Hye Thyme Cafe: Salt and Vinegar Microwaved Beet Chips

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)


Friday, October 31, 2014

Salt and Vinegar Microwaved Beet Chips

Salt and Vinegar Microwaved Beet Chips: Hye Thyme Cafe

I was gifted some beets the other day and hadn't had Beet Chips in quite a while, so I decided to use a few of the beets to whip up a batch. Actually, I was first thinking about pickled beets, but that would have entailed dragging my lazy butt to the grocery store for onions and fresh garlic. I reverted back to chips, but still thinking about the whole pickle thing got me thinking about salt and vinegar potato chips ... you see how this goes.

SHORT STORY:
Slice beets thin
Dip in vinegar
Sprinkle with salt (sea salt is nice)
Microwave in short bursts of time, flipping between each
Keep careful watch once they start to dry out/crisp


LONG STORY:
Because it has been a while, I was trying to remember the amount of time in the microwave called for and decided to refer back to my blog. To my surprise, it seems that I never actually posted Beet Chips. That's probably because there really isn't a recipe to speak of. Even so, I love them so much, they're definitely at least worth a mention!

I know for sure that I burned my original batch. To be more accurate, I set them on fire. Yup, on fire! Once you get past a certain point in drying them out, you need to keep a close eye on them because of their sugar content. The sugar will start to burn - not particularly tasty - and then they'll burst into flames, so don't leave the room.

That was why I wanted to refer back to my apparently non-existent notes. I think I had made them (the subsequent successful batches that is) on a paper plate and gave them 30 seconds, flipped them, then gave them another 30 seconds on that side.  

For these, I would be starting with them wet, since I was dipping them in vinegar first. That meant a longer time in the microwave. I also didn't have any plain paper plates and didn't like the idea of nuking something wet on dyed paper plates, so I was using a dinner plate lined with paper towels, and I hand-sliced the beets, as opposed to using the mandoline. All of these factors, in addition to your own microwave's power settings, will have an effect on how long they take.

No matter how thick/thin you slice them, what you cook them on, etc., the one thing you need to pay attention to is the sound ... once they start to sound like Rice Krispies, making those little snap, crackle, and pop noises, that's when you really need to start paying attention, because they're drying out. You will also notice by then that they have started to fade in color - just like anything else. Imagine getting splashed with water; where the water hit, your clothes are darker, but as that water dries, the color fades back. As the beets dry, they go from that nice dark purple to sort of a dried rose petal pink.

So it's really a matter of trial and error. Because you can only fit so many slices on a plate at one time, I sliced one beet into thin rounds, dipped each into vinegar and transferred the slices to the paper-towel lined plate, sprinkling the tops with a bit of sea salt. Knowing they would take longer than the "naked" beets, I started off with 45 seconds on one side, flipped them and gave them another 45 seconds on that side, but realized they were still pretty steamy, so I had to repeat that a few more times. For the next beet, I started at a minute and a half, flipped, repeated, then decreased the time to 45 seconds for another round.

It may sound annoying to keep taking them out and flipping them, but to me, spending a few minutes that way is infinitely better than waiting for them to come out of the oven nice and crisp. I've made them in the oven as well but prefer them this way. I find that they cook more evenly and have a better crisp.

So let's see, that's apple and butternut squash chips in the oven and beet and pepperoni chips in the microwave. Have you tried that before? If you have pepperoni in the house from making pizza, try zapping a few slices to turn them into chips. Great for snacking, or for crumbling and using in place of bacon. (I'll probably get hate mail now for suggesting something other than bacon!)  ;')

Whether in your oven, microwave, deep-frier, or dehydrator, go forth and chip something ... except maybe beef. Chipped beef may be awesome to eat (I have never encountered it myself), but it sure sounds gross, doesn't it?

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