Sure you eat healthy, you try to watch your fat intake, maybe run or lift some weights. You curb those fat cravings, reminding yourself that there's a looming reception in the horizon too close in time to re-alter your dress. You try to convince yourself that you're a lean, mean, healthy machine.
But then you think about a burger. Someone (not mentioning names, MOH) drops a not-so-subtle hint that a burger sure would be nice. That it's been awhile since we've eaten a burger. Then, all those healthy habits you prided yourself in just disappear. They vanish in the air like a "fart in the wind" (I can't take credit for this awesome quote - it's from Shawshank Redemption). Now, all you can think about is a really good, juicy burger with a side of fries. Or maybe onion rings? Or... tater tots!? Gosh, anything sounds good right now. The thought of eating that sensible salad seems like an afterthought. All you can think about is a lightly toasted bun with some cheese and a good-old fashioned burger.
So you go. Not to any old place.
And you order a burger that looks like this...
|THE BURGER (photo courtesy of MOH)|
It's not any old burger. It's the Toro Burger (Santa Ana location) TRUFFLEcheeseburger. And it was delicious. But what is better than a juicy burger, with an absolute divine truffle topping?
Tater tots - cheesy style.
|See the cheese on top?!?! How can you resist? (photo courtesy of MOH)|
It's lightly fried taters with a generous drizzle of some weird cheesy mixture that reminds you of velveeta, but tastes like it's laced with some kind of crack, because all you can do is keep eating it, keep licking it off your fingers/fork, feel guilty about, yet keep eating. It's a vicious, delicious cycle.
This place killed it for me. MOH and I came to Toro Burger and this little unassuming burger joint hosts probably the best burger I've had. The burger is juicy, cooked properly, and their menu entertains very unique combinations (they also have a ramen burger, and next on my list - the ghost pepper burger).
But the bad thing about a place like this is the feeling you get afterward. No, not the "man, did I just down a day's worth of calories in one sitting?" No, that's a given, most likely. I'm talking about the feeling of wishing you had more.
But you can't bring yourself to go back. So you try to make do and try to make something that sorta reminds you of the foodie heaven you experienced not so many days ago.
So I attempted to make tater tots. There's something weird about tater tots - they're just potatoes, but something about the texture makes tater tots really fun to eat. Maybe it's the feeling that when you bite into one, and look at the half-eaten tater tot, you see a little mini tot inside.
Either way, they're fun to eat, and surprisingly easy to make. If you want them to taste like the restaurant, you need to deep fry them. Or leave them in the oven, rolling it over a few times to get the sides to crisp up.
And voila, you've got cheesy tots!
These look more like asteroids rather than tater tots, but I promise you, they're really tasty.
Making these little balls of carb-y goodness were super fun. Especially if you like working with food like rolling dough and making balls. Try it! Compared to their glamoured up fried-cousins, baked tater tots are delicious, can have great flavor, and can be infused with whatever cheesy goodness you like. I did sharp cheddar and pepper jack and both turned out good. I'm thinking a soft cheese would be phenomenal though (maybe mozzarella).
- 3 large russet potatoes
- your favorite spices
- cheese, cubed preferably, or compacted into tiny balls
- olive oil
Protocol (for a 1 inch diameter tater tot):
1. Preheat oven to 425 degree F
2. Boil skinned potatoes in water for 15 minutes
3. Grate potatoes (try to grate while it's slightly warm, as it will be easier to mold into balls) and season generously with salt, pepper, paprika or other spice you would like in the tater tots
4. Roll grated potatoes into tiny balls (however big you want your tater tots to be)
5. Take each rolled ball into your hand, one by one, and smash it into a flat disk
6. Insert the cheese ball/cube into the center (the more compact the cheese ball, the better) and cover the cheese with the grated potato (similar to covering a ball within a larger ball) - make sure the potato mixture is compact and not loose or it will fall apart in the oven
7. Take olive oil and place 1/4 cup in a bowl - dip your finger into oil, and coat your hands with the oil - roll each tater tot with your hands to make sure the tot has a light olive oil coating (you can use a brush if you don't want to get your hands dirty)
8. Bake tater tots on a flat baking sheet for 15 minutes, and flip over the tot and bake for another 15 minutes
9. Take out once brown (usually after a total of 30 minutes) and enjoy hot or wait a bit to cool!