Dani, Steven, and I were discussing how much all three of us absolutely love to cook the other day after I posted some food porn up on twitter - some chicken livers sauteed in butter with a brandy and maple syrup reduction, in case you're wondering. Apparently cooking and hockey go hand in hand - the catharsis of whipping up and beating the hell out of some bread dough is kind of like watching Evander Kane lay out Matt Cooke like a nice loaf of Challah bread in the making. This blog's kind of our random NHL fun-spot anyway. We all need a break from The Hockey Bay Blog/Benched Whale, Silver Seven Sens, and Thrashing the Blues sometimes, and this blog's about as random as you can get.
I figure, well heck, a lot of us are at home watching the playoffs, regardless of if our team's in it or not. Some of us might have Stanley Cup Finals parties floating around in our heads. I'm debating on having one in my tiny apartment or not, but if I do, I'll probably do all the food myself. If I can cater an engagement party for 40 people, I can entertain 15 friends and a cat.
I can't help but get the munchies when watching hockey. So, why not share the munchie love? Some of these recipes can do with a shortcut or two (frozen fries instead of fresh homemade, etc), but they're just as good homemade as they are all Sandra Lee'd.
I don't know how much longer the Habs'll be in the playoffs, but sitting here watching them right now gave me the weirdest craving for poutine. The amalgamation of french fries, gravy, and cheese curds is just a plate full of heart attack waiting to happen. Which is why it's one of the greatest things ever. This isn't the foie gras poutine that Anthony Bourdain had when he went to Le Pied Cochon in Montreal, but it works. I kinda whipped it up myself out of boredom one day - like I said, you can shortcut it, but it's easy to make from scratch.
For the fries, which is probably the most difficult part because getting them crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside is a bear:
The recipe has been mooched from Cooks Illustrated which, in fact, has a lot of illustrations, and if you're a newbie cook or someone who wants to learn new techniques I highly reccommend it.
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 large)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 quarts peanut oil
Scrub potatoes, then square off the sides and cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch fries.
Rinse cut potatoes in a large bowl under cold running water until water runs clear. Cover with ice water and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
Pour off water, spread potatoes onto kitchen towels, and thoroughly dry. Transfer potatoes to large bowl and toss with cornstarch until evenly coated. Transfer potatoes to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and let rest until a fine white coating forms, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven fitted with a clip-on candy thermometer, heat oil to 325°F.
Add half of potatoes, a handful at a time, to hot oil. Increase heat to high. (This step is easy to forget, but very important!) Fry, stirring with mesh spider or large-hole slotted spoon, until potatoes start to turn from white to blond, 4 to 5 minutes. (Oil temperature will drop about 75°F during this frying. It stabilizes right around 250°F. If it drops lower than this, double-check and make sure you remembered to turn the heat on high after adding the fries.)
Transfer fries to thick paper bag or paper towels to absorb any excess grease. Return oil to 325°F and repeat with remaining potatoes.
Increase heat under Dutch oven to high, and heat oil to 375°F. Add half of fries, and handful at a time, and fry until golden brown and puffed, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to thick paper bag or paper towels. Lightly season with salt while fries are still hot. (I like using a paper bag for this step because you can simply toss the fries in the bag, add salt, and shake to absorb the grease and evenly season the fries all at once.) Return oil to 375°F and repeat with remaining fries. Serve immediately.
(Remember, you can half this or quarter this as needed - please, do NOT eat 16 servings or something insane like that).
For the gravy (and yes, you can buy a jar of it, but ewwwwww, really?):
Melt 1 cube of bullion of your choice in hot water per instructions of the box (use whatever kind you want. I prefer beef because the flavor's stronger, but it's a matter of personal preference). Brown about two tablespoons of flour in a skillet for a minute or two, stirring so it doesn't burn. Add some melted butter (or just melt the butter in the pan) - about a tablespoon or so, but adjust as you go - to make a paste. Add the broth, taste, and add whatever seasonings you feel that it needs. It probably won't need salt, but some pepper's always helpful.
I could be a smartass and tell you how to make homemade cheese curds here, but I don't want to be too pretentious.
Cheese curds are a bear to find sometimes. Trader Joe's has them, but they're the yellow curds. If that's fine for you, by all means, go for it. Honestly, I've found that strong cheese chopped up works just as well as long as the fries and gravy are hot enough to melt cheese. Layer gravy over fries, put cheese on top, and ta da. You can add whatever you like - chives, sour cream, and some bacon are always good, but go gonzo. I have seen some weird and scary stuff slathered on top of poutine.
Like I said, Cycle Like the Sedins does not claim responsibility for any blood pressure/cholesterol meds you have to go on because of this.no comments