frying (chips) on the fly

wpid-diy-chips-and-avocado-dio.jpg.jpeg Les Dames d’Escoffier may sound a bit fancy-pants, but it’s all about fun, food, and helping others. Also known simply as Dames, this philanthropic professional organization is one of my favorite groups of women. Nationally, members are known for owning restaurants and catering companies, building food businesses, penning multiple cookbooks, chairing important culinary boards and committees, appearing on television, and other big-time professional accomplishments. My business is much more small scale and I sometimes wonder how I wrangled myself an invitation to join. Just the same, I did. I’m a Dame. And the local Minnesota chapter has been welcoming with members becoming good friends.

We usually meet at a new restaurant or other fun food venue, though the holiday meeting is traditionally potluck and held at a member’s home. Of course the food is always amazing: not a casserole or cocktail sausage to be seen. (Not dissing casseroles or cocktail sausage, mind you.) This year’s spread was a buffet of colorful grain and vegetable salads and elegant appetizers. A few sweets rounded out the meal. Wine, too.

You may have heard me talk about Dames potlucks before. And their conferences. And fundraisers. Fellow members are gracious and completely accepting, yet I’m always wanting to bring my A-game when making food for a meeting.

Which put me in a bit of a bind when I did the math and realized that the Holiday Potluck was a potluck. Somehow I had spaced that I should bring a dish to share. When the light bulb finally did go on–about three hours before the meeting–I thought of the corn tortillas I had taken out for a chili party, but never used. They could easily be fried for chips. And my husband’s over-purchase of sour cream meant a dip would be easy to throw together.

In theory, it was a first-rate idea, but in practice was quite harried. Most (sensible) folks would have bought the chips and dip. But as a Dame (and a crazy person), I was committed to making my own.



First, a wide, shallow pot was filled with oil and heated to 360ΒΊF. I cut the tortillas into sixths and dropped pieces into the oil. They bubbled away for a few minutes and when just lightly browned, were transferred to paper towels. A light dusting of kosher salt finished them off.







As I wondered aloud, “what should I do for a dip?” my oldest was quick to suggest avocado dip. Yes. We had two overripe avocados and one almost-past-its-prime lime in the produce drawer and I had all that sour cream. Tossing in (lots of) minced garlic, sliced green onions, halved grape tomatoes, chili powder, and ground cumin finished it up. Dip done!

So while it was a frenzied affair (I was also making quick trips to the bedroom to apply make-up and find party-worthy jewelry to wear), I did manage to put together a decent plate of chips-and-dip and also get my youngest to basketball practice so I could arrive at the meeting only a smidgen late. Would I have saved time–and perhaps sanity–by buying instead of making? Absolutely. But the challenge was too good to pass up. And I’m guessing many of you would have done the same.

Because my kids had only a taste of the chips, I made another batch the next day. The process was so much easier when I wasn’t rushed. Frying didn’t seem so complicated anymore. My takeaway lesson: Sometimes trial by fire is the best way to learn in the kitchen.



41 thoughts on “frying (chips) on the fly

    • Thanks, Beth. Lots of flying by the seat of my pants when I cook. (but not frying by the seat of my pants–that sounds painful) I was happy to have won this round πŸ™‚

  1. Good Morning! Dame Liz, so fancy πŸ˜‰ The parties and get togethers do sound like a lot of fun too. You just made that dish on a whim with what you had, that is so cool! I would love to make use of what I have lying around the house but don’t think about it till later. lol. Love reading your posts!

    • Thanks, Shamin πŸ™‚ I’d bet you do very well in your kitchen. In fact I KNOW you do! All about parties and get-togethers and wish I entertained more. Something to work on.

    • ha, thanks Nancy. Looked like a crazy person flying from room-to-room as I tried to get ready for the meeting, my daughter ready for basketball, etc. One funny: When I dropped her off at the mom’s who would take her to practice, a bunch of chips fell out of the car. (ooops) It was dark, of course, and also lots of snow. But the next morning, am sure they wondered why there were tortilla chips in their driveway.

