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Archive for August 12, 2013

FOOD HOLIDAY: Different Types Of French Fries, A Glossary

Today is National Julienne Fries Day.

What are julienne fries? How do they fit in with all the other types of fries?

Julienne is a French cutting technique, typically for vegetables, in which the food item is cut into long thin strips, similar to matchsticks. Another word for the same cut is allumette.

  • The official julienne size is 1/8 inch × 1/8 inch × 2 inches.
  • The next thicker cut, batonnet, is 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch x 2½ to 3 inches.
  • The baton is the thickest stick cut: 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch x 2-1/2 inches.
    Fries, or French fries, refer to sliced, deep fried potatoes. They can be made with sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, baked instead of fried, and served plain as well as with a myriad of condiments (barbecue sauce, blue cheese dressing, ketchup, gravy, malt vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, ranch dressing, thousand island dressing.

    While julienne and baton are the most typical cut, here is a delicious accounting of the different types of fries.

    There are 30 different types of fries for you to try!


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    Can you name the fries? From the top: tots, chips, waffle fries, curly fries, frinkle fries, sweet potato fries and what most Americans think of as the classic French fry, the baton. Photo courtesy Idaho Potato Commission.



  • Boardwalk Fries: From the Mid-Atlantic area, these fries are seasoned with Old Bay Seasoning and malt vinegar.
  • Carne Asada Fries or Carne Fries: A specialty of Mexican restaurants in the San Diego area, comprising a base of fries topped with carne asada (grilled flank or skirt steak) with garnishes of cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce and sour cream; some establishments include pico de gallo and lettuce.
  • Cheese Fries: Crinkle, julienne or other fry shape topped with melted cheese: grated Parmesan, shredded Cheddar, mozzarella or Swiss cheese, Cheez Whiz, Velveeta—even blue cheese or ranch dressing. Chili, bacon, chives/green onion, garlic, jalapeños, mayonnaise and other ingredients can be added.
  • Chicken Fries: These are not potato fries, but chicken strips shaped to look like fries. They were popularized by Burger King and became a permanent menu item in 2015.
  • Chili Cheese Fries: Fries topped with chile con carne.
  • Chips: The British word for fries. In America the term can refer to homemade potato chips, a popular restaurant item. Make your own with this recipe, or try these gourmet homemade potato chips with truffle oil.
  • Crinkle Fries: Fries with grooved edges that are made with a special crinkle cutter.
  • Curly Fries: French fries cut with a special curly fry cutter that creates long, thin spirals. Sometimes called wavy fries, they are often served a side of melted cheese. Ketchup, sour cream or sweet chili sauce are also popular condiments. History: In 1938 the Dolores Restaurant & Drive-In on Route 66 in Oklahoma introduced Suzi-Q Fries, adapted by others and called, generically, curly fries.
  • Disco Fries or Elvis Fries: A New Jersey specialty, made with steak fries topped with brown gravy and mozzarella cheese fries; some establishments substitute processed American cheese. Also see Newfie Fries and Poutine.
  • French Fries, French Fried Potatoes or Fries: In French, the formal name for fried potatoes is pommes de terre frites (PUM-duh-tare-FREET). The term is often shortened to pommes frites or simply, frites. The terms aiguillettes or allumettes refer to very thinly sliced chips.

    Sidewinders Fries

    TOP PHOTO: Sidewinders, a new shape made to generate excitement at restaurants. Photo courtesy Simplot. BOTTOM PHOTO: Tornado fries, also called spiral fries. Photo courtesy

