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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Onion Rings & Chicken Wings Version 2

The kids were home last weekend so we decided to have a deep fryer feast. One of the easiest ways to give deep fried foods a different flavour and texture is to modify the coating used. There are so many ways to modify the coating! If using a dry coating simply changing the seasonings will give different results. Adding coarsely ground cornmeal to the coating mix will change the texture and flavour while adding finely ground cornmeal will change just the flavour. Changing the liquid used to make the dry coating adhere to the food will also give different results. If using a batter the liquid can be club soda, beer, water or milk. Each gives a slightly different result. Another way to get different results is to use a coating where you normally wouldn't or omit the coating where you normally use one.

deep fried onion ringsOnion Rings

A few months ago I posted about making homemade onion rings. There are two things to making great homemade onions - the onions and the batter. Start with nice, firm Spanish onions. Slice them about ¼ - inch thick. Separate into individual rings. Once you have the rings then you have the basis for making homemade onion rings.

Instead of using a baking mix made into a batter for the coating, I used seasoned flour and buttermilk. The seasonings were Old Bay, salt and pepper. The rings were dipped in the flour, then buttermilk and into the flour again. They were fried at 180ºC (356ºF) until golden brown. The result was a lighter coated onion rings than onion rings made using a batter. They were nice and crunchy on the outside with the onion cooked perfectly. The thinner coating allowed the flavour of the onion to shine. The thinner coating also made these onion rings less filling than batter coated onion rings.

The biggest complaint about deep fried foods is they are greasy. To avoid this problem use clean oil heated to the proper temperature. If your oil is not at the correct temperature, the food will soak up more oil. Deep fried food needs to be drained to allow any excess oil to drip off.

Chicken Wings

Deep fried chicken wings are a family favourite. Several years ago I think just about every local restaurant held a wing night with a going price of 10¢ a wing. Those days are long gone! A couple of the pizzerias still offer wings in the $6 per lb range and at least one restaurant has a weekly wing night ($5 per lb). We like making them at home.

Hot wings can be thin coated, breaded or simply left uncoated. Thin coating will give a crispy texture while breading will give a bit doughier texture that can be greasier if not fried properly. Wings coated in breading will soak up the sauce giving a soggy texture as well so always serve the sauce separately. The reason for using a coating aside of texture is to boost the flavour by adding seasonings to the coating. Common additions are paprika and cayenne pepper for added heat to hot wings or garlic powder to enhance honey garlic wings. However, chicken wings are quite delicious without a coating. When deep fried at 180ºC (356ºF) they are crispy on the outside with moist, tender meat on the inside perfect for dipping!

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