  2. Wow, impressive! Good job with those tortillas. They look ideal for chilaquiles! Congrats on becoming a Dame! I kind of love that you’re a fancy club member. You are very creative and so dedicated to food so I’m not surprised in the least. Isn’t it funny that we who keep blogs often come up short handed when it comes to stuff like this. I think it’s because we’re so darn busy. But you pulled it off in style! Well done. xo

    • Thanks, Amanda. The chips did not last long enough to turn into chilaquiles, but now I know what I’m making next time I fry chips πŸ™‚ lol, fancy. Our Minnesota chapter is maybe a bit less high-brown than other states. It’s a group of incredibly smart and determined women and I’m learning!

      Yes, shoemaker’s kids never have shoes and a recipe developer’s kids (sometimes) eat cereal for supper πŸ˜‰

  3. Holy Guacamole! That looks fantastic, Liz. Your oldest comes up big with this suggestion. Of course you had to make. Nobody would buy for this particular pot-luck! I will sign off with the now politically correct You are my favorite Dame. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Gretchen. A success is always welcome in my kitchen as things can always go the other way. Totally open to my kids’ suggestions as that means they’re more likely to eat what we make. But I’m preaching to the choir–your boys are the poster children for eating good food πŸ™‚

  4. What a cool group that sounds like! But I can completely understand why a bag of Doritos and Lipton onion soup dip didn’t seem quite . . . right. I’ve never done any deep frying (except one abortive attempt at cake doughnuts a really long time ago)–it intimidates me!

    • Making me smile, Kerry. As accepting as this group is, I think they might just look down on me if I brought a bag of Doritos and a dip prepared from an envelop mix. Then again, maybe not. But as the group is made up of folks who may know someone who could hire me, I need to bring that A-game.

      Will say that deep-fat frying still intimidates me. Especially if using a fryer. But for whatever reason, I can wrap my mind around heating oil in a pan and frying tortillas. Anything else would seem more complicated though.

      Glad you’re here–thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  5. Not one to shy away from a challenge, you! You had your thinking cap on when you fried up those chips and threw together a makeshift guacamole. You could be an honorary Tex-Mex chef down here. πŸ™‚ “There is nothing like a Dame, nothing in the world…” I have a nice baritone. Trust me.

    • always the thinking cap, Kerbey. It must be a Sagittarius thing πŸ˜‰ Though I have lost brain cells since having kids, as women do, so am not always as Johnny-on-the-spot as I once was. But hey, if I can earn the title of Hon. Tex-Mex Chef I am doing well. And yes, your baritone is lovely. Thanks for the serenade πŸ™‚

  6. What a fun (if not slightly intimidating-sounding) group to be a part of! I’m sure you eat extremely well at those gatherings. And yummy yum yum – that dip sounds amazing. I think it was worth the effort to fry your own chips, they look super delicious and certainly more impressive than grabbing a bag of El Paso. πŸ˜‰

    • Will tell you a secret: Have been a member for maybe four years and am only now starting to feel like I belong. These women are so crazy successful, it can be intimidating to try to find common ground. The national conference, especially, was a networking challenge. But food is food and I’m always happy to talk about it.

      Yes, super delicious for sure. Am thinking how lovely they would be served at your bar πŸ™‚

    • Yes, harried is the word, Fannie. Got to the meeting and realized I was still wearing jeans–ooops! But not sure anyone noticed or cared. It was definitely all about the food.

      You could totally eat these chips (unless you’re allergic to corn?) as they’re gluten free. And the guac is so garlic-heavy, I’m still tasting the garlic. Yum πŸ™‚

        • oh dear, gluten-free tortillas then?

          The jeans were passable and I did manage to hunt down some lovely jewelry (bigger the better, I say) so I suppose I looked partyish.

  7. There is nothing better than a chip right out of the fryer! And yes, I too would have been frantically racing around only to have a homemade treat to contribute. I’ve stayed up way past my bedtime finishing up baking projects for co-workers instead of buying store bought the next day. Maybe I’m just ego-driven, but it’s so much more satisfying!

  8. Way to go, Liz. You came up with a winning idea when you really needed one. I would have tossed in the towel and bought something, promptly disavowing it once it was placed on the buffet table. Credit, too, to your oldest for the dip suggestion. Maybe your cooking prowess is genetic. πŸ™‚

  9. Well Dame Liz, I knew it was just a matter of time before you received a knighthood for services to food! When you get the dinner invitation to sit next to Queen Liz at Buckingham Palace, I will be looking forward to the blog post! Cheers, Steve


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