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.
2 large Vidalia onions, sliced into 1/2″ rings
Oil for frying
1 cup milk
1 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
Fill your Dutch oven pan with 1″ oil. Heat, over medium heat, until 375°. Line a large plate or baking sheet with paper towels.
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.
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..
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.
Sure, grabbing a bag of potato chips is pretty much expected almost every trip to the grocvery store, but if you take the time to look at the ingredient listed on a bag of typical potato chips, you would be amazed at the ingredients listed…and perhaps get home and be disappointed to find that the chips don’t even really taste all that good.
So since we are all trying to eat healthier and consume foods—foods that contain fewer ingredients that we can’t pronounce and have no clue what are—make your own chips instead.
The perfect homemade potato chips will be crunchy and just the right amount of seasoning.
Getting Ready to Make Your Potato Chips
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a paper bag close enough to the stove so that you can set the chips on it as they finish cooking.
Prepping the Potatoes
First wash your potatoes in order to get rid of any dirt, excess starch molecules, simple sugars, and enzymes that are released when you first slice into the potato..
Whether or not you peel them is up to you…Personally I’m too lazy and not too good with my knife skills…as shown by the scars on my hands…so I never peel my potatoes before making my chips.
Now thinly slice your potatoes into 1/8″ to 1/16″ thick slices. You can do this with a mandolin, a handheld slicer, a very sharp knife, or a food processor with a slicer attachment,
How you slice your potatoes affects how crunchy they end up being…not so thick that they are hard to eat or thin that they cook too fast and easily burn.
Be sure that the slices are all about the same size…otherwise some will cook faster than others, resulting in some burned chips intermingled with some basically raw chips.
Once you finish slicing your potatoes, Immediately place the slices in ice water. This helps to remove the starch and create crispy chips with those delicious air pockets.
Now drain the sliced potatoes and pat both sides completely dry, using a kitchen towel or paper towel. Make sure that you dry the potatoes as much as posible so that your potatoes will be as crispy as possible.
Once you have drained your potatoes, toss the sliced potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and perhaps other spices that you choose.
Cooking the Chips
Fill a large, heavy, deep-sided pot about halfway with oil. Clip a deep-fry or candy thermometer to the side of the pot.
Place the pot over medium-high heat until the oil registers 350°F on the thermometer.
Add the potato slices to the hot oil in batches…being careful not to overcrowd them.
Cook each batch of chips at 400 degrees until the bubbling completely stops before removing them from the pan and starting the next batch. Stir occasionally.
Keep an eye on the potatoes as they fry so that you can remove the crispy ones while waiting for the other ones to finish cooking….otherwise you will end up having any burned…or is it burnt…chips intermingled with raw potatoes.
You want to cook them until they are light golden brown. How long it will take to cook your chips will depend on how thin, or thick, your sliced them.
Remove the chips that seem to be cooked using a spider, strainer, or tongs…place them on a paper bag to drain.
Sprinkle the warm chips with more salt and any seasonings while they are still warm
Remove from heat. Add butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and cayenne; mix with rubber spatula until potatoes are coated with thick, starchy paste, about 30 seconds
Flavoring Your Chips
Once your chips are finished cooking…and while they are still hot…you want to seasoned them as soon as they finish frying and are still hot is crucial. This will allow any residual oil to help the spices adhere to your chips.
Thanks to the salt in the soaking water, the chips are already somewhat seasoned right out of the fryer. I recommend you taste one plain, then add the seasoning mix to taste. You will probably not use all the seasoning.
Of course you want to put salt and pepper on them, but don’t limit yourself simply to salt and pepper. Be adventuresome.
Some other seasonings that can be used include…
ancho chile powder
fresh lime juice
ground nori (toasted black seaweed sheets used to roll sushi
Ranch dressing mix
salt and vinegar
toasted sesame seeds
Storing Your Potato Chips
Store your finished potato chips in an airtight container or plastic bag….and in a cool, dark area of the house—ideally at 50 to 65°F. Any warmth and humidity, will quickly make your potat chips either sprout or go bad.
This carbon dioxide being released serves many purposes, such as…
causes the batter to expand
adding a lightness to the final fried product
allowing passages for steam to escape
keeping the breading from being blown off during cooking.
