superdumb supervillain: Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries

Some of my favorite local restaurants have added sweet potato fries to their menus recently, so I was pretty happy to hear about Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries, since my kitchen is a no-fry zone. We've always had good results with their Steam n' Mash and assorted french fries, so I set out for Sam's to buy a ginormous bag of them to try out. Here's a look at my shopping trip:

Back home, my mission was to concoct a recipe for a dip to go with the sweet potato fries. Now, I'm not a dip hater but I must admit that I did not grow up with stuff to dip into other stuff. Salsa, guacamole, hummus… yeah. But dips, cheese balls, spreads? Not so much. Bob's mom and aunts always telling me about the delicious dips they make and I am completely baffled… I never think about dips unless we're having a party. Must be a regional thing. Or an only child thing. Anyway, I was on a mission to create a dip. Bear in mind that my children are even more dip-phobic, eschewing the ketchup and ranch dressing that most of their peers lap up.

Here's another family secret: summertime makes me hot, tired and cranky and I loathe cooking. I want to do a reverse hibernation routine and sleep until the heat goes away. It's been over 100ยบ for a while now, so I've been making a lot of sandwiches and seeing what I can use up in the fridge. Since I picked up that lovely pork shoulder, however, I realized I needed to actually cook something. Sigh. I'm not much of a by-the-book girl (really?!) and tend to fudge recipes together haphazardly with a dash of inspiration, whatever's in the pantry and a healthy dose of hope. I usually do a Southern-style BBQ with this cut of meat, which would be good with sweet potato fries but I kind of wanted to veer away from the obvious so I decided to go South American. Or, rather, my version of South American, which has largely been shaped by Andrew Zimmern, Perez Prado LPs and flipping through my mom's foodie magazines. I hear it all starts with a rub. Our garden is parched so I'm going to go with what's in the pantry, spice-wise:

Okay, mixed all that up and smeared it all over the pork shoulder, which I then tossed into the slow cooker on a bed of two sweet onions, chopped. Time for the sauce component. Hmm, what do I have that needs to be used up?

Excellent! It's gonna be Argentinean pulled pork. Not sure if such a thing exists in nature but I think it will be delicious, especially with some sweet potato fries. Nom nom nom. Power turned up to high, should take five hours or so. Already smells good. I am now very, very hungry.

On to dip concoction. South America. Carmen Miranda. Fruit! Let's do something with mangos, like a south-of-the-border chutney. Here's what I have on hand:

I am throwing all of this together in the Ninja and blending it smooth. If I substituted tequila for vinegar and lime for garlic, it would be a pretty delicious margarita but, no, this is clearly going to be a sauce. Right? Well, maybe once I bring it to a boil on the stove and reduce it. It's kind of a sweet/savory glaze, like a smooth chutney.

I wanted to make another dip since that one was so sweet, so I cobbled together another "what if…" recipe using the edamame I bought at Sam's. I suspect you could also use peas for this. I apologize because I totally managed to erase the photos of my ingredients and prep on this one. Suffice it to say that there was a lot of pea green puree. I had a wedge of very nice Wisconsin blue cheese, some greek yogurt and smoked paprika which I added to about three cups of cooked edamame. It ended up being very chunky and delicious, although it would have been even more yummy if I had bought the right kind of bacon instead of maple-flavored, which I decided would not fit any kind of South American menu. Whoops.

Here's a photo of the Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries in their frozen state, waiting for the oven to preheat. In less than half an hour, these things are going to be crunchy and even more golden orange. Mmm.

I added some Heinz Ketchup to the mango chutney to make it more palatable to the kiddos. Oddly, it made it taste kind of like worcestershire sauce. Would you like to see some artsy photos of our dip selection?

Behold! The star of the show and the condiments! I really dig this color palette.

The big bummer was that my pork was not nearly ready by suppertime. This is a constant problem for me with the slow cooker, I always sorely miscalculate cooking times. Whoops. So this is what the kids got for dinner:

And here's Roo, sampling a fry. Thumbs up, although she didn't like either dip. Oh, well.

Luckily, we had some leftover ribs in the freezer which I microwaved in a flash, so Bob and I didn't have to resort to chicken nuggets. I also made some slaw. (Too much celery seed. Argh!)

Honestly, the Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries were the highlight of the meal for me. They were crispy on the outside but mushy on the inside and not too sweet. My mango sauce was a bit too sweet as a dip, I think I'll add some shoyu to the leftover and use it to marinate some fish or shrimp. The edamame blue cheese dip, however, was awesome. It was good on the fries but I actually prefer them au naturel, with a sprinkle of sea salt. Tomorrow, I think I'm going to make some burritos with them and the pokey pork, perhaps some corn niblets and black beans…

What kind of menu would you include Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries in? Dip or no dip? Sweet or unsweet? Let me know!

For more information, visit Heinz Ore-Ida on Facebook or to see what other pairings the Social Fabric community is coming up with, search the hashtag #OreIdaFries on Twitter.

In accordance to the FTC Guidelines and WOMMA Code of Ethics, I am disclosing that this project has been compensated as part of an #OreIdaFries shopper insights study for Heinz with #collectivebias. All opinions are, as usual, strictly my own.

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