Fried Potatoes Thingamaroonies

So if anyone is good at coming up with food names, there’s a position open here at The Kosher Gastronome headquarters. Pay is terrible, and the hours are long. Let me know.

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Here’s what went down with this dish. I had gotten it in my brain that I wanted to make something with filo dough (more on that in a second), and I had this vision of mashed potato and cheese. So I bought some filo dough, made some mashed potato*, and added some goat cheese. I folded it all up, brushed with some melted butter, and baked it. Now..this story is not about these quasi spanakopita thingies; nay…this story is about what happens next, and how the events transpire. Come, let me take you on a journey. Don’t worry, it won’t be long.

*I make my mashed potatoes thusly – cubed potatoes go in pot with cold water and salt. Bring to a boil, and cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain, and while hot mix with fat (ie – butter), and whatever else tickles your fancy. I think I threw in parsley into this one. If you want to go really decadent, you can mix in heavy cream.

Ok, so first let’s talk filo dough. Remember way back in the day we made scallion pancakes, and we talked about “laminated dough?” Well, if you don’t, here’s the tl/dr (=”too long/didn’t read”). There’s a sub family of dough that gets it lift from fat separating the different layers of dough.

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Filo/fillo/phyllo dough is one of those, and they way they work, is you take these extremely thin sheets of dough, brush them with oil, then keep on stacking dough and oil until you have the thickness you want (usually around 3-6 sheets), and do whatever you were planning on using it for

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Like I said, the actual triangle thingy isn’t what we’re talking about (long story short, I made them on Thursday for a Saturday night, and by that time they were a little soggy…they tasted good but were too non-crispy, yaknow what I mean?)

Anyway, I had a whole lot of the scraps left over, and not being one to waste, I was trying to figure out what to do with them. I figured the filo is basically just dried up dough, meaning they can lend structure. I figured I would mix it with the mashed potatoes and cheese, and fry it up. I mean fried cooked dough? it’s essentially chremslach (how badly did I butcher that spelling?). But I figured something might be different if I add the filo. I dunno…it was an excuse to eat fried potatoes…all in the name of science.
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I rolled up this appetizing looking mush

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and fried these suckers

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So as you’ll notice from the top picture, they didn’t really stay in their spherical shape, but rather became more pancake like, so that being said, I don’t think the filo made a difference. However what I would tell you is these little fried potato thingamaroonies were pretty dang top notch! Huzzah!

Seriously, get some mashed potato, add some goat cheese and fry it, it’s really good.

So now that you’ve read this, can you think of an appropriate name please? Winner gets credit in the Kosher Gastronome Cookbook.

Blooming Onion & Beer Battered Onion Rings?? Two for the price of one!

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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.

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Place the onion in some ice water, and gently start teasing apart the “leaves.”

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Mix together 2 eggs, and set aside.

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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).

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Dip the onion into the eggs, and then the flour mixture, and fry until golden-brown, about 15 minutes.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Blooming Onion

Ingredients:

  • 2 large Vidalia onions
  • 3 cups oil (or enough to cover the onion)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 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

Directions:

  1. 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)
  2. 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.
    1. 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
  3. Mix together the eggs and set aside
  4. Mix together the flour, salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, and cayenne, and add enough hot water to form a thin-ish batter
  5. 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
  6. While the onion’s frying, make the dipping sauce – Combine the mayo, sriracha, vinegar, paprika and mustard and mix to combine

Platanos Fritos

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I’m about as spanish as it gets. Just the other day, Pele called me up asking me all about Spanish stuff and all…I even enter “Hispanic” on all my applications, I don’t think it’s possible to get more hispanic than that, ammirite? Where am I going with this? Well to latin food heaven, that’s where…I’m talking about platanos fritos of course.

So it was my dad’s birthday this past week, and we had this whole shindig down here in Baltimore land, and as part of the surprise, we all decided it would be nice and nostalgic to make some latin grub for my pops, and I decided to make platanos fritos.

Platanos fritos is spanish for fried plantains, so right off the bat how bad can it be? I mean it’s fried…you could fry a bowling ball and it would be absolutely delicious.

If you’re wondering what plantains are, well did you ever walk past the bananas in the supermarket, and see these huge ugly green banana looking specimens? Well most likely what you encountered was the strange plantain. It looks like a banana, but because of it’s high starch content, it can’t really be eaten raw, so if raw is out, fried is in.

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Apparently there are a two types of plantains, green and yellow ones, the yellow types are sweeter, however they only had the green ones in the supermarket near me…at least I think it was the green ones, might have been yellow, who knows, not me. There are also different ways to prepare platanos fritos, but I wasn’t sure which one my dad was used to, so I just relied on good ole Alton Brown.

I started by peeling the plantains, which are a little tougher to peel than regular bananas.

Cut off the ends, and make two slits, and slide your thumb underneath the skin, and continue prying it off.

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Then cut it into thick rounds, about 1-2 inches thick.

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Then heat up your oil to 325 degrees, and fry each one for about 1-1.5 minutes a side.

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Once they’re done, here’s the cool part. Smash each one down to about half it’s size, a-likeso –

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Any old flat thingy will do, a bench scraper, a wooden spoon, a plate, a book, an 80s style flat top, whatever.

Ok then prepare a bowl of 2 cups water, 3 cloves garlic minced, and 2 teaspoons salt in a bowl, and drop the smashed plantains in there, and let it sit there for about a minute. You don’t want to leave it in there too long, so they don’t mushen up too much. After a minute, transfer them to a paper towel to dry them.

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Then guess what? We fry them again! Hooray for healthy food!

Bring the oil back to 325, and fry until it’s golden brown, and delicious, about 2-4 minutes per side.

Remove from the heat, on to a rack, and salt and pepper it up. It’s best to spice it right after it comes out of the pan, because as it cools, the oil will be absorbed back into the plantain, and will bring the salt and pepper with it.

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And that’s it.

One thing – this is one of those things that’s best eaten right away, and gets progressively worse as time goes on. (As the starch gets hot, it swells and absorbs water, but as it cools, as the starch stiffens up, think left over rice.)

Ole!

Platanos Fritos

Ingredients:

  • 2 green plantains
  • 1.5 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt.

Directions:

  1. Cut the plantains into 1-2 inch, and heat up the oil in a skillet to 325 degrees
  2. Fry the plantains 1 –1.5 minutes per side, until it softens, and place on cutting board, and smash down with whatever flat thing you’ve got on hand.
  3. Once they’re all smashed, mix together the water, garlic, and salt, and place the smashed plantains into the water for a minute.
  4. Transfer to a paper towel, and let them dry.
  5. Bring the oil back to 325 degrees, and fry the smooshed plantains once again, until they’re golden brown and awesome, about 2-4 minutes per side.
  6. Transfer to a rack, and salt and pepper them.
  7. Celebrate cinco de Mayo the right way.