20150219

CRISPY FRIED WONTON STRIPS


You know those crispy little wonton chips you get at the Chinese restaurant? The golden brown, bumpy, delicious little chips they serve with soups? Yeah, those. I love them. I love them and I never, ever thought of making them myself for some reason. When I stopped in at a new little Chinese restaurant nearby they served some with my hot and sour soup and I got all excited about them again.

I always have wonton wrappers in the house, I find them a great tool for making quick, stuffed appetizers for company. Since I do cocktails nearly every day for my cocktail blog someone is always dropping by at happy hour unannounced. It was then I realized what a great and easy cocktail snack they would make, way easier than stuffing the wrappers! So, I turned on my deep fryer and went to work.

CRISPY FRIED WONTON STRIPS

Ingredients:

1 Package of Wonton or Egg Roll Wrappers
Vegetable oil
Seasonings

Tools: Knife, Deep fryer or Dutch oven and a slotted scooping tool, paper towels.

Directions:

Heat your oil to 350 degrees.
For the wonton wrappers, cut each wrapper in 4 long strips. This gives you approximately a half inch wide by 4 inch long strip. I cut up a stack of them all at once. If you're using egg roll wrappers do the same thing but make sure they're not more than 3 or 4 inches long.
Add one strip to the oil to test it for temperature. The strip should immediately bounce right up to the top and start bubbling.
Cook about 10 to 15 strips at a time, depending on the size of your fryer. You don't want too many in at once because they will not crisp properly.
They take anywhere from about 8 to 12 seconds - yes, seconds - to get nice and golden. I take mine out just before they get to the golden color I want because they will continue to cook for a second or two.
Scoop them onto some paper towels to drain and season.*

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

Because I always have some frozen raspberries on hand, most of the time I serve these up with my version of sweet and sour sauce which is a raspberry coulis mixed with some Chinese five spice and a little lemon juice. If I have time I'll make my Crab Salad (Dip).

You can season these with fun things like Parmesan cheese, powdered white cheddar popcorn seasoning, herbs or even make them sweet by tossing them in a cinnamon and sugar mixture.

* If you´re seasoning with Parmesan cheese or sugar and cinnamon, etcetera, the easiest way to season them is to toss them in a paper bag add the seasoning and shake!

Have a little fun and experiment with some of your favorite flavors.
Then serve them up with some of my great cocktails from TheMartiniDiva.com!





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20150207

SWEET & SOUR RED CABBAGE RECIPE



I like coleslaw, but I do not like cooked cabbage. I hate sauerkraut. I have terrible childhood memories of my Mom's reheated, slimy, stinky canned sauerkraut and, as a result, have never been able to wrap my head around any form of cooked cabbage for most of my life. As a result, whenever someone suggests I have a hot dog with sauerkraut on it I cringe.

I do, however, kind of like sweet and sour cabbage, having been exposed to that through some Danish friends of mine. This is most likely because I like pickled foods. (No, that wormy pile of conglomerated, canned sludge that passes for sauerkraut is not food, pickled or otherwise.) Sweet and Sour cabbage is still not in my top 10 favorite foods, but it goes pretty good with pork products and makes a nice change from the standard starchy side dishes.


This last New Year's Eve I was finally convinced to try a hot dog with sauerkraut, but homemade sauerkraut, and you know what? I kind of liked it! Of course my mind immediately started thinking of ways I could improve it and I went right to that memory of Danish style sweet and sour red cabbage.

This recipe was adapted from a recipe from one of my favorite food websites, Taste of Home. I didn't have any bacon but I had bacon fat and used that. I also replaced their white vinegar with a nice raspberry vinegar which added more sweetness. I didn't have an apple either so I left it out. (Well, that's not strictly true. I did have an apple but I was saving it for some Apple Cocktails.) Additionally, I was in a hurry and misread their directions, but it turned out just fine with my method. Here is what I did:

SWEET & SOUR RED CABBAGE

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 C. Cider Vinegar
1/4 C. Cane Sugar
1/4 C. Packed Brown Sugar
1 Medium Red Cabbage, Shredded
2 Tbsp. Bacon Fat
1/2 C. Chopped Onion
1/4 C. Water
3 Tbsp. Raspberry Vinegar
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/4 Tsp. Pepper
1/2 Tsp. Caraway Seeds

INSTRUCTIONS:

Add both vinegars, sugars, water and seasonings together in a large stock pot and stir. Add in the shredded cabbage and mix thoroughly to coat.

Allow this to pickle together for 15 minutes. 
Lightly brown the onions in the bacon fat then pour this all over the cabbage mixture until blended.

Simmer for 25 to 35 minutes, checking at 20 minutes for level of crunchy. I wanted mine thoroughly cooked because it was a hot dog topping, but if I was serving as a side dish I think I'd prefer it with a little tooth.


This is now my favorite hot dog topping. Add a little mustard and you're good to go. Because I made this primarily for hot dogs, I do wish I had added another whole onion and next time I will. (This go round I just tossed a few chopped green onions on my dogs.) I also think some shredded carrots I might be nice, but not for my hot dog topping.

I will also buy packages of pre-shredded cabbage, the shredding was a pain and my kitchen was bombed by tons of little bits of red cabbage.

Whaddya know, Mom, I like cooked cabbage! I can now call truly myself part Czech!



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20150116

Cooking Breakfast on a George Forman Grill


For some reason everybody has been cooking weird things on waffle irons lately. I don't have a waffle iron, but when I saw someone do hash browns on one it occurred to me I might do hash browns on my George Foreman grill. So I greased my little grill up, tossed on my hash browns, shut the lid and went for it and it worked!


Then I thought, "hey, what about bacon?" That worked too! Although it was a slow process, the bacon came out perfectly crisp and not at all greasy.


No, I stopped short of scrambled eggs, but I bet you could fry an egg on that grill, albeit an oddly rippled Whoville kind of egg. But I love my eggs cooked in butter and the butter kind of slides away (like all fats) on this kind of grill so I opted for a pan on my stove.

I'm not suggesting you toss out your pans, but in a pinch (like when my kitchen was being remodeled), in a dorm room, an RV or any other tiny home, it's kinda nice to know you can break out a pretty decent breakfast on an electric grill. And yes, you can even make grilled bread aka toast!

So don't ignore your little counter top grill, it does a lot more than chicken breasts and burgers!





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