When my kids started moving away from home, they used to call home and ask my sweet wife for certain family recipes. We loved having them call (hey, any excuse to talk with our kids!), but I thought they might want to have more reliable access to the family recipes. So I started an online recipe book. It's one of those projects that will get finished someday. You can see its current state at http://ray.datech-net.com/recipes/ .
The latest addition is a recipe for homemade French fries.
When my older kids were little, we used to enjoy homemade, deep-fried French fries. That's because we had my Grandma French's awesome-possum Sunbeam deep fryer. After we finally wore out that deep fryer, we tried in vain to find another one that was as sturdy and robust as that Sunbeam. They really, truly don't make 'em like that anymore.
One day in June 2009, Mom and Chris and I wanted French fries for dinner. We didn't have the frozen kind in the freezer, but we did have a whole bag of real Idaho spuds. We didn't have enough oil for the deep fryer, but we did have a small bottle of oil. So I created what we thought was going to be a poor substitute for the real thing. They turned out to be just as good (and just as greasy!) as the real thing.
Here it is, adapted and edited for Zyzmog Galactic Headquarters.
1 large potato per person
1/4 C. vegetable oil (for up to 6 potatos)
salt or other seasonings
Preheat the oven to 450° F. Put a metal baking sheet on the counter somewhere. You will need one baking sheet for every 3 to 4 potatoes.
Peel and wash the potatoes (or just wash them, if you prefer). Half-fill a large mixing bowl with cold water. Cut the potatoes into French-fry shapes. As you finish cutting each potato, put the raw fries in the bowl of water. Add extra water as needed, to keep the fries covered. After all the potatoes have been cut, pour off all the water. The water must be completely drained, but the fries must be wet still.
This next part is gooey! Pour the oil over the drained fries. Reach into the bowl with both hands, and tumble the fries in the oil until every square inch of every fry is slimy and disgusting. Your hands will also be slimy and disgusting. Rub those slimy, disgusting hands all over the surface of the metal baking sheet to coat it with oil. Now, wash your hands.
Pour the fries onto the baking sheet in a single layer. Don't let them overlap. Bake the fries at 450° F for approximately 40 minutes. Every 10 minutes, turn the fries over with a spatula, and if you're cooking more than one sheet of fries, swap the baking sheets on the oven racks.
When the fries have less than 10 minutes to go, sprinkle them with salt or the seasoning of your choice. Best served still sizzling from the oven, so the first one burns your tongue.
Yes, they do take a long time to cook. That's the only drawback.