Posts Tagged ‘fried’

Spring is here which means that bikini season is only 8 short weeks away. I know, that’s awful to say, but working in an industry filled with women, I here all kinds of things about the need for dieting or the need to “lose a few” before the summer. I myself will not be sporting a new bikini this year – the children would certainly be afraid – but I am always up for substituting the unhealthy with something equally tasty and 100X healthier.

Kale is a winter vegetable, but thanks to the age of modern farming, we have access to beautiful kale leaves year round. I mentioned in my braised kale post the vast health benefits fresh kale greens can have. Perhaps the idea of braising greens scared some people away because that post did not receive much attention. But ever the vigilant writer, I wanted to post a second way to use kale that I hope more people will try and embrace. Don’t let the name fool you, there is no frying involved in this recipe. Do take the gamble on this one and pick up a small bunch of kale the next time you are roaming through the grocery store. It’ll cost very little to experiment with and the results are simply unbelievable.

Ingredients (serves 4 happily)

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

1. Rip the kale leaves off the stem and into chip size pieces. Some will be big, some will be smaller, but none should come close to being the size of your hand. Put the kale in a large mixing bowl and add the olive oil to it. Toss to coat the leaves in oil.

2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place a silicone mat on two large baking sheets (alternatively, you can grease a baking sheet, but I haven’t tried this). Arrange the leaves on the may so no two are overlapping. Sprinkle with salt and other spices as you desire.

Note: You can change the flavor of the kale chips by sprinkling any other spice mix on. This is your chance to experiment, just remember to use spices sparingly.

3. Cook for 30 – 45 minutes or until the tips begin to turn brown. Your looking for baked through and no floppy. Check your biggest leaves first to see if they are done.

Note: Other recipes out there change the temperature and cooking times. This version dehydrates the entire leaf leaving a crispy, crumbling edges with an in fast center. If you prefer more chip like, increase the temperature to 350 degrees and cook for 20 – 30 minutes.

4. Serve without any dipping sauce. These are great on their own.

 

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Why kid ourselves? Fried things are delicious and have been for centuries.  But everytime I read an article about health conscious people or doctors trying to scare the world into succumbing to a non-fried, non-carb, all vegan diet, I can’t help but wonder why no one is talking about the concept of moderation. In fact, in the ten years that I’ve really researched food and diet, Weight Watchers is the only organization that makes any attempt to teach people how to make better eating decisions instead of completely cutting out an entire portion of the food pyramid.

From where I sit, it’s relatively simple. If you eat fried foods consistently and make it a staple at your work lunches and last minute dinners, you’re body is not going to react well and you are putting yourself at risk for major health problems. But is there anything wrong with enjoying a fried meal once a week especially if it contains healthier ingredients? I say no. So in that respect, I submit for you a cornmeal based vegetarian fritter that is incredibly easy to prepare and sure to appease most anyone that sits at your dinner table.

Ingredients

  • 1 c packed zucchini, grated
  • 1 c frozen corn kernals (can use fresh off the cob, never canned)
  • 3/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1/4 c white onion, minced
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • vegetable oil, for frying

1. Heat some olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Place the corn, zucchini, thyme, and onion in the sauté pan and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take the pan off the heat and let cool.

2. Combine the flour, muffin mix, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

3. Mix the egg and milk together and pour into the dry mix. Whisk until just combine. Fold in the sauteed vegetables and cilantro. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

     

Note: The batter will be lumpy. This is normal and should be ignored. If you whisk the batter too much, you will develop more gluten and your fritters will be dense. Dense = bad.

4. Heat 2″ worth of vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. When the oil has come up to temperature (around 325 degrees), drop a heaping tablespoon of batter into the oil. Repeat until the pan is full but the fritters are not touching.

     

Note: Work in batches. Don’t try to overcrowd the oil. Not only will too much batter lower the temperature of the oil, but your fritters will stick together.

5. When golden brown, flip the fritters over and finish cooking. Set the fritters on some paper towels to drain.

     

Note: To keep fritters warm between batches, set the oven to 200 degrees and place fritters on a sheet pan.

6. Serve fritters alone or with a dipping sauce.

Note: I’m serving these fritters with a spicy remoulade sauce.


Eggs are far and away my favorite breakfast food. Many people (myself included) have had difficulty cooking a flawless fried egg mostly in part to the inevitable flipping that is necessary if you want your egg whites cooked through. I’ve split the yolk far too many times to count or folded the whites into the yolk making an unappetizing, scrunched up breakfast.

The secret to perfect fried eggs lies in three things: 1) Proper heat 2)Breaking the Albumen (the thick white part) and 3) Time Maintenance.  If you can master these three principles when cooking eggs, your eggs will never fall apart on you again, and your eggs with come out perfect every time.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • non stick cooking spray
  • salt and pepper
1. Set a shallow, non-stick pan over medium heat (a 4 or 5 on the dial). Coat with cooking spray and let heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
Note: High heat is the enemy. The goal here is to preheat the pan to a perfect cooking temperature. Even if the pan stays on a little longer, the pan can never get hotter than the heat that’s coming out of the stove. A pan over high heat will keep rising in temperature.

2. Crack an egg into a small bowl. With a fork, scoop up the thick egg white that surrounds the yolk. This will pierce the membrane holding it together which will allow the egg white to spread evenly in the pan. Be careful not to pierce the yolk.
Note: This part is crucial. you may have to scoop up the white part three or four times to ensure it has separated. It will still be thick, but you should be able to see a difference.

3. Carefully place the egg into the pan and let cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan with a fitted lid. Let cook for 1 to 3 minutes until the egg whites are set to your liking.
Note: If you leave the pan covered for too long, the yolk will cook. This happens quickly so this is not the time to check your email, Facebook, Twitter, iPhone, iPad, iPod, or anything else you think you can multitask with.

4. Serve hot with toast or home fries.