But what IS the difference between the two…and which should you be using?
Baking powder is actually baking soda…but combined with cream of tartar and about one-third as strong as baking soda.
How Do I Use Baking Soda?
Being the minimalist that I am…and given the fact that baking soda can last quite a long time whereas baking powder can ruin within three month.
So throw away, or don’t buy baking powder…just substitute baking soda for baking powder whenever called for in a recipe.
In order to substitute baking soda for baking powder, you must use more of your acidic ingredients and less of your baking soda that you would have used in baking powder because baking soda is about three times as powerful.
Plan on using 1tsp vinegar or lemon juice for every 1/2tsp baking soda. For example, if your recipe calls 1Tbsp baking powder, use 1tsp baking soda instead.
Another choice is to make your own baking powder ahead of time and store it.
To do this, you will need to first buy “cream of tartar” from the spice section of your grocery store…(or, if you’re like me, find the canister that has been sitting in your spice cabinet unused for how long now…
Mix one part baking soda and two parts cream of tartar.
If you will be storing your homemade baking powder instead of using it right away, add 1tsp cornstarch.
Finally, to test your baking soda and makre sure that it is still good, put some in a small bowl and add a little vinegar. If it bubbles up, it’s still good.
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.
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…
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.
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.
2Tbsp olive oil
1/2C olive oil
1 chopped leek
2Tbsp ground coriander
1/4C chopped fresh dill weed
2Tbsp ground coriander seed
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan.
Fry whole chicken over medium heat.
Make the seasoning…olive oil,, dill, leek, fresh coriander, salt, rose petals, pepper, and coriander.
Add about half of the seasoning mixture to the chicken in the skillet.
Continue to fry until chicken just starts to change color.
Bake at 425 for 1 hour, occasionally basting with the seasoning mixture.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
You can either reuse your oil or dispose of it after you finish frying.
To reuse the oil…
Let the oil cool down to room temperature.
Filter through a cheesecloth…whatever the heck that is…
Return to its original container.
Add a small amount of fresh oil to have extend the life of the oil that you have just used.
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…
My daughter and my best friend actually hate them…almost as much as they hate coconut.
These poor girls…they don’t know what they’re missing…
If only they could try one bite of very good Jägerschnitzel, they might change their minds.
Jagerschnitzel, which translates to “hunter’s schnitzel,” was actually one of my favorite dishes to order whenever we ate any restaurant in Germany…
Who could ask for anything more than a perfectly thin “cutlet” of meat served with a rich, creamy mushroom gravy.
This dish was originally designed as a “manly” meal…made with venison or wild boar backstrap and mushrooms foraged from the woods nearby.
And trust me, my man is an avid hunter…and he totally lovces it go out and forage for fresh mushrooms from Sprouts or Whole Foods to make him this…especially after a long day deer hunting or fishing…(so much for being “politically correct, right…it’s a learning curve…bear with me…not about to give up on eating meat quite so quickly…baby steps)…
4 boneless pork chops
½ yellow onion, chopped
1C red wine or sherry
2C beef stock
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream
Prep the Meat…’Pound each pork chop with a meat mallet until about ¼” thickness. Season both sides of the meat with salt and pepper.
Set up your work station…
Cookie sheet for unbreaded pork chops
Bowl of flour
Bowl of raw eggs
Bowl of breadcrumbs
Cookie sheet for breaded pork chops
…by this time, we should all this by heart…maybe I’ll eventually be able to cook without using a recipe after all…now, say it with me…
“Dredge the pork in the flour, dip in the lightly beaten eggs, and coat in the bread crumbs. Set the breaded food aside.”
Cook What Puts the “Jaeger” in Jaegerschnitzel
Cook the bacon until it just begins to get crispy, about five minutes. Set aside.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon.
Now sauté the mushrooms and onions about five minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned….adding more olive oil if needed.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the mushrooms and onions. Set aside.
Cook the Meat
Add 2Tbsp olive oil to the pan that you cooked everything else in…enough oil that you end up having a very thin, even layer of bacon fat and oil on the bottom of the pan.
