Armchair Field Trip: Ogunquit, Maine

I just got back from a sunburned weekend in the twee little town of Ogunquit and thought I'd share a few things I learned:

* If anyone tries to tell you that "Ogunquit" means "beautiful place by the sea" (which happens to be the town motto) tell them to Ogun-quit it: The word, from the Western Abenaki Indians, means "coastal lagoon."

* That doesn't mean Ogunquit isn't a beautiful place by the sea -- in the early 20th century, its cliffs were the subject of paeans from well-known painters, including a young Edward Hopper (that's his "The Dories, Ogunquit" pictured above), Robert Henri, George Bellows and Walt Kuhn.

* Ogunquit also features in literature, if you consider Stephen King's 1200-page opus "The Stand" literature. Two of the main characters, the geek-gone-evil Harold Lauder and the teenage-mom-to-be Fran Goldsmith (played by Molly Ringwald in the TV miniseries), are the last remaining citizens of the town after everyone else is wiped out by the superflu.

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The Simple Way to Reheat Your French Fries and Not Have Them Turn Into a Soggy Mess
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Some restaurant dishes are made to be doggy-bagged and reheated in the microwave the next day. Not French fries: The more crispy and delectable they are when they first arrive on your table, the more of a soggy disappointment they’ll be when you try to revive them at home. But as The Kitchn recently shared, there’s a secret to making leftover fries you’ll actually enjoy eating.

The key is to avoid the microwave altogether. Much of the appeal of fries comes from their crunchy, golden-brown exterior and their creamy potato center. This texture contrast is achieved by deep-frying, and all it takes is a few rotations around a microwave to melt it away. As the fries heat up, they create moisture, transforming all those lovely crispy parts into a flabby mess.

If you want your fries to maintain their crunch, you need to recreate the conditions they were cooked in initially. Set a large pan filled with about 2 tablespoons of oil for every 1 cup of fries you want to cook over medium-high heat. When you see the oil start to shimmer, add the fries in a single layer. After about a minute, flip them over and allow them to cook for half a minute to a minute longer.

By heating up fries with oil in a skillet, you produce something called the Maillard Reaction: This happens when high heat transforms proteins and sugars in food, creating the browning effect that gives fried foods their sought-after color, texture, and taste.

After your fries are nice and crisp, pull them out of the pan with tongs or a spatula, set them on a paper towel to absorb excess oil, and sprinkle them with salt. Now all you need is a perfect burger to feel like you’re eating a restaurant-quality meal at home.

[h/t The Kitchn]

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Bone Collector
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