Food Play: Why my deep fryer aint kosher anymore

January 5, 2007 in cooking, deep fry

Tempura Bacon

(Tempura Bacon, its whats for breakfast, lunch, or supper)
I adore tempura as a nice break from sushi when I go out to the woefully few Japanese restaurants here in the rural boonies of Massachusetts. I have not really tried to make it at home because 1) when I am grocery shopping at enormo-food-hell supermarket they just do not have tempura batter that calls my name and 2) I usually decide against making oil-laden foods.

But sometimes, especially when you have a new deep fryer that is so easy it could walk your dog and paint your nails for you, you get a wild hair to fry SOMETHING up.

I know, its not well what happened, but it did.

The third element that enabled me to do this deed was that I found some tempura batter mix at my favorite Japanese grocery store in Worcester. Now the game was on.

I have been harboring a secret desire to make tempura bacon and hot dogs so I finally did. You can see those images at the top and bottom of this post.

Let me assure you that if you do this right the bacon comes out quite edible and delicious in a seriously gluttonous way. The hot dog needs to be eaten as soon as it cools because it can get dried out. I am not a huge dog fan so maybe I am just picky about my dog-texture.

Be sure to use cold tempura batter. You see Iron Chef Morimoto putting icy water in his mix. I ran out of ice so I used reallly cold water, mixed it all up and then held it in the freezer for a bit to really cool off. The other thing I did was to dip the bacon (and later hot dogs and onions) in the wet tempura mix and then in panko bread crumbs and THEN carefully put it into the deep fryer basket (when it was in the oil so the bacon and dogs just float on the surface and dont stick to the basket).

There is really not much more to add to this. I am part scots so MAYBE thats my excuse? I am also part many other things so its possible that I am just wrong. Just pass me the napkins.

Tempura Hot Dogs and Onions

(Tempura hot dogs, yeah thats what I said)

Christmas Colombian Bunuelos How-2 Guide

December 19, 2006 in christmas, Colombian Food, cooking, deep fry, dessert, How-2

Christmas morning Bunuelos

(Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with hot chocolate © 2005-2006 Nika Boyce All rights reserved)


Last year I did a quickie post on Colombian bunuelos but I did not do the How-2 Guide or give a recipe. I will do that now.

Colombian Bunuelos

Ingredients:

  • 2 C white fresh farmers cheese, finely ground or crumbled with fork
  • 2 C Colombian “Bunuelina” mix
  • 2 eggs
  • milk to moisten
  • canola oil for deep frying

Directions:
Mix all ingredients (except oil) in a bowl.

Colombian Breakfast -3: pan de bono - 2

(Queso Blanco © 2005-2006 Nika Boyce All rights reserved)
Colombian bunuelos for Christmas

(Mix the bunuelo mix with the cheese © 2005-2006 Nika Boyce All rights reserved)
 
Knead, adding a little bit of milk to often the dough and make it hold together.
Colombian bunuelos for Christmas

(What the mix should look like before making into balls © 2005-2006 Nika Boyce All rights reserved)
 
Make balls a little smaller than the size of a golf ball, DO NOT COMPRESS the dough.
Colombian bunuelos for Christmas

(Roll dough into loose balls, not hard packed ones © 2005-2006 Nika Boyce All rights reserved)
 
DO NOT DROP THESE DOUGH BALLS INTO HOT OIL.

Heat the oil to very warm (you can stick your finger in it but not very long). Gently drop the balls into the oil and then turn up the heat. The balls will linger at the bottom of the pot until the oil heats up. They will turn themselves as they come up “for air.” Fry until light brown. Remove to a drained surface to cool.

Colombian bunuelos for Christmas

(Start in cool oil to avoid explosions © 2005-2006 Nika Boyce All rights reserved)
 
For the next batch let the oil cool down (doesnt have to be as cool as when you first started) such that a test dough ball will drop to the bottom and then rise slowly to the top. Once the oil has cooled enough to do this, add your next batch. Always use a splatter shield.If you drop them into hot oil they will explode and could seriously hurt you.

