Restauranteurs work very hard to give their customers amazing food experiences. Reading a restaurant menu to find just the right treat for your night out is an experience in itself, but dining out is just that – a treat for a special occasion. We must find our own meal inspirations in the daily business of life, and you can look to local restaurant menus to ignite tasty meal experiences at home. In the process, you might find a dish you would like to try at a local restaurant on that next special occasion.
Most restaurants post their menus online, so when you’re planning your meals for the week and find yourself stuck, peruse some local menus to get new ideas.
St. Albans-based Mill River Brewing’s starter menu has a few tasty surprises. Their rib fries, for example, are topped with little chunks of boneless rib meat, barbecue sauce, green onions and mac and cheese sauce. They also have another french-fry starter, called Duck Fat Fries, that could open up a new realm of home-cooked potato sides for your menu. These fries are tossed in smoked duck fat and topped with parmesan cheese, garlic and fresh herbs. Tossing fries in duck fat isn’t for everyone, but you can imagine many flavor-infused oils for tossing with your fries.
Garlic, fresh herbs, ginger, hot peppers, or citrus all offer unique flavor profiles, and can be easily infused into olive oil on their own or in different combinations.
Here’s a take on tossed fries that can start your home-based oil infusion experience.
1 large orange
3/4 cup fresh oregano
1 cup 100% olive oil
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks 1/4 inch thick
Wash lime and orange with hot water and dry completely
Remove zest of lime and orange with vegetable peeler
Remove oregano leaves from stems
Put peels and oregano in olive oil in saucepan and gently warm on very low heat (do not oil to boil) for 15-20 minutes.
Using a mesh strainer, pour oil into a clean glass container, removing all leaves and peels with the strainer.
Set oil aside.
Heat oven to 450 degrees
Drop potato sticks into boiling water and bring back to boiling, then remove immediately.
Spray a metal wire baking rack with cooking spray, and place potato sticks evenly on rack (do not stack).
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and very lightly spray top of potatoes with cooking spray.
Turn on broiler.
Put rack with potatoes under the boiler for about two minutes until lightly browned – watch potatoes carefully to make sure they do not burn.
Remove from oven and put potatoes in a colander.
Lightly drizzle infused olive oil over hot fries and toss in colander to coat.
(Refrigerate oil after using. It should keep in the refrigerator for about 1 week.)