When ordinary foods are transformed into various shapes it has a remarkable effect on kids. Sit back, relax and marvel as kids have fun arranging crispy potato letters into words. You may just want to let your kids drop their forks and eat with their hands for this edible art project. My daughter invented this great activity over the summer and I described it my blog, quoted below:
A culinary highlight of our summer vacation this year was my daughter’s homemade french-fries or “batatas fritas” as they’re called in Portugal. She spent hours cutting her potatoes into perfect squares and sticks, cooking them lightly in olive oil, seasoning them with salt and then arranging them on a plate, which she would proudly present to her hungry family. My mother was her sous chef, standing by to help out and make sure that she was safely handling the hot oil.
The fries had no chance of course, devoured in a matter of seconds by her family, like ravenous piranhas. After the feeding frenzy, the only trace of her hard work was the damp paper towel used for straining the oil.
One day, I joined her in her potato making extravaganza. I was inspired by her perfect squares and began carving letters to form my three kid’s names. She didn’t know what I was up to at first but when she saw the letters sizzling she began to help me cut. Together we cut, salted and sizzled until we had created perfect potato names for each of my three kids.
Now whenever my daughter sees a potato, she’s inspired to make alphabet chips. So at the farmer’s market this past weekend, we couldn’t resist the rainbow assortment of red, blue, orange and yellow potatoes and sweet potatoes. This time around, cookie cutters replaced knives to cut potatoes into letters of various sizes and an oven baked batch proved to be a healthier option for the potatoes, resulting in golden, crispy letters. The sweet potatoes though work better with the pan fried skillet method.
We’re excited to get out spooky cutters to make some creepy treats for our annual Halloween pre trick-or-treating bash. Sweet potatoes will make perfect pumpkin chips and Yukon Gold’s will become terrific ghosts. A dip in bloody ketchup is sure to make a creepy crispy impression on our guests. Make sure you keep the scraps as well, which taste as good and often yield whimsical shapes.
What you’ll Need for this Edible Activity:
- Large Potatoes and Sweet potatoes
- Olive Oil
- Kosher or Sea Salt
- Baking Sheet
- Cookie Cutter letters or shapes
- Two large bowls of ice water (one for the shapes and another for the scraps)
Slice potatoes (or sweet potatoes) into 1/8 to ¼ inch slices horizontally. Using a metal alphabet cookie cutter (or other cookie cutters), press out various shapes with the potatoes. Place them in a large bowl of ice water to keep them from turning brown while you cut the rest.
To cook the potatoes by frying: Pour ¼ inch of olive oil into a 12 inch non-stick skillet. Heat the oil and place about 6-10 cookie cutter potatoes in the skillet without overcrowding and cook for about 3 minutes on each side until golden. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with kosher salt while the letters are still hot. If freezing for later, transfer to a baking sheet and freeze uncovered for about 30 minutes and transfer to a freezer bag. Re-heat in a hot oven for 5-7 minutes.
To cook the potatoes by baking: Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. With a basting brush, brush the potatoes with a touch of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and bake in the oven until golden, approximately 15 minutes.