Sweet, Sweet Sunday

I Don’t Even Know How to Boil Water

You probably alreadty know how to do this cooking method called boiling…most of us have been boiling stuff since we were making our own macaroni and cheese out of a box when we were teenagers…assuming that you were borb before they started making macaroni and cheese is single-serving microwavable cups.

Yet boiling is a cooking method…and our goal at this point is to learn about all of the most commonly used cooking methods…

So let’s talk about boiling for a while.

 

 

 

What is boiling?

Boiling is a moist-heat cooking method that involves immersing food in a liquid that has been heated to 212 degrees F. This hot liquid then transmits its heat to the food being cooked.

This temperature is called the boiling point…the point where the pressure of the liquid equals the pressure exerted on the liquid by the surrounding atmosphere.

As liquids boil, you will see bubbles forming and then exploding on the surface of the liquid.  These bubbles are caused by water vapor rushing to the surface.

The food that you boil should be sturdy enough to withstand the aggressive water without being damaged…because the rough agitation of the water can actually damage the food.

 

Commonly  boiled ingredients include pasta, grains, green vegetables. dried pasta, dried legumes, rice, noodles, potatoes, and eggs.

 

How long you boil the ingredient depends on several facttos—such as what the ingredient is, your personal preference,  how you were brought up….(for example, back in Mississippi we cook our peas along with some bacon practially all day before serving)…how important maintaining the food’s original color, texture, and flavor…whether or not you care if you deplete the nutrients of the ingredient…and so forth…

Ingredients an either be added to cold water and heated along with the water…ior added to the water once the water has already started boilling…depending on the characteristics, of what it is that you are cooking…(more on this later)…

 

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect French Fries

Homemade French Fries…why even bother when it would be so much easier either to drive thru McDonald’s or grab a bag of frozen fries out of your freezer…the one that’s probably been hiding in there for the last couple of years at least…goal for today—clean out freezer!!!

Because we are talking about the deep frying cooking methods and potatoes, and of course the topic of French fries would eventually come up.

The perfect French fries are extra astonishingly crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside.

French fries are actually very easy to make ahead and store in your freezer that you may never buy another bag of frozen fries ever, ever again…

 

 


The Potatoes

Which potatoes?

  • Yukon Gold…that’s why we’re learning about making French fries while we are on the topic of Yukon Gold potatoes…go figure, right?
  • Choose the largest ones you can find.

Why are Yukon Gold potatoes better?

  • …because they are less starchy and will turn out much crispier than any other type of potato.

How many potatoes?

  • Figure on two potatoes per person.

How do I slice the potatoes?

  • Slice the potatoes into ½” thick sticks. The thinner you cut your fries, the crispier they will be.
  • Wash the potatoes.
  • Peeling them at this point is purely a matter of personal preference.

Soaking Your Potatoes

Soak the potato slices in cold water for at least one hour, perhaps even overnight. The longer, the better.

Soaking your potatoes removes the starch and will end up making your French fries extra crispy and keep them from sticking to each other when you are cooking them.

 

 

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Cooking Your French Fries

 

Most cooks and chefs agree that the best way to getting those perfectly crispy fries that you’re craving is to double fry your potatoes—first for five or six minutes at 300° to cook the middle of the potato, and then frying them a second time at 400° to cook the outside.

Using a deep-fat thermometer will help ensure that the oil is at the proper temperature before you start adding your potatoes to the water.

Drain the potatoes.. Pat them dry with paper towels or a clean dishcloth.

Be sure to use a pot that is large and tall enough—such as a tall 8-quart soup pot, to contain the oil without overflowing when the potatoes are slipped in.

Pour enough oil into the pan that it measures about 1-1/2″ deep.

Heat the oil over high heat until it reaches 300.

Carefully drop small batches of potatoes to the hot oil. Frying too many French fries at once makes them less crispy.

The oil should bubble lightly.  The temperature of the oil will drop to about 260 F after the potatoes are added.

Gently stir the fries to ensure that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan or stick to each other.  

Fry for about five minutes.

Remove from the oil using a pair of tongs or a slotted metal spoon.

At this point we’re only heating the potatoes, so don’t be disappointed if they’re not crisp yet.
Place the cooked potatoes on a paper towel lined plate.

 

Increase the heat to 400 degrees.

Fry a second time in batches about five more minutes, until they are crisp and golden-brown.

Remove them onto dry paper towels.
Sprinkle with salt as soon as they come out.
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Russet the Rascal

So let’s check our Mr. Potato Head and his fellow companions….actually the group has two different cliques—each based on the amount of  starch and water that they contain.

