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Monday, March 13, 2017

Toaster Potatoes and Homemade Ketchup | The Martian #FoodnFlix

Toaster Potatoes and Homemade Ketchup | The Martian #FoodnFlix
This month's Food 'n Flix pick is the 2015 Science Fiction/Drama flick, The Martian. If you're not familiar with the story, it's about astronaut Mark Watney's struggle and perseverance to survive after, presumed dead, he is left alone on Mars. Watney's smarts and good humor ensure that, while long, the journey is not boring.

Of course, one of the main concerns in any survival story, especially one set on a planet whose environment is not conducive to growing crops (probably due to the fact that there is no liquid water), is food—the how (and how much), the what, the when, the where. Fortunately, Watney is a botanist, which equips him with an extra bit of know-how.

When checking the stocks that he has been left with, he devises a plan to grow potatoes using a couple of the things he found...potatoes (because if you didn't know, potatoes grow from potatoes) and sealed "poo packets" (fertilizer)...and a lot of ingenuity (water produced by extracting hydrogen from rocket fuel).

Watching Watney "science the shit out of" his situation while keeping his sharp wit was what made watching the best botanist on Mars so easy. Oh, and I shed a few tears, too (of course I did—do you even know me!?).
making potatoes (with ketchup) in the toaster oven in The Martian
So, let's get back to the food. While there was plenty of other food mentioned or seen on earth, The Martian is all about the potatoes, and I wanted to embrace that. I don't think there's any better way to represent this one.

At one point, we see Watney slicing potatoes and putting them into a toaster oven to cook. I used that as the inspiration behind this ridiculously simple potato preparation. But here's the thing—I don't have a toaster oven. So, along the same lines, I thought it would be fun to develop a way to cook potatoes in my toaster. Okay, develop is probably a strong word, but you get the gist.

I'm not sure if you've seen it, but sweet potato "toast" is all the rage right now. I figured, if you can toast a thick slice of sweet potato and call it toast, the same principle should apply to a potato. And hey, I'm no Mark Watney, but I was right.

Of course, everybody needs ketchup for their potatoes, so I made a batch of homemade to go along with my toaster potatoes. At one point in the film, he runs out of ketchup and (justifiably) crushes Vicodin over his potatoes instead. And hey, if that's the route you want to go, I won't stop you. But (I'm guessing) this ketchup is much tastier.
Toaster Potatoes and Homemade Ketchup | The Martian #FoodnFlix
Food 'n Flix club logo
This month's edition of Food 'n Flix is being hosted by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm with her pick, The Martian; submissions are due March 30 if you'd like to join us!

Join us next month as we head into the kitchen with our host Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla with her pick, A Touch of Spice.

For inspiration, check out the Food 'n Flix website (click on any of the roundups listed to see what participants have been inspired to make by the movie choice), all of my past Food 'n Flix posts, or my Food 'n Flix Pinterest board!

yield: ~2 cupsprint recipe
Toaster Potatoes and Homemade Ketchup

Toaster Potatoes and Homemade Ketchup

prep time: 30 MINScook time: 35 MINStotal time: 65 mins
Potato slices cooked in the toaster and a recipe for homemade ketchup to dip them in.


For the homemade ketchup:
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 small yellow onions, peeled and halved
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
For the Toaster Potatoes:
  • 1 large Russet Potato per person, scrubbed and dried


Make the ketchup:
  1. Pour the tomatoes and the their juices into a blender and puree until smooth. Pour out all but about 1/4 cup into a bowl or large measuring bowl with spout. Add onions to the blender with the tomato puree you left there. Puree until smooth.
  2. Set a 4-quart pot over medium-high heat and add oil. Once oil is hot (but not smoking), pour in the onion puree and cook until it has thickened and darkened a bit, ~10 minutes, stirring often. Pour in the reserved tomato puree, brown sugar, and vinegar; reduce heat to a gentle simmer and allow to coook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  3. In the meantime, combine the peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf in a couple layers of cheesecloth and tie it shut with some kitchen twine. Once that 15 minutes is up, drop the spice pouch into the pot and stir.
  4. Continue to cook and reduce until thick (like storebought ketchup), about 10 minutes longer. Allow to cool in the pot for 30 minutes, then lift out the spice pouch and discard.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a clean jar, cover when the ketchup is at room temperature, then refrigerate for at least hours before using. Ketchup will keep, covered in the fridge, for up to 2 months.
Make the potatoes:
  1. Cut a slice off of one side of the potato, lengthwise, then cut into lengthwise slices that are 3/8" thick.
  2. Set your toaster as high as it will go, and slide a slice or two (depending on how large your potatoes are) into each slot. Toast until the potatoes are browned on the outside and tender on the inside. Toasters will vary, but it took me 3 times to achieve this.
cooking potatoes in the toaster
To serve the Mark Watney way:
  1. Dip in the ketchup if you have it. If you're out, crush Vicodin over it.
To serve your way:
  1. Immediatley sprinkle with salt and pepper and dip in homemade ketchup. If you're not against using butter (and if you are, don't tell me), spread a thin pat on one side of each potato as soon as it comes out of the toaster (or drizzle with olive oil), then grind some sea salt (garlic sea salt is really good) and pepper over it. Dip in your homemade ketchup.
  2. Really, you can dip these in whatever suits your fancy (they're just potatoes).
Created using The Recipes Generator

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