Friday, July 31, 2009

Onion Rings: A Cooking Basic

One of S's favorite foods is onion rings. He loves them. If we go to a restaurant that serves them, he usually orders some. And, we have some favorites around these parts - Peggy Sue's has some delicious ones. So does The Porch. We had some fabulous ones in Georgetown last May, at this place, too. And, while we're on the general Austin area, we missed eating some rings at Hut's, but they are definitely up there as some of our favorites. As you know, eating is a favorite past time here at Ate Up Amateur. But I digress...back to today's topic.

So, after I concocted a Spicy Fried Chicken recipe that he wouldn't touch, he got the idea that we could make some onion rings at home. He mentioned it a couple of times. I said, "Yeah, we'll do that one day." Then, we went to this place last weekend and S bought two vidalia onion rings. After the purchase, S said we needed to use at least one of those onions to make some onion rings. OK, I said. OK.

Yes, that pad is left over from my teaching days...
surely given to me by one sharp student.

S searched the Internet for a recipe he wanted to try. He couldn't decide on one. So, I made one up. And, here's the real kicker - I measured out the ingredients AND I wrote them down. I know, amazing. Truly amazing. So, here is our made up recipe for onion rings that turned out to be pretty darn tasty.

The Ingredients, sans onions.

S cut up the onion - we only did one onion.
The batter would have been enough for two or maybe even three.

One onion is a lot o' rings, though - more than enough for us, anyway.

S's artistic shot

I should say, and you'll be able to tell because my fat hands are BOTH sometimes in the photo, that S helped with the photographing. This was, all around, a group effort. That there, up above, is S's attempt at an "artsy" shot - he held one ring up and shot through it. Nice idea, but I'm not sure it worked...

Here we go with the fat hands.
Measure out the flour.

And the cornmeal - again, we used white cornmeal.
It's what we have in the kitchen.

Go ahead and put in the baking powder and spices.

Feel free to put in more cayenne if you want them to be spicy. This is not enough cayenne to get that job done - this amount is just for taste.

Mix up the dry ingredients and make a little well in the middle.

Then get out the buttermilk. It seems to be our favorite ingredient, doesn't it. I also want to talk about the three items behind the buttermilk that sit to the left of my sink. Yes, they are all blurry in this photo - use your imagination! The thing with the black frame around it is a photo of a sign my friend The Cheese Fry gave me a million moons ago. It says "Amy's Restaurant - Fast Food with a Flair." It belongs in my kitchen. When I opened it, I thought the sign said, "Chuy's restaurant." I said, "Oh Chuy's - thanks!" He said, "What? Chuy's? No - it says Amy's!" "Ohhh," I said. Then he said, "Why would I give you a photo of a Chuy's sign?"

I said, "I dunno - I was being nice. But, Amy's - Amy's it makes more sense." I'm sometimes a little dense. Just sometimes. Ahem. Anyway, I like it in my kitchen. To the left and behind that is a ceramic bear that says, "May all your teddy bears be fuzzy and your jelly beans not." I am 98% sure my mom gave us that right after we were married. You see, I am (and was even more then) a pretty big fan of the teddy bear. And, my husband is a big fan of the jelly bean. So she thought it was a apropos for us. I've had it in my kitchen ever since.

And, the item to the right and behind the photo - that is a ceramic little ditty that I bought for myself. It says, "Miracles Happen Everyday." I needed to be reminded of that at the time in my life when I bought it because I felt I really needed a miracle. Never got the miracle, but I realize I don't need that miracle because I've had many others, and I still think it's a beautiful little plaque and sentiment. So, they hang out there to the left of my sink. Now, back to the recipe.

Get a bowl for the wet ingredients - I should say I am generally a fan of just mixing it all together, but since we were experimenting, I did it by the book. I put the buttermilk and egg in a separate bowl.

Then I whisked them together. Briefly.

Then Ellie stopped by to say, "Whassup?"

Then, incorporate the wet mixture into the dry mixture.

And stir.

Until it looks like this - only not this yellow.
Not sure why this photo is that yellow...
but I'm too lazy to open the software to fix it.

Dip the onions in the batter.

Meanwhile, you got your skillet out and heated a good bit of oil up on medium heat. And, then you threw in some batter to see if it was hot. When it was, you proceeded to add battered onion rings. I used cast iron this time, since Deanna mentioned it after the fried chicken post. It did keep the oil more consistently hot - and hotter in general, I would say, at lower settings.

Anyway, keep battering up the onions...

...and frying them up in the pan...see that oil pop!

Take them out and let them drain on a paper towel briefly.

Then, to keep them all warm for eating all together, we put them in the oven on a pan on the "warm and hold" setting. If you don't have a "warm and hold setting" just choose something like 275 or 300 and keep them warm this way.

Then, voila! A plate of scrumptious fried goodness.

The condiments were ready.

We dove right in.

And they were fabulous! With or without ketchup!

So, there you have it - some homemade onion rings of the ATE UP variety. Here's the recipe:

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
2 onions
cooking oil

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl and set aside. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl and then incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until the batter is smooth and consistent throughout.

Cut up onion into rings of a desired thickness. Warm cooking oil (about 1/4 to 1/3 inch of oil) in a large frying pan. Dip onion into batter and then into hot oil. Flip to the other side so evenly browned. Remove from oil and dry on paper towel. To keep all warm until all are cooked, store finished rings on a cookie sheet in a barely warmed oven. Serve with salt and pepper to taste and ketchup, if desired.

To wrap up the week - I went to hand deliver the photos - no humans were around. So, I ended up mailing them overnight to arrive today. Hope that goes alright. I'm sure it will.

Just so you know I don't cook or eat just fried food, I cooked this recipe last night as a side dish. It was DELICIOUS. I'd serve it to company. I highly recommend it. Cook it - with some locally grown in-season zucchini - tonight!

We're off on our vacation tonight - to cheap ticket city winner Minneapolis and then on to Wisconsin. We'll arrive around midnight and then tomorrow we'll be off on our adventure. Who knows where it'll take us exactly. I'll tell you all about it here, internet connection willing. Cheryl and Sam and my good friend Karen will be on dog and cat duty. They are wonderful people for taking care of our sweet babies while we're gone. A big THANK YOU to them!

Hope you are off onto your own big adventure this weekend. Stay cool and dry, and I'll see you here again next week. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Don't forget to add a dash of Tobasco to the catsup for those onion rings. Yummmm.
    And have a great trip.

  2. Perhaps you would like your Nana's onion ring recipe to try sometime?

  3. These look incredible! I'm going to try this recipe.


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