These groups are the following…

  • Starchy
  • All-purpose
  • Waxy

Let’s look at the characteristics of a starchy potato…

  • absorbent almost all of the butter and cream that you place on them…yum…
  • break down easily when cooked
  • don’t hold together very well when cooked
  • flesh coats your knife with a white, milky film when you cut into it

  • high in starch
  • low in moisture

The most common type of starchy potato is the russet potato, also known as an Idaho potato or Burbank potato.…russet potatoes are in fact the most common type of potato grown in the United States. Russet potatoes are the type of potato most people think of when they think about buying potatoes in the grocery store.

There are actually numerous varieties of russet potatoes. A few of their characteristics are…

  • brown
  • easily absorb butter and milk making them ideal for mashed or baked potatoes
  • just a few shallow eyes
  • light, fluffy texture
  • medium-to-large size
  • oblong or oval shaperough net-like skin that becomes chewy when cooked
  • white flesh

Cooking methods that are best for starchy potatoes include…

  • Baking
  • Deep Frying
  • Pan Frying
  • Roasting

These cooking methods create a crisp crust and keep the interior moist.

Starchy potatoes are not good for dishes that require the potatoes to hold their shape.—such as potato salads, soups, stews, and potatoes au gratin—because the flesh flakes and easily separates after cooking.

However, these potatoes are great for making…

  • baked potatoes
  • French fries
  • potato chips
  • gnocchi
  • mashed potatoes

So let’s start actually cooking by using the cooking method that we are currently talking about—deep frying—by frying up some potato chips and French fries..

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Mr. Potato Head and His Friends

When you mention the word potato, most of us automatically think of McDonald’s French fries that have been fried in tons of oil or a great big baked potato stuffed with butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon, the kitchen sink, and so on and so forth.
Yeah, I do realize that these are bad for you….But potato chips that have been baked with one of the healthier cooking oils can actually be both good for you and a great treat,
(Note…Don’t worry, I do realize that deep frying is definitely not the healthiest way to make homemade potato chips, so eventually we are going to learn how to make them in both the microwave and the oven….)
Potatoes actually contain many nutrients and minerals —such as potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and  copper. A potato actually contains more potassium than a banana…half of the RDV of vitamin C…no fat, sodium, or cholesterol…
Potatoes contain very little to no fat.
One medium-sized, unadorned, skin-on potato contains just 110 calories per serving.
But for right now, let’s take a quick look at a few of the estimated two hundred varieties of potatoes sold in the United States…
These potatoes vary in texture and act differently when cooked. For example when you are making a pot of soup, your potato chunks will either remain intact, or disintegrate…depending on the type of starch and the amount of moisture in the flesh.not bless with too many ”
Because the result that you get depends on the amount of the starch contained in the potato, these varieties are typically broken down into three basic categories—:starchy, all-purpose and waxy.
In the next few posts we will be look at each of these different categories, but here are a few things to remember regardless which type of potato you are looking for…
Shopping…When you are shopping for potatoes, look for ones that are…
heavy
not green tinged
very firm
void of soft spots, cracks or cuts
without sprouts
Storing…Potatoes will last a few weeks when properly stored, but don’t refrigerate potatoes because this causes some of the starches to convert to sugars, giving them an odd flavor.
photo of pile of potatoes
Photo by Marco Antonio Victorino on Pexels.com
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Baking Soda and Dental Care

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Baking Soda and Skincare

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

Ah, Love Oil

glass bowl cork bottle
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

After the breading material are set up and you have finish3d breading your food you can finally start cooking.

You should have already set up and start heating your oil by now…perhaps I shouuld have posted this earlidr, but let’s talk about which oiil you should be using to fry your food in.

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Smokepoint

When choosing which oil to use whenever you are frying, you need to think about the smoke point of that partcular oil.

It is important that you use an oil with a high smoke point.

But first, I guess you need to know what a smoke point is, if you’re gonna pick your oil wisely.

The smoke point is the temperature at which the oil can be heated to before it begins to smoke and burn…makes sense huh>!

Once your oil has reached this point, the oil will start to break down into its fundamental components—glycerol and fatty acids—and no longer be good for frying.

The oil will also start losing its flavor and nutritional value.

Once it has passed the smoke point, the oil can also be very dangerous, because it is much more likely to ignite when exposed to an open heat source.

Usually whenever you are frying, you want the oil to be somewhere between 350°F and 375°F, so your must have a smoke point that is  high enough to survive this amouint of heat.

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So which oils shoul you NOT be using?

Butter…has too low of a smoking point to be used for frying.

Lard...has a low smoke point

Olive oil...Sure, you could use oil for frying, but I’d stick to using olive oil for sauteeing your foods since that olive oil usually costs more.

Shortening…also has too low of a smoking point to be used for frying.

Sunflower oil…This oil tends to burn more quickly than most other oils.

Unrefined oils of any kind…These have too low a smoke point and can also be very expensive. Note that many of the oil that we will be learning later on that are good fort frying are sold in both refined and unrefined versions, so check the label before you use it.

