Saturday, September 13, 2008


Sometimes, the planets just align for a soul-satisfying meal from elements that should be just so-so. This was one of those times. With the summer season of the CSA coming to a close, I am trying to make sure I don't let any of that organic goodness go to waste. So, I started thinking about what I could do with another bag of Anaheim chiles. While we really did enjoy them stuffed with rice and beans, I wanted something else. And a dinner was born.

I thought of Mark Bittman's bean burgers that we hadn't made for awhile, and how good they would be topped with some cheese and dripping with sauteed chiles and onions. Of course, the bean burgers call for Moomie's buns. Every time I make them, I ask myself again why I EVER buy buns from the grocery store. These just couldn't be easier, and they taste 1,000 times better. Literally five minutes in the KitchenAid mixer, some rising time, slapping the dough around a bit, another half hour of rising, then into the oven to bake.

So, we got that bit out of the way, and it seemed like a great excuse to try Crash Hot Potatoes, the latest potato craze making its way around the Internet. These were pointed out to me on the Pioneer Woman's blog--a site well worth checking out if you are not already a regular visitor. This is actually the second time I've made them, the first being (in my opinion) a greasy failure. So, I'd like to share a couple of things with you that will probably make your attempt rise to the pinnacle of crispy roasted potato goodness that I reached the second time around.

I think the most important thing is to not overcook the potatoes in the boiling stage. They should cook only until they don't give too much resistance to a skewer (or fork, if you live in my kitchen). I cooked them until they were soft the first time, and they just stayed too wet and mushy.

Second, drain them really well before transferring to the baking sheet. See "wet and mushy" comment above.

Third, don't worry too much about how you mash them, BUT you do want the white part of the potato to come out on top. I tried several items to mash with--my potato masher, a glass, my hands protected with paper towels, and my meat mallet. They all mashed them, but I was always left with skin on the top, with the potato flesh sticking out the sides. This time, I mashed them until the flesh popped out, then flipped them around to get that part on time, and then mashed a little bit more. It worked out SO much better.

Fourth, do get the oven really, really hot. I did convection roast at 500 degrees. And these, my friends, were incredible. Crispy. Crunchy. Golden. Roasty. Worth the effort.

So, all of those pieces, none of them difficult or requiring any real skill, came together to a plate of goodness that made me glad to be a vegetarian, because I get the BEST food!


Toni said...

Are you a CTer? Where did you get the recipe for Moomie's Buns? They look great, BTW. I have yet to try them, but looking at your picture, I really should.

-whatscooking from CT

Michelle said...

Toni, I'm not sure what a CT'er is, although no doubt it's something I absolutely should know. Please enlighten me! Moomie's Buns are originally from the King Arthur Flour website, but I got them from the Cooking Light boards, where they get lots of play. I always try to have some in the freezer. They are hands-down the easiest dough to work with I've ever made. Thanks for visiting Cooking the Books.