Sweet, Sweet Sunday

What In the Heck Is “Pullum Frontonianum”…(and what does it have to do with frying?)

At this point we have already learned about two bsasic cooking methods—sauteeing and pan-frying.

The next dry-heat cooking method is deep frying.

And living in Texas one of the highlights of each year is going to the State Fair to see just what new fried concoctions have been created this yrar.

For example, here is a list of the top ten finalists for the State Fair of Texas’ 2018 Big Tex Choice Awards, the annual contest celebrating fried foods. Note that each year, five finalists are chosen in two categories—savory and sweet.

The savory finalists this last year were…

  • Deep Fried Shepherd’s Pie
  • Deep Fried Skillet Potato Melt in a Boat
  • Fernie’s Hoppin’ John Cake with Jackpot Sauce
  • Texas Fried Hill Country
  • Texas Twang-kie

The sweet finalists this last year were…

  • Arroz con Leche
  • Cotton Candy Taco
  • Fernie’s Orange You Glad We Fried It?!
  • State Fair Fun-L Cake Ice Cream
  • Sweet Bakin’ Bacon

Can’t wait to see what these creative people come up with this year.

I honestly have always been too scared to deep fry anything at home, especially when you can easily find deep-fried foods at nearly every gas station and restaurant in America…

But deep-frying is still a cooking method…and my goal is cover each of the cooking methods in detail…

So let’s dive in deep…


The Why

My goal in this section is to learn how to make deep-fried foods that have the same crunchy golden brown surface and the same tender interior of any of these prize-winning foods.

Deep-frying differs from any of the previous methods because you are completely submerging your food into oil that has been heated to a much highter temperature typically around 375 degrees.

Instead of breading your food, your food will be completely covered in batter..more on this later….

So what are the benefits of this method of cooking…especially considering that I am writing this blog primarily for people who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes…

  • Crispiness…Deep-fried foods typically have a crispy crust because of the high temperatures remove any surface moisture and dry out the exterior. If you have successfully deep-fried your foods, the crust will be properly formed, the food should be less greasy,  and item being fried will retain its shape.
  • Faster…Bexause the entire food is completely submerged and cooked in the oil, deep-frying is a relatively faster way of cooking.
  • Flavor…Cooking your food at such a high temp improves the flavor of food by caramelizing it and producing the Maillard reaction…more on this later too…
  • Nutrition…yeah even deep-fried food can be nutritious…When you deep-fry food, only a small amount of oil will stay on the crust.
  • Tenderness…If you have succrssfully deep-fried your food, the batter will seal in any moisture that the food contains and keep extra oil from being absorbed.

The Recipe

Even though the term “deep frying” and many of the foods that we deep-fry these days were not invented until the 19th century, people have basically been deep-frying for thousands of years

Even though the term “deep frying” and many of the foods that we most commonly deep-fry today were not invented until around the early 1900s, people have been using this cooking methods for thousands of years.

The first recorded recipe using this method appeared around the year AD400. This recipe was for a chicken dish called Pullum Frontonianum.

Pullum Frontonianum

  • 2Tbsp olive oil
  • 3# chicken
  • 1/2C olive oil
  • 1 chopped leek
  • 2Tbsp ground coriander
  • 2tap salt
  • 1/2tsp pepper
  • 1/4C chopped fresh dill weed
  • 2Tbsp ground coriander seed
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan.
  2. Fry whole chicken over medium heat.
  3. Make the seasoning…olive oil,, dill, leek, fresh coriander, salt, rose petals, pepper, and coriander.
  4. Add about half of the seasoning mixture to the chicken in the skillet.
  5. Continue to fry until chicken just starts to change color.
  6. Bake at 425 for 1 hour, occasionally basting with the seasoning mixture.
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Chicken Parm Here at the Farm

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Pan-Frying 101

 

2. Brining the Chicken…Typically when I frychicken, I cook approximately 3-3 1/2 pounds of chicken pieces….So let’s get started…
Soaking your chicken in some sort of brine will help the breading stick to the food better…and add moisture and flavor. Once you prepare the brine, simply add the chicken to the liquid and stick in the fridge at least thirty minutes, and even overnight.

 

4. Heating Your Oil…When frying chicken, it is important that the oil can be heated to a high temperature without burning. Peanut, canola or vegetable oil are your best options…Avoid using olive oil or butter.

 

 

 

5. Cooking Your Chicken…Gently place your breaded chicken skin side-down in your heated pan, being sure not to overcrowd the pan.

Replace the lid onto the pan. Cook the chicken about ten minutes, using your tongs to turn the chicken a few times while it cooks.

Remove the lid. Cook ten minutes more, uncovered…until the chicken is cooked through and the outside is a deep golden brown.

 

If you are using a probe thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the chicken, the magic number is 165 degrees.

Remember to bring the oil back up to 350 degrees before you add the next batch of chicken.

 

 

 

Once your chicken has finished frying, place the hot chicken on a wire rack set on top of a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little salt for extra flavor.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

When done well, you should end up with a hallmark of great fried chicken—perfectly tender meat with plenty of that crunchy, dark brown crust that all of us Southerners so adore.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Chinese Culinary—Zhejang Campaign

Zhejiang cuisine tends to be the simplest of all Chinese regional cuisines.

