Making hash browns and french fries without using oil is not something that I learned to do when I was learning to cook as a child. But who wants all of those empty calories or that oily sheen on everything? Not me!
I have always made hash browns by putting them in a hot
frying pan with about 1/3-1/2 cup of water and then cooking them on
medium for about 10 minutes on each side. But there was a discussion on
the McDougall boards a couple of months ago about how to cook hash
browns without oil and someone said that Mary McDougall cooked hers dry,
so, I tried it this week. It works great! It wasn’t quite as crunchy
on the outside, but I am going to try it again a couple of times to see
if I can get it just right. These are the pictures of the hash browns. I usually cook these in my cast iron pan and do not have any problems with them sticking, but I used a non-stick pan for the ones in the picture. I do not use oil to cook in the cast iron pan, but I do wipe it with a paper towel with a teaspoon or so of oil on it after I clean it to keep it seasoned. I wipe it until there is no visible oil in the pan.
The other picture is of the baked french fry wedges that my teenagers
and I love. We just wedge clean potatoes, these are red potatoes,
sprinkle on salt or whatever we are in the mood for, and bake on 400
until they look like the ones in the picture. The blue mat that you see under the potato wedges is a silicon bake mat. It keeps everything from sticking. I used to use parchment paper to keep all of my no-oil foods from sticking, but I hated to go through so much of something that I couldn't reuse. The silicon mat works great. They are pretty expensive, though. I bought mine for about $5 several years ago when the local Albertson's grocery store went out of business. I honestly didn't know what I was buying, just that it was 75% off. I wish I had gotten a couple of more.