  • Home Fries or Cottage Fries: A potato dish made by pan-frying sliced potatoes that have been par-cooked by boiling or other technique, then pan-fried in butter or oil—not deep fried. When diced green and red bell peppers are added, and optional chopped onions, they are called Potatoes O’Brien. They dish was created at John’s restaurant in Manhattan in the early 1900s.
  • Julienne Fries: A popular width for French fried potatoes: 1/8 inch × 1/8 inch × 2 inches.
  • Jojo Fries: A regional term for potato wedges.
  • Matchstick Fries: The popular term for julienne fries.
  • Newfie Fries: A dish originating in Newfoundland: fries, dressing (turkey stuffing made with summer savory) and gravy. One variation adds ground beef or hot dogs and cheese.
  • Oven Fries: “Fries” that are baked in the oven instead of fried.
  • Patatje Oorlog: A Dutch dish of fries with eight or more sauces—anything from chopped raw onion and relishes to mayonnaise and peanut sauce. Some establishments provide up to 40 different condiment variations. Patatje oorlong is Dutch for “French fries war.”
  • Potato Wedges: Fries made from large, wedge-shaped chunks of potato, often unpeeled. Regional terms include jojos and tater babies. The wedges can be baked instead of fried. Popular condiments include barbecue sauce, brown sauce, gravy, ketchup, mayonnaise, ranch dressing, sour cream and sweet chili sauce.
  • Poutine: A Canadian dish from rural Quebec that tops French fries with fresh cheese curds (sometimes grated cheese), covered with hot gravy. Disco fries, from New England, are a variation.
  • Rounds: Coin-shaped chips.
  • Seasoned Fries: French fries coated with spices. Black pepper, garlic powder, chili flakes, onion powder and paprika are popular, but you can make curry fries, basil-dill fries or whatever you find appealing.
  • Shoestring Fries: Another term for julienne fries, the thinnest cut.
  • Sidewinders: A new shape developed by Simplot for restaurant service. The company describes the shape as a bent elbow. See the photo above.
  • Steak Fries: These are thicker-cut fries—baton or wider—often cooked with the skin on. They can be fried or coated with spices and baked.
  • Sweet Potato Fries: Made from sweet potatoes, typically in the julienne or shoestring cut.
  • Texas Fries or Texas-Style Fries: Steak fries with the skin on.
  • Tornado Fries: A shape invented by the Tornado Fries company and copied by others. They are made from a single potato cut with a gadget into a one-piece spiral, which is fried on 18- or 26-inch skewers. Sometimes they are wrapped around a foot-long hot dog.
  • Tots or Tater Tots: Small cylinders made from deep-fried, grated potatoes. “Tater Tots” is a trademark of Ore-Ida, which invented the little potato bites in 1953. Here’s a recipe to make your own baked tots.
  • Waffle Fries or Waffle Cut Fries: French fries cut with a special tool into a criss-cross pattern. In France they’re called pommes gaufrettes (gaufrette is the French word for waffle).
  • Wavy Fries: Another term for curly fries.

    Potatoes originated in Peru and spread to other parts of Latin America. Fried potatoes—cooking potatoes in fat over a fire—is a practice thousands of years old.

    Potatoes were “discovered” and brought back to Europe by the Spanish conquistadors—where they were uses as hog feed! The French were convinced that potatoes caused leprosy, and French Parliament banned cultivation of potatoes in 1748.

    A French army medical officer named Antoine-Augustine Parmentier was forced to eat potatoes as a POW, and discovered their culinary potential. Through his efforts, in 1772, the Paris Faculty of Medicine finally proclaimed that potatoes were edible for humans—though it took a famine in 1785 for the French to start eating them in earnest.

    In 1802, Thomas Jefferson’s White House chef, Honoré Julien, a Frenchman, served “potatoes served in the French manner” at a state dinner. The potatoes were “deep-fried while raw, in small cuttings.” French fries had arrived. By the early 20th century, the term “French fried,” meaning “deep-fried,” was being used for other foods as well (onion rings and zucchini sticks, anyone?)




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    TIP OF THE DAY: Grilled Chocolate Sandwich

    Move over, pain au chocolat and chocolate croissant. We don’t have to go searching for you anymore. We can make the American version of a chocolate sandwich at home—in five minutes.

    A few days ago we suggested different uses for grilled bread. We saved the dessert version, grilled bread with chocolate, for today.

    As with grilled cheese sandwiches, you can toast the bread on the grill, under the broiler or in a frying pan. Here are two recipes, including a quick variation, courtesy of King Arthur Flour—an exceptional resource for the finest flours and other baking ingredients.

    Also as with grilled cheese, grilled chocolate sandwiches are cooked until the bread is toasty and the chocolate is chocolate melted. Make them as a snack or a fun dessert. We enjoy them with a glass of cold milk.

    You can also use croissants and sweet rolls, although grilling the uneven tops is challenging. It’s better to microwave them until the chocolate melts.

    What chocolate should you use?


    The dessert sandwich on pound cake or bread. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.

    Whatever you like. Some people favor Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate. We personally prefer prestige-grade chocolate and use any of the gourmet chocolate bars we have on hand. You can use flavored chocolate bars and bars with inclusions (e.g. nuts), and even chocolate chips. For fun, you can mix dark and white chocolate, or any variation that inspires you.