The focus of Zhejiang cuisine seems to be simplicity. The people of the region focus more on serving fresh seasonal produce served crispy, perhaps even raw or almost raw…much like Japanese food….fresh seafood…and

Zhejiang cuisine tends to be fresh, soft, and smooth with a mellow fragrance.,.,, with a good balance between saltiness and umami

Zhejiang cuisine uses a wide variety of cooking methods—including braising, sautéing, stewing, steaming, and deep-frying.

As far as meat, Zhejiang cuisins uses many different varieties of fresh seafood and freshwater fish caught from local rivers.

As far as sauce, Zhejiang cuisine tends to focus on simple marinades—such as a simple mixture of vinegar and sugar—instead of the more complicated sauces and marinades found in other Chinese regional cuisines.

As far as spices, Zhejiang cuisine tends to be lightly seasoned and veer on the salty side..

Examples of foods that you might find include…

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchi—The What Else—Five Spice Powder

 

One of the other spices, or spice blends, that you should also grab when you’re ordering from the Asian market is five spice powder.

Five-spice powder or Wuxiang powder is a very powerful spice blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and Szechwan peppercorns—that is a very common ingredient in Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine.

Some other spices that are often used to make five spice powder include ginger, nutmeg, licorice, turmeric, cardamom, Mandarin orange peel, and galangal.

Sure, you can buy this five spice seasoning online or at the Asian market…

But some cooks claim that making five spice powder in your own kitchen creates a more fragrant spice mix, allows you to flavor exactly how you want it, and makes the flavor more intense.

Making five spice powder as you need it, will also keep the flavors as rich and fresh as possible.

 

To make your own five spice powder, 

  • Toast 2tsp Szechuan peppercorns in a dry skillet or wok over medium heat, about three minutes.
  • Grind any whole spices—such as whole cloves, fennel seed, Szechwan peppercorns, or star anise—in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle. To make sure that you have the quantity of powder once you finish grinding these, start with about 1.5 times the quantity of the whole spice as you need powder—such as 2Tbsp of star anise seeds to make 1Tbsp powder.
  • Mix in 1Tbsp each of the following—ground cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and fennel seed. You could also consider adding a teaspoon or so of black pepper, ginger, nutmeg, or any of the other spices mentioned above.
  • Grind them together in your coffee grinder until the powder is an even consistency.
  • Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place until ready to use.

 

Tips on Using Five Spice Powder.

  1. Add five spice powder to your skillet at the start of cooking so that the spices will permeate the whole dish.
  2. Add small amounts of the spice mixture to your dish while you are cooking. The flavor can be quite intense, and it is easy to ruin a dish by adding too much.
  3. Taste your food frequently until you find the amount of sice that you want.
  4. Use five-spice powder sparingly. A tiny amount goes a long way.

Princess Chicken

One of the most common dishes that contains five-spice seasoning is Princess Chicken…

 

  • 1 1/2Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1Tbsp dry sherry
  • 1/2tsp five-spice powder
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3Tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 thin slices ginger
  • 1/2 onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 1/2tsp paprika (or to taste)
  • 4oz sliced mushrooms
  • 2Tbsp water or chicken broth
  • 3/4C cashews
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 2tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2tsp sugar
  • 1/2tsp sesame oil

Marinade your chicken..Combine soy sauce, sherry, five-spice powder, and cornstarch. Add the chicken, coating thoroughly in the marinade. Let marinade in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Cook your chicken…Heat 2Tbsp oil in a wok. Once the oil is hot, add one slice of ginger. Let brown for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove the ginger from the oil. Add the chicken. Cook 5 minutes, until the chicken is nearly cooked.

Cook your veggies…Remove and wipe the wok clean. Add Tbsp oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the remaining slice of ginger. Brown the ginger. Remove from the pan. Add the onion and paprika. Cook 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, cashews, red red bell peppers. Add more oil if you need to.Cook another minute.

Finish making the dish..Add the chicken back into the pan. Stir in dark soy sauce and sugar. Cook for another minute. Remove from heat. Stir in the sesame oil.

Making Dinner Plans, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Silan Chicken

Silan,  also referred to as Israeli date honey, is a rich syrup made from dates.

Silan has a dark chestnut color, darker than maple syrup, about the color of cola….a taste similar to molasses….and a texture that is as thick as molasses but more fluid than bee honey.

You can find at local “kosher” markets, but even living here in DFW, I have no idea where one of those would be and it would be much easier to order it while still wearing my pajamas online from such retailers as World of Judaica or Date Lady.

Just be sure to stay away from the varieties with added sugar—those can be too sweet and lack the authentic flavor of the kind found in Israel.

One of the most common recipes using silan is Silan Chicken…had this for dinner last night, making it again tonight perhaps because it was so very good and there are no leftovers.

  • 4# chicken legs or thighs
  • 1 cup silan
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp tamarind or soy sauce
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Maranating…Prepare a 9- x 13 baking dish. Mix together the silan, oil, brown sugar, tamarind, garlic, and chicken stock. Place the chicken in a foil-lined roasting or baking pan. Rub the chicken pieces with vegetable oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Place in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.

Baking…Bake for an hour, uncovered, brushing the chicken with the sauce every fifteen minutes. Increase oven temp to 375°F. Bake for another thirty minutes.