Archive for Appetizer Recipes

Move over bacon, the Tater Tot is back! Actually this trend has been going strong for quite some time now, and chef created versions of the childhood favorite have had a presence on innovative restaurant menus for several years. Our shout out to the crunchy carby nibble today is our enthusiastic vote to keep the dream alive. Long live the tot!

We present to you our Tater Tot 101 class, which will answer all burning questions: What are they and how did they originate and come to be?

Firstly we want to admit that we have resorted to the freezer on occasion when pressed for time. Please don’t tell our organic gluten free paleo friends from boot camp. (When this happens it’s typically Trader Joe’s frozen gnocchi with gorgonzola or tarte alsace, which are both quite tasty by the way.) But occasionally it can also be complete junk because, hey if you are falling off the real food wagon, why not go all the way with the downward spiral? And though our guilty frozen pleasures don’t usually include these, we have tried them, and apparently America loves them. The Ore Ida frozen tator tot (parent company H.J. Heinz) has been a staple in grocery stores since 1953. 59 years! Here’s how they began. Oregon brothers and founders of Ore Ida, Golden and Nephi Grigg, created tator tots as a way to sell leftover potato bits from their french fry products. Their money saving idea blossomed, and the rest is history. Max Wetzel, associate marketing director for Ore Ida, says “Americans eat an estimated 3.5 billion Tater Tots every year”.

What’s inside the red bag? The Ore Ida classic version Tater Tot ingredients are: “POTATOES, VEGETABLE OIL (SUNFLOWER, COTTONSEED, SOYBEAN, AND/OR CANOLA), SALT, YELLOW CORN FLOUR, ONIONS, DEXTROSE, DISODIUM DIHYDROGEN PYROPHOSPHATE, NATURAL FLAVORING.”

Ouch right? But imagine creating the beloved comforting tot with real potatoes, at home, kicked up a notch gourmet style. Perhaps for breakfast as an egg side, or as a steak alternative to a baked or mashed, or a late night snack after cocktails. Here are a few tasty chef recipes to try, feel free to adapt them to your taste. Enjoy loves!

tater-tot-gourmet-chef-mark

Chef Mark Zeitouni’s Tator Tots

(Winner of grand prize award at the Idaho Potato Commission’s “Side Dish Challenge” at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival’s burger bash)
Chef Mark is executive chef at the Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill at The Standard Spa and Hotel, Miami Beach

Serves 4.

Ingredients:
2 large Idaho® Russet Potatoes, washed thoroughly
2 shallots, peeled
6 parsley sprigs, picked and roughly chopped
4 scallions, green part only, chopped
Pinch white pepper, finely ground
Pinch sea salt, finely ground
Vegetable oil for frying

Chef’s Note: Carefully read the directions and complete the processes from start to finish without letting the potatoes get cold. It is the warm starch from the barely cooked potatoes that holds the tater tots together.

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place potatoes on baking pan and cook for 20 minutes or until when squeezed the potatoes barely “give.” Remove from oven and set baking pan on top of oven to keep warm for another 20 minutes. (This will allow the center of the potatoes to barely cook so they will not turn brown after shredding. The goal is to have the potatoes barely cooked but not to the point that they turn to mashed potatoes when grated.)
2. Peel the potato skin back using a butter knife or similar. Try not to remove any of the flesh underneath the skin as it will help bind the tater tots.
3. Using either a shredder attachment on a food processor or a hand grater, shred the potatoes into a bowl. Then press the shallots through the shredder attachment or if doing by hand, finely dice.
4. Add the shallots and the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly. The mixture should still be warm and sticky to the touch. At this point, the potatoes can either be pressed into a cookie sheet to a 1-inch thickness or hand formed into balls of the same 1-inch thickness. Wet your hands or rolling pin so the starch will not stick. Once formed allow to cool.
5. Press onto a cookie sheet and cut into 1-inch by 1-inch squares.
6. Heat deep fryer or sauté pan with half inch of vegetable oil to medium high heat and carefully place the tater tots in the oil. Turn the potatoes so all sides are cooked evenly to golden brown. Season lightly with a pinch of sea salt and serve.

