Livin' the kosher dream
Category Archives: Vegetable
January 29, 2013Posted by on
Hey friend, so you know I like you right? Well that’s why I am nice enough to let you in on the secret to perfect beer battered onion rings. No more will you be forced to eat onion rings which have no coating. We’re talking crisp, yet airy onion rings. That’s something you want isn’t it? Of course it is. If you tell me you don’t like onion rings, I don’t know if we could be friends.
That being said, I do have one caveat. You see apparently someone over at Joy Of Kosher thought I was pretty cool, and they actually asked me to do this guest post over on their blog, so if you want the ultimate secret to perfect Beer Battered Onion Rings, you’re just going to have to click on any of these shiny words. Or this one. You can also try this word…they all work. While you’re over there you can also vote for me as one of the Best Kosher Food Blogs, but you’re going to have to scroll all the way to the bottom, because I currently have a grand total of 2 votes (thanks mom and dad!)!
Anyway, go over there and make those onion rings, because they’re really awesome, but while you’re at it, and you have all that oil ready for some frying, why not make a blooming onion??? Genius, right? The batter is different than the one for the beer battered ones, and really the only thing that makes a blooming onion, is the preparation.
Take your onion, oh and we’re using the sweet Vidalia types, and peel the skin off while keeping the onion whole. Then you’re going to want to cut it into wedges without going all the way through the onion. Kind of like cutting a pizza, I guess…somehow…So start by making a cut from pole to pole, but don’t go all the way through. Then make a cut perpendicular to that one, again avoiding cutting all the way through, and keep on going until you have wedges.
Place the onion in some ice water, and gently start teasing apart the “leaves.”
Mix together 2 eggs, and set aside.
Also mix together 1 cup of flour, with whatever spices you see fit (I used, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and cayenne…but use whatever you want, you can’t really go wrong). Pour enough hot water into the flour mixture that a thickish batter forms (like a thin pancake batter).
Dip the onion into the eggs, and then the flour mixture, and fry until golden-brown, about 15 minutes.
If we’re making blooming onions, you got to have a dipping sauce right? So I threw together mayo (about 1/3 cup), a splash of cider vinegar, sriracha, paprika, and mustard, and mixed it all together.
Now the only issue I had with the blooming onion is it’s a pain in the butt to handle, and trying to keep all the leaves together, and all that…so I thought to myself, why not screw the whole blooming onion thing, but make those leaves anyway. So for batch #2, I did the same exact thing, but this time, I cut all the way through. That way, every last part of the onion was coated with the coating, and it fried up so much nicer. Plus, it was easier to handle post-frying, and also easier to dip. So unless you’re after the esthetics of a blooming onion, I say, go for the second way, it’ll be much easier for everyone.
Another note – if you haven’t read the beer battered onion ring post (and seriously, why haven’t you yet?…oh you’re not sure where the actual post is?? Well why didn’t you say so…click here), the onions were soaked in a salt-water type of soak (we used beer in that recipe, but any salt water solution will work) to pull out the moisture from the onions, which if you use sweet onions, will have a lot of moisture so it will really benefit from the soak, which I didn’t do, and the final product did end up a little mushier than I wanted, and I think now’s a good time to end this extremely long run on sentence, no?
I’d love to hear what you’re planning on making for your superbowl party.
- 2 large Vidalia onions
- 3 cups oil (or enough to cover the onion)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Cayenne Pepper
- Hot water
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons sriracha (or any type of hot sauce)
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- Hot paprika
- Mustard powder
- In a heavy bottom pot, heat up the oil over high heat (if using a thermometer, you want it to register about 350 before frying…if you don’t have a thermometer, you can either use a popcorn kernel which pops around 350, or you can use a wooden chopstick, and it should bubble around the chopstick when the oil is hot enough)
- Peel the outer layer of skin on the onion while keeping the onion whole. Then to make the blooming onion, cut through the onion, but not all the way through, and make wedges by cutting perpendicular to it, and continue going until you have a bunch of wedges as illustrated above. Alternatively, you can make the blooming onion by just making the “leaves,” by cutting all the way through.
