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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Crispy Baked Fries with Vegan Gravy


French fries probably rank up there with one of the most popular foods in North America.  Although I always liked them well enough as a kid, they weren't one of my faves, but I certainly remember them being the top choice of most of my peers.

I recall many of my friends in highschool buying the fries & gravy from our school's cafeteria, however, I never did.  First off, I don't like deep fried food. The smell really gets me!  Second, I prefer fries with ketchup and only ketchup.  I once tried poutine from Bubba's (if you grew up in Kingston, you know this place!).  Once was enough.  Third, in highschool I was busy satisfying my sweet tooth with oatmeal raisin cookies the size of my head which were also sold by our cafeteria. 

But my kids and Adam love fries, and I do enjoy the occasional plate of baked fries, so I set out to make some this past weekend.  Adam also adores gravy on his, so I decided to attempt a healthy, vegetarian gravy that he would love.  Both were a huge success!  The gravy makes a huge amount, so I froze it for future use.  It would be amazing with mashed potatoes, too!

Crispy Baked Fries (adapted from Angela's)

4 baking potatoes, or Yukon gold, cut into desired size pieces (I used our beloved Starfrit Potato Chipper, but you can hand cut if you wish)

Potato Chipper from Starfrit Kitchenware

1 tsp Kirkland Rustic Tuscan Seasoning from Costco (or other herb/spice(s) of choice)
1/4 tsp Herbamare Sea Salt (or other salt)
1 tbls corn starch
1 tsp peanut oil (or other high smoke point oil)

Place cut potatoes in large Ziplock bag, along with corn starch and seasonings, seal bag and shake to coat.  Add oil and shake again.  Place fries on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 425F until crispy, turning once after about 20 minutes.  It took mine 40 minutes to bake, more than I expected probably because I crowded the baking sheet to cram on as many fries as possible.  Remove with spatula and serve as desired.

Vegan Gravy

1 cooking onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbls sherry vinegar
2 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
2 tbls nutritional yeast
1-900ml tetra pack of vegetable stock
2 tbls dijon mustard
2 tbls cornstarch
Season, to taste

Cook onion with water in a skillet or pan over medium heat until liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.  If onions have not yet carmelized, add 1/2 cup of stock and continue cooking until liquid is absorbed.  Add garlic, vinegar, worcestershire, nutritional yeast, and stock.  Simmer for a few minutes and then remove from heat.  Let cool.  Transfer to food processor or blender, adding in mustard and cornstarch.  Puree until smooth.  Return to pan or sauce pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened.  Serve as desired.  Freeze extra for future use.