Lobster Tater Tots
From Executive Chef Tim Scott of (RIP) Marshall Fields

• 3 Idaho potatoes, peeled and uniformly diced
• 4 tbsp. butter
• 2 tbsp. heavy cream
• 4 slices bacon, cooked and finely chopped
• 1/4 cup chives, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup of cooked lobster meat, finely chopped
• Kosher salt to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 1 cup flour, for dusting
• 2 eggs
• 1 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
• Canola oil for frying

Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, place over high heat and bring to a boil; cook until tender. Drain water and transfer potatoes to a food mill or ricer. Press potatoes through food mill or ricer and into a large bowl. Add butter, cream, bacon, chives and lobster. Mix well, season with salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate until cool and firm, about an hour.

Once mixture has cooled, roll out into 3/4-inch-thick logs and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs with 1/4cup cold water. Roll each Tater Tot in flour, dip into egg wash and roll in bread crumbs (this step can be done ahead of time and Tater Tots can be refrigerated or frozen until ready to cook). Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In a deep frying pan over medium-high heat, add canola oil until it is 1/2-inch deep and heat oil. Add Tater Tots and cook, turning occasionally, until they are brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately, or transfer cooked Tater Tots to a parchment-lined baking sheet and reserve in warm oven until ready to serve.

And, be still our hearts. Chef Michael Symon ups the tot ante with a crabmeat version and a bacon version ♥

Crab Tater Tots
Live to Cook by Chef Michael Symon, of Lola restaurant in Cleveland, and Roast in Detroit

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 cup mashed potatoes
Canola oil, for deep-frying
1/2 pound lump crab meat
Panko bread crumbs, for breading
Kosher salt

Directions

In a small saucepan, combine the butter with 1/4 cup water over high heat. When the water comes to a simmer and the butter is melted, add the flour. Reduce the heat to medium and stir until the resulting paste pulls away from the sides of the pan, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add the egg to the pan and stir vigorously until the egg is incorporated into the flour mixture. Stir in the mashed potatoes and let cool.

Pour enough oil into a medium pot so that the oil comes 3 inches up the sides. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F.

While the oil heats, gently fold the crab into the potato mixture; the lumpier the batter, the better. Using two soup spoons, shape the mixture into quenelles, or 2-inch footballs. (You should end up with about 35.) Roll in the panko. Deep-fry, working in batches and turning once, until crisp, brown, and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

Chef Michael Symon’s Bacon Tater Tots
Chef Michael Symon, of Lola restaurant in Cleveland, and Roast in Detroit

Serves 6

Ingredients
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 cup mashed potatoes
canola oil, for deep-frying
1/2 pound bacon ♥
panko bread crumbs, for breading
kosher salt

Directions

In a small saucepan, combine the butter with 1/4 cup water over high heat. When the water comes to a simmer and the butter is melted, add the flour. Reduce the heat to medium and stir until the resulting paste pulls away from the sides of the pan, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add the egg to the pan and stir vigorously until the egg is incorporated into the flour mixture. Stir in the mashed potatoes and let cool.

Pour enough oil into a medium pot so that the oil comes 3 inches up the sides. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F.

While the oil heats, gently fold the bacon into the potato mixture; the lumpier the batter, the better. Using two soup spoons, shape the mixture into quenelles, or 2-inch footballs. (You should end up with about 35.) Roll in the panko. Deep-fry, working in batches and turning once, until crisp, brown, and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

Well what do you know. Popcorn is the new kale! Joe Vinson PhD, is a chemistry professor at the University of Scranton in PA. His recent study found that the hulls of popcorn are found to have a high level of antioxidant polyphenols. Said Vinson about his findings: “They are nutritional gold nuggets” and that “Popcorn may be the perfect snack food. It’s the only snack that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain. All other grains are processed and diluted with other ingredients, and although cereals are called “whole grain,” this simply means that over 51 percent of the weight of the product is whole grain. One serving of popcorn will provide more than 70 percent of the daily intake of whole grain. The average person only gets about half a serving of whole grains a day, and popcorn could fill that gap in a very pleasant way.”

