Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mamma's Un-fried Home Fries

My children and the Man-child (their Dad) love their potatoes. Love--- as in addiction. They will gobble up potatoes cooked anyway and still ask for more. If I don't make anything with a potato in  it, at least once in 15 days, they start acting crabby and probably will go to McDonald's for the Large Fries and eat it up like they havent seen food in 3 days. I, on the other hand, doesn't care much about it. I can gladly act like a sacrificing, proper Mom who will give up her share of spuds without even an iota of hesitation. But come what may, I wont share my Onion Rings for my life... that is another story we will revisit later. ;-)

But all this hunting instinct I have to put up with every time some kind of cooked spuds approach the kitchen table, snapped something inside me. It was building up, until this other day, when we decided to get a particularly delicious Southern Fried Chicken from one of our favorite Southern (American) Restaurant. The sides offered were Home-fried Potatoes, Okra, and Kale (which I find out-of-this world.)
I was busy with something and I asked my hubby to put the Meal packs on the dining table. I heard some commotion in the kitchen but chose to ignore it since the task I was working on was very near its end. What could I worry about? One adult was enough to handle two kids who were healthy, didn't own a pet,  and  were not sleepy or cranky. How wrong could I get!
Once downstairs, one child was howling about how her "fries" got eaten by her brother, and when her brother was asked, he said he only ate half of hers, and that it was because Daddy ate his. One look at Daddy and Daddy flashed me the most charming smile that could get him Scot-free off a murder verdict.
I wanted to be the good Mom who wouldn't want to scold Daddy in front of the kids. So I turned to the one who had the water-works on, and to pacify her, offered her my fries.
And she cried harder because as she pointed out at a high pitch, there weren't any fries!!!
I looked again at the other adult who was left in charge for 5 minutes, and his keen study of the table cloth pattern made me realize who the culprit was!
This was the exact moment the snapping happened. Not the kill-everyone-until-calm kinda snap, but the snap that hinted towards an underlying insecurity towards an unknown cook(s) dishing out a  particular root vegetable that my kids loved more than me. I had to invent a fast-foody kind of potato that would bring my lost sheep home, right to where their Mamma was!
Once I put my stubborn Taurean mind to it, valiantly and a little bit egotistically refusing my husband's offer to get some more fries, the creative juices started flowing. (I hate that expression! Creative juices? The only juice I like to think of is saliva, that too-after the cooking is done.  They need to find a good alternative for that yucky phrase).
My first attempt was first under-cooked, then overcooked as I struggled with the correct oven temperature. The second attempt was a bit better off, as I got some free time to do my R&D.
The third attempt was when I figured out the perfect mix of spices and flour to make it just like the Restaurant.
This is my final recipe, not much different from what made me desperate to figure out how it was made, but still with my very own flavor stamp on it. And the best part? Kids and the "other adult" thinks its "totally" better than store bought! :-)

4 large potatoes---scrubbed clean and cut into long uniformly sized wedges (no need to peel)
5 tbsp flour
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chile powder or paprika (if you dont want the heat)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3+2 tbsp oil

Un-fried Home Fries

Method:-Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour 2 tbsp oil into a large baking pan, lined with heavy duty foil. Swirl it around so that it covers the pan evenly. Set aside.
Mix all the remaining ingredients except potatoes in a big plastic container with a tight fitting lid. Shake well until well blended.
Throw in the potato wedges. Close the lid and shake the potatoes to coat them well with the flour mix.
 Now would be a good time to check for salt.
Arrange the coated potatoes, skin side down, in the oiled pan in a single layer. Bake the potatoes for 35 to 40 minutes.
Let cool off for a good 5 minutes before the hunting instincts kick in! Enjoy! 

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