Thursday, June 14, 2012

Homemade Chips: The First Experiment

On the excellent suggestion from my friend Ciara (of Northern Irish Crisps fame) I have made my own potato chips!  I used a recipe I found online that calls for nothing more than parchment paper, cooking spray, a potato, a grater, and a microwave.  I can do that!  Wait... can I do that?

I was pretty skeptical about making chips in the microwave, especially our tiny microwave, but what the hell - I'll give it a shot.  I like the idea of knowing what went into my chips.  It makes me feel better about eating them I guess?  I dunno, but I'm all for new chip experiences!

Our tiny kitchen is sans mandolin so our trusty grater will have to do.  Luckily it has a near perfect sized blade on the side that sliced up the potato nicely.  I read that they need to be thinly sliced otherwise they won't crisp evenly so I tried to keep them as thin as possible.
Next step: put them on parchment paper that has been liberally sprayed with Pam.  Honestly, the Pam spraying was the worst part out of all of this.  Our kitchen has very few surfaces so I didn't have anywhere to spray the Pam other than on the stove.  Placed the chips on the paper and sprayed them again with cooking spray so both sides of the chips were covered.  Now!  To the microwave!

I kept thinking of Ian Malcolm's line from Jurassic Park "No. I'm simply saying that life, uh, finds a way." because even though I tried to get the parchment paper to fill the microwave and maximize the amount of space I had to put chips on and not rotate, our microwave still managed to rotate it.  No idea how since it was pretty well wedged, but turn it did.  Bravo, microwave.
The recipe said '3-5 minutes', but after 5 they were clearly not done.  Put them in for another minute before I decided they were done enough for government work.  Some of them weren't fully crisped and some were pretty well browned, but whatever!  Mission success!  I decided to go all out with seasonings and picked Himalayan salt, oregano, basil and garlic powder.  I figured as a test run I'd salt them all and then put the three remaining seasonings in thirds.  The bits that are shiny in the picture below are places that didn't crisp properly.
The verdict?  Pretty good!  My roommate and I both agreed that the garlic was the tastiest of the three flavors and that mixing all the spices would be worth a try.  Well then!  I didn't re-spray the parchment paper, but I sprayed the potatoes when I put them on.  Microwaved for 8 minutes this time and it was way better.  All of the chips were crispy and kinda stuck together where they were touching.  I put all of the spices on and it was pretty good! 
I still had yet more potato slices so why not make one more batch?  Why not indeed.  I put Parmesan cheese on the final batch .  Why?  Because I could.  The cheese really didn't make much of a difference to the flavor, but I enjoyed them all the same.
The overall verdict?  Good!  I'll probably make them again.  There's a strong potato taste and then the taste of the seasoning I put on.  It's not surprising, but it was refreshing to have a chip taste exactly like what was on it.  I think the biggest problem was that the spray had dried by the time the chips came out of the microwave - that meant the spices didn't stay on the chip.  If I tipped it a little I lost all the spice.  The good thing is that the browned ones didn't taste burnt - they just tasted like chip.

I'm not going to start rating them until I got the formula right and put some thought into how I'd like them to taste (other than 'use the spices in the pantry').  I mostly just wanted to put the first attempt out there and let you know this mission is in the works!  I'll still be posting store brand strange chips on Tuesdays, but I'll be tossing in a couple homemade posts on other days!  Maybe Thursdays?  Check back, friends!

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