Along with the chips and salsa for my Foodbuzz 24×24, I made beer battered veggies tempura as an appetizer. Beer batters are great because the carbonation in the beer makes the batter puff up more when frying, which gives the veggies a fuller crunch. For these, I chose to use Modelo beer to keep the Mexican-type theme for the party. I fried asparagus, green beans, poblano peppers and zucchini (one of the first from our garden!). These are great served with guacamole or ranch dressing to dip.
Fritters had been on my list of things to make for a while before this, but I just never seemed to be able to find the time to make them. When I was invited to my first stage at SALT, the restaurant I now work at!, I was freaking out about it. I had never done a stage before; for those of you who do not know what that is, it is a working interview in a kitchen. The day before my stage, I looked over the SALT lunch menu and decided I would make anything that I hadn’t made before or thought I could use work on. I ended up making fritters and risotto and decided I could cook the rest of the things on the menu without practice. The funny part about this was that my stage did not involve hardly any cooking! I just made salads, made po’ boys and prepped food. I was so nervous for nothing!
There are a few classic things that I feel like every cook needs to try at some point, even if you just cook at home for fun. Wontons are one of those things. I personally think they are kind of a hassle, but they are a good thing to know how to make and will expand your culinary skills. This week’s throwback recipe is from the first time I ever made wontons, for a wonton soup.
This soup is light and healthy. It is great if you are feeling a bit under the weather or if you simply want a refreshing lunch on a cold day. The fried wontons give the soup a nice crunch if fried properly. I usually struggle with frying things since I don’t have a thermometer and don’t fry things that often. It’s important to fry the wontons at the right temperature or else they will burn (too hot) or get soggy (too cool). Enjoy!
I don’t know if I ever mentioned that my most recent job was at Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage (don’t ask me why they decided to make their name so much longer and more annoying to say). After working at restaurants for so long, this job was so slow some days that I would read the cooking magazines at the register and write down recipe ideas; my boss probably wouldn’t have been too stoked, but what can you do!? I am getting off topic though, being a cashier is pretty cool as a foodie for one reason- seeing what everybody is buying and spending all day thinking what you want to make for dinner that night. The other day at work, a lady bought taquitos and reminded me how much I loved them, and how long it had been since I had had them!
I went home that night on a mission to make my own, healthier, taquitos. I added roasted red peppers and green onions to give them some extra flavor. I also baked them, instead of frying them, which makes these tasty things much healthier. I would highly recommend making your own taquitos so that you can add your own twist like I did, it is much more rewarding! I also need to warn you that this recipe makes pretty big taquitos, three were plenty for me and I usually eat like ten!
One thing I really miss about summertime is being able to grill. Grilling is fun, social and delicious. I have really been craving some warmth and sunshine lately, maybe it was the week of -30 degree temperatures a few weeks ago that made me sick of winter. Either way, with hopes for an early spring, I decided to make burgers this week, except I sauteed them instead of grilling them since winter is unfortunately still here for now.
I had seen a photo of an inside-out burger recently and the idea seemed pretty awesome. I added one homemade onion ring to the top of each slider to create a seriously tasty combo; added a bit of adobo barbecue sauce that I had made previously and voila! The perfect miniature burger for a spring-time grill out.