consolation?  There’s hot fries at the end.  Actually, hot fries are a running theme as I lick my wounds through all of my hard lessons learned.  That’s called emotional eating…The fries, however, were never hand-cut and home-fried.  Time consuming, yes…. but and a hard lesson I’ll teach myself (and enjoy) several times over.

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Yes.  I’m openly bringing you a recipe that is somewhat time-consuming and involves oil at high temperatures.  Not everything needs to be as easy as Spinach and Potato Breakfast Hash.  Let’s enjoy the process.

At its base, this recipe is a potato preparation.

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I start with a sporadic peel of the potatoes.  The little bits of skin left on the potato lend an earthy and rustic feel to the potatoes.

A good starchy potato is important.  Think:  Russet or Idaho potatoes.

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Slice off about 1/4-inch of the underside of the potato.  This will help the rounded potato have a firm place to sit as I cut it in to planks.

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You guessed it!  This is the plank stage!

As the potato rests, facing me vertically, I slice the potato lengthwise into planks.

Wait… are you already feeling overwhelmed.  Pause!  Serious Eats has a video on how to cut french fries in case you’re a more visual person.

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Stack planks 2 to 3 high and slice them vertically once again.  Fries should be 1/4 to 3/8-inch batons.

Yea… 3/8-inch.  Bust out your rulers!  I’m kidding.

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These starchy potato batons need to be soaked in clean, cool water for about 10 minutes.  This will help wash clean some of the starches, helping the fries not to stick to one another during the frying process.

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It’s possible that I haven’t told you why making French Fries is so time-consuming.

The very best French Fries are deep-fried, not once… but twice!  I found this an essential step in creating a tender and crispy fry.

The first fry is done at a low heat (about 250 degrees F) and works to cook the potatoes through evenly.

The second fry is done at a higher heat (about 350 degrees F) and works to make the fries glisten in gold, crisp up, and become utterly and completely irresistible.

curry ketchup

It’s possible that by now you’re asking yourself this question:  is it really worth it to make my own fries, or should I just go to McDonald’s?  Only you have the answer to that question.  I will tell you this:   most everything good takes tiiiiime.   These fries are no exception.  They’re bonkers delicious and so satisfying to fry up and eat hot out of the oil.  Frying my own French Fries helped me appreciate (and totally not binge eat) really good fries out in the world.  They take time, a bit of sweat, and a generous amount of salt and homemade curry ketchup.

Oh!  You’ll need a fry thermometer for this recipe.  It’s important.  Rest easy.  They’re easy to come by and totally an awesome investment.

Homemade French Fries

serves 2 to 3 people

Print this Recipe!

3 large Russet or Idaho potatoes, peeled

1 quart vegetable or canola oil

salt, pepper, and ketchup

Wash potatoes and peel as much or as little as you’d like.

With the potato facing you lengthwise, slice off about 1/4-inch of the bottom of the potato, creating a stable surface to continue to slice to potato.

Slice the potato lengthwise into 1/4-inch planks.  Stack two or three planks on top of one another and slice planks into 1/4-inch batons, or strips of potato.  These are our fries!  Continue until all of the potatoes are sliced into fries.

Place fries in a  large bowl of cool water.  This will help wash some of the starches off the surface of the potatoes, so they don’t stick together during frying.

Pour 1 quart of oil into a large, heavy bottom saucepan.  In the right pan, the oil should be about 1 1/2-inches deep.   Attach fry thermometer to saucepan, so that the thermometer touches the oil.  Heat over medium heat until oil reaches 250 degrees F.  In the meantime, line two large baking sheets with several layers of paper towel.

When oil reaches 250 degrees F, carefully drop small batches of potatoes to the hot oil.  I cooked about ten fries at a time.  Gently stir the fries to ensure that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan or stick to each other.  Fry until cooked though, about 4 to 6 minutes.  Remove from the oil using a pair of tongs, or metal slotted spoon, and allow to cool on the prepared paper towels.  Continue until all of the fries are cooked.

Once fries have cooled to room temperature, heat the same oil to 350 degrees F.  Add once cooked fries, again in small batches.  Gently stir until golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Remove fries from the oil  and place on the remaining lined baking sheet.  Immediately sprinkle with coarse salt and black pepper.  Serve immediately.

Hearts of Palm Fries with lemon and jalapeño

Hearts of Palm Fries

 The old dip-and-fry.  It’s like the bait-and switch but much less tricky and much more delicious.  

I’ll dip and fry just about anything.  Onion rings, dipped and fried.  Raised donut dough, fried and dipped (preferably in sugar).  

This week Hearts of palm meet the fryer.  They’re tender and lightly pickled, made warm and crispy and spicy.  Have you ever had Heart of palm?  They come in a can, they’re slightly salty and soft… like canned artichoke hearts, but completely different.  They make very fine salads and fried bites… and that’s why we’re here.  

I also want you to know that I have Mardi Gras King Cake on my mind… I just have to get all of these salty fry things off my mind first.  King Cake is in our future.  

