Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Beer-Battered Fish

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Prep

Preheat your oven to 250°F so that you can keep the food warm while you ffinish yout batches.

Set two cooling racks over two rimmed baking sheets; these will ensure that your beer-battered food drains a bit and isn’t too oily.

Set two cooling racks over two rimmed baking sheets; these will ensure that your beer-battered food drains a bit and isn’t too oily.

Prepare a paper-towel lined baking sheet or cooling rack for the food to drain off excess oil while cooling.

Heat your oil to 375ºF., preferably in a large cast iron skillet. Canola oil and peanut oil have the highest smoking point, meaning that you have less chance of burning the oil if it gets too hot.

Blot the fish with paper towels to dry them.

Season on both sides with salt and pepper.

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Dredge

Dredge the fish in the flour and shake off the excess.

Let sit for thirty minutes. to activates the batter and help it puff up when it fries.

 

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Make Your Batter

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Fry

Fry the fish for about five minutes…until nicely golden.Watch the temperature of the oil carefully.  If the temperature is too low, you’ll end up with greasy fish. If the temperature is too high, the outside will cook before the inside is done.

Remove the fish with a slotted spoon or tongs.

Place the fish on paper towels for a minute to help drain off any excess oil.

Serve immediately. If you do have to wait, keep the fish warm in the oven at the lowest temp possible until ready to serve.

Like frying anything else, use a thermometer to make sure that the oil is hot enough….and avoid crowding the pot.

 

The fish is done when it turns a golden brown color and bubbles start floating near the top of the oil,.

 

Food on Fridays, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Tempura

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Pakora

THE VEGETABLES

Wash the veggies and then pat them dry with paper towels.

Prepping your veggies is pretty much a matter of common sense. You’re frying veggies to turn into fritters…so you want them to be fritter-friendly. Your ultoimate goal is to chop or slice or dice everything into pieces that will allow all the veggies to basically cook thoroughly and evenly all at the same time.

  • Cauliflower/Broccoli…cut the florets
  • Onions…thinly slice
  • Potatoes…your best option would be to boil and mash the potatoes in another bowl…or to use leftover boiled potatoes so the potatoes will finish at the same time as everything else
  • Spinach…finely chop

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THE BATTER…

Mix together staple ingredients and spices.

Staples

  • 1C gram) flour
  • ⅓C flour
  • 1Tbsp lemon juice

Spices…(you can basically “pick and choose” whatever you want, but here are some suggestions)

  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 2tsp ginger
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp paprika
  • 1/4tsp pepper
  • 1tsp chat masala
  • 1tsp fenugreek flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1Tbsp/ whole coriander seeds
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 2tsp red chili pepper flakes

Water....Slowly add water— just enough water that you no longer have dry, lumpy flour—to make a batter. Be careful not to add too much water because the vegetables will add even more water to your batter.

Your goal is to create a smooth batter that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon….similar to the consistency of whipping cream.

 

 

Vegetables…Combine with vegetables…(these you can also “pick and choose”_…

  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1C cauliflower, florets
  • 1C spinach, finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, trimmed, finely chopped
  • 1/2C cabbage, sliced into thin long strips
  • 1/2Cpotatoes, finely chopped

Set batter aside for 10-15 minutes.

 

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COOKING

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan

Once the oil is hot, carefully lower the batter, using a standard tablespoon, into the oil. You want to do this in batches.

Fry for about five minute….until golden brown on both sides.

Set the fried pakora on paper towel as it finishes cooking. This will make them less greasy.

Keep frying till you are done with the batter.

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SERVING
Pakora are typially served with a hot cup of masala chai and a dipping sauce—such as creamy cilantro sauce, chutney,. or sweet chili sauce.
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Onion Rings

So our next recipe in our discussion of deep frying is how to make the perfect onion rings to serve with ‘kid-friendly foods” such as burgers…or as an appetizer…or simply because they’re so dad-gum good…(but probably not too good for you, right?)

The perfect onion rings have been double dipped in a batter that is seasoned to perfection. …the outside is crisp…while the onion itself is tender and sweet….accompanied by your favorite condiment—such as mayo, fry sauce, ranch or ketchup.

 

 

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Ingredients

2 large Vidalia onions, sliced into 1/2″ rings

Oil for frying

Batter Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • egg, lightly beaten
  •  1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. fine cornmeal
  • 3/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

 

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Prep

Fill your Dutch oven pan with 1″ oil. Heat, over medium heat, until  375°. Line a large plate or baking sheet with paper towels.

 

 

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Batter

Whisk together your dry ingredients—such as your flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, baking powder, and spices.

