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Microwave French Fries

On 11 Aug 2007 at 20:18, Pedro wrote:

> Dear Uncle Phaedrus.
> If possible, I would like to know your opinion about making fat less
> french fries in micro wave ovens. I already bought a special frying
> pan for this purpose, but did not get satisfactory results. Best
> regards. Pedro.

Hello Pedro,

I can't give an educated opinion because I've never tried "fries" made in one of those pans. The purpose of the pan is to brown the outside of the potato strips. My experience with cooking potato strips in the microwave is that they have very little flavor cooked that way. We often sacrifice some flavor when we change cooking methods to decrease fat.

The way to make microwave "fries" taste better is to add some seasoning. See below for some French microwaved potatoes.


Fat-Free Chips (French Fries)

The exact timings for the microwave stage depend on the amount 
of potato, the thickness of the chips and the watt rating of 
your microwave. 

for each person - 1 large potato (about 200g or 6-7 oz) 
1. Slice the potatoes into chips (french fries). Place on a plate 
in a radial fashion, ie around the edge with each chip pointing 
toward the centre of the plate.
2. Microwave on HIGH for about 4 minutes, or until the chips are 
soft and bendy but not too dried on the outside. Move them about 
after 2 minutes and remove any smaller ones as they become soft.
3. When all the chips are cooked, place on a baking tray and broil 
until browned, moving about and turning over so that all sides get
exposed to the direct heat.
4. Serve immediately (I mean it).
French Fries

1 or more russet potatoes cut into french fries style (I leave on 
the skin) Your favorite vinegar (I use rice vinegar)
Your favorite spice such as salt, cajun, or chili powder etc.

Put the cut potatoes into a bowl with enough vinegar to coat them 
Put the potatoes on a microwave dish and sprinkle them with your 
favorite spice.  The vinegar will make the spice stick to the 
potatoes.  Microwave them on high for 9-13 minutes depending on 
your microwave and the thickness of your french fries. I usually 
do mine for 10 minutes and I have a very small microwave.
Healthy French "Fries" 

2 large baking potatoes
Fat-free cooking spray
Spices to suit

Pre-cook the potatoes in the oven or in your microwave for 8 
minutes on high power (until the potatoes are soft). Set aside 
and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Cut each potato into 8 lengthwise
slices. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil 
and coated with fat-free cooking spray. Mist the tops of the potatoes
lightly with fat-free spray.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are crisp and lightly 

Season to taste with your choice of spices: pepper, chili powder, 
Mrs. Dash, paprika, or top with salsa and fat-free sour cream. 
Keep the salt to a minimum.

Moscow Mule

On 10 Sep 2005 at 13:05, Pat wrote:

> Hi, I'm Pat from IN!
> I am looking for the ingredients for a drink we used to enjoy mainly
> in the summer called a Moscow Mule! If I remember correctly it
> contained ginger beer, vodka and lime (don't remember the amounts and
> was supposed to be served in a tin mug. They were especially good when
> we were camping. Ever heard of it? Thanks, Pat

Hello Pat,

I sure have. See below.


Moscow Mule

2 oz Vodka 
1 oz fresh Lime Juice
Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer
Lemon Wedge, for garnish 

Mixing instructions:
Pour Vodka and Lime Juice into Highball glass half filled with ice. 
Fill with Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer. Add the garnish. 
Traditionally, this is served in a tin cup.


On 9 Sep 2005 at 22:12, pat wrote:

> My great grandmother used the make this piccalli from green tomatoes,
> pepper, apple cider vinegar, but it had other things in it such as
> whole peppercorns and onions. I would very much like to find the
> recipe again.
> I would appreciate your trying.
> thank you..... Pat 

Hello Pat,

The below recipe has all of the ingredients that you name.



4 quarts green tomatoes, peeled, cored, finely chopped (about 32 medium) 
2 cups finely chopped sweet red bellpeppers 
2 cups finely chopped green bell peppers 
2 cups finely chopped white onion 
1 small head cabbage, finely chopped 
1/2 cup salt 
4 cups apple cider vinegar 
1-1/2 cups brown sugar 
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns 
1 tablespoon whole cloves 
1 tablespoon whole allspice 
1 tablespoon celery seed 
2 tablespoons mustard seed 

Combine the vegetables and salt in a large non-reactive container, 
cover loosely, and let stand overnight. 
In the morning, drain the vegetables, pressing out the juice. Add 
the vinegar, brown sugar and the spices (tie up the spices in a 
cheesecloth bag). Bring to a boil and simmer until vegetables are 
clear and the syrup is thickened. 

Discard the spice bag and seal the piccalilli in hot jars, allowing 
1/4-inch head space in each jar. If canning, process 15 minutes in 
boiling water bath.  Makes about 8 pints

Remember Wenn

On 9 Sep 2005 at 13:43, donna wrote:
> Hello - - you have been so great at finding things for me that I
> couldn't find myself. Is there a chance that you have any information
> on the Rupert Murdoch series, "Remember WENN",  that was shown, I
> believe, on A&E? I have searched the internet and contacted A&E, but
> found no information on getting some or all of the series on video or
> DVD.
> Can you help once more?
> Thanks!
> Donna  

Hi Donna,

You mean "Rupert Holmes", not "Rupert Murdoch". "Remember Wenn" is a TV show set in the golden days of radio.

Wish I could help, but "Remember Wenn" has not been released on videotape or dvd yet. The only copies around are homemade copies made by faithful viewers. Soon, though, it will surely be released on DVD. It is still immensely popular and has been rerun on the AMC cable channel. See:

Remember Wenn

Rupert Holmes Website

By the way, Rupert Holmes is the same guy who wrote and sang "The Pina Colada Song" - "If you like pina coladas, and gettin' caught in the rain..."


Balsamic Vinegar

On 8 Sep 2005 at 17:19, Thomas wrote:
> Hello Phaedrus,
> I am curious if you have the recipe/instructions for making balsamic 
> vinegar at home?
> I grow grapes, but never attempted balsamic vinegar.  I know you boil
> down  the grape must (juice) to a thick syrup and age it with wood. 
> But what is  used for the vinegar starter?
> It appears to be similar to winemaking, except you don't care if goes
> to  vinegar.
> I have seen very vauge descriptions of balsamic vinegar making that
> refer  to an aging process in wooden casks of different types of wood.
>  This  could be done in glass bottles with the oak chips/sticks used in
> winemaking.
> But I need a good step by step process for a novice willing to wait 6 
> months or longer for good homemade balsamic vinegar.
> There are a ton of recipes that include balsamic vinegar, but how can
> you  make it?
> Thanks,
> Tom 
> -- 

Hello Thomas,

I can't find any step-by-step instructions, sorry. There's some basic information about making vinegar from wine here:

Vinegar Making

Thomas, homemade vinegar is usually made using what's called a "vinegar mother". This is like a sourdough starter, and it's passed around like a sourdough starter. It's the microrganisms in the "mother" that multiply and turn wine into vinegar. The boiled down grape "must" is placed in barrels with the "mother", which grows and turns the must into vinegar. To get some of this, find a wine & vinegar making forum and ask someone to share their "mother" with you. Or buy one here:

Brewing Forum

Balsamic vinegar is traditionally made from a certain kind of grape and aged in barrels made from certain kinds of wood (balsam). The "mother" used is one that has been handed down for generations in Italy. Real balsamic vinegar is also aged for years, not months. If it was easy to duplicate using other grapes and other woods and other "mothers", then the stuff wouldn't be so expensive.

There's more information about it here:

balsamic vinegar



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