Add the breaded pork cutlets to the pan.
Cook 3min per side, until the pork chops become lightly browned and cooked through. Remember to avoid overcrowding the food, cooking it in batches and adding more oil between each batch if necessary.
Put your meat on a cooling rack placed on a foil-lined cookie sheet…remember from earlier post?!)…and keep warm in the oven while you’re making the gravy.
Make the Gravy...(Okay, let’s be honest…making a gravy or roux is one thing that I may never quite be able to do myself…I always manage to burn it and make one big clump of whatever-the-heck-that-stuff-is…thank God that my husband likes to help in times of crisis like this…he’s much rather help than have to eat unrecognizable food matter, right?!)
Add butter and flour to the pan over medium heat. Whisk to combine.
Cook for about three minutes until the mixture turns a light brown color.
Then, gradually begin whisking in the beef stock…(or if Mom and them aren’tt around, use wine or sherry instead and use this as an excuse to drink the entire rest of the bottle like I do?!)….
Bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking frequently, until it reaches the desired consistency..
Add cream. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Finish the Dish…Add the cooked mushrooms, bacon, and onions back to the pan with the roux, gravy, or whatever you wanna call it. Season with black pepper to taste.
You can either go ahead and put the pork chops back into the pan at this point, or leave the pork chops alone so that people can decide if they want the sauce or not…
After all, there are some crazy people out there—like my daugher and my best friend—that actually don’t like mushrooms, or coconut, or either.
Okay, so these last two posts have looked specifically at dredging your food in flour before frying…
But before we leave the topic of flour, let’s talk about the different flours that are actually out there.
Typically when we thnk about flour, we all imagine the white stuff in the biggest canisteron the left of the canister set…that stuff that used to be all over the kitchen when you were helping your Mom make cookies at Christmas time…no, not the sweet stuff…the stuff that you thought was powdered sugar, only to find out disappointedly that it wasn’t.
Even though most flour, such as the yucky-tasting white stuff, is milled from wheat…flour can also be milled from several other food products—such as corn, rice, nuts, legumes, seeds, amaranth, arrowroot, barley, buckwheat, chickpea, corn, kamut, oats, potato, quinoa, rye, soy, spelt, tapioca, and teff….(more on this later)…
Each of these flours is actually different than its counterparts, and choosing the right type of flour can totally make or break your end result…so it is important to know which type of flour is best suited to which different endeavor.
The basic difference between the several types of flours is the protein content. High-gluten flour is milled from hard wheat and has a high protein content, Flours with such a higher protein content are often referred to as “harder” flours,.These flours are great for making crusty or chewy breads. Flours with a lower protein are often referred to as “softer” flours. These flours are better for cakes, cookies, and pie crusts.
1. All-Purpose Flour…That white powder that you accidentally mistook for powdered sugar as a kid is most likely to have been all-purpose flour…the type of flour used most frequently here in the United States.
Gluten Content…All-purpose flour has a medium gluten protein content of 9.5-12%.
Best for…many bread and pizza bases, but most artisan bakers prefer other types of flour—such as bread flour.
2. Bleached Flour…Bleached flour is not actually a type of flour in itself, but any type of flour that has been through a chemical process. Many manufacturers bleach flour so that it is more attractive.
Gluten Content…Bleached flour has less protein than unbleached.
Best for…pie crusts, cookies, quick breads, pancakes and waffles.
3. Bread Flour…Bread flour is made from hard, high-protein wheat…and often also contains ascorbic acid to increase volume and create better texture.
Gluten Content…Bread flour has a higher gluten protein content—12% to 14%—than all-purpose
Best for…yeast products….because this additional protein in the flour helps the flour trap carbon dioxide released while the yeast is fermenting, making your breads rise higher and taste chewier.
4. Cake Flour…Cake flour helps to keep your cakes from collapsing and improves their texture by distributing fat more evenly through the batter.
Gluten Content…Cake flour has the lowest protein content of any wheat flour—6% to 7%.
Best for…light, delicate products—such as sponge cakes and genoise
5. Pastry Flour…Pastry flour is another type of flour made with soft wheat. that is able to hold foods such as cake together, while at the same time allowing you to create flaky crusts.
