Savory Maple Beer-Battered Apple and Onion Rings

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When I was in grade school I struggled with reading and by third grade I dreaded it. So, my mom, knowing I was falling behind and embarrassed to not be at the level of my peers, hired a reading tutor and things totally changed for me…I began to love reading and would get lost in a book for hours. The first book series I ever fell in love with were the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved the pioneer spirit and, surprise, all the food imagery. One of the best books in the series for food imagery was Farmer Boy, a book about her husband’s childhood growing up on a farm…it is full of hearty farm meals and his favorite dish was made up of apples and onions. Since reading the book for the first time I have been enamored by the sweet and savory pairing.

These beer-battered, maple-seasoned, apple and onion rings are so savory with an addictive, shattering crispness. There’s just a hint of sweetness from the apple rings themselves and from a few liberal dashes of Tonewood Maple’s* savory Maple Seasoning. Tonewood is a maple company that collaborates with maple producers to provide pure and delicious maple products with a focus on family-owned farming and sustainable stewardship. I really loved this seasoning both in the batter and sprinkled on top, it made for a very autumnal batch of onion rings with the twist of apple and maple. In addition to the seasoning, there’s beer in this batter for extra lightness and a little bit of brown rice flour that gives these rings an utlra-crisp edge. I totally suggest sandwiching both and apple ring and onion ring together for the ultimate in savory-sweet goodness. A drizzle of maple-laced sriracha is the perfect sweet-spicy condiment for these rings. [recipe]

Print Recipe

Savory Maple Beer-Battered Apple and Onion Rings

You can purchase Tonewood products here and use the discount code HGPVOCT for a Buy-One-Get-One offer on the maple seasoning I used here. From Tonewood:

Through collaboration with expert sugarmakers, Tonewood produces pure maple syrups and other specialties that are single-sourced, unblended, and free of additives.

…By funding climate change research, local farming efforts, and sustainable forest stewardship, Tonewood seeks to preserve family-owned maple production.

If you don’t have brown rice or regular rice flour, all-purpose may be substituted. For the beer I used a lighter wheat beer to keep the beer-flavor mild. To cut the apple rings, just use graduated sizes of biscuit or round cookie cutters. If you do not want to buy any maple seasoning a mixture of garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a teaspoon or so of maple syrup is a good substitute.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup brown rice flour, plus 1/4 cup more

2 teaspoons of Tonewood Maple Seasoning (check name), plus more for sprinkling

1 egg white

1 cup beer

1 large, sweet onion sliced into rings and separated

1 large apple (I used a Honeycrisp), sliced into rounds

Canola oil for frying

Maple Sriracha Drizzle

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 -2 tablespoons sriracha hot sauce


In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and 1/4 cup of the rice flour with the maple seasoning to combine. Then whisk in the egg white and beer until a smooth batter forms. Set aside while you cut out the apple rings. Using a few sizes of round cutters, cut out apple rings and place on a plate with the separated onion rings. Place the remaining rice flour in a shallow dish. Prepare a plate with several layers of paper towels and set to the side.

In a deep skillet fill with a generous 1-inch of canola oil and heat to about 375˚F. In batches, dredge the onion and apple rings in the rice flour to coat lightly, then dip into the beer batter before gently lowering the rings into the hot oil. Cook the rings on both sides until golden and crisp. Remove from the oil and place on the paper-towel lined plate and sprinkle with additional maple seasoning while still hot. Serve immediately (with extra beer!). [/recipe]

*Tonewood kindly supplied me with the Maple Seasoning and a few other ingredients that will show up in a later post. As always, all opinions are my own.

 

Kale, Apple, & Pork Potstickers

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I don’t know about you, but when i get a craving for Asian foods it hits me HARD. Like a ton of dumpling-shaped bricks and my appetite for those flavors becomes insatiable. Last week the craving hit and I high tailed it over to East Lansing to hit up my favorite Asian markets for essentials…I have two, one pan-Asian market and one Korean market, and they are conveniently located within a few blocks of each other. WIN! I like to buy round dumpling wrappers from the freezer section of the Asian market, though you could use the refrigerated wonton wrappers from the grocery store. I go for whatever brand has the shortest ingredient list. This is also where I find my favorite, crepe-like, spring/egg roll wrappers.

So when I decide to make a batch of dumplings or spring rolls or kimchi…I make A LOT. This batch of kale, apple, and pork filled potstickers were no exception. These tasty little dumplings are filled with lots of savory vegetables, apple for a little sweetness, and lots of fragrant garlic and ginger. The vegetables and apple get sauteed and sweated, which both deepens and marries the flavors, the garlic and ginger just get a few moments on the heat to retain their punchy aroma and flavor, and the pork helps to bind the filling and bring it’s delicious pork-y flavor that goes so well with the kale and apple, while the dumpling skins are the perfect chewy envelope. All of the ingredients combined make for dumplings that are basically addictive, little flavor bombs. To get the pretty pleats, just watch videos after searching “how-to pleat dumplings”. There are a ton out there, but this one is pretty simple and straight forward. Though, I never do that many pleats because I’m just not that skilled…or dedicated…the faster dumplings get in my face, the better.

