I follow a lot of food blogs through Google Reader, and I tag the posts of recipes I want to save so, when I’m searching for a dinner, lunch, breakfast, bread or other recipe idea I can simply search those posts and see what I might want to try. The main way I’ve discovered a lot of the food blogs I follow is through a place called TasteSpotting. If you’ve never been over to the site, please don’t click that link yet, you’ll never come back here. TasteSpotting is a place where foodies can upload pictures from their blog posts. The pictures link back to their own blogs and…well…I get extremely hungry (and jealous of all the good food) while looking at the TasteSpotting feed. It’s amazing.

One thing I’d seen show up in the TasteSpotting feed regularly lately was homemade potato chips. Now, here’s my confession: I bought a mandolin for the sole purpose of making homemade potato chips. If you don’t own a mandolin, potato chips aren’t impossible, but they’d be much harder because of how thin you really want them to be. Here’s my second confession: I’d owned that mandolin for two months. Two months! And I still hadn’t made potato chips (or taken it out of the box). So last week, when I returned from two weeks of travel and surgery, I decided to take some time, pull out the mandoline and try my hand at homemade potato chips.

I also thought I’d be ambitious and do both the stove/oil method, and the microwave method AND that I’d make both regular potato chips and sweet potato chips. Yes, I am crazy. No, I won’t do that again. I’ll share both recipes with you, but here’s what I learned:

1)I wouldn’t do this without a mandolin. Ever. I tried slicing the potatoes on both the 1.5mm and 3mm thickness and frying them up. The 1.5 thickness was by far the best. In case you can’t picture 1.5 thickness, it’s paper thin, really, and there is NO way you’d want to do that by hand. Even using the mandolin that thickness isn’t a lot of fun when you’re doing more than one or two potatoes.

2) The regular potatoes were good, especially with the kosher salt, but even plain the sweet potato chips were delish.

3) It’s important to have the oil at the right temperature, because if it’s too low, the chips cook slooooowly and if it’s too hot, they get dark quickly. So a candy or oil thermometer helps with this.

4) I have no idea if the microwave method produces good tasting chips because I wasn’t paying attention, thanks to the fact that I was also frying up batches of chips, and ended up burning the one batch I did in the microwave. I wasn’t feeling motivated enough to try again.

5) I would do this again, but only on a weekend or a weeknight when I have some extra time (ha. ha.)

6) The iPhone doesn’t take bad food photos. I didn’t want to pull out my big camera just to snap a few shots of potato chips, so I used my iPhone.

The recipes:

Microwave Potato Chips (unverified for taste thanks to my inattention) via allrecipes.com

Ingredients

* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1 potato, sliced paper thin (peel optional)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Directions

1. Pour the vegetable oil into a plastic bag (a produce bag works well). Add the potato slices, and shake to coat.
2. Coat a large dinner plate lightly with oil or cooking spray. Arrange potato slices in a single layer on the dish.
3. Cook in the microwave for 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned (if not browned, they will not become crisp). Times will vary depending on the power of your microwave. Remove chips from plate, and toss with salt (or other seasonings). Let cool. Repeat process with the remaining potato slices. You will not need to keep oiling the plate.

Homestyle Potato Chips (recipe via allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

* 4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced paper-thin (I did three regular and one sweet potato)
* 3 tablespoons table salt
* 1 quart oil for deep frying
* Kosher salt to taste

Directions

1. Place potato slices into a large bowl of cold water with the three tablespoons of salt added, as you slice. Let the potatoes soak in the salty water for at least 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
2. Heat oil in a deep-fryer to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C). Fry potato slices in small batches. Once they start turning golden, remove and drain on paper towels. Continue until all of the slices are fried. Season with kosher salt if desired.

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