    Ingredients For 20 Sandwich Triangles

  • 10 slices brioche, challah or pound cake*
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces (about 1 cup) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (not unsweetened baking chocolate), broken or chopped into small pieces
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Optional: 1/4 cup sparkling white sugar (sanding sugar)
  • Optional garnish (adults): crème fraîche, mascarpone, sour cream, whipped cream
  • Optional garnish (kids): whipped cream, vanilla ice cream
    *In a pinch, you can use firm-textured white bread.


    Quick version: butter toast or brioche, add chocolate, grill. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.



    1. BRING the cream to a simmer and stir in the chocolate. Continue to stir until the mixture is shiny and smooth, heating briefly if necessary to melt the chocolate completely. Let cool until thickened.

    2. BUTTER one side of each piece of bread. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the chocolate onto the unbuttered side of 5 of the slices, leaving an uncoated rim around the edges.

    3. TOP with the remaining bread. Sprinkle the buttered sides of the bread with the optional sparkling sugar.

    4. GRILL the sandwiches over medium heat until they’re golden brown on both sides. Be careful if you’re using the sparkling sugar: The sugar tends to burn if the heat is too high. Be sure to wipe the pan between sandwiches. Cut the sandwiches into triangles and serve warm.


    NOTE: Any extra filling may be stored in the fridge, tightly covered, for later use. You can warm it and use it as a dessert topping.


  • 2 slices pound cake or brioche per serving
  • Unsalted butter, softened
  • Chocolate, broken or chopped

    1. SLICE the cake into pieces about 3/8” thick. If desired, further cut the slices into more manageable individual pieces (e.g. for children). Butter one side of each slice.

    2. SPACE the chocolate on the unbuttered side of the cake slices. Top with another slice of cake, buttered side up. Grill over medium heat, turning once, till both sides are golden, and the chocolate is melting.

    3. SERVE plain or with one of the garnishes above.


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    FOOD FUN: The Turducken Of Sausage

    Today’s Food Fun involves a word new to most people, engastration; a food familiar to many, turducken; and a bratwurst-hot dog riff on turducken.


    Turducken consists of a de-boned chicken stuffed into a de-boned duck, which is in turn stuffed into a de-boned turkey. The dish is a form of engastration: a preparation method in which one bird is stuffed inside the gastric passage of another to create a bird inside a bird inside a bird. The term is derived from Greek words meaning “in the belly.”

    Some recipes also have stuffing between each layer. The entire bird/bird/bird could also be covered in pastry.

    The method of engastration supposedly originated during the Middle Ages (here’s more engrastration history). A popular dish in 19th century England was Pandora’s Cushion, a boned goose stuffed with a boned chicken, which was stuffed with a boned pheasant, itself stuffed with a boned quail.”


    The Beast: a sausage stuffed with a hot dog, the cousin of turducken. Photo courtesy


    The engastration most often consumed in the U.S. is the turducken. While Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme claims to have invented the idea, there is an Empire Kosher Poultry recipe book that long pre-dates Prudhomme’s recipe, although the recipe wasn’t called turducken. So Prudhomme may be credited with coming up with the portmanteau (see below).

    But turducken might easily have remained unknown outside Louisiana for a long time. Fortunately for turducken lovers, American football commentator John Madden promoted the dish on Fox Sports by feeding it to the Thanksgiving Bowl winners.


    Turducken: turkey stuffed with chicken
    stuffed with duck. Photo courtesy Louisiana
    Crawfish Co.



    Schlitz claimed it was “The beer that made Milwaukee famous.” But with all the food fans online these days, that claim is waiting to be updated.

    In the 21st century, the contender to make Milwaukee famous is The Beast, a grilled bratwurst sliced in half and stuffed with a grilled hot dog. The brat/dog is then wrapped in bacon and grilled.

    At The Plaza Pavillion in Miller Park, it’s served with sauerkraut and grilled onions on a Pretzilla pretzel roll, with house-made potato chips and a pickle.

    What, only one item stuffed into a second item? If the bacon doesn’t work for you as the third layer, just split the grilled hot dog in half and stuff it with cheese.


    The word turducken is a portmanteau of turkey, duck, and chicken.


    A portmanteau (port-MAN-toe) is a combination of two or more words or morphemes, and their respective definitions, into one new word.

    The term derives from portmanteau luggage, a British term for a piece of luggage with two compartments, which in turn is derived from the French porter (to carry) and manteau (coat). A porte-manteau is a coat tree.

    The term was first used in the combined-meaning context in 1871 by Lewis Carroll in “Through the Looking-Glass.” Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice the coinage of the unusual words in Jabberwocky: “slithy” means “lithe and slimy” and “mimsy” is “flimsy and miserable.”

    Humpty Dumpty explains: “You see it’s like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word.”


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