Gluten Content…Pastry flour has the second-lowest gluten protein content, with 7.5-9.5%
Best for…making tender, crumbly bread proeducts—such as biscuits, pie crusts, brownies, cookies, quick breads, tarts, and muffins.
6. Self-Rising fFour...Self-rising flour is a low-protein flour with salt and leavening—namely baking powder—already added. Typically 1-1/4tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt have been added for 1C flour.
The fact that you are buying a flour that already has the baking powder evenly distributed throughout the flour supposedly means that you will get a more consistent rise in baked goods. Honestly, I’ve been cooking for thirty-plus years and have only bought this stuff once.
Best for…especially suited for biscuits, muffins, cakes, pastries, and some quick breads, scones…,but never for yeast breads.
7. Unbleached Flour…Unbleached flour is simply flour that hasn’t undergone bleaching and therefore doesn’t have the expected white color typically associated with flour. The process of using bleaching agents has been considered unhealthy by some…so this is why we have unbleached flour in the first place.
Best for…Danish pastry, puff pastry, strudel, Yorkshire pudding, lairs, cream puffs and popovers.
8. Whole-Wheat Flour…Whole wheat flour contains more nutrients in general, especially having a higher fiber content.
Whole-wheat flour is derived from the complete wheat kernel, and is typically brown in color.
When compared to all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour gives your baked products more of a nutty flavor and denser texture. However, any breads made with whole wheat flour do nor rise as high as your typical white breads…so most bread recipes will call for a combination of the two.
Whote wheat flour is an example of a low-gluten flour.
Now let’s look at a few more low-gluten and gluten-free flour alternatives.
Low-Gluten Flour Alternatives
1. Barley Flour
What…a non-wheat flour made from grinding whole barley
Taste…mild, but very slightly nutty
Nutrition…has slightly fewer calories and more than 4 times the fiber of all-purpose flour
Cooking Tips…When making yeast bread recipes, there is not enough gluten in barley flour to properly develop the bread, and it is recommended swapping only one quarter of all-purpose flour.
Best for…quick breads and pancakes.
2, Pumpernickel Flour
What…made from coarsely-ground whole rye berries
Taste…pumpernickel breads tends to be dense, dark, and strongly flavored.
3. Rye Flours
What…rye flours typically fall into one of three categories—light, medium, and dark—depending on how much of the bran has been removed through the milling process
Nutrition…Rye bread may be a better choice than wheat bread for persons with diabetes.
Cooking Tips…When baking, substitute one-third of the amount of rye with wheat flour to ensure the bread will rise properly.
4. Spelt Flour
What…flour made from spelt, another member of the wheat family
Nutrition…the fats in spelt flour are more soluble than any other type of flour, making it a good choice for people who have issues with wheat digestion, but who are not “gluten”…also spelt flours have a higher nutritional content than traditional wheat flour
Taste…a nutty and slightly sweet flavor similar to that of whole wheat
Best for…one of the most popular and widely available of alternative baking flours
1. Almond Flour
What…made from ground almonds
Best for…pastry crusts, cookies, and quick breads
2. Amaranth Flour
What…produced from ground amaranth, an ancient grain which was commonly used by the Aztecs
Nutrition…contains more protein than any other gluten-free grain and more protein than wheat flour.
Cooking Tips...Substitute up to 25% of the flour in your original recipe with this.
3. Buckwheat Flour
Uses…pancakes, soba noodles, crepes,
4. Chickpea Flour
What…made from dried chickpeas
Uses…a staple ingredient in Indian, Pakistan, and Nepal cuisines
Cooking Tips…use as an egg substitute in vegan cookery….substitute up to half the amount of all-purpose flour called for in a recipe with chickpea flour
5. Coconut Flour
What…ground from dried, defatted coconut meat
Nutrition…highest fiber content of any flour, very low concentration of digestible carbohydrates
Taste…very light coconut flavor
Cooking Tips….replace up to 20% of the flour in a recipe, but add eggs and an equal amount of oil to compensate as this flour soaks up the liquid
6. Corn Flour
What…made from finely-ground cornmeal
Uses…used for breading and in combination with other flours in baked goods…also used as a filler, binder and thickener in cookie, pastry and meat industries
7. Millet Flour
What…made from millet, one of the oldest foods known and possibly the first cereal grain to be used for domestic purposes
Taste…naturally sweet flavor
Uses…most commonly used in desserts and sweet breads
Cooking Tips…When substituting for wheat flour, it is usually best to start with about a 3-to-1 ratio of wheat to millet.