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A Colombian breakfast How-2 guide

August 21, 2006 in breakfast, Colombian Food, cooking, deep fry, Food Porn, How-2, latino, pork, recipe

Colombian Breakfast - 12

(Clockwise from top left: changua, arepa with queso blanco, pan de bono, and patacones – Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

A Colombian breakfast is not just one thing, sort of like you might think a proper English fry up would be. I think that a Colombian breakfast can actually have many different possibilities limited only by the appetite, types of leftovers, and guided by the region of Colombia you are in/from.

This post discusses a breakfast that includes changua, arepas, pan de bono, and patacones. (I will talk about how to make each of those items below.) What you dont see is what you might have to drink with this meal. That could include aqua de panela, strong Colombian coffee, or even steaming hot chocolate. It could easily have been beans, rice, chicharrones, and fried eggs with a side of hogao. This breakfast is an amalgam of breakfasts I had as a kid at home and while on vacation in Bogota, Colombia.

This set of food may LOOK simple but it can take a while and lots of energy.

I would suggest starting with the Pan De Bono and I will cover that first.

Pan De Bono

Note: The translated ingredients and directions on the mix I show below are incorrect! I will give you the correct directions here in English.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of Pan De Bono mix
  • 3 cups grated fresh queso blanco (farmer’s cheese – do not try to substitute this. Go to a latino market and get it fresh)
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup milk

Directions:

Grate the queso blanco with a fine grater. It is fragile and will crumble/grate easily. Do enough to equal 3 cups. Try to buy enough so that you can eat some slices of it later.

Colombian Breakfast -3: pan de bono - 2

(Package of queso blanco – Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Colombian Breakfast -4: pan de bono - 3

(Block of queso blanco – Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Colombian Breakfast -5: pan de bono - 4

(Grated queso blanco – Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Pour the mix, grated cheese, milk, and butter and knead until it comes together into a smooth dough.

Colombian Breakfast -2: pan de bono - 1

(Pan De Bono Mix – Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Colombian Breakfast -6: pan de bono - 5

(Pan De Bono dough ready for forming – Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Pinch off small balls and then knead a bit more and then roll out into little snakes about 3.5 inches long and 1/2 inch thick. Gently pinch the snake into a little circle and bake at 450 F on parchment for about 15 minutes.

Colombian Breakfast -5: pan de bono - 6

(One raw Pan De Bono circle ready to bake – Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Colombian Breakfast -6: pan de bono - 7

(Pand De Bono circles ready to bake – Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

While baking these circles will puff up and then brown. Remove and cool. Enjoy!

Colombian Breakfast -7: pan de bono - 8

Baked Pan De Bonos – (Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Next you might want to fry up your patacones. I have covered that in a previous post called How-2 guide on how to make Platanos (fried plantains or tostones).

patacone-10-jpg

(Patacones – Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Next you might want to make you arepas.

Colombian Arepas

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Masa Harina (very finely ground corn meal. Do NOT use regular corn meal. I talk more about what to use below)
  • 3 cups BOILING water (MUST be boiling)
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

I suggest this brand of Masa Harina.

harina for empanadas

(Masa Harina – Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

In a large bowl pour in 2 cups of harina, 2 teaspoons of salt and mix well. Add the 3 cups of boiling water and mix with a spoon. Before it cools much knead it with your hands. My grandmother starts kneading almost right away with her heat-tolerant asbestos hands! I cant do that so I let it cool a bit.Knead into a rubber not overly sticky ball. If its very sticky add more harina. I had to do that and feel that I need to work more on my technique!

Colombian Breakfast - 9: arepas - 1

Arepa dough, a bit sticky – (Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Form the dough into little patties and then either grill or cook in a well seasoned cast iron pan. Its ok if the interior is a bit moist. These can burn easily and dry out easily. I like them toasty, adds nice flavor.

Colombian Breakfast - 10: arepas - 2

(Cooked Colombian Arepas – Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

You can serve them with butter, slices of queso blanco, or even guava paste.

arepa - alternative PS process

(Arepa with queso blanco and cilantro – Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Here is a shot of a package of Guava Paste (super sweet).

