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The Tater Tot Challenge - Making your own home made tater tots


Just about every day Jinny and I excitedly plan our dinners far in advance. We both delight in the whole process. Making dinner together is our jam and pretty much every night is date night. I live a wonderful, charmed life let me tell you what. Anyway. Yesterday was burger night, one of our staple go-to meals. Usually we'll get a big pack of meat from Costco and grind our own hamburger, storing it in Foodsaver bags in the freezer. Add seasoning, shape into patty, fry. Suuuuper easy, but man cannot live on burgers alone! No, sir. We need the Robin to burgers' Batman. We need tots.

Normally I'd have a bag of Ore-Ida™ Brand Tater-Tots™ in the freezer for these occasions, but alas we were out. Not keen on leaving the house, I thought "how hard can making homemade tater tots be?" The answer? Not very hard at all. After consulting the hive mind (thanks, Papapishu!) I concocted a recipe that actually ended up kicking serious amounts of ass. See that photo up there? That's how much ass I kicked. The tots came out crispy on the outside and nice and tender in the middle, just like tots are supposed to be. Though most tots are made through an extruder, I sculpted these by hand. They came out looking like tots you might see as a canapé at a fancy restaurant. I could see serving these at a party, or even just as we did last night - alongside a really great hamburger. Here's what went in 'em!

Chris Furniss' Fancy Tots (worst band name ever?)

(measurements are approximate, adjust as you see fit. Maybe one day I'll actually measure this stuff in grams or whatever)

4 medium sized russet potatoes
1 cup Flour
1/4 cup minced Shallot (onion can be substituted, but shallots are best)
1 tablespoon Salt
1 tablespoon Pepper
Dash of Cayenne pepper

1. Grate the potatoes either with a mandoline slicer or a normal grater. Chop into smaller pieces. The point is to get nice, small slivers of potato. Work quickly so the potatoes don't oxidize. Grate onto a paper towel or put into a salad spinner to draw out moisture.

2. Add the potatoes and the rest of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands. Start to squeeze some of the mixture into your palm like you're making a snowball. If it's sticking together, good! If not, add a bit more flour.

3. Get your fryer goin'. A deep fryer works best, but if you don't have one you can always do a shallow fry in a pan with a lot of vegetable oil. Heat the oil to around 350 degrees.

4. Shape your tots. Squeeze a little bit into your palm and push it together. I tried to make them slightly cylindrical to look more like the classic tot shape, but just as long as you keep them small and uniform the shape is up to you. Place each finished tot on a baking sheet to fry in batches, or drop each finished tot directly into the oil. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown and delicious.

5. Remove from fryer onto a baking sheet with a wire cooling rack, or onto paper towels to drain. Be sure to season liberally right when they come out so they can absorb the seasoning better. A little sprinkle of kosher salt is good, or you could go all out and use some seasoned salt or even (gasp!) bacon salt. Keep in a warm oven until time to serve!

For dipping, I usually gravitate toward Ranch dressing, but I could see a nice homemade mayo or even some sriracha playing quite nicely with these gems. Just don't disgrace them with ketchup, please. I mean, seriously. If you try these, let me know what you think! I'm contemplating making a big batch and then freezing them myself. They were just too delicious to go back to Ore-Ida™.

There! The Tater Tot mystery is solved. You're welcome.

Interested in more food porn? I'm always uploading snapshots of stuff Jinny and I make for dinner, check out my Flickr stream!

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