Hearts of Palm Fries

I tell you now, we’re going to use a lot of bowls.  I promise it’s worth it.  

In one bowl we have all-purpose flour, black pepper and a lot of Old Bay seasoning because YES to Old Bay.  

In another bowl bread crumbs.  I had a rag-tag combination of breadcrumbs in my pantry: some panko, some fine-ground and seasoned.  Let’s just toss them together with, again, black pepper and lots of Old Bay.  We have a theme.  It’s delicious. 

Hearts of Palm Fries

Canned hearts of palm are the tender, lightly pickled centers of budding palm trees.  Soft and delicious.  For our fry preparation, the round hearts of palm are sliced into quarters.  

Eggs are beaten with buttermilk and hot sauce.  This will be our batter glue.  Essential and delicious. 

Hearts of Palm Fries

The hearts are coated lightly in the seasoned flour.  

Floured hearts are then dipped in the egg mixture.  This is messy business and it’s best to use your fingers.  Pro tip: just use one hand.  Keep the other clean for sanity’s sake. 

Hearts of Palm Fries

From flour to eggs and then to breadcrumbs.  

A good coating and a good fry in canola oil until golden brown.  I used a small saucepan with about 2-inches of oil.  You won’t need a whole bottle of oil to make these fries a reality.  I find that it is best to use a fry thermometer just so you know how hot your oil is, keeping the fries golden and not overly burnt or soggy.  

Hearts of Palm Fries

These fries are crisp and crunchy on the outside, and warm and soft on the inside.  Lightly pickled.  Lightly salty.  Drizzled with tart lemon and spicy jalapeños.  Have one, sure… but don’t go too far, you’re going to want to eat the whole tray.  I only speak from experience.  

Hearts of Palm Fries

Serves 3


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Prep Time
15 min

Cook Time
15 min

Prep Time
15 min

Cook Time
15 min

Ingredients
  1. 3 cups bread crumbs (I used a mixture of fine bread crumbs and panko bread crumbs)
  2. 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, divided
  3. scant 1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper, divided
  4. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  5. 2 large eggs
  6. 1/2 cup buttermilk
  7. 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  8. 2 (28-ounce) cans hearts of palm, cut into quarters
  9. canola oil, for frying
  10. lemon wedges
  11. sliced pickled jalapeños
  12. coarse sea salt, for topping
Instructions
  1. Heat canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Clip a fry thermometer to the edge of the pan to ensure and heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with paper towels and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together bread crumbs, 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl toss together flour, remaining Old Bay, and remaining black pepper. Set aside
  4. In yet another bowl, beat eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce.
  5. Coat each heart of palm spear in the flour mixture. Lightly coat in the buttermilk egg wash. Coat in the breadcrumb mixture.
  6. Fry 4 to 6 spears at a time, but be sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the oil and allow to rest on the paper towel. Bring the oil back up to 350 degrees F before frying another batch. Continue until all of the hearts of palm are fried.
  7. Serve with lemon wedges and pickled jalapeños and coarse sea salt. Serve immediately.
Adapted from from Saveur.com
Adapted from from Saveur.com

Pickle Fries

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I think maybe I can see into my future.  Well, I can see into my future if my future involves me being pregnant.

If I’m ever a pregnant Joy the Baker… oh sweet lordy… God help us all.

I’ll totally be one of those pickles and ice cream women.  I’ll also be a marshmallow and peanut butter woman.  …and maybe a pizza and taffy kind of lady.

It’s the future.  I can feel it.

I hope and pray that pregnant Joy the Baker is also still into kale and quinoa.

Thank goodness that’s all a long way away.

In the meantime… I’ll just turn pickles into fries and pretend the yogurt dipping sauce is actually vanilla bean ice cream.

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This is what a typical pickle shoot looks like.  Totally normal.  Nothing to see here.

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I should tell you now that this is a double battered, fried pickle situation.

First the cornichons are bathed in a beaten egg with mustard and hot sauce.

mmm hmm.

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A dusting of seasoned flour… then back to the egg bath!

The extra egg bath makes the panko bread crumbs stick like glue.Well… delicious glue.

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These darlings are ready for the fryer (and ready for a hot date with an ice cream cone).

Hot from the fryer!  These fried pickles are warm with a hint of spice.  They’re salty, crunchy, and unreasonably comforting.  It’s weird magic.

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I paired these pickle fries with a super simple cumin yogurt dip.  Cumin, yogurt, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.  I dunno… why not fake your way into some health with yogurt dip for your fried indulgence.  mm hmm.  Divine.

I know we’re supposed to be eating cranberries and slice and bake sugar cookies… but I just couldn’t help myself with these fries.

If you’re feeling the spirit, you might consider this Honey Cranberry Cornmeal Quick Bread.

If you’re feeling more pickled, you might consider this amazing Potato Chip and Pickle Sandwich.

Pickle Fries

serves 2

Print this Recipe!

