A great tasting oven baked French Fry? No way!

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First, let me state for the record that I used to say that oven baked French Fries are about as appetizing as a cooked Gila Monster…YUCK!   Until I tried these!

I can’t even remember where I got this recipe from so I can’t give the credit to the rightful person. Whoever you are, thank you big time.  I grew up in Idaho and since I was old enough to exchange breast milk for spuds, I’ve been eating these things with gusto. I consider myself a true spud connoisseur.

I’ve tried cooking potatoes in every form imaginable with pleasure but one form that I’ve consistently turned my nose up at is the oven baked French Fry. They either turn out so crisp that they cut the roof of your mouth or so mushy that they mimic a mashed potato.  Well guess what? This recipe fills the bill for great tasting fries!

Now spuds are a staple for the trail cook. Tossed directly into a fire, home fries made in a skillet or even baked in a portable oven, potatoes can be cooked in numerous ways. But good tasting non-deep fried french fries have always been elusive… until now.

Try them and see for yourself. It’s all I’m asking.

Seasoning Ingredients

3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into good sized pieces.

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of pepper

1/2 tsp of paprika

1/2 tsp of garlic powder

2 TBL of grated  Parmesan cheese

1 TBL of olive oil

Oddball stuff

*Lots of ice

*A big bowl

*Parchment paper lined baking pan (Not really needed but it keeps the pan from getting all messy)

*A gallon sized zip lock type storage bag

Directions for making and baking

Preheat oven to 425 degrees—– baking time will be 35 minutes (preheating is important if you’re using your portable camp oven.)

Peel and cut your potatoes into pieces a bit thicker than a McDonalds fry but not the size of a true potato wedge. Immediately place the cut fries into a bowl. Add a bunch of ice to the bowl and fill with water until the potatoes are covered. Let stand for 45 minutes to an hour to deep chill the fries. (This is important!  The combination of cold and soaking in water forces the extra starch a russet contains, out of it but leaves the sugars intact.  (In this case, you want to keep the russets sugar but not the starch.)

In a large plastic storage bag place all the dry ingredients in it including the Parmesan cheese, and shake it up until well mixed.

When your fries are done being chilled, drain off all the water and pour the fries out onto a cloth towel to absorb any remaining water. Give them a good rubbing to get them dry.

Place the chilled and now dry fries into the plastic storage bag that contains the spices and grated cheese. Do a shake and bake to get them all good and covered.

NOW, add the olive oil to the same  bag and redo the shake and bake again to make sure every fry is well coated with the oil / spice mixture.

Pour the fries onto the parchment lined baking sheet and spread them out so they don’t touch each other.

Bake until a golden brown.  (around 30 -35 minutes, begin checking at 30)

Rare pictures of french fries being made… 

Gather up your fixens

Gather up your fixens

Get your spuds in order

Get your spuds in order

cut up spuds and get 'em soaking in ice water

cut up spuds and get ’em soaking in ice water

 

prepare your baking sheet.

prepare your baking sheet.

 

Mix up your spices and grated cheese in a gallon storage bag.

Mix up your spices and grated cheese in a gallon storage bag.

 

keep your olive oil close at hand

keep your olive oil close at hand

 

place dried but chilled fries into your spice filled storage bag and do a 'shake and bake'  to 'em.

place dried but chilled fries into your spice filled storage bag and do a ‘shake and bake’ to ’em.

 

Once the fries are well coated with the seasoning, add your olive oil and man handle the bag  until every fry is well coated

Once the fries are well coated with the seasoning, add your olive oil and man handle the bag until every fry is well coated

 

Once your fries have absorbed all the spice/oil mixture, lay them out in your pan like this.

Once your fries have absorbed all the spice/oil mixture, lay them out in your pan like this.

When done baking, they should look like this.

When done baking, they should look like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey cowboy, would you like some biscotti with that cup of Arbuckles?

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Double chocolate walnut biscotti recipe

OK, I know you Heritage recipe purist may not think of biscotti as a true American Heritage recipe but you’re wrong… For those who still disagree, you may want to hold off until you taste these before condemning me to dangle from the hanging tree.

Biscotti comes from the two Italian words bis and cotti, which means twice or two times baked in Old West lingo. In Roman times biscotti lacked some of the flavorings of today’s biscotti but remarkably it remains similar to today’s biscotti.

Since refrigeration was virtually nonexistent in Roman times or in the days of the Old West, drying foods was a common practice. Twice drying foods could be made so hard that even long voyages at sea couldn’t soften them.  I bet you didn’t know that Sailors and American pioneers on the trail alike made biscotti to take on their long journeys did you?  A recipe from the early 1800’s was found even calling for almonds to be added. Since then bakers seemed to find no end to what could be included in them.