Colombian Breakfast - 8

(Guava Paste – Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Colombian Breakfast - 11: arepas - 3

(Arepa with guava paste – Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

Ok, now you have all the sides to the main part of the breakfast, Changua! This is a very rich concoction of milk and eggs that is quite filling and very welcome in the morning. My father ADORED changua and this dish reminds me so much of him that I actually feel sad when I think of it, make it, and eat it. I can still see him bending over a fresh bowl of changua, beaming with joy, inhaling the scent and blissing out on the flavor and the memories from Colombia. We lost my father in 1999 to brutal early onset Alzheimers Disease.

Colombian Changua

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 or 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup diced onions (I used vidalias)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Dash of cominos
  • diced green onions, to taste
  • diced cilantro, to taste

Directions:

Melt butter in a large milk-boiling-friendly pot, add onions and cominos. Saute on low heat until golden brown.

Add 4 cups of milk and bring to a rolling simmer (do not boil so hard that it boils over, that only puts you in a bad mood).

Once up to the boiling simmer add eggs Allow to simmer for between 5 and 10 minutes (some people like the egg well cooked, others like it barely cooked at all).

Add diced green onions and cilantro to serving bowls and then ladle out servings that include eggs and plenty of broth.

Enjoy with all the sides you made all morning long and then collapse on the couch for a leisurely nap.

Colombian Breakfast -1

(Everything together – Copyright © 2006 Nika Boyce)

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How-2 guide on how to make Platanos (fried plantains or tostones)

February 1, 2006 in Colombian Food, deep fry, How-2, latino, recipe

patacone-10-jpg

How-2 Guide on the making of Platanos

People in countries outside of Colombia call them tostones and I am not sure what else! They are nothing like what you buy in bags at the store in the “Goya” section. Those hard plantain chips are scary, I almost broke a tooth on one! Real homemade platanos are a bit crispy on the outside and moist on the inside and should be eaten hot out of the oil, well salted. I suggest also poking a few holes with a fork and slathering it with butter (yum).

PATACONES

Ingredients:

  • Platanos
  • Cooking Oil
  • Heavy pot, for frying.
  • Heavy pan or board covered with foil or plastic and well-oiled.

Directions:

As many large platanos as you desire (these are green plantains that are starting to show a faint yellowing, but not much, along the ridges). If in doubt, use large all-green platanos.

Heat oil in the heavy pan.

With a sharp knife, cut off the two ends of the platano. Then score down vertically along one of the ridges, start peeling aside by flicking the knife edge under the peel along the cut edge.

Note: This works really well if the platano has NOT been refrigerated.

After you have peeled the platano, cut it into 2 inch pieces.

Place the pieces in the medium/hot oil and continuously turn until they have turned a golden color.

Remove the pieces from the oil to drain on a paper towel. Let these pieces “rest” for at least 15 minutes.

Using a sturdy well oiled plate, smash the pieces flat.

Return the flattened patacones to the hot oil for another 5 minutes until lightly browned, then remove to a paper towel.

Salt to taste.

Serve immediately or they will get tough.

How-2 Photographs:

plantain-1

Start with green plantains.
Patacones: Step 1

A sharp knife is run along the length of a green plantain.
Patacones: Step 2

Green plantain is stripped of it’s skin. Be careful about not loosing the flesh of the plantain as you wrestle with it.
Patacones: Step 3

This photo summarizes the process from unpeeled plantain to the chunks you should cut.
Patacones: Step 4

Fry these little beauties to a golden brown. Notice that I use my dutch oven with a heavy bottom. You do NOT want to use a cheap pot for frying anything. You need to distribute the heat evenly.
Patacones: Step 6

Cut up portions of platain are deep fried to a golden color. These need to rest something like 15 minutes before crushing.
Patacones: Step 5

Cover a heavy pan (this one is cast iron) with foil. To be used to crush the fried plantains chunks.
Patacones: Step 7

The fried plantain chunk is crushed with the foiled pan. Some crushed ones are seen to the right.
Patacones: Step 8

The patacone has been crushed flat and is peeled gentle off the bottom of the pan. This will be fried after a short rest. Fry them to a golden color, enjoy!
Patacones: Step 9

This photo shows the progression from chunk to crushed and fried.

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