6. Oat Flour
What…made from ground whole oats
Uses…to make a baked good more moist than wheat flour
7. Quinoa Flour
Nutrition…one of the most nutritious grain flour available
Uses…ideal solution for those following a gluten free, vegan or vegetarian diet
Cooking Tips…substitute this flour for half of the all-purpose flour called for in many recipes…also completely replace wheat flour in cakes and cookie recipes
8. Rice Flour
What…can be made from finely ground grains of white or brown rice…which can be used interchangeably
Nutrition…lighter, milder, and easier to digest than wheat flour…bown rice flour has higher nutritional value than white rice flour
Uses…great as a thickening agent in sauces…widely used in Western countries especially for people who suffer from gluten-related disorders
9. Sorghum Flour
What…made from ground whole grains of the sorghum plant
Uses…very good substitute for wheat flour in many recipes, especially if combined with other, more denser, flours.
10. Soy Flour
What…made from ground soy beans
Uses…works best in sweet, rich, baked goods like cookies, soft yeast breads, and quick breads
Cooking Tips…substitute for 10% to 30% of flour called for in the recipe.
11. Tapioca Flour
What…made from the starch extracted from root of the South American cassava plant
Uses…improves the texture of baked goods…also an ideal thickening agent for a wide variety of baked goods—such as breads and pancakes…as well sauces and desserts—such as tapioca pudding
Cooking TIps…use 2Tbsp tapioca flour for each 1Tbsp corn starch
What…made from teff, an ancient and intriguing grain
Nutrition…packed with nutrition…higher in protein than wheat…has a high concentration of a wide variety of nutrients—including calcium, thiamin, and iron…very high in fiber …is thought to benefit people with diabetes as it helps control blood sugar levels.
Uses…dark breads…of considerable importance in eastern Africa
Okay, now that I have totally tempted any of my health-conscious or diabetic readers by reminding them that there are such delicious foods as fried chicken left in this world…or even grossed out my vegan readers by suggesting that they eat chicken in the first place…remember that my goal right now is to walk you through the different cooking methods one at a time.
We have already finished looking at two methods—sauteeing and stir-frying.
Now we are talking about pan-frying.
And the best two examples of pan-fried food are fried chiciken and…
Chicken Fried Steak
So these are the two “homework assignments”that will help you learn to cortrectly pan-fry your food…regardless what it is—anything from chicken to tofu, from pork chops to tempeh.
So what is chicken fried steak…other than a fried piece of meat that most of us shouldn’t be eating in the first place?
Chiciken fried steak actually contains no chicken…but chicken fried steak is xalled “chicken fried steak” because the cooking method is so similar to the way you make fried chicken.
Instead of chicken, chicken fried steak is typically some sort of cutlet—typically tenderized cube steak, chuck, round steak, and occasionally flank steak—that has been coated with seasoned flour and pan-fried, just like we did fried chicken in the last post.
Here in Texas, chicken fried steak can be found on almost any menu—including the breakfast menu, the lunch menu, and the dinner menu.
It has been a state favorite ever since being brought to the Lone Star State by German and Austrian immigrants during the 19th century.
Chicken fried steakis very similar to what is known as “”country fried steak,” but typically “country fried steak” is covered with a brown gravy, and “chicken fried steak” is covered with a white, peppery gravy.
So what are the steps in making the perfect Chicken Fried Steak?
1.Preheat the oven to its lowest setting.This is important because once the first piece of chicken fried steak is cooked, there will be more steaks to cookm and you want to make sure that the steaks you’ver already cooked stay warm while you finish.
2. Prep the pan…Choose a good heavy pan, such as a cast iron 9” skillet, to fry your steaks in. Pour enough oil in the pan so that the oil is at least ¼” deep, not much more than that. Heat the oil over medium heat on the stovetop until the oil starta to glisten and shimmer on the surface.