So, make these for yourself (and freeze the rest), or make them to share…your friends will appreciate your dumpling skills, promise.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Pork, Kale, and Apple Potstickers

Makes about 50 dumplings.

There’s a lot of chopping happening here and if you don’t want to spend all that time honing your knife skills like a weirdo (ahem, me…), go ahead and pulse up the filling ingredients in a food processor. Also, I like my dumplings a little on the onion-y side…feel free to switch up the filling ratios…follow your heart! This recipe makes a large batch of dumplings, which are great for freezing. It’s tough to say exactly how many dumplings you will yield…depending on how much you fill them and what size your wrappers are, but you will get a lot with this recipe.

1 cup finely chopped onion

2 cups finely chopped cabbage

1/4 cup shredded carrot

1 cup shredded apple (I used a honeycrisp)

4 cups finely chopped kale

1/2 cup sliced green onions

2 cloves finely minced garlic

2-4 teaspoons grated ginger root

1/2 pound ground pork

1 egg white

salt

40-60 round dumpling skins

water for sealing

In a large skillet over medium high heat sauté the onion, cabbage, carrot, and apple with a pinch of salt until softened and any liquid has evaporated. Add in the kale, in batches if necessary, and cook until wilted and any additional liquid evaporates. Stir in the green onions, garlic, and ginger (however much you’d like) and cook an additional minute. Taste the mixture for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Remove the vegetable mixture to a large bowl and set aside to cool completely.

Once the vegetables are completely cooled stir in the ground pork and the egg white to combine. I like to use my (clean) hands to do this. I call it the “claw-method” and I stir the mixture rapidly with my scary-claw hand in one direction until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed. I find this method also helps with keeping the filling from getting crumbly.

Pour some water into a small dish and set out your dumpling skins. You may want to cover the dumplings with a slightly damp tea towel to keep them from drying out while you form and pleat. Scoop small spoonfuls of  the vegetable-pork mixture into the center of the dumpling wrapper, lightly wet the edges with water, fold into a half moon and pleat (or just press to seal, whatever works). Repeat with remaining dumpling skins and filling.

To cook dumplings, add about 1 tablespoon of oil (or butter, melted) to a large nonstick skillet with a lid and arrange dumplings in an even layer. Add a scant 1/4 cup of water to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat with the lid on until the dumpling skins become a bit translucent, the water has evaporated, and the bottoms of the dumplings are golden. Remove from the heat and place a plate over the pan and flip out the dumplings in one fell swoop…or just remove them from the pan individually and set on a plate. I like to serve these simply with sriracha.

To freeze, place the uncooked dumplings onto a parchment-lined sheet pan in an even layer and freeze until frozen solid—a few hours. Remove the frozen dumplings from the freezer and place in a gallon-size freezer bag and place back in the freezer. Cook the same way as you would fresh dumplings with just a bit more water few more minutes of cooking time. [/recipe]

Apple-Honey Quesadilla and a Giveaway!

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Hi, frens! Let’s do lunch, okay?

I love, love, love going out for lunch…probably more than any other meal. It’s social and a nice break from the grind of the day-to-day. I mean, what’s better than a long lunch with a friend and some good conversation? Well, maybe lunch with drinks…

My love of lunching out can only be eclipsed by my apathy for making lunch at home. When I was a kid, my mom always made my lunch and packed it up real cute in my My Little Pony lunch box with thermos. As an adult, I really struggle with coming up with easy, quick, and wholesome lunches. Often I find myself snacking on popcorn or hungrily devouring a stick of string cheese…or, skipping lunch all together. That’s why when Catherine of Weelicious asked me to review her book Weelicious Lunches, I was all over it.*

This books is FULL of super easy, healthy lunches that appeal to the palates of children and adults alike! With over 160 lunch ideas, there’s something for everyone. I chose to share this Apple-Honey Cheese Quesadilla with you because I love a melty, cheesy, quesadilla any day and the addition of honey and cheese intrigued me. I love apples with cheddar, so the leap to a quesadilla wasn’t that far of a stretch. The sweet honey in combination with the rich melted cheese, tart-crisp apple, and crunchy tortilla is a total win. I added a few dashed of hot sauce to the honey to turn it into a sweet-spicy drizzle and it paired wonderfully with the cheese and apples.

To enter the giveaway use the form below and leave me a comment telling me what your favorite, easy, go-to lunch is! Giveaway closes Wednesday 10/2 at midnight.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Apple Honey Cheese Quesadilla

From Weelicious Lunches by Catherine McCord

Aside from adding a few dashes of tabasco to the honey, I followed Catherine’s recipe pretty closely. 

1 Granny Smith Apple, sliced thin

4 whole wheat tortillas

1 1/3 cup grated cheese (I used sharp cheddar)

1 tablespoon honey, plus as many dashes of hot sauce as you like

Place half of the apples and half of the cheese on a tortilla. Drizzle with honey. Top with another tortilla and slide the quesadilla into a saute pan. Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes each side. Cut into wedges and repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve warm with leftover spicy honey. [/recipe]

*I was provided with a copy of Weelicious Lunches free of charge to review. I was not compensated for this post and as always, all opinions are my own.