In Roman times, biscotti was popular by dipping it in wine to soften it up, by the time it arrived over here, Arbuckles coffee* was the dippers choice.  Biscotti to the pioneer was like hard tack to the early day sailors…minus the weevils! So, go make up a batch, grab a cup of coffee, rent a Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western movie and enjoy a true Americana Heritage cookie!

This recipe will make between 30 and 40 biscotti and can be topped with powdered sugar or  dipped in a chocolate coating.

For the larger amount of biscotti, use the amounts featured within the ( ) symbols.

Ingredients

2 (3) cups of all unbleached purpose flour

1/2 (3/4) cups of unsweetened cocoa powder

1 (1 ½) teaspoon baking soda

1/2 (3/4) teaspoon of salt

1 (1½) teaspoon vanilla

2 (3) teaspoons of instant espresso coffee

3/4 (1) stick of butter, softened (not melted)

1 (1 ½) cups of granulated sugar

2 (3) large eggs

1 (1 ½) cups of chopped walnuts or a nut of your choice

3/4 (1) cup of semi sweet dark chocolate morsels

 

Topping/Coating

 

Confectionery sugar

              Or

Chocolate dip coating – follow your morsel companies directions on making a dipping chocolate. I normally use Hershey’s dark morsels. For each 12 oz package I melt and mix into it 1 heaping Tablespoon of shortening…DO NOT USE OIL OR BUTTER! The water in these will ruin your chocolate.

 

Directions- read thoroughly before starting

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. butter and flour a large baking sheet or use parchment paper.

In a bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and granulated sugar. Add eggs and vanilla then beat until combined well, continue until light and fluffy. Stir in flour mixture until it forms a stiff dough. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips.

On your prepared baking sheet with floured hands form the dough into two slightly flattened logs, each 12 inches long and 2 inches wide, and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar or wait until they are completed and coat with chocolate dip coating .  If you are using the larger recipe make logs 3” wide. Bake logs 35 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool biscotti on baking sheet for 5 minutes until able to touch.

On a cutting board cut biscotti perpendicular to the log into 3/4 to1 inch slices. Arrange biscotti, cut sides down, on baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool biscotti to room temperature on a rack before eating or dip coating. If dip coating, transfer biscotti afterward to refrigerator until the chocolate dip coating hardens.

Divide mixed dough into two equal parts to form into logs.

Divide the mixed dough into two equal parts to form into logs.

roughly formed logs. Coat hands completely with flour to handle sticky dough

Roughly formed logs. Coat hands completely with flour to handle sticky dough

Flastten logs a bit using the palm of your hand. The logs will spread out as they cook.

Flatten logs a bit using the palm of your hand. The logs will spread out as they cook.

After the first baking, cut the logs into the size you want. I'm a pig so I make BIG pieces!

After the first baking, cut the logs into the size you want. I’m a pig so I make BIG pieces!

Back they go into the oven on their side for the 2nd baking

Back they go into the oven on their side for the 2nd baking

Let them cool now until room temperature. Next step is the topping

Let them cool now until room temperature. Next step is the topping

Dip each biscotti into the melted chocolate and place on a cookie sheet to cool in the fridge over night. In the morning, grab your coffee and one of the tastiest treats you'll ever make... and it'll for sure impress your friends too!   JW

Dip each biscotti into the melted chocolate and place on a cookie sheet to cool in the fridge over night. In the morning, grab your coffee and one of the tastiest treats you’ll ever make… and it’ll for sure impress your friends too! JW

*Arbuckles coffee;

Arbuckles’ Coffee began in the post Civil War Era of the 19th Century. Two brothers, John and Charles Arbuckle, initiated a new concept in the coffee industry; selling roasted coffee in one pound packages.  Until that time, coffee was sold green and had to be roasted in a skillet over a fire or in a wood stove.  You can imagine the inconsistency of the coffee.  One burned bean ruined the whole batch.  The Arbuckle Brothers were able to roast a coffee that was of consistently fine quality and the first to be packaged in one pound bags. They also discovered that by coating the beans in an egg wash, the beans could be preserved for long periods of time without rotting.

Needless to say, Arbuckles’ Coffee caught on like wild fire.  It was soon able to be shipped around the United States and became a favorite in the Old West.  In fact, Arbuckles’ Ariosa Blend became so popular in the Old West that most cowboys didn’t even know that there was any other. While a company has rejuvenated the Arbuckles brand the only surviving direct relation today to Arbuckles coffee is the Yuban brand.

Arbuckles coffee was a very strong coffee and to tame the bitterness egg shells were added to the pot during brewing. I myself do the same… with a modern twist. I bake my egg shells, crush them fine them store them in a container. Each batch of coffee gets a teaspoon of the crushed shells in the grounds. The calcium carbonate in the shells act like Tums to the coffee, removing much of the acid. JW