Whisk together your wet ingredients—such as your egg, buttermilk, and seltzer.

 

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Breading

Slice and separate the onion rings.

Dip each ring first in your dry inredients and then in your wet ingredients…as we’ve already learned in this previous post about breading.

Repeat the dipping process.

Place the finished onion rings on a cooling rack until ready to fry..

 

 

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Cooking

First make sure that your oil is hot enough.

If so, place the battered onion rings into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd your onion rings. This will keep them from cooking correctly.

Do not add salt while you are cooking your onion rings. This will help keep the batter on the onion instead of falling apart  in your frying pot. Wait and salt your onion rings after they have cooked.

Cook for about four minutes…until they turn a light golden brown color.

After they’ve finished cooking, take them out of the oil and set them out on paper towels to cool and drain. Sprinkle with salt.

Serve hot with ketchup and mayonnaise, if desired.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

What’s Next?

Every now annd then…usually whenever I finish a big group of posts about the same topic I like to stop and take a break and look backwards and forwards at where I’ve been and where I’m headed as far as content.

The purpose of my blog is supposed to be crawling up the Raw Foods pyramid one tier at a time…going from bottom to top…Yet I just finished posting several recipes containing meat…how dare me, right?!!

Another purpose of my blog is supposed to be learning to cook healthier foods now that my husband has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes…

If you haven[t figured out, I have ADHD…my thoughts wander all over the place constantly…so if you are a regular reader, expect tangents…

Anyway…enough about that…

So let’s look back…

Before I started going up the Pyramid, I decided that it might be wise to look at several different cooking methods…(yeah, I know…so much for raw foods, right?!)

But most of us have spouses and children who would probably not be too content to eat raw veggies, raw fruit, seaweed, and nutritional yeast for the rest of their lives.

So we have taken a look at three different cooking methods—sauteeing, pan frying, and deep frying.

Honestly, I still want to continue my experiments in deep frying…by talking about making such things as onion rings and tempura….

But then I want to move on to other cooking methods..

Here are a list of the different cooking methods that are commonly used…

But first let’s finish deep frying…by learning how to make onion rings…

Join me for the Journey…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know that

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Meat and Taters Around the World—Switzerland

For our final Meat and Taters recipe from around the world, let’s travel to Switzerland…and try the rösti….(The word is actually pronounced “reursch-ti,” not  row-sti…as you might think when you first saw the word…and the word “rösti” translates as “crisp and golden,”.)…

This dish consists of grated potatoes that are shaped into 1″-5″ patties and served in wedges like pizza….kinda like a giant latke or potato pancake.

These latkes-of-a-sort are enjoyed primatily in the German-speaking area along the border between the French-speaking and the German-speaking parts of the country.

And even though this dish started out as a breakfast dish, and is now more commonly served as an accompaniment, often to egg or sausage dishes.

the Swiss now enjoy

This is a simple peasant dish that began with just two humble ingredients—

But feel free to branch out and try serving this along with smoked salmon, sour cream, chives, or braised Savoy cabbage, smoked ham, fried eggs, salmon roe, chopped onion, dill,  Swiss cheese

The perfect rösti is extra crispy on the outside…and soft and buttery on the inside….never an unpleasantly starchy flavour and greasy, raw interior…like the very best hash brown potatoes…but even more delicious.

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THE INGREDIENTS

  • 4 medium-sized potatoes…(Note…Waxy potatoes seem to maintain their shape better than starchy potatoes…and also produce a crunchier cake.)
  • 3Tbsp butter
    Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Optional ingredients…such as bacon, parsley, onions, nutmeg, pepper, or ground paprika, scallions

 

 

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Many chefs start a day ahead by parboiling their potatoes in salt water until just tender, but not soft…allowing them to cool…and then chilling their potatoes for a couple of hours or even overnight. This will eventually make the potatoes easier to grate and helps them stick together when you’re cooking them.

Anyway, regardless if you chill them or not, at least clean and peel your potatoes.

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Grate the peeled raw potatoes into a bowl. This is traditionally done by hand with a rosti grater…but honestly how many of us have rosti graters at home…and Alton warns us about “unitaskers” in how many episodes?

So instead do this with a box grater, food processor.

You want to use the larger holes on your box grater, not the smaller ones. This will mean not only faster work, but also better texture.

Let the potatoes rest for at least five minutes.

Now squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the potatoes by grabbing and squeezing fistfuls.

Transfer to a second bowl.

Season the potatoes with salt and pepper….Salting the grated raw potatoes at this point will “draw out” the excess water…making the rösti more crispy on the outside.