- If you want, and I didn’t do this, but I recommend it, salt the onions after you cut them, and let them sit for 20-30 minutes to allow the moisture to come out of the onions
- Mix together the eggs and set aside
- Mix together the flour, salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, and cayenne, and add enough hot water to form a thin-ish batter
- Dunk the onion in the egg, and then the flour mixture, and when the oil’s ready fry the onion until golden brown, about 13-15 minutes
- While the onion’s frying, make the dipping sauce – Combine the mayo, sriracha, vinegar, paprika and mustard and mix to combine
July 31, 2012Posted by on
Peetser or pizza, however you pronounce it, you gotta admit a well made slice of pizza is pretty freaking amazing. If you’re not sure how much I love my pizza, this is the 6th post devoted to the stuff (first there was the one about the dough, and how to make pizza margherita at home [which is it’s own style of pizza]…then there was the potato-pesto pizza, which if you’ve never tried, do so now, there was also my pizzogi [pizza+pierogi] experiment, and then there was the dessert pizza from way back, when this here semi-amateur blog was in it’s infancy [sorry, the photos on that one got deleted, so you’ll just have to use your imagination, oh and there’s no recipe, so you’ll really have to use your imagination], and to make this sentance the longest run-on sentence ever, while we’re talking about how old this blog is [we were?] my 2 year blogiversary came and went, without any recognition (July 6th), so yeah, we’re officially hitting the big time baby!…wow that was a long sentence…can we keep going?? Hell yeah!…Um, so how have you been? Awesome, great job…let’s get going shall we?)..anyway, I kinda lost my train of thought there, but bottom line – I like my pizza. One thing I never really discussed is how I make pizza at home (not the shortcut method from the margherita pizza post).
Making pizza at home right, is for the most part impossible, well at least in my oven, which is only good for thoroughly heating up my apartment to about the surface temperature of the sun. Come to think of it, I should try cooking my pizza outside of the oven in my apartment, but that would be madness! Anyway, to properly cook pizza, you need an oven that can get up to at least 500 degrees, and hold it there (that last part being the challenging part), and the hotter the better. Some of the real deal pizza ovens crank it up to 800-1000 degrees. Those types of ovens (usually utilize wood or charcoal to achieve that temperature) will crisp up your pizza without drying it out too much.
The next thing to discuss with cooking pizza (or anything for that matter) is transfer of heat. Did you ever put your hand in water that’s 212 degrees (boiling), did you notice how you burnt your hand? Yeah, that kind of sucks. Now try putting your hand in an oven that’s 350 degrees. It’s hot, but you can keep it there for second, and not burn yourself. Now go ahead and touch the metal grates in the oven. Now I’m not sure why you keep on listening to me, but that burnt pretty bad right? So what gives? Well the oven uses air to transfer the heat from the heating element to penetrate your food, and as it so happens, air is a pretty crappy heat transferor, as opposed to water or metal, which are much better at transferring heat. Now if you want to crisp something up real quick, like the bottom of a pizza, we really have to consider proper heat transferring options.
There are a few tricks people use, but the one most people know about is a pizza stone.
A pizza stone is basically a non-glazed ceramic tile (and if you want to save yourself some dough, you can go to home depot and get a few non-glazed ceramic tiles [making sure they’re non-glazed], but since the people who work there aren’t that bright, I haven’t had much luck with it, but you can try), and basically it gets really hot, and transfers it heat nicely to the bottom of the dough. The thing about the stone is it’s density; it’s like a big reservoir of heat, but you need to fill that reservoir, which is why in order for the stone to work, you need to pre-heat the oven, and keep the stone in there for at least 30 minutes. I know that sounds like a lot, but you can’t just put pizza on a cold stone, and expect it to do it’s magic. In my pre-foodie days I tried to make pizza at home on a cold stone, and lemme tell you, the only magic it does, is magically make every centimeter of the pizza dough adhere as tightly as possible to the stone…not a fun endeavor.
The other two tricks I know are the skillet-broiler trick, which I explained in the margherita post. Or if you want you can make pizza on a sheet pan, that you place on the bottom of the oven. I’ve done this when I’m too lazy to lug out my pizza stone (which is in three pieces, because I broke it..but it still works), but I don’t think this has the same results as a pizza stone, but it’s definitely better than putting the pizza straight in.
