Boardwalk Fries

I was kind of shocked when I realized I didn’t have a recipe for good, old-fashioned boardwalk fries here on the site. It’s shameful really. Sure, I have oven fries (which employ the same soaking technique I’ll touch on later) and fish & chips…but I needed to have an entire post devoted to these crispy, salty favorites.

My first taste of boardwalk fries was of course at Thrasher’s in Ocean City, MD…notorious among Marylanders, Eastern Shore folks, and really the entire nation in some cases. That’s because they’re the best. Their first trick is a soak for the cut potatoes in hot saltwater. It helps to remove some of the starch, and softens them up a bit for cooking.

The second key step is the twice-fried technique. The potatoes are cooked in hot oil for one round, basically to par-cook them. They’re then removed from the oil, set aside to drain, and then added back to the oil to attain that beautiful golden brown and crunchy exterior.

Immediately season with salt, and apple cider or malt vinegar. Never ketchup! It’s actually a rule at Thrasher’s…they don’t have it available. The place  next store has a racket selling containers of it at exorbitant prices. We don’t have boardwalks here on Chincoteague, which is just fine by me – but it’s nice to have a little taste of it here at home!

Perfect White Rice

I’m ashamed to admit that up until about 5 years ago, I was cooking rice in the microwave. Or, worse…relying on those pre-cooked rice packets that you just microwave. I was cooking all kinds of wonderful things in my kitchen, but still nuking my rice. *hangs head in shame*.

Finally I gave cooking rice on the stovetop a whirl, and the resulting rice was unparalled to the rice that had been produced in the microwave. Tender, yet firm grains that actually tasted like something! Before I’d just been getting gooey balls of mush. The key is a good, heavy bottomed pan – as well as giving the rice quick saute in a bit of butter. It really helps to keep the grains individual, so you don’t get that massive clumping issue.

OXO was kind enough to send me a pan from their new line to review. I chose the 3.5 quart stainless steel saucepan, just because the size is so handy to have in the kitchen. I love the fact that it has a glass lid, which makes keeping an eye on things like rice or beans very easy. And also the measurements on the side, and round bottom are very helpful for things like making homemade caramel sauce. Plenty of room for a nice big batch!perfect white riceAt any rate, if you’re still relying on neanderthal methods for preparing your rice, try this. It’s super easy, and so much better and economical than the prepackaged stuff. I’ve also got a couple great rice pilaf recipes, if you wanted a twist on a classic. Have a great weekend everyone!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the good folks at OXO. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Did you guys know that such a wonderful thing even existed? They do indeed, and they’re as wonderful as you’d imagine. They are pretty much a food group here on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and it is where I was first introduced to them. After years of enjoying them, I thought it was high time I passed the recipe along to you guys!

It’s your basic biscuit dough with the usual suspects – flour, buttermilk, flour. But then you invite some pureed, roasted sweet potatoes to the party. It adds great flavor and color, and also some additional moisture. Which is always welcome in a biscuit!

They aren’t quite as fluffy as your standard buttermilk biscuit, just because the addition of the sweet potato adds some density too… but, what they lack for in fluffiness they more than make up for in deliciousness.

I like to serve them with a bowl of soup, or just plain with some jam or pumpkin butter. But, our favorite way to enjoy them is sandwiching a few pieces of ham. Very thinly sliced country ham is a treat, but more often than not it’s just plain deli ham. It makes for one delicious and easy meal – for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Source: adapted from The Lee Bros Southern Cookbook and Food & Wine, Nov 2013

threecheesemacaroniandcheese

Is there anything more comforting than a tray of homemade macaroni & cheese? I can’t believe that up to a few years ago, I was still cracking open one of those blue boxes for my mac & cheese fix. But once I learned how easy it was to make at home, I haven’t looked back.

A quick sauce is made up of butter, flour, and milk. Then once it’s thickened, I’ll add close to a metric ton of shredded cheese. I like to shred my own – the stuff that’s pre-shredded from the store has anti-clumping agents, which doesn’t lead to the same melty, gooey consistency that the blocked cheese will give you.

I used yellow sharp cheddar (for a nice bite), Gruyere (for a mellow sweetness), and Parmesan (for a salty kick). They all blend together so beautifully in the sauce to create a symphony of cheesiness. But, feel free to experiment with whatever you like! This sauce is just a blank canvas for whatever cheesy goodness you can dream up. Enjoy!