Thursday, October 20, 2011

Carla Hall's Onion Rings 10.20.11

Ah... The illusive home cooked onion ring.  Many have tried... Most (including me) have failed.  But this was close.

Today was "Last meal day".  Theory was to let us know what the final dining option would be if you knew there would be no tomorrow.  Personally, not sure how big of an appetite I would have, but if you follow the premise, all is joy.

I do think a few of the hosts kind of wimped out.... really Daphne, Dumplings???  And Michael was even called out by the other hosts when he chose a meatless beet pasta (that looks beautiful).
Clinton made a luxurious dish, but sort of dumbed it down to be more accessible... If I were to have Lobster Thermidor for a last meal, not sure if I would follow this recipe (although it looked and sounded very easy and amazing).

I did believe that Mario Batali would indeed chose a simple omelet but made with a bit of those legendary $300 a pound truffles.

But Carla's choice may just come close to mine (maybe add some Pineapple/Jerk chicken wings).  A Great Burger and Onion Rings!  Yeah... I can believe this would be someone's choice!

Now, I'll be honest, I've tried home onion rings in the past.  I have a beer batter recipe that is very good.  But the problem with them is one that Carla pointed out on the show... They lose that great fried crispy texture very quickly.  So if you are not eating over the stove, mine aren't as good as I say they are.

And so, I was excited to give these a try.  And to be perfectly honest... these are about 90% there.  Very close.  I followed the recipe exactly as posted on The Chew Website (Click HERE).  Indeed, 10  minutes, 20 minutes... next morning even, these retained that crunch texture of freshly fried.  I even warmed some up in the microwave and they still were very crispy!  I was just a little surprised by the good but not great flavor.

There is a secret ingredient... again, Click HERE, for the recipe, and click HERE for the video, showing the reaction of the other hosts to the secret ingredient.  Aha Moment, I now understand why these have the great texture.

But, as I said... Remember that scene in Julie & Julia where Julie Powell was surprised that she was going to serve a bland Boeuf Bourguignon?  I mean there is so much in the stew, how can it be bland?  that's the reaction I had to the onion rings... Nothing wrong, just seemed a bit bland.

I think next time I add some of my Cajun Spice mix.  But I didn't.  So, I am filing this recipe as a work in progress.  Close, very close, but no cigar.

And BTW, a wonderful addition was her burger.  Straight off, she said she wanted to have her favorite hamburger with her last meal.  She made hers, and it is on the website (Click HERE).  But she also said to make your own...

I made some pickled red onions.
Some sweet bread and butter pickle slices
Sliced tomato
Queso cheese
And I cooked my hamburger in a 50/50 mix of butter and Worcestershire sauce!

AND... I made my own hamburger buns!

Have you all ever heard of Moomie Buns???  Go ahead, Google that name... 2 MILLION 500 THOUSAND plus folks can't be wrong!

Easy, FLAWLESS and very tasty

You need a bread machine to get the full benefits.  You can kneed the dough yourself, monitor the rising stage, but with a bread machine, run through the "dough" setting on the machine which only mixes and kneeds and allows time for the first rise.  It does not do the baking.  BUT, that's the time consuming part.

OK, here's the recipe...

1 cup Water (warm, about 105 degrees
2 TBS Butter softened to room temperature
1 egg
3 cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Whole Wheat flour
1/4 cup Sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tsp instant yeast (They also call it bread machine yeast)

  • Place all the ingredients in the bread machine, select "dough" and allow to run the entire cycle
  • Dump out onto lightly floured surface, divide into 8 equal pieces.  Shape each into a bun shape
  • Place on silipat, preheat a pizza stone and the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Do an egg wash on the buns and sprinkle a topping (I like garlic or Onion flakes... or course Sea Salt is great as well)
  • Allow a second rise for 40 minutes (Cover and keep the rolls away from a draft.  Try to place in a warm spot)
  • Bake in pre-heated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Burgers should be messy, gooey and DELICIOUS!  Mine sure was!

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