(A side note: remember the news when coffee and chocolate were found to have antioxidants? Those were the research of Dr Vinson as well. We are hoping for a bacon study in the future!)

And of course, we have popcorn restaurant recipes for you. Read on for favorites from Chef Peter Rudolf, Chef Kerry Sear, Chef Sheri Clark and more. You must promise not to sue us like Nutella!

(photo ©Shawn Hempel)

Warm Balsamic Popcorn
Crop Bistro & Bar, Cleveland, OH

Ingredients

3 cups freshly popped plain popcorn
½ cup thinly Sliced red and green pepper and red onion
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 tbs fresh basil
¼ cup fresh arugula
2 tbs sun dried tomatoes
1 tbs vegetable Oil
3 tbs balsamic vinaigrette (see below)
¼ cup shredded asiago Cheese

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 cup Olive Oil
1/3 cup balsamic Vinegar
3 tbs dijon Mustard
1 tbs fresh basil (finely minced)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Vinaigrette instructions: Combine the oil, balsamic, dijon, basil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Using a wisk, vigorously mix until the dressing is completely blended and deep mahogany in color. Set aside in clean container or refrigerate until needed.

Popcorn Instructions:

Prepare balsamic vinaigrette and pop the popcorn (may be stored in an air tight container for a few hours). In a 14 inch sauté pan, heat oil until it begins to smoke. Add pepper and onion mixture, sun-dried tomatoes and salt and pepper, sauté for 20 seconds. Add vinaigrette to pan. Immediately add arugula and popcorn to the pan. Remove from heat. Toss in pan until well mixed. Pour into large bowl and garnish with roughly chopped basil and asiago cheese. Drizzle with reduced balsamic syrup (optional).

Think superfast stir fry. Do not keep popcorn on the heat…it gets soggy.

Spicy Bacon Popcorn
Chef Andrew Kirschner, Tar & Roses, LA

Ingredients
popped corn, organic 4 quarts
bacon strips 2 each
bacon, med diced 2 cups
aleppo pepper 1/3 cup (a moderate heat level pepper that is crushed or flaked, found in spice shops)
salt to taste
brown sugar 1 cup
corn syrup, light ¼ cup
salt ½ teaspoon
butter 4 oz
baking soda ½ teaspoon

Render fat from bacon strips over low heat in medium saucepot. Remove strips from fat and discard. Over medium heat pop the corn in bacon fat.

Once corn is fully popped remove from heat and place in mixing bowl. In a separate pot over medium high heat combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, and butter and stir constantly, allowing it to boil for two to three minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and stir thoroughly. Stir in bacon, Aleppo pepper, and salt.

Spread evenly on sheet pan and place in 250 degree oven until bacon is rendered (appx 35 minutes), rotating the pan and stirring throughout the cooking process. Remove from oven and once cooled, store in airtight container.

Rosemary Popcorn With Pine Nuts
Chef Sheri Clark, formerly with Dish Restaurant in Atlanta

1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels $
12 (6-inch) rosemary sprigs, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary

Cook oil in a small saucepan over low heat 3 minutes. Add popcorn kernels, rosemary sprigs, and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Remove mixture from heat; cover and let stand at room temperature 48 hours. Drain kernels, reserving 3 tablespoons oil; discard rosemary sprigs. Place 3 tablespoons reserved olive oil and popcorn kernels into a large Dutch oven. Cook kernels, covered, over high heat, shaking pan often for 4 minutes until popping begins to slow down. Remove popcorn from heat, and let stand 2 minutes or until popping stops. Place popcorn in a large bowl.
Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, pine nuts, and chopped rosemary, and toss. Serve immediately.

