A few weeks back out of the blue I received a text from my aunt. It was a photo of me as a baby and I was wearing a cow costume (and looking pretty damn cool if you ask me). I know, I peaked at an early age...
I couldn't help but begin to reminisce (I've been in an oddly nostalgic mood lately) and thought back to all the fun times my sister and I would have when we would visit my aunt and uncle. Six hour drives up the 5 freeway led to Dave Wong's Chinese food, popcorn and movies, and endless laughter with my second family. One of my all time favorite things to look back on were our annual camping trips to Sly Creek.
Sly Creek is a campground adjacent to Sly Creek Reservoir on the edge of Plumas National Forest. I loved going, not only because of how fun it was to spend time with my "extended family" (I say this in quotations, because while most of us are not related, it still feels like family), but because you lost complete cell reception. As a high schooler, it was hell the first day or two to be without a phone, but we all quickly adapted. Looking back, I wish I could shove my phone away for a week and not worry about it.
We spent the majority of the week hanging by the lake - boating, jumping off rocks, kayaking, swimming etc. The rest of the time? We were eating. As per usual. We always had endless snacks, multiple breakfast options, and a new dinner each night. However, the one main thing that always reminds me of my aunt and our camping trips? Salt & Vinegar potato chips.
Salt & Vinegar chips are such a classic, and we always had those on hand during these camping trips. When my aunt sent me the photo of myself in the cow costume, for whatever reason it instantly brought me back to these memories.
Maybe because I'm constantly thinking about food? Who knows...
Anyway, it sort of reminded of why I started this blog in the first place. A huge part of my love for cooking stems from choosing a healthy lifestyle. And one of the most creative parts about intertwining healthy living with cooking and blogging, is trying to recreate classic comforts into healthy alternatives. I had been meaning to make beet chips for some time now, but I kept brushing it aside because I couldn't think of a creative way to flavor them. Instantly, I thought to make Salt & Vinegar Beet Chips. They may not be crispy, fried potatoes, and I may not be eating them on the edge of Sly Creek, but they'll do. For now...
3 large beets, cleaned, scrubbed, and peeled
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp vinegar (I used white wine)
1. Mix together salt and vinegar to form a paste. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and dry out in the oven at 200°.
2. After 5 minutes, remove and stir the mixture. Place back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Once done, remove and add to a small bowl, use the back of the spoon to mash the mixture together. It should feel like thick salt.
3. Meanwhile, using a mandolin or very sharp knife, slice the beets into thin rounds. The thinner and more uniform the better.
4. Turn up the oven heat to 375° and spray your baking sheets with cooking spray.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking every now and then to avoid burning. If chips are not uniform in size some may cook quicker than others. You can remove them as they finish one by one. Once they start to curl up, they should be done. They will still feel "soggy" but will crisp up out of the oven.
6. As you remove the chips, sprinkle with desired amount of salt + vinegar seasoning, then lightly spray with coconut oil to set.
- Simply using liquid vinegar will not work. The beets won't crisp up properly, and the vinegar taste will not be prominent. You'll want to make your own powder using the method above, or purchase vinegar powder here.
- You will have leftover salt + vinegar seasoning. It should last stored in an airtight container for several weeks.