Your fanciest or priciest oils…Frying reuires a whole lot of oil…using these here would simply be a waste of money. Also, thhe frying process can dim the flavor of, making it no more flavorful than any other given oil.

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And which oils should you be using?

 

Whenever you are choosing which oil to fry in, there are several things to consider. In addition to the smoke point, which should be slightly higher than the temperature at which you will be cooking, your oil should have a neutral flavor that won’t impart iany flavor on whatever you are cooking.

Also it is important that youu  hoose a good quality oil.

Each of the following oils can be a smart choice for frying because they all have a neutral flavor, perform well at high temperatures, and have a smoke point somewhere between 440° and 450°F….which is definitely above the typical temp required for frying, which tends to be around 350°F.

(Note that there are obviously more oils that are commonly used for fryiung—such as vegetable and peanut, but I have limited my list to those oils that we have already talked about being best for type-2 diabetics.)

 

1.Canola Oil

Benefits...Canola oil helps reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the body, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and stabilize blood pressure levels, The FDA agrees that 1-1/2Tbsp canola oil each day could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when used instead of saturated fat.

Nutrition…Canola oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as the alpha-linolenic acid, as well as monounsaturated fat, a type of fat that is considered healthy for diabetics. At the same time, canola oil is low in the unhealthy saturated fat that mostly come from animal products like meat and dairy.

Uses…Canola oil can be used safely at high temperatures because it has a higher smoke point than most other oils, but doesn’t have as much flavor as some other oils that are available and is not your best choice for certain things such as making your own salad dressing

 

 

2. Grape Seed Oil

Nutrition…this is a rich source of both polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, and is very low in saturated fat

Use…nutty but mild flavor that can be used for all sorts of cooking and grilling and also works well in salad dressings or drizzled over roasted veggies

 

 

 

3. Rice Bran Oil

Benefits….Rice bran oil will reduce your levels of bad cholesterol, and so is great for diabetics and those wanting to keep heart disease at bay.

Nutrition…Rice bran oil is rich in both monounsaturated as well as polyunsaturated fats.

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Reusing

You can either reuse your oil or dispose of it after you finish frying.

 

To reuse the oil…

  1. Let the oil cool down to room temperature.
  2. Filter through a cheesecloth…whatever the heck that is…
  3. Return to its original container.
  4. Add a small amount of fresh oil to have extend the life of the oil that you have just used.
  5. Store it in a cool, dark place.

You will not want to use the same oil more than two or three times in a row because each use will release more andf more fatty acids into theoil, reducing the smoke point and making it less and less appropriate to use at the high temperatures required for frying.

If your oil starts to look thick or brown, throw it out.

Never pour oil down the drain…lesson learned the hard way…never pour hot candle wax down the drain either…another lesson learned the hard way…

Feathering the Nest, Random Thoughts

Zigeunerschnitzel

pork and sausage on the grill
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Another favorite type of schnitzel commonly served in Germany is Zigeunerschnitzel.

Zigeunerschnitzel, also referred to as “gypsy schnitzel” or  “paprikaschnitzel” is a pork schnitzel with a creamy sauce that contains tomato, bell peppers, and onion.

You won’t find this listed in German restaurants because there has been much controversty over the use of the term “gypsy.”  Insteaad look for the word “Balkanschnitzel.”

 

The Breading

  • 1C breadcrumbs
  • ½C flour
  • 2 eggs

First heat 2Tbsp oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Remember that you alaeys want your oil to be hot whenever you start adding the meat.

Combine 2 tablespoons flour, salt and white pepper in shallow bowl. Coat pork, one piece at a time, in flour mixture, shaking off excess.

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The Meat

  • 2# veal cutlets or boneless pork loin chops
First wash the cutlets under cold water and dry them well with paper towel. Now lightly dredge the meat in flour and shake off any excess. Add your pork to the heated oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.

Pound meat slices between plastic wrap using a meat mallet.

Cook pork in batches 2 to 3 minutes per side, until both sides are golden brown and barely pink in center.

Cover to keep warm.

To serve, place two schnitzels on each plate, top with pepper sauce and mushrooms. Serve immediately.

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Gravy

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 12 medium crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large or 2 small bell peppers
  • ¼C dry red wine
  • ½C peeled chopped tomatoes
  • 1Tbsp paprika
  • 1C beef broth or dry white wine
  • 2Tbsp cornstarch

In a second skillet, saute onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms for about ten minutes, until all of the vegetables are soft and translucent.

Add garlic cloves, salt.tomato. Cook five minutes.

Remove vegetables from skillet. Set aside.

Now add flour, paprika, salt and pepper to the skillet. Cook one minute.

Whisk in beef broth or wine. Cook for about five minutes.

 


Sweet, Sweet Sunday

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