POTATO CHIPS + CARAMELIZED ONION DIP

While cooking, listen to this: Hunter - Pharrell Williams

Potato Chips + Caramelized Onion Dip

Hi, my name is Rina, and I'm addicted to potato chips.

"Hi, Rina."

Well, maybe a more accurate statement would be the following:

Hi, my name is Rina's uterus, and I'm addicted to potato chips.

"Hi, Rina's uterus."

There we go. Much better.

As if the bloating and water retention of your run-of-the-mill PMS wasn't enough, my body FIENDS salt when I'm about to get my period. FIENDs, I say! It's all I want to eat. I went to college with a girl who snacked on salt licks and when I'm PMSing I find myself relating to her. Like, I understand the girl who thinks salt licks are appropriate for human consumption. Thanks, uterus!

Potato chips are the crown jewel of salty period snacks. They're just so good. And they're actually addicting. On purpose. This amazing article came out a few years ago on The New York Times and explains, in great, harrowing detail, how junk food companies narrowed their products down to a science. They discovered the perfect combination of things like salt, fat and "mouthfeel" (disgusting phrase, in my opinion) to get consumers hooked. So, when you find your hand hitting the bottom of that family-sized bag of Ruffles, with no idea of how you got there, there's actually a reason for it beyond portion control and mindless eating. That makes me really angry, and no one gets to blame my uterus or my lady brain for it.

Potato Chips + Caramelized Onion Dip
Potato Chips + Caramelized Onion Dip

Now, I'm not saying that junk food is the devil and companies are trying to Rosemary's Baby you into living off of their products. I'm just saying that it isn't the most far off.

I'm also not saying not to eat it. It's fucking delicious, and I am the last person to tell anyone what they should or should not eat. A philosophy of mine, though, is to make what you can at home - when you cook at home, you're automatically using fewer ingredients, and unless you are a crazy mad scientist with government hook ups, I doubt you have things like dextrose and phosphate chilling in the back of the cupboard.

Potato Chips + Caramelized Onion Dip

This is where these potato chips and dip come in. This is not a healthy recipe. At all. But it might make you hallucinate bunnies or unicorns or whatever because it's so good. And there are only a few ingredients! No mouthfeel engineering here. Just crispy chips made out of potatoes and salt, and an unreal dip with just 7 ingredients. Perfect for parties, get-togethers, or those times when you and your friends have all synced up and are about to murder the 7-11 cashier. With just a little effort (really little), and the olfactory stamina to stay in a house that smells like latkes, you'll be rewarded with the tastiest snack that you don't even have to share.

Do you have insane food cravings, PMSing or otherwise? Let me know down in the comments. And if you have any food mashups or hacks, please share those too - I'm always looking for new ideas.

Love and meows, Rina

Potato Chips + Caramelized Onion Dip

POTATO CHIPS + CARAMELIZED ONION DIP

Servings: 4-8 (depending on how into chips and dip you are)

Prep Time: 5m | Active Cook Time: 1h 30m (caramelizing onions takes a loooooong time)

Category: Snacks

Source: dip slightly tweaked from Food & Wine

Special Equipment: mandolin; wok & spider mesh strainer (both optional)

For the chips:

2 large Russet potatoes

Oil for frying (we use vegetable)

Sea salt

For the dip:

2 onions (we use Vidalia), diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup sour cream

8 ounces cream cheese (one block), at room temperature

Salt and pepper, to taste

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ onion powder

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Caramelize the onions: in a large pan, heat the olive oil and butter over low heat. Add the sliced onions, coat with the olive oil and butter, and leave alone. Caramelizing onions is a long process, and needs to be done over low heat. You might be tempted to turn up the heat, but that will most likely end in burnt onions. Those can be delicious, but not what we're going for. Give them a stir every ten minutes or so, just to make sure that they're cooking evenly.

Prepare the potatoes: scrub the potatoes really well. You can slice the potatoes with a knife or a mandolin, but a mandolin will get you uniform slices that are much thinner than you could ever get with a knife. Set your mandolin to 3mm or ⅛ inch, and slice the potatoes. You MUST use something to cover your hand, either the weird hat contraption that comes with your mandolin or a mesh-wire glove like Alton Brown recommends. You will end up on the wrong end of an ER doctor joke if you go in bare-handed. Once the potatoes are sliced, fill a bowl with ice-cold water and place the potatoes in there for a few minutes. This will prevent the potatoes from discoloring, and will get rid of some of the excess starch on the potatoes.

Fry the potatoes: fill a heavy-bottomed pot or wok with enough vegetable oil to fully submerge the potato slices. Heat the oil to 400 degrees, or to a point where bubbles start to form around an inserted wooden spoon. Line a large tray, plate or bowl with paper towels. Using a spatula or spider mesh strainer, place half of the potato slices into the oil. Stir them around so that they don't stick together, and flip them over every couple minutes so that they fry evenly. When the potato slices are a light golden brown (or darker brown, if you like your chips on that side of the spectrum), use a slotted spoon or the spider strainer to fish them out. Place them on the paper towels and salt immediately. This is also the time to add any spices you might want to add. Garlic powder, black pepper, paprika and onion powder are all tasty options.

Prepare the dip: once the onions are caramelized to your liking (I like them really brown, but if you prefer yours lighter and are done waiting, then go for it), take them off the heat and allow them to cool slightly. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, cream cheese, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce. I just did this with a fork, but you can use a hand or stand mixer to do the job. Fold the caramelized onions in.

To serve: the chips should be eaten more or less immediately, as storing them will cause them to lose their crunch. Put them on a big plate with the dip in the middle, and go to town.

To keep: the chips will be a little limp and sad by the next day, so best to eat them fresh. The dip will keep well in the fridge for 1 week, but it will harden in there - bring it to room temperature before serving.