Smokey Popcorn
Chef Peter Rudolf
Madera restaurant in the Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel, Menlo Park, CA

Ingredients

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons popping corn
1 teaspoon smoked hot Spanish paprika
1/2 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and kept warm
1/2 cup Japanese furikake mix (found at Asian markets)
2 cups Japanese mixed rice crackers
Kosher salt

In a large saucepan, combine the oil and popcorn, cover and cook over moderate heat until it starts to pop. Shake the pan and cook until the corn stops popping.

Transfer the hot popcorn to a large bowl. Sprinkle with the paprika and sugar and toss well. Drizzle with the butter and toss, adding the furikake and rice crackers. Season with salt, toss again and serve.

Masala Popcorn
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor

1 cup of corn kernels
1 tbsp of olive oil
salt to taste
a pinch of turmeric powder
1/4 tsp of red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon of chat masala spice mix
2 tbsp lemon juice

Heat a deep non stick pan.
Place corn kernels in a bowl. Add olive oil and mix well and put into the hot pan.
Add salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder and mix. Cover and let the corn pop.
When all the corn has popped, sprinkle chat masala and lemon juice and toss.
Serve immediately.

Nighthawk Popcorn
Chef Saul Bolton, Nighthawk Cinema, NYC

Ingredients

4 tablespoons grated lime zest (from about 4 limes)
½ cup grated cotija cheese (this is a salty Mexican cheese that can be found in most grocery stores)
1 cup popcorn kernels
4 tablespoon canola oil
Salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup cilantro leaves

1. In a small bowl, mix the lime zest with the cotija, set aside.

2. In a large stockpot set over high heat, combine the popcorn kernels and canola oil and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Once the corn starts to pop (after about 5 minutes), shake the pot constantly until the popcorn has finished popping (about 5 to 7 minutes more). Remove the pot from the heat, carefully remove the cover, season with salt and stir in the melted butter. Mix in the cilantro and reserved cotija-lime mixture and serve warm.

Categories : Appetizer Recipes
Comments (12)

Goodbye potatoes hello kale!

If you mention kale chips to a hardcore traditional snack indulger they may furrow their brow and assume you are a vegan food pusher from Boulder.    Here’s a challenge:  make these and see how many snackers you can convert!    Kale chips are and amazingly delicious option to satisfy any craving for crunch or salt, and lately, we eat them by the bowl for movie night instead of popcorn.

There are several additions and variations to kale chips, but first, the basics:

– Hit the farmers market for the freshest organic kale if you can.  When preparing the kale, wash it well, and then dry, via salad spinner or paper towels.   The drying part is key here, because if you do not dry it thoroughly, it will not crisp properly in the oven. Follow Chef Jacques Pépin’s basic recipe below and adapt it per your preferences.

Chef Jacques Pépin’s Crunchy Kale Chips

1 large bunch of kale
1 tbsp of olive oil
Salt to taste

In Jacques words more or less, take the kale (enough to fill up a nice sized bowl, washed and dried, tough stems removed and leaves torn), add salt, add about a tablespoon of oil, toss with your hands and place on top of a wire rack placed on a baking rack or cookie sheet. “Cook it at low temperature!”, (Jacques says that in the 300’s or 400’s it becomes too black in color.) He cooks it at 250 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, then it’s crunchy and ready to eat.

And that is the basic recipe. It’s fail safe. Actually the entire world of recipes should rotate among Jacques Pépin’s techniques, but that is another post! How you customize or bling it up is up to you, get creative and find your favorite. Our specialty is to cook it without salt, and add toasted sesame seeds and truffle salt at the end. Try it and let us know if you love it as much as we do!

The Health Foodie, a vendor at Phoenix AZ farmers markets, adds brewers yeast and ground cashews to one of their mixes. There are thousands of kale chip recipes in the bloggerverse, adding garlic, parmesan cheese, sprinkles of soy sauce, or curry powder among many variations.

Regardless of your method, happy healthy snacking!

xo
Savory Tv

Episode 217 of Fast Food My Way
(The entire episode is great, but skip to 16:20 on the video for the kale chips. PS. Do not watch if you are trying to watch your carb intake, because you will have an instant craving for potato pancakes!)

Categories : Appetizer Recipes
Comments (8)