Monday, August 15, 2011


I am one of those people that, while I love to have and participate in traditions, loves to do things out-of-season. I don't like to be confined to certain times of the year. Of course, not a lot of people want to make a turkey in the middle of July, not because they don't like turkey, but because your house would feel like a sweltering jungle. But there are definite times that I get an urge to make something, like sweet potatoes, in the middle of spring or summer, while that is traditionally our Thanksgiving day treat. And why not? I remember I think it was our first year of marriage, I was making a ham for Easter and I asked my husband what sides he wanted. He asked me if I could make my sweet potatoes. I thought it was kind of funny because he was so excited about it. That's what is so wonderful about food! One simple thing, like that, can make your whole day great. Think about when you bring cookies to someone, or a cake or pie. You made their day. Food is powerful. It is one way I really love spoiling my husband and children. Like making chocolate chip pancakes, or oatmeal cookies. It's not that big of a deal but the gift of food communicates love, care, hospitality, and thoughtfulness.
Food takes us back to our childhood. Close your eyes and you are five years old, sitting at your grandma's kitchen table. A sip of spiced cider or hot chocolate and it's Christmas time. Stuffing and gravy- Thanksgiving day. It reminds us of people, places, and special days. It not only sustains our life, it brings comfort, familiarity, and fond memories.
I wanted to share this recipe, even though summer is half-way over, you may decide to do some out of season grilling, or just make these to accompany steak. The cookbook author these are adopted from, Nigella Lawson, says these onion rings are for people that don't like onions. And truly, when you try these, you will know why. The onion practically melts away, due to the buttermilk bath, and all you taste is the crispy, crunchy, fried batter that has a slight onion flavor. Which is all we really want, right? These are delicious on a bacon burger (homemade, of course) or just by themselves. A lot of times I make these as a side, and put them on a burger, etc.

Onion Rings
1 large onion
1 cup buttermilk
1 lb vegetable shortening
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Peel the onion, chop off the root ends and slice the onion. I prefer the thinnest slices I can get, but the cookbook author suggests 1/2 inch thick rings. Carefully separate the rings from the cut circles to keep them in tact. Put them in a bowl with the buttermilk, and turn them carefully to coat them all. Cover with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge for 2-3 hours, but preferably over night.
Melt the shortening in a deep 10 inch pan over medium heat. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, paprika and cayenne in a shallow bowl. Take the marinated rings out of the fridge, shake off the excess buttermilk and dip them a few at a time into the flour mixture before laying them to dry on a cooling rack. Once you have dipped all the rings in flour, go back to the first ones you coated and give them another layer of seasoned flour, coating them all again.
Cook the onion rings in the hot fat until darkly golden and crispy, flipping them over after a couple of minutes to cook on both sides. Drain them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

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