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Nicole Franz is a copy editor and paginator at The News-Herald in Willoughby. She takes all those sweet recipes, grueling workouts, cleaning tips, money-saving tricks, do-it-yourself projects and looks that seem so cool on Pinterest and writes about how they really turn out.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Gwyneth Paltrow recipe offer guilt-free French fries crazy easy to make

All sliced up and ready to go.
So I haven’t gone grocery shopping in a while, and was trying to come up with a Sunday afternoon pre-work meal that would fill me up for a night of editing and page design without making me feel guilty. I rummaged through my pantry and fridge and didn’t find too much that was striking my fancy. I did have potatoes though and remembered pinning something about a healthier french fries recipe recently.

So while I nuked some frozen vegetables in the microwave (I’m a big fan of frozen veggies as a snack/meal with some combination of cheese, spices or salsa) I found this pin touting Gwyneth Paltrow’s No-FryFries from her cookbook, “My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness.”

If you click on the pin it links you to Self and a full recipe, but again I went with what was on the actual pin.

What was the point of dunking them in water?


"Gwyneth Paltrow's No-Fry Fries, just cut up your potatoes and place them in a bowl of cold water, then dry them off and toss them with olive oil, place them on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt, then bake at 450 for about 25 minutes, turning occasionally."

How it went

I grabbed two Idaho potatoes and scrubbed them down, which is much harder to do effectively without a scrub brush, but I digress. I turned on my oven before I tracked down a cutting board and knife.

I didn’t skin my potatoes, because it didn’t say to on the pin (though it does on the Self recipe), so all I had to do was hack up the potatoes into fry-shaped strips. I cut the potatoes in half first to facilitate easier cutting.

Then I tossed the potatoes in a Rubbermaid container that I knew had a lid and added enough water to cover them. I’m not entirely sure what this step did, unless it was meant to clean the potatoes further. 

Seriously, was this for cleanliness? I already scrubbed the potatoes.

I went a tad overboard on the olive oil.
Then I drained out the water and tossed the potatoes on some paper towels so I could pat them dry with another paper towel.

I dried out the container I just had the fries in and dumped them back in there along with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. I put the lid on and shook the potatoes up until I felt they were solidly mixed (a few healthy shakes).

I decided I wanted to be super lazy and put aluminum foil over my cookie sheet, which I sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Then I fished the potatoes out of the container with a slotted spoon so I wouldn’t end up wasting a ton of olive oil (that stuff’s expensive!) on the cookie sheet.

I arranged them haphazardly on the sheet and then tossed a bit of sea salt on them.

Oiled up and ready for the beach (or my oven).
I placed them on the middle rack of my oven and promptly forgot about them for 25 minutes. The pin says to turn them occasionally (how vague is that?), but I didn’t bother.

They're so shiny!
I pulled them out after 25 minutes and tossed them on a plate for easy eating.


Maybe I should have turned these, or perhaps taken them out a little earlier.
This was crazy easy to make. It required almost no effort, and the fries were a satisfying substitute for regular old fried french fries. Some of the fries turned out a little crunchier (read burnt) than I would have liked, but most of them were the perfect amount of crispy.

The water part and subsequent drying of the recipe seemed a little bit unnecessary and wasteful. I’d probably skip this step in the future and see how it goes.

I wasn’t sure how much olive oil to use and definitely overdid it on that part, but I ended up just tossing my veggies in the olive oil with some spices and a little Parmesan cheese and it ended up very yummy and not wasteful. The Self version of this recipe says to use 2 tablespoons of olive oil. That would probably have been a perfect amount, and I wouldn’t have felt the need to fish my fries out of the container with a slotted spoon.

I also overcooked them a bit (big surprise). I am eventually going to figure out how to bake things perfectly in my oven (and then I'm promptly going to move out of my apartment probably). 

I will definitely make these again, so kudos to Gwyneth Paltrow. I really enjoyed her turn as Pepper Potts in the “Iron Man” and “Avengers” movies, and she showed how multitalented she is with a turn on “Glee” and now this cookbook. Thanks to those distinctive roles, I’ve finally managed to not confuse her with Cate Blanchett.


Thanks to my college friend and Post colleague Emily Carroll I learned that the water removes excess starch and helps make the fries crispier. So apparently dunking the potatoes in water is a worthwhile step. (5:32 p.m. Oct. 1, 2012)

— Nicole Franz | | @FranzOrFoe
Follow my Mission: Pinpossible board on Pinterest.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post!
I tried this recipe last summer and absolutely loved it! It was lost in Facebook timeline so had to find it again. (Bookmarked now!)
I was going to say the same thing about the cold water ;)

December 9, 2013 at 2:43 AM 

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