Allrighty, so now that we have our pizza stone mightily pre-heating in the oven, how do we get the darn thing in there without burning myself again!? Well in comes the pizza peel. Which is pretty much an overgrown spatula. One word of caution, you want to make sure the peel is well floured (or you can use corn meal for a more authentic feel) to make sure the pizza slides off.
When people hear that I use a pizza peel, they think I’m nuts. For some reason, pizza peel is where most people will draw the line in their descent into becoming a foodie (side point – I hate that term). A pizza stone – that’s somewhat normal, a pizza peel? Well you’re just insane. It’s kind of like the difference between having a pepper grinder, and grinding your other spices also. You have a pepper grinder? Ok, that’s normal. You grind your own spices?? Lemme guess you grind your own meat also…YOU DO?! Seriously, what is wrong with you??
Call me crazy…I call it a commitment to making good food, right, but…I’m currently digressing right? Allright, let’s get back to pizza making, and if anyone wants to discuss how I feel about food, feel free to leave a comment, or email me, or whatever, I’m really always free to talk food (it’s part of my “craziness”).
Ok, so now that we’ve covered my pizza making antics, I got to be honest with you, the reason I dragged you down here today, isn’t really to share a recipe (um, couldn’t you have told me that like 40 minutes ago before I wasted my time reading this?!? Thanks a heap), but more to brag. You see, a while back, I submitted a recipe to The Kosher Scene for their Shavuos recipe contest, and I won a cheese basket from The Cheese Guy! Pretty amazing right? (Yup, shavuos…and yes, I’m fully aware it’s August…but to be fair, I did only got the basket in the beginning of the month)
As great as mozzarella is, I truly do love me some monteray jack cheese. It melts so nicely, and it really tastes great, and it doesn’t sound like a fancy cheese that people will think you’re all snobby about. If you haven’t tried it, it’s readily available kosher, and please, please buy a block of cheese, and grate it yourself. Remember how I’m a crazy food guy, and I do all these weird things in the kitchen? Well yeah, I grate my cheese. Why? Because it’s really better. You see, pre-shredded cheese is coated with some form of starch, which prevents clumping, but because it’s a starch, it will gobble up all that moisture, and leaves your cheese, well less moist. I’m not trying to tell you you’re going to go to foodie hell if you don’t grate your own cheese, and yeah even I use pre-shredded sometimes (hey I’m not always superman in the kitchen, and I get lazy too), but if you want to do it right, try grating your own cheese, and tell me it doesn’t make a difference.
To make the actual pizza, I roasted the pepper on the stove top, by literally burning it over the flame, on all sides, and then covering it with plastic (you can just stick it in a ziploc bag), and after 10-15 minutes, the skin peels off real easy, and you have yourself roasted red peppers. To cut the pepper (fresh or roasted), lop off the top and bottom, and make a slice down, and open it up like a book. Remove the seeds and ribs by running your knife parallel to the board, and slice into battons.
For the olives.
Now I know you’re going to laugh at me, but I own an olive pitter…
well let me re-phrase, my brother in law, the Phoenix Fresser owns an olive/cherry pitter, which he left at my place, so I have an olive pitter on hand, to pit these kalamata olives. To quote Alton Brown, olive/cherry pitters are “unitaskers,” and we generally frown on unitaskers, unless it’s a fire extinguisher, but I had one, so I used it…there are a few DIY ways to pit olives if you’re so inclined.
The dough I used was at 67% hydration (67% of the flour was water by weight), brushed the dough with olive oil, then topped with tomato sauce (homemade obviously, but because of my severe bout of verbal diarrhea today [my morning patients all cancelled on me today], I just don’t have the time to digress…we can further the discussion on facebook or the comments if you so desire), then topped with the chopped olives and peppers, and then with the monteray jack cheese. Popped it into my blazing quasi-inferno of an oven, with the pizza peel, and let it cook away.
As you can see, it didn’t brown and char as much as I would have liked it to, but it was in there for about 15 minutes, and was starting to dry out, so I had to take it out. It was still good, but not as crispy as I would have liked
Here’s a shot of the bottom of the pizza, otherwise known as the “under carriage,” and you can see there are some spots of char, but again, I would have liked some more.
Ok so that’s pretty much it.
Thanks again to The Kosher Scene, and to The Cheese Guy for the awesome cheeses.
Until next time