I LOVE potatoes. They are a healthy alternative to rice because potatoes are complex carbohydrates, which means that they supply plenty of pure energy that can help sustain power the whole day no matter how many hours you need to work or how challenging the day may turn out to be. Being complex carbohydrates, they are absorbed more efficiently by the body and burned throughout the day.
Potatoes are also loaded with Potassium (which helps keep blood pressure in check and keeps the body properly hydrated), Vitamin C (an antioxidant that keeps harmful free radicals away and helps the body maintain a strong immune system), Vitamin B6 (a water-soluble vitamin that aids in carbohydrate and protein metabolism), and Fiber (which helps improve blood lipid levels, regulate blood glucose, lower blood cholesterol and keep the body feeling full longer), as well as other vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
What’s more: Potatoes contain no cholesterol or saturated fat, no sodium, and contain only 110 calories, so they are good not just for the heart and proper diet but for overall health.
I feel guilt-free and assured that I am doing my body a lot of good when I eat potatoes. These amazing spuds are also a great gastronomic treat because of their versatile flavor and texture.
Mashed potatoes are my favorite because they can take on a lot of different flavors, such as truffle, wasabi, roasted garlic, bacon and cheese. While they are good when cooked to a smooth and very fine texture, I like my mashed potatoes quite chunky, with bits of still whole potatoes mixed into the mash. I used to make mashed potatoes from scratch using fresh potatoes, but in recent years I have discovered dehydrated potatoes from the United States and realized how much easier it is to use US Dehydrated Potato Flakes in making mashed potatoes than making them using fresh potatoes. It’s true, there are mashed potato mixes available in supermarkets, but US Dehydrated Potato Flakes are different because they are made from real, top-quality US Potatoes that have been dried into different textures of flakes, shreds and powder to address different culinary needs. The natural flavors have been sealed or locked in, and, when rehydrated by soaking in water, they go back to their natural state and double in volume.
My other favorite potato product is fries. I like them fried to a golden crisp, not soggy, and the only fries that are able to achieve this are US Frozen Potatoes. Yes, frozen fries—fried in hot oil straight from the freezer so that they turn out crisp and crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is difficult to get this kind of texture from fresh potatoes. US Frozen Potatoes also offer quite a number of different cuts, such as straight cut fries, crinkle cuts, twisters, criss-cuts or basket weaves, half shells, tater tots, smileys, and hash-browns. While I have experimented with different cuts of US Frozen Potatoes as a blogger (www.flavorsoflife.com.ph), my favorite cut is the straight cut fries because they have universal appeal and are versatile. They are good with different dips and flavors, and pair up nicely with rice meals, pasta, sandwiches and desserts.
US Frozen Potato straight-cut fries also happen to be the easiest to buy from the supermarket. While twister fries, crinkle cuts and half shells may sometimes be difficult to find, straight-cut fries are always available. They are plentiful in the refrigerated section of top supermarkets such as SM Supermarket, Rustan’s, Robinsons, Cherry Foodarama, and S&R. They come in different brands and in different sizes, so it is convenient to pick up a bag that suits your purpose.
I recently got a 450-gram bag of US Frozen Potato straight-cut fries at SM Hypermarket Cainta, which is near our house. I went straight to the refrigerated section of the supermarket, picked up a bag, brought it to the check-out counter to pay for it, and rode a tricycle back home. It was that easy.
I have done different things with US Potato straight cut fries, but always with savory ingredients. This time, though, I thought of coming up with a sweet treat using fries as main ingredient. Impossible? No, not really, because my kitchen test turned out well. I fried the US Frozen Potato straight-cut fries I recently bought to a golden crisp and sprinkled salt on them, then I melted dark chocolate (milk chocolate or white chocolate are also OK, dipped the cooked fries in the melted chocolate halfway, and coated part of the chocolate-dipped side with chopped pistachio nuts. It was a medley of flavors and textures, with the saltiness of the fries interacting with the bitter-sweet dominance of the dark chocolate dip and the crunch of the chopped pistachios.
This is a sweet treat that can be served in two different ways—with the fries served separately from the chocolate dip and the chopped nuts in another condiments bowl; or with the fries already dipped in chocolate and coated with chopped nuts. And if you prefer milk chocolate or white chocolate, go ahead and replace the dark chocolate with your preferred chocolate variant. Just follow the same procedure.
CHOCOLATE-DIPPED US POTATO FRIES
WITH PISTACHIO NUTS
1 bag US Frozen Potato straight cut fries
vegetable oil for deep-frying
salt to taste
250 grams dark chocolate bar, roughly chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped pistachio nuts
1. Heat oil in saucepan. When oil is already hot, drop in US Frozen Potato straight cut fries in batches and cook to a golden crisp.
2. Remove fries from the oil and drain off excess oil on paper towel or strainer.
3. Sprinkle fries with salt to taste. Set aside.
4. Melt roughly chopped dark chocolate in a double boiler (*chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a small saucepan filled halfway with hot or boiling water). Mix constantly with rubber spatula until chocolate is completely melted. Let stand for a few minutes to allow the melted chocolate to cool down a bit.
5. Dip crispy fries halfway in melted dark chocolate. Then dip the tip of the chocolate-coated fries in chopped pistachio nuts. Allow to set, then serve.
(For more information on US Potatoes, visit the Potatoes USA Philippines Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PotatoesUSAPhilippines/).