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.

 

 

——————-

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

 

————————————

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.

 

 

———————

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.

 

——————-

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..

 

 

—————————

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

Now What?

Now it is time to add some sort of oil to your skillet and actually start cooking your onions.

As far as which oil, that’s left to you…but some choices include olive oil, butter

You want to coat the bottom of the pan. Use 1tsp per onion. If you use too much oil, the onions will fry instead of caramelizing.

And now it’s time to actually start cooking…

You should have the following ingredients…

  • Onions—how ever many onions you want to cook—one large onion will make about makes about a 1/2C caramelized onions.
  • Fat—such as olive oil or butter
  • Salt—this will season the onions and help pull out some of the moisture.

Once you’ve gathered these ingredients, you need to…Add half of the onions that you are going to cook, instead of dumping all of them at once so that the pan will not be too hard.

Season the onions with salt.

Stir the onions gently

How long you cook your onions will be based on how dark you want them to be, what you are going to use them for, and how many onions you are cooking.

As the onions cook, check them every five to ten minutes. As you do this, stir the onions and scrape up any fond that forms on the bottom of the skillet. Adjust the heat if you’re afraid that they’re going to burn.

If the onions start sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a tablespoon of liquid—such as red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or wine. This will not only deglaze your pan, but will also add more flavor.

Taste an onion once they start looking the color that you want them to be. If they do not taste as caramelized as you would like, continue cooking.

Now deglaze your skillet…Now that your onions have finished cooking, pour 1/4C liquid—such as wine, broth, balsamic vinegar, or water. As the liquid bubbles, scrape up the fond and stir it into the onions.

Now pour this sauce over your caramelized onions.

Storing

  • Caramelized onions can either be stored in the fridge for about a week or frozen for about three months.
  • Let the onions cool in the pan before transferring them to a storage container.

Making Caramelized Onions in the Slow Cooker…You could also caramelize your onions in a slow cooker. Thank goodness…because I think that a slow cooker is the greatest invention since sliced bread.

Once you have finished slicing and dicing your onions, add the onions to your slow cooker along with 2Tbsp olive oil. Stir to coat the onions evenly with the oil. Now add 1/2 tsp salt. Cook the onions for ten hours on low, stirring  occasionally to help them cook even more evenly.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

How to Caramelize Onions—Review of the Sauteeing Method of Cooking

Now we’ve covered all the different steps involved in our first cooking method—sauteeing.

But before we move on to our next cooking method and slowly re-begin our crawl through the raw foods pyramid, I’d like to review the method…by telling you how to caramelize onions…

Caramelizing an onion brings out the natural rich and savory sweetness of the onion and calms down some of its undeniable intensity, sharp spiciness notes, and tear-inducing gases.

By cooking the onions for an extended period of time, the natural sugars in the onions “caramelize” and you end with an intensely and wonderful flavor.

So what can you do with these “caramelized” onions?

Lots___

This is a cooking “staple” that adds a depth of flavor to just about anything, such as…

  • burgers
  • casseroles
  • dip
  • French onion soup
  • grilled cheese sandwiches
  • pasta and pasta sauces
  • pastries
  • pizza
  • quiche
  • salads
  • sandwiches
  • soups
  • stir-fries

Ingredients…Obvously if you are going to caramelize onions, you will need onions…

But there are so many different kinds of onions…which onions should you choose?

Actually we will be talking about onions in the near future as we start moving through the Food Pyramid again.

For now, let’s just use yellow onions. Yellow onions tend to caramelize the most readily and be the most versatile to add to the various dishes that you use them in.

How many onions?

This is totally up to you and how many caramelized onions you think you might need before having to make more… I usually caramelize two to three at a time.

The onions will cook down quite a lot.

Slicing and Dicing…When you are slicing and dicing your onions, you want your cuts to be clean and consistent.

First cut the stem and root ends off of each of the onions.

Next remove the skins and cut the onions in half.

Now cut the onions into thin slices. The onions will naturally separate half-rings. Take time to make sure that your slices are even. If not, some of the onions will be undercooked and some of the other will be burned.

You could also dice the onions, but I think onions “rings” are so much more attractive.

Actually before you start slicing and dicing your onions, you should start heating your pan over medium-low heat. be careful not to turn your heat too high…if you do, the onions will burn.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Veggie Tells—Using Vegetables in Soups

There are many ingredients that could be added to your “stone soup” to make a meal fit for a king…or a diabetic husband.

These could include…

  • Aromatic vegetables such as onions, celery and mushrooms…to  add rich flavor
  • Chiles…to give your soup a little “kick”
  • Citrus peels and juice…to brighten and lift flavor
  • Fats such as butter or olive oil and strong cheeses…to provide richness and texture
  • Nuts of all types…to act as thickeners
  • Sweeteners such as honey and brown sugar… to mellow tart ingredients

In these next few posts, we’ll look at these ingredients, the method, and the finishing touches that will help you create soups that anyone would be proud to serve.

 

Don’t throw anything away…The stems and tops from such veggies as broccoli, chard and leeks. These will become tender when cooked and provide extra nutrients and fiber.

 

Fresh is Best…One of my main goals in the last year has been to eliminate as many processed foods—those foods that contain added preservatives, flavor and color.

So it only makes sense for me to tell you to always use fresh veggies if you can get them.

Fresh vegetables will add both more flavor and nutritional value to your soups and stews.

If you must choose something other than fresh veggies, always choose frozen over canned.

 

Add the vegetables to your soup in the order of the time it take  to cook them...Here are the cooking times of some of the vegetables most commonly used in soup…

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Peass
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini

Rinse canned beans before adding them to your soup. This will reduce the amount of sodium by a third….

 

Roast for the Most..Typically you would first saute your veggies in about Tbsp of some type of healthy fat, like butter or olive oil, before adding to the soup.

But another great idea to roast them instead.

Roasting your vegetables in the oven before you add them to your soup will give them a much more intense flavor.