Grilled Salt and Vinegar Potato “Chips”

This has to be my new guilty pleasure!  OMG, it’s such a burst of salt and vinegar flavor in my mouth.  I’ve always LOVED salt and vinegar potato chips, but I haven’t had a bag of chips in so long.  So when I came across this recipe, I just knew I had to make them soon.  Well, I’ve made these twice and with every bite I take, I mouth out how “these are the best things ever!”  Martha Stewart is a genius.

Grilled Salt and Vinegar Potato “Chips” (slightly adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 pound yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 cups white vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Bring potatoes and vinegar to a boil in a medium saucepan (vinegar should cover potatoes; add more vinegar if necessary).  Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer potatoes until just fork tender, about 5 minutes. Let potatoes cool in vinegar for 15 minutes (original recipe calls for 30 minutes, but we found it to be way too vinegary).  Drain well, and gently toss with oil, salt, and pepper.

Preheat grill to medium-high.  Grill potatoes in a single layer until browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.  Sprinkle with salt before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Perfectly Poached Oeufs

I love a perfectly poached egg with a runny center.  It makes for the perfect topping on hash, breakfast sandwiches, asparagus, and certain salads.  It’s also, of course, much healthier than scrambling or frying eggs in butter and oil.  However, those were my methods of cooking eggs because I was so intimidated with the process of poaching eggs for a very long time.  In fact, I was horrible at poaching eggs.  My eggs would separate as soon as I dropped them in a vat of boiling hot water.  I realized recently that I was doing it all wrong… ditch the big pot of water and don’t crack the eggs into the water!

Prescription on how to make a perfectly poached egg:

Medium-sized skillet (1o-inch diameter) with a lid
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vinegar
Salt

Fill the skillet with about 4 inches of water, and put the skillet on high heat.  Cover the skillet with the lid to speed up the boiling time.  Meanwhile, crack the 4 eggs into four small cups or bowls.

When the water boils, remove the lid, and add one tablespoon of plain vinegar and a dash of salt to the water.  The vinegar helps hold the shape of the poached egg.  Without it, I’ve learned that the eggs will become threads of protein tangled up in the water.  The salt helps flavor the eggs, but also raises the temperature of the water.

Swirl the water with a spoon, then tip the bowl or cup containing the egg just above the water and let the eggs flow out.  I don’t know why swirling the water, but it’s just a technique that I’ve come across through several food blogs.  I think the process also helps create/hold the shape of the poached egg.  Immediately return the lid to the pain and turn off the heat.  Set a timer for exactly 3 minutes for medium-firm yolks.  Adjust the time up or down for runnier or firmer yolks.  Remove the cover when the timer goes off.  Remove each poached egg from the water with a slotted spoon, and allow some of the water to drain off the egg.  Gently lay each egg on whatever is the desired end product.

Serving size: 2 eggs per person

Do Chua (Pickled Carrots and Daikon)

I love all things pickled, especially Korean pickled ban chan.  Well, maybe not all pickled stuff, but most things.  You get the point.  I grew up watching my Mom pickling vegetables… from kim chee to pickled garlic.  But never learned or had the interest until recently.  When I wanted to make banh mis for dinner one night, I was a little worried about finding pickled carrots and daikon only because I KNEW I wouldn’t be able to find it pre-canned.  So I perused through many recipes and finally decided on one.  I don’t know why I chose the one I did, but I’m sure glad I did because the daikon to carrot ratio is 2:1.

Why do I care about the daikon to carrot ratio?  Well, if you haven’t read it already in my banh mi post, I grew up NOT liking carrots.  In fact, I detested carrots while growing up.  I would gag if there was a piece of carrot touching the rest of my food.  If there was shredded carrots mixed in with something else, I simply just wouldn’t eat it.  However, I am slowly coming around.  I’ll eat stewed carrots and pickled carrots.  But if you tried to give me raw carrots, well, we can just forget about being friends.  Drama queen.  I know.  But that’s how much I hate raw carrots in its natural form.  Anyhow, to make the long story short, the desire of wanting to pickle carrots was a whole new world to me.

I knew I had to marinate the carrots and daikon in the pickling solution for at least an hour, so I made my way to Whole Foods hours before dinner.  I got home and started cutting my carrots and daikon into “thick matchsticks.”  This part of the process was exhausting as I hovered over the chopping board cutting, while trying not to slice my hand.  At one point, my right hand (the chopping hand) started to tingle with some numbness, almost like carpal tunnel syndrome.  But I mustered through it and had a full bowl of matchstick-sized daikon and carrots ready for pickling!

Do Chua (adapted from Viet World Kitchen)

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 pound daikon, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup warm water

In a bowl, combine the half cup of sugar, vinegar, and water and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Place the carrot and daikons in a colander and sprinkle with the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar.  Mix the sugar and salt mixture into the vegetables, and let it sit for a few minutes to soften.  Use your hands to knead the vegetables.  Stop kneading when you can bend a piece of daikon so that the ends touch but the daikon does not break.  The vegetables should have lost about one-fourth of its water volume.  Rinse under cold running water, and then gently squeeze to expel extra water.

Place carrots and daikon in a bowl and pour the pickling solution over the vegetables. The solution should cover the vegetables.  Let the vegetables marinate in the brine for at least 1 hour before eating.  They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.  Beyond that point, they get tired.

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