If it’s so easy, how come I rarely do it?

I’m dedicating this post to Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen. She recently put up a post about grilling bell peppers, simple & yet way easy. I made a comment about it being beneath her skill level and to take a step up, or something along those lines. She fired back a comment, “If it’s so easy, how come I’ve never done it before?” Yes, I can be an ASS.
I found myself wondering throughout the day repeating her question to myself, over and over. All I could come up with is, “I don’t know”. And I didn’t, I don’t. Why don’t we do it when it’s so damned easy?
That evening I found myself standing at the open door of my bachelor fridge attempting to find something to make the boys for dinner. I’d just purchased yet another package of corn tortillas with 1.5 bags of stale ones still sitting behind the empty box of juice bags. If it’s so damned easy, how come I don’t make tortilla chips more often?
And that was that.

If you ever get an invitation from me for a dinner that includes something deep fried, eat before you arrive. I do exceptionally well in the kitchen, even better at grill-side. But there’s something about deep frying food that eludes me. Oh the horror stories I could tell! Um, no really.
That being said, I have learned some things. First off, I had to get a thermometer, just had to. Even for something this simple, I used it every 5 seconds. 3″ of corn oil in a cast iron dutch is kinda necessary too. Brought it to about 350 degrees, but 325 is good too. But be careful, I was kinda surprised at how much heat these little guys suck out of the oil, and quick too. I did about 20 chips or so at a time, not much.
While I do enjoy a hearty crunch to my chips, having them tender, crisp is even better. So, it only took a few minutes with some turning using a large, wide Asian type holed puller-outter thingy. Remove chips to a cookie sheet with paper towels and a cooling rack installed. Salt immediately, and within a half our or so I had a hugeass bowl of the best chips ever.
I’m still unable to answer Kalyn’s question, I think I can live with that. The world may never know.
PS – The boys and I ended up with sketti sauce made with ground elk, over pasta. Thanks to Mad Meat Genius for the elk.

13 thoughts on “If it’s so easy, how come I rarely do it?

  1. Wow, I am impressed. I have never made my own tortilla chips and I have that fear of hot oil thing too. I bet they were delicious! (And thanks for the dedication!)v

  2. oh jeez, oh jeez, oh jeez.
    You don’t have to fry them in oil.
    Just buy really, reliably, good corn tortillas. Cut them into eighths. Arrange them on a cookie sheet. Then bake in a 300 oven — and KEEP WATCHING THEM. It takes 10, 15, 20 minutes, depending on your oven.
    But you will get crisp, caramelized, tasty, oil-free chips.
    Pull them out before they get very dark. Dark = tastes bad.
    They will continue to get crisper after they come out of the oven. Takes one or two times trying to learn the ropes.
    You will know how.
    But you will be depriving the biofuel industry of your garbage.

  3. Loved the chile charrin and chip fryin. 2 of my favorite things. I do the chiles without thinking twice, but stop short of frying- the man at my house does it just like I like- tacos, taquitos, tostadas. But No chips. And we always have extra tortillas. I might just take a tip from you and use my thermometer, and give it a go. I do believe I would use lard for chips- my beans are best when fried up in a little pork fat. yum

  4. Hey AmyL,
    YEAH, lard. I would have used it, but haven’t made any of late and haven’t found a local source for it yet. I need to hit up the local El Salvadorean restaurants and see if I can find a pint or two. Duck fat would be great too.

  5. Honey, don’t waste duck fat on tortilla chips when it’s so hard to come by! Oil is fine. And I’m glad to hear you’re getting over your fear of frying. I’m an infrequent fryer because I hate to clean up all the spattering.

  6. Man, I actually bought a little countertop deep-fat fryer the other day because I was shopping and it was 25 bucks and I could. But I was thinking doughnuts, not chips. Now I will have to try chips. Unhealthy fried chips. Yum!
    btw, the elk ‘sketti sounds marvelous.

  7. Wow Biggles-
    I happen to have some duck fat from my last duck dinner- ducks I raised for enjoyment at the table. I may just get my tortillas out and try this one…
    Perfect compliment to tonight’s dinner of Flor De Mayo bean soup- with chorizo and all the fixins.

  8. I’m confused – did you fry the stale chips or make your own? And AmyLynn, my mother once raised ducks for our enjoyment at the table. Thanksgiving when I was five-years old was not so enjoyable. “Where are my pet ducks”, I asked, as everyone around the table laughed at me. I felt like Carrie.
    It’s OK now, though, of course. I visit France often and have never met a duck on a table I didn’t like. 🙂

  9. Great photos!
    Homemade tortilla chips are one of those things that taste SO much better than bagged you wonder why you ever buy them.
    Same with corn tortillas now that I think about it.

  10. This is Vanessas dad. Pauls new father in law. Thanks for the pixs of their wedding.
    Cool site. Judy and I are meat lovers. 10 4 S

  11. Hey Stephen!
    Just rolled in from Calistoga this morning, nice trip.
    You’re most certainly welcome! I don’t usually take photographs of people, mostly food. I was very lucky they came out as well as they did. Hopefully we’ll be able to get together soon and break some bread. Take care and see you soon!