3. Prep the meat before you bread it…Whenever I make chicken fried steak, I typically cook about 2# at one time…Regardless of how many steaks you will be cooking, it is always important to dry the meat before you bread it. Otherwise, the breading will simply fall off the meat because the meat will begin to /steam, not fry. Remove the meat from the package. Use several layers of paper towels to pay the meat as dry as possible.. Sprinkle the steaks well with kosher salt and set aside.
4. Set Up the Breading Station…Find three dishes that are large enough for turning your meat pieces around as you bread them. Fill the first dish with plain flour – nothing else. Fill the second dish with two large eggs combined with ½C milk. Fill the third dish with flour, corn meal and seasonings—such as garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, and dried parsley.
Seasoning your food well is important because the meat has to go through so much before the flavor ever gets on your tastebuds….Just add the ingredients and mix it up and then make that the final dip for your steak.
5. Apply the Breading…’Do NOT bread your meat until you’e ready to put it in the hot oil.
Once the oil is hot and ready, pat the steaks one last time with paper towels.
Dip the first steak into the three different dishes, in the order that they should be arranged in—plain flour, egg and milk mixture, seasoned flour. Pat the flour onto the steak well.
Do not bread up more steaks than you can cook right now.
6. Add the Meat to the Heated Skillet…Gently place the floured steak into the oil. You should hear a sizzling sound if your oil has been properly heated.
Do NOT overcrowd the pan. Never cook more than two steaks in the same pan at the same time. The steak should cover no more than a fourth of the pan. The other fourth should be simply oil.
Make sure that the oil stays at the right temperature once you add each steak…and throughout the cooking proicess.
7. Cook the Meat…Cook the steaks to cook about three minutes per side,. Once cooked, transfer to a cookie sheet in the preheated oven. Do not stack steaks on top of each other. This will mess up your breading.
8. Make the Gravy…After you finish cooking all of your steaks, turn off the oven so that they will not burn while you are making your gravy.
Pour off the grease from the pan that you cooked your steaks in, leaving any little bits of steak and perhaps a few tablespoons of grease in the pan.
Add 2Tbsp flour to the pan. Cook on the stovetop over medium-high heat two minutes. Cooking the flour by itself for a minute or so will take that dry flour taste out.
Add 3C milk to the pan. Constantly stir the milk using a wooden spoon, scraping any flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan as you do so.
Once the gravy starts boiling, turn the heat down to medium or medium low. Keep cooking and stirring until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Okay, I know that this is ultimately supposed to be a blog about diabetes…and raw foods…and creating a healthy minimalistic lifestyle that is “politically correct”…
But being from Mississippi, there is one food that I will never give up…
Now that we are fighting Type 2 Diabetes in our household, the times that I make fried chicken will probably be few and far between.
But when I do make fried chicken at home, I want to make sure that it is done right…
So let’s look at the steps involved…
1. Arranging the Work Area…Instead of grabbing three bowls and arranging them as close together as possible so that food won’t drip all over your countertop while you are working, simply grab a big brown paper sack.
Also choose which pan you are going to use—preferably a 12″ cast iron skillet with a lid.
And hunt through your kitchen drawers until you find your candy thermometer…and in your cabinets until you find a cookie sheet and a cooling rack.
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.
There are several types of brine that you could use to soak your chicken, such as…
Basic Brine…Dissolve 4Tbsp kosher salt in 4C lukewarm water.
Buttermilk Brine…Dissolve 2Tbsp kosher salt, 1tsp pepper in 4C buttermilk.
Cider Brine…Dissolve 4Tbsp kosher salt in 2C apple cider.
Pickle Brine…Soak chicken in 2C pickle juice.
3. Breading the Chicken….Pat the chicken dry before breading.
Fill the sack with 1-½C all-purpose flour, 1Tbsp salt, and 2tsp pepper. Add your chicken. Close the bag. Shake it a few times.
Carefully remove each piece from the sack, shaking off any excess flour.
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.
Pour oil into your skillet, to a depth of a few inches.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat until your candy thermometer reaches 350 degrees.
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.