It’s not like I set out to make things that turn out poorly, I really don’t. And mind you, with as many liberties as I take with some of the things I set out to make, I pretty much expect awful things to get birthed in my kitchen on a pretty regular basis. Still, it can be quite a travesty when you’re looking forward to something magical in your mouth and all you end up with is soggy greasy vegetables.
See, I’ve really been into the veggie chips from the local Sunflower Farmer’s Market as of late. Veggie chips fascinate me in a similar way that ground chicken fascinates me. Feels like potato chip, looks like vegetables! Kinda tastes like vegetables, too! I like how each chip has it’s own texture and light flavor. Now, in real life, I’m not into carrots very much, and am definitely not a fan of beets. However, in Magical Veggie Chip Land, carrots and beets are pretty much the Best Vegetables Ever! So I decided to try making chips out of them (and potato, just to see what homemade potato chips were like).
I decided to (more or less at least) try to follow these instructions on making vegetable chips. So I started slicing the vegetables into 1/16 of an inch slices. Or rather, my hackneyed approximation of 1/16 of an inch. About halfway into slicing the first carrot, I realized I had about twice as many vegetables as I’d need.
Then, after slicing up that half of the vegetables, I realized I still had twice as many slices as I could probably lay flat on the two pans I’d be using. So I stick half the slices in a “deal with later” pile, and laid out the other half of the slices on the pans.
I really love how the beets infect everything they touch with their color. I’ve got a beet left from this experiment, and maybe I’ll just rub it on every light-colored food I eat, because pink food is that much fun. Or I’ll leave it in one of Drew’s shoes. Surprise Beet!
Anyhow, I sprinkled these guys with salt, and let them languish in their saltitude for a bit. Now, I know that, according to the recipe, I was supposed to rinse these guys and dry them completely, but I totally didn’t. And here was my logic at the time for this: The salt will help them suck more moisture out, and baking them will take care of the rest. Right? Right??? I’d also suggest that my logic held an element of impatience, but impatience just isn’t very logical!
So I next removed these guys from the pan, sprayed the pan with cooking oil, then placed these guys back onto the pan in a new and rather exciting configuration.
I felt like I should shellac one of these pans and hang it on my wall and try to convince people it was art!
So, as the recipe recommended, I preheated the oven to 275 degrees and let them bake for about 45 minutes. Now, completely contrary to the instructions, I did not check them occasionally and remove the vegetables as they dried. This is because I am a bum. Nope, I took them all out at the same time. And…most of them were squishy, except for the ones that were faintly burnt.
I felt especially bad for those poor little carrot pieces, so shriveled! Completely unlike the stiff and shapely carrot pieces in the veggie mix I get from the grocery store! Very few pieces fell between the “squishy” and “burnt” spectrum of things, and those still lacked the really nice texture and flavor of the store-bought chips.
So that stack of vegetable slices I’d set aside earlier? I decided to deep-fry them.
The poor carrot pieces got tragically burnt. A few of the beet slices weren’t too bad – I salted them up and killed them off and thought “Yum! Greasy beet chips!” the entire time. As for the potato slices, the thin ones actually resembled thick-cut potato chips. Well, except for the fact that they tasted a bit burnt. Since things were burning before the thick-sliced potato slices were done, I just took them out half-fried. Actually, those were probably the best part of all of this. I dipped them in ketchup and downed some of the greasiest pseudo-fries I’ve ever made. Yum!
So yeah, I don’t think I’ll try making chips again, unless I end up acquiring a food dehydrator or something. Things may have turned out better if I’d fully followed the directions. But here’s the thing: I feel like the main reasons to try making food for yourself are either a.) it’s overpriced in the store, or b.) the version you buy in the store is inferior to something you can make yourself. I’ve decided I’m perfectly fine shelling out the $4.50 for a carton of delicious veggie chips every now and then. And potato products are an odd thing – I think it’s pretty easy to chop up a few potatoes, toss them in the pan for a few minutes, and have some really awesome fries that taste better then most things you’d buy in the frozen section. But as for potato chips, when I can get a very tasty bag for a buck, why would I want to bother making my own?