The absence of crunchy food is probably one of the hardest things to “get over” while I am eating clean/Whole30. All the amazing foods are crunchy: potato chips, crackers, tortilla chips, every other chip out there.
Maybe it’s just chips that I miss? Because really, there’s no substitute.
And I recommend immediately reevaluating your relationship with anyone who tells you that dipping baby carrots or celery in guacamole is “just as good.” Because they are straight-up lying. And they clearly have something against guacamole. Or you.
I mean, fajita night is one of my favorite meals of the week. And I’m already voluntarily passing on the margaritas and the tortillas… but carrots in my guacamole? No.
My last Whole30, I discovered how to make sweet potato chips in the microwave. It’s easy and the chips are crispy and delicious. And honestly? It really saves fajita night.
You will need a mandoline to get slices thin enough that will crisp – I had a gift card and sprang (sprung?) for this one after my years-old $15 Target version broke.
So let’s talk how you make crispy sweet potato chips in the microwave:
1. Thiiiiinly slice sweet potatoes.
2. Spread on parchment paper with olive oil, salt, and pepper. (Might I also recommend a sprinkling of chipotle chile powder? Because YUM.)
3. Microwave ’til crispy.
4. Eat with guacamole and save fajita night. And your sanity. And possibly the lives of those around you when you’re 5 days deep into sugar withdrawals.
Microwave Sweet Potato Chips
Thin & crispy sweet potato chips made in the microwave.
*Look for sweet potatoes that are as uniformly thick as you can find. The chips will be ~the same size and will cook evenly.
Take a piece of parchment paper ~the size of your microwave turntable plate and fold/trim as necessary so that the paper rotates freely while the microwave is running - you don't want the paper to get caught and crumple. it will take your potatoes with it.
Using a mandoline on the thinnest setting, slice the sweet potato.
Lightly spray the parchment with olive oil, and, working in batches, spread the sweet potato slices in a single layer.
Lightly spray again with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Microwave for 4:00 on Power Level 9 (for much smaller rounds, this is likely all you'll need; rounds that start out 2.5 inches usually need 5.5-6 minutes in my microwave) and check for crispness.
Some trial and error will be involved. Continue cooking in 30-45 second intervals on Power Level 9 until crispness is achieved - they will actually get crispier as they cool so if you're on the fence, pull one out of the microwave for ~15 seconds and then eat it. If your potatoes start to develop a darker/grayish concentric ring, stop them - you don't want to cook for much longer because they will scorch. And that is no bueno.
Enjoy your crispy sweet potato chips immensely with guacamole!
Leftovers are okay but they lose their snap and are never as good as first-run chips - so make them the day you want to eat them.
I have successfully burned through nearly all of the hatch chiles I was going to “save.” [shrugs] Oh well, the canned version will do until next August.
But before I give in to apples – and then pumpkin and then Christmas lights (because it is a slippery slope) – I have one last recipe using the mountain of hatch chiles that sat on my counter.
Hatch chile tortillas. [swwwooooon]
If you’ve ever eaten a fresh tortilla, whether your made it yourself or picked up a still-warm pack from the grocery store (I hope you all have this option one day!), you know they are so much softer and flavorful than the assembly line version.
And if you’ve never eaten a fresh tortilla? Well, let’s fix that now.
My HEB sells made-in-store flour tortillas studded with chunks of roasted hatch chiles but you can only get them during their Hatch Chile Fest, which is 2-3 weeks a year. They’re actually already gone and won’t be back until next August.
No worries, though. I’ve got you (mostly me) covered.
I took my favorite tortilla recipe (it’s the only one you & I will ever need) and infused it with roasted, smokey hatch chiles. And unlike the ones I buy, the smokey flavor – and heat, if you purposely (or not) picked up the hot hatches – is distributed throughout the entire tortilla.
Hatch Chile Tortillas
Homemade flour tortillas flavored with roasted hatch green chiles.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 heaping tsp salt
5 Tbsp softened butter, oil or shortening (I usually use olive oil)
4 roasted hatch chiles, seeds removed, or ~2 cans (1/2 cup) diced chiles, drained really well
1/3-1/2 cup warm water
Pulse the flour, baking powder, and salt a few times in your food processor fitted with the dough blade.
Add the fat and process until the mixture is uniformly-ish crumbly.
Add the chiles and then slowly stream in the water, just until the dry ingredients form a ball and starts traveling around the bowl (you might not use all of the water or you might need a little more).
Let the dough knead for ~30 seconds. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl, be soft and not overly sticky. (You can most certainly do this by hand with a pastry cutter, a wooden spoon, and your hands - but it will be easier to mince/puree the chiles first.)
Turn out onto a flour-dusted surface and divide dough into golf-ball sized portions (I weighed mine out to 2 oz each).
Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Heat a large, dry saute pan over medium high heat.
With a rolling pin, roll the dough balls into thin rounds, dusting the top with just enough flour to keep the tortilla from sticking to the rolling pin.
(You may have a few larger pieces of hatch chiles in the dough that interfere with rolling - just press those back into the tortilla dough before cooking.)
Lay tortilla flat in the heated pan and cook on each side for ~20 seconds, until the bubbled areas brown.
Keep covered with a kitchen towel to keep warm and pliable. Eat warm.
If you’ve spent any time poking around the blog at any point over the last 8 (!) years in late summer, you know you can guarantee three things:
1) Somewhere, I’m bitching about the oppressive Texas heat and humidity.
2) I’m hoarding stocking up on hatch chiles.
3) I’m planning my next margarita, usually with the current margarita in hand.
Never change, Shawnda.
So while your grocery store is boasting $.67/lb fresh hatch chiles, make sure you get in on the action. You need no special equipment – a pan, some foil, an oven, and something to protect your hands.
My seafood counter guy will gladly hand over a free pair of the food-service gloves that they use behind the counter. But when I forget to ask, or assume I had an extra pair when I actually didn’t, I can MacGyver some freezer bags and rubber bands into a clunky – but effective, considering the alternative – substitute.
2 lengths of foil, slightly longer than your baking pan
Gloves/Protection for your hands when peeling the cooled peppers (see above)
Sandwich- or snack-sized baggies
Turn on broiler and put your oven rack in the top 1/4th of the oven.
Line a large baking pan with one sheet of foil.
Place washed chiles on the pan in a single layer.
Roast under the broiler for 6-8 minutes, until blistered.
Flip, repeat (the second side usually takes less time).
Make the pepper is mostly blistered (larger sections of unblistered pepper will be hard to peel).
Remove from the oven, condense the peppers into the center of the pan and cover with the second sheet of foil (it won't be air-tight but it will hold the steam and heat in that makes it possible to peel the peppers easily).
Allow peppers to cool to room temp.
Peel each pepper, remove the stem, and slice open.
Use your knife to scrape out the seeds.
Dice peppers, transfer to a bowl for use within 7 days, and then proceed to put peppers in and on everything that doesn't move.
For longer storage, place in freezer bags (I use 1 cup portions) and freeze.