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.

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!).

*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.

 

Pumpkin-Beer Waffles

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I believe that Sundays are for easy living. If breakfast happens closer to lunch time, who cares!? Sundays aren’t for scheduling.

This lazy Sunday, in particular, was much needed. Mid-week, last week, our 4-year-old Chihuahua-mix fell ill–which landed us at the emergency vet where our girl, Luxe, had to have a blood transfusion (something I never even realized was something that happens for dogs until it did) and had to spend a few nights at MSU’s small animal clinic. Needless to say, there was a lot of stress, a lot of tears, and a lot of worrying. I hate it when animals get sick or injured because they just can’t tell you! and, the thought of her scared and in an unfamiliar place just broke my heart. She responded super well to her treatments, to the vet and our great relief, and got to come home Saturday evening.

So, when a fresh Sunday rolled in, and the sun seemed to be shining just a little brighter, I woke up earlier than most weekend mornings, took the pups out for a romp in the leaves, then promptly began putting these waffles together. Since I already opened a can of pumpkin for feeding Luxe her meds (I crush up the pills and mix it with a teaspoon or two each of plain yogurt and pumpkin–it’s a treat with a medicinal surprise! yeah, I am THAT dog mom and I learned the trick from this dog mom…), I decided to use the remaining pumpkin in a lightly spiced, crispy edged waffle.

These waffles use beer for lightness and a little extra lift. It’s my favorite way to mimic a yeast-raised waffle batter in a fraction of the time. There’s brown butter because, well if you’re going to melt it anyway, why not brown it? The bit of whole wheat lends a little texture and toastiness without getting dense or heavy. These waffles taste like October and comfort and carefree Sundays…which is sometimes just what you need, with a side of pup cuddles for good measure.

Pumpkin-Beer Waffles

Makes 12-16 individual waffles.

Adapted from this recipe. 

The beer in these waffles isn’t simply a gratuitous addition–it brings a yeasty flavor and makes for a light and airy crumb, akin to yeasted waffles sans the rise time. No dense waffles up in here. I used a Belgian Wheat Beer for these, but I bet a seasonal pumpkin ale would be pretty magical. Waffles freeze like a champ, simply place on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer, freeze for 30 minutes, remove and place frozen waffles in a resealable gallon bag and freeze for up to 1 month–reheat in a toaster. 

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup beer

5 Tablespoons browned butter, cooled to room temperature

In a small skillet melt butter over medium until it becomes foamy. Once foamy, continue to heat butter over medium-low until the milk solids begin to brown at the bottom of the pan, you can whisk or stir it if you would like–the butter will become nutty and fragrant–allow it to brown as long as you dare before it burns. You will know by the smell if it is burnt. Pour into a heat-proof bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 275*F and have a sheet pan ready to keep waffles warm. Preheat the waffle iron according to manufacturers instructions. Oil, butter, or spray the iron lightly if needed.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flours, salt, baking powder and soda, sugar, and spices. Set aside. In another mixing bowl combine the vanilla, milk, pumpkin, and eggs. Whisk well to combine, gently whisk in the beer. Make a well in the dry mixture and add all of the pumpkin/beer mixture, followed by the cooled brown butter, fold until just combined and there are no longer large dry pockets within the batter–some small lumps are okay. Ladle batter into the waffle iron–I used about 3/4 cup per each batch, this may vary depending on your iron–and bake according to manufacturers instruction. Place baked waffles onto the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you continue with the remaining batter. Serve warm with butter and syrup.

Luxe on the mend. What a champ!

 

 

 

Beer Battered Pickles and Adventures in Frying Part 2

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Have you ever had a fried pickle? I mean, I know there are a lot of gratuitous fried treats out there, and maybe a fried pickle seems kind of gross, but it is SO not.

Fried pickles are, in fact, amazing.

Though, I am not usually a fan of warm pickles–I generally like them cool and crunchy–I make exception when it comes to battering them (beer batter!) and frying them up to crisp, golden perfection. The sharp and tangy pickle against a rich, crispy-fried coating is beer-food perfection.

These pickles would make a great cocktail or beer sipping snack–I imagine they would be perfect for sports-viewing. Megan and I made these after we made those glorious nutella-filled donuts–because seriously, if you are frying one thing, you might as well fry two. There isn’t much sports watching in my house, so I think these are totally appropriate for a snack-style lunch–donuts first, pickles second–with a cold beer and some friendly chatting.

 

We used McClure’s pickles (spicy and regular) and the beer with the cutest label we could find. Be sure to click over to Megan’s blog for the recipe and more photos!

{PS, Megan’s place has the BEST light ever. I am totes jealous.}