This year is just moments away from its end. In my family it was not uncommon that at the stroke of midnight of the New Year we would snack on piece of Italian pork sausage. It was believed that what you eat reflects on what type of year you will have. The sausage represents a fatty and prosperous new year to come. What you eat after that is all up to you. Trying to be mindful that in the New Year a healthy and fit lifestyle is for the best I truly question what should I be eating. Eating something rich and fatty at the stroke of midnight is one thing, but what you eat the next morning sets the tone for the day; let alone the week and year to come. What to eat?
Getting back to the sausage; what do you eat when you are a vegetarian? It has to be indulgent. Fatty and indulgent! I thought long and hard about this. I came up with a really simple solution. Onion Rings. Ask any vegetarian you know, a deep fried onion is decadent and somewhat gluttonous. Pair it with a nice rich dipping sauce to smear each ring through is a luxurious taste bud euphoria. The crunch on the battered onion, all nice a deeply golden is like vegetarian gold! But what else? What do I eat to set a tone for a fit and healthy year to come?
Over the past couple of years I have gotten into the habit of always having fresh fruit on my counter and dining table. When you walk by and see the apples, tangerines, pears, and sometimes bananas staring at you it is much easier to keep up with a wholesome snack rather than chips. Eating something fruity and refreshing would be perfectly fitting for this fit and healthy year. With the grapefruits on our table; slicing one and carefully running a knife along its pith is one step closer to a tasty, refreshing, and good for you attitude for the New Year. Placing some brown sugar over the top and brulee-ing your grapefruit brings your ordinary grapefruit to an elegant height. It is delicious, and believe me; once you try it you will be questioning why you have not tried this sooner. i will be making this for breakfast New Years Day. Out with the old, and in with the new. Good eating habits for the New Year. The bad habits are gone…well; onion rings are not so bad. At least the onion is a vegetable.
Onion Rings (feed 4 – 6)
1 large onion
2 cups of flour
½ tsp of baking powder
½ tsp of sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
½ tsp of ground black pepper
1 bottle of beer (12 oz)
Vegetable oil for deep frying
First; in a bowl whisk together your flour, baking powder, sea salt, black pepper, and beer. Be sure your mixture is smooth and not lumpy. If you feel your batter is too thin you may add a bit more of the flour, but if you do this - only add a little bit at a time to be sure of your batter is where you would like it.
Next; take your onion and trim the bottom end off of it. Peel off the outer skin and discard of it. Holding the onion steady against a cutting board, slice your onion in ¼ inch thick pieces so that you have nice and evenly sized rings.
Meanwhile; take a four quart pot and fill it with oil until it is about two inches deep. Place the pot over medium heat and wait until you see wavy lines appear in the oil. You can then drop a bit of the batter you made in the oil. If it sizzles right away your oil is ready. If it does not just give your oil a bit more time on the heat before testing again.
Finally, place a few of your sliced onion rings into the batter and coat. Remove them from the batter (one at a time) and let the excess batter drip off. Place the coated rings gently into the hot oil and fry until they are golden flipping them half way through. When they are golden remove them and let them drain on a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with more sea salt if you wish. Serve warm.
Curry Dipping Sauce (makes about ¾ a cup)
¼ cup of mayo
¼ cup of Greek yogurt
1 tbsp of Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp of curry powder
¼ tsp of powdered ginger
¼ tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of honey
1 tsp of vinegar
Sea Salt to taste
First, in a bowl whisk together all the above ingredients. Be sure all is mixed well and smooth. Cover and refrigerate for about one hour to let the flavors bloom and develop
Finally, remove from the refrigerator and stir again and taste. You can adjust the seasoning as you wish. Serve with your warm onion rings and enjoy.
Bruleed Grapefruit (serves 2, but can be multiplied)
1 large grapefruit
2-3 tbsp of brown sugar
First, slice your grapefruit in half across the center to expose the starburst wedges inside. I also slice a small amount off the top and bottom of the grapefruit so it will sit flat to expose the center.
Next; with a sharp knife, run along the pith and each little section of grapefruit. (This will make scooping the fruit when eating easier.) Drain off any excess juice that may rise to the top of each half of fruit.
Finally, evenly spread about 1 – 1 ½ tbsp od your brown sugar across the top. If you have a torch in your kitchen, gently torch the sugar until it melts and begins to caramelize. If you do not have a torch you can achieve the same result by using your broiler. Preheat the broiler to low and carefully watch the grapefruit until your sugar is caramelized and remove. Serve immediately.