Thursday is food day!
Once we moved off the grid, we no longer had the stove top and had to learn how to cook on the wood stove or on an open fire. We had to start with very simple foods and once we got comfortable, we were able to start cooking more intricate meals. One of the first things we started cooking was french fried potatoes and it has become quite the favorite around here. It is a good dish to start with because if you mess it up, it is still good to eat, it just may not be as crispy as you want, or too crispy. You need to learn a little bit about how to cook on the wood stove in order to cook them to perfection.
The hardest part of this, for me, has been waiting around for everything to heat up nicely. You already have to wait for the wood stove to get hot before you can cook anything and you should warm up your cast iron cookware. To make fries, you also have to get the oil hot enough if you want them crispy, just like if you were going to deep fry. While you are cooking and stirring the fries, don’t forget that you have to maintain the heat of the stove if you want the fries to cook. Maintaining a fire is harder than you may think when you get wrapped up in all the other steps of cooking. Kids (and their parent) get cranky when they have to wait for you to restart the fire that went out when you were chopping something and then you get the fire too hot and burn dinner anyways.
We cook our fries with coconut oil. We have tried cooking with various types of oil and this one is our favorite. You want to add enough oil to the pan to fry up the potatoes but I would not recommend trying to deep fry. It just doesn’t seem safe to have splattering oil so close to a flame. Wait for the oil to get hot before you start cooking!! If the fire is steady and hot, the oil will take about ten minutes to be perfect. While you’re waiting for the oil to get hot, you could chop up your potatoes into whatever shape you want to chop them. I dice potatoes and cook them up for omelets and things, but the kids like stick french fries with ketchup. Once everything is all chopped and the oil is good and hot, you are ready to cook.
Throw the cut up potatoes into the hot oil and mix them up so they get nicely coated. I mix the fries up quite a bit when I first throw them in so that they don’t stick. If the oil isn’t hot enough, they will stick as well. Once they are cooking, you don’t need to stir as often. Remember to watch the fire!! Too hot or too cold and you have to run around doing damage control with half cooked food. I try to get the man to watch the fire for me while I cook or the other way around. If the kids allow for this to happen that is.
Cook the fries until they are just right (whatever you like), scoop them on to a plate with a paper towel to soak up the extra grease, add salt. Perfect french fried potatoes.
The picture below is the greasy paper towel after we ate all the fries. If we had been deep frying with vegetable oil, this paper towel would be quite nasty. I just wanted to share how much nicer the mess is when using the coconut oil, which is also pretty good for you. Chow time!!