For the Fries:

18-24 small cornichon pickles

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

4 dashes of hot sauce

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

pinch of salt

1 cup panko bread crumbs

pinch of salt

coarse ground black pepper

canola oil for frying

For the Dipping Sauce:

3/4 cup 2% Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

pinch of salt

fresh ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (or more to taste)

a splash of water

First prepare the dipping sauce.  In a small bowl, mix together yogurt, mustard, salt, pepper, cumin and a splash of water.  Set in the fridge until ready to use.

To make the fries, you’ll need three small bowls.  In one bowl beat the egg with Dijon mustard and hot sauce.  In a second small bowl combine flour , pinch of salt, and red pepper flakes.  In a third small bowl, combine panko bread crumbs pinch of salt, and black pepper.

Heat about 1/2-inch oil in a frying pan.  Heat over medium-low flame.  Test the oil heat by tossing in a few bread crumbs to make sure they brown well.  If oil is too hot it will smoke.  You shouldn’t have this problem over a medium/medium-low flame, but if you do, just turn off the heat.

Dip pickles in the egg mixture.  Transfer to the flour mixture to lightly coat.  Transfer back to the egg mixture, then finally to the panko mixture to coat thoroughly.  Transfer coated fries to the fryer, cooking until golden brown on all sides.

Transfer fries to a paper towel to drain and cool slightly before serving with dipping sauce.  Fries are best served warm.

Baked Chili Cheese Fries

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We’re back in the mix, aren’t we.

Back from vacation.  Back to school.  Back rifling through the closet for our cowl neck sweaters.  Back contemplating hot tea and where the pumpkin comes from in pumpkin lattes.

I love Fall.  I’m totally in to win.  Most Fall nights I just want to appreciate the comforts of a big grey sweater and two fingers of fine bourbon (who says that!?… I do).  The only trouble is that I go into Fall kicking and screaming…. like the jerky-est five-year old you’ve ever met… that’s me.  The fact is, I’m being crispy for no reason.  Crispy in attitude… and no one likes that.

I thought I’d transfer my crisp demeanor to the oven.  It’s time for fries, like major.

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These Baked Chili Cheese Fries are one of my favorite recipes in the Joy the Baker Cookbook.  Yea… I bake from my own book because I’m weird, and sometimes I just really need fries from the oven.

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There’s a trick to these baked fries.  They’re coated in all the flavorings of chili, but not actually coated in a spoonful of chili.

It’s a food illusion.  Less soggy.  More crisp.  No fork necessary.

Chili spices include:  chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and a spicy ancho chili powder (for kicks).

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Rustically peeled potatoes.  For looks and laziness.

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Cutting potatoes into French Fries always feels fancy to me.

It the geometry confuses you (because it totally did me)… here’s a more detailed description of how to slice the fry.

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Sliced raw potatoes are coated in olive oil and Worcestershire sauce then tossed with an all-purpose grill seasoning mix.  I used a pre-packed dry rub barbecue seasoning.

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Time for layer number two!  Cornstarch and chili seasonings.

Layers are working hard.

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These are ready for the oven.  I’ve already called dibs on the spicy number in the lower left corner.

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Once the fries are cooked through and spiced, let’s add cheese and melt.

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Chopped scallions are added for just a touch of onion flavor and green color.

These Bake Chili Cheese Fries have all of the glory without any of the complication.  They’re spicy and crisp… with just the right amount of soggy bites.  Add more cheese or less according to your preference.  Add beer or ginger ale according to your preference.  Share with people watching football according to your sharing preferences.  These are crowd pleasing, to be sure.

Baked Chili Cheese Fries

serves 3 people (about 1 potato per person)

adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook

Print this Recipe!

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder

3 russet potatoes, peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons grill seasoning or dry barbecue rub (these often include salt)

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup chopped scallions

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch, chili powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, cumin, and ancho chili powder.  Set aside.

Rinse potatoes and peel with a vegetable peeler.  You can leave some skin bits on the potatoes if you want to go for a more rustic fry.  Using a sharp knife, slice a  1/4-inch piece off the potato lengthwise.  This will give you a stable base to slice on.  Rest the potato, cut side down, and slice potato into 1/4 to 3/8-inch planks.

Stack planks in piles 2 to 3 planks high, and slice lengthwise into 1/4 to 3/8-inch strips.  And… you just cut French fries!!

In a medium bowl, toss the potato strips with olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, and grill seasoning or dry barbecue rub.  Sprinkle the cornstarch mixture over the potato slices and use tongs to toss together, making sure that every potato is coated with a bit of cornstarch and seasoning.

Spread potatoes in a single layer across the prepared baking sheets.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, removing the potatoes from the oven 2 or 3 times during baking to toss them together.  Cook until potatoes are cooked through and brought to your desired crispiness.  Remove from the oven, top with cheese and return to the oven for just a few minutes to melt the cheese.  Remove and place onto a platter.  Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.