Friday, April 13, 2012

...Yucca Chips!

You can't eat just one.

That's a slogan for Pringles, and that's so true when it comes to chips, pretzels, and even cookies - the smaller they are, the harder it is to eat "just one".  This is also a problem when you're trying to watch what you eat, because the "mindless eating" craze tends to set in, and before you know it - you've eaten half (or all) of a bag of the chips.

Pampered Chef recently came out with a Microwaveable Potato Chip Maker, where you slice potatoes (with their Ultimate Mandoline or Simple Slicer, of course) to make even chips, then microwave them without oil to make "healthier" potato chips.

Brilliant, right?

Given my obsession with Chicken Latino's Yucca Fries, I wanted to see if this would work with yucca root.  After reading the directions to the Potato Chip Maker, I noticed that they explicitly said that it works with yucca, too.

This is going to happen.

On a trip to the Strip District one day, I stopped at Stan's Market to check out the yucca - and it was only $0.99/lb.!  WHOA!  Usually there it's $1.19/lb., and I've already ranted about Giant Eagle's $3.99/lb. rate for both it and jicama (what a rip-off!).  I bought some immediately, fearing for a sudden price increase or noticeable discrepancy.

The worst part about yucca is peeling it.  I had recently purchased a new Vegetable Peeler from Pampered Chef (as I have no idea what happened to my old one - how do you lose a vegetable peeler, really?).  It got easier once I got some of the initial bark off, but it was the most time-consuming and exhausting part of the process.

No, I didn't use that Santoku knife.  I still have all of my fingers.
 Then, the Ultimate Mandoline - I was fearful of breaking the blade, as I feared that with the Vegetable Peeler as well, but I was shocked at how well it sliced the yucca into "chips".  I have no idea how Shelbin at Chicken Latino slices yucca into "fries", let alone PEELS all of that yucca on a regular basis (it wore me out!), but slicing them into chips was a breeze.

Ultimate Mandoline and yucca

Chips came out even and pretty!
I know that the point of the chip maker is to not use oil, but I thought - these will need some flavor.  I had purchased some Persian Lime Oil from Olio Fresca in the Pittsburgh Public Market, and lime is a great Latino flavor - it would go really well with yucca, along with some cumin.  Also, in a previous food experiment, I learned - the hard way - that you don't need a lot of this oil for the flavor, just like peanut oil.  So really, I wasn't adding that much fat to the chips - maybe a teaspoon's worth, at most:

Olio Fresca's Persian Lime Oil - available at the Pittsburgh Public Market
After mixing the yucca, lime oil, and cumin together in a Ziploc bag (the most efficient method of evenly coating the chips), I spread them out in a single layer on the Microwaveable Potato Chip Maker:

Coating the chips with lime oil and cumin
After microwaving them for 2 minutes - yes TWO MINUTES - they were done.  YUCCA CHIPS!

Yucca chips!  Done!
I had more to make, but didn't want to eat an entire yucca root in one sitting - so I put that Ziploc bag in the refrigerator, and made one tray's worth when I wanted to.  I got about 3 more servings out of that root, and they turned out great each time. 

In addition to the flavors in the chips, I needed to dip - I like dipping - and my new obsession is Heinz Balsamic Ketchup.  I swear this endorsement is completely unsolicited - I am obsessed with this stuff.  I hope that this "Limited Edition" thing is just a marketing ploy, because when I can't find this anymore, I may cry.  James insists that he can teach me how to make balsamic ketchup, but I refuse, fearing that it just won't be this good.  I think I'm just going to buy two bottles on every shopping trip I make to stock up...and make sales soar...and make Heinz realize it would be a huge loss to take this off of store shelves...

Heinz Balsamic Ketchup.  Even better than the original.  No joke.
Yucca chips are a delicious, at-home potato chip alternative, and I thank Shebin at Chicken Latino for the inspiration (although, I will say that nothing compares to her Yucca Fries with Green Sauce and Mayo!)  Thanks to the Pampered Chef products, making them myself (and yourself) is quite simple!

To order the Microwaveable Potato Chip Maker, Ultimate Mandoline, Simple Slicer, Vegetable Peeler, or any other Pampered Chef products, please visit:

Stan's Market
1811 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Olio Fresca Olive Oil Company (inside Pittsburgh Public Market)

Pittsburgh Public Market
Produce Terminal Building
Smithfield Street near 17th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222


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