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Melt 3Tbsp butter in an 8″ nonstick or cast-iron skillet.

Add the grated potatoes to the pan, Use a metal spatula to spread the potatoes in a layer that is about 1″ deep.

Add salt, onions, spices

Cook over medium heat for ten minutes, stirring two or three times with a metal spatula to coat the potatoes evenly with butter and avoid “hot spots.”

Cook until the bottom of the pancake turns golden and crisp…and the top of the pancake starts to look translucent….about fifteen minutes.

 

 


FLIP

Once your potatoes have cooked on the bottom, it’s time to flip your pancake so that the other side can cook also.

This can be challenging.

But here’s how…

Using oven mitts, place a large plate bottom side up over the skillet. Invert the pan so that the pancake sits, cooked-side-up on the plate. Now flip the other side into the pan first so that side can cook also. 

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Finish Cooking and Serve

Add 2Tbsp more oil or butter to the pan.

Now slide the pancake back into the pan….browned side up.

Tent with foil.

Cook for another ten minutes…until the other side is also browned and the potatoes feel really tender in the middle.

Slide the rosti onto a plate, cutting board, or cooling rack.

Cut it into wedges.

Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Meat and Taters Around the World—Sweden

Getting my five year old ready to start “real school” in the fall has reminded how there’s always one of THEM in almost any crowd…

The sibling that gets your mom the most expensive gift of any other sibling

The nerd in the class that always aces the test that most of us have just failed

The homeroom mother eight months pregnant, kid in tow, perfectly organizing the homeroom Christmas…or whatever the heck THEY acknowledge the holiday as this week…party

The relative that brings the fanciest side dish to the Thanksgiving side dish to the annual “let’s all get together and pretend like we all like each other once a year” ordeal…

Your sister in law was so proud of her mashed potatoes…until you showed up with your twice-baked potatoes…

But lo and behold…here comes THAT sibling…the one you’ve competed with and lived in the shadows of your entire life walking in fashionably late with nothing but…

HASSELBACK POTATOES

We can all thank Leif Elisson for being the overachiever in his cooking school and creating these potatoes back in 1953…when he was a chef in training at the famous restaurant at the Hasselbacken Hotel in Stockholm…an elegant hotel that first opened in 1748.

By the way the word Hasselback actually translates  “Hazel Hill.”

In fact, they can’t be possibly be as hard as they look like they would be to make if the Swedes enjoy them not only for “red calendar day” events…but also for breakfast, appetizers, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

They are basically a baked potato…so I’m not gonna go into depth as far as cooking them…already talked about that in this previous post…

These just go extra by requiring that you make a special series of deep parallel cuts along the top of the potato so that it opens into their expected fan shape….and then so that you can showboat various toppings on top.

Surprisingly these potatoes only take a little more effort than a regular baked potato…and can make such an impact when served alongside a special dinner—such as a holiday roast, date night steak, or Easter ham.

The perfect Hasselback potatoes have perfectly crispy, crunchy, and golden edges of French fries on the outside…the soft, buttery, creamy goodness of mashed potatoes on the inside….and the perfect amounts of cheddar, Parmesan cheese, fresh chives, sour cream, bacon, crumbled feta, spring onions, etc. 

 

 

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PREP

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat to 425°F.

 

 

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SLICE

The one thing that separates a hasselback potato from a plain everyday baked potato is the way it is cut.

So settle on bringing mashed potatoes or twice-baked potatoes to the party until you master the technique.

First of all, it is important that you choose a good quality knife to cut your potatoes—one with a thin blade that is very sharp…(and have the number to the nearest CareNow clinic close at hand.)…

Slice a thin layer from the bottom of the potato to keep it from rolling around.

Place a potato between the handles of two wooden spoons or two chopsticks. This creates a “guardrail” that should help keep you from slicing the potato all the way through….the most important thing to not do whenever making this dish…(other than cooking them too long and burning both your potatoes and perhaps even your house.)

Another option to help guide you as you are making your cuts is to rest the potato in a large serving spoon.

Cut thin parallel slits about every 1/4″ across each of the potatoes, leaving 1/4″ at the bottom intact. The thinner the slices, the better the end result.

Push the knife straight down into the potato. Once your knife hits the chopsticks or edge of the spoon, stop slicing. Once again, it is important to make sure that the slices stay connected at the bottom of the potato.

Don’t worry about your slices being perfect, they will end up great regardless.

If all else fails, and you still suck at this, then order yourself a Hasselback potato cutting board…they’ll still be impressed…

Repeat with the remaining potatoes, sertting each on the prepared baking sheet once sliced.