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** The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, The American Table, is now available for pre-order from Amazon @ http://amzn.to/2oy87VR, and is considered to be the most complete cookbook ever published on the topic of classic American dishes**

Who doesn’t love onion rings? What is there not to love about the flavors of onions incased in a crusty shell. Unfortunately most people have only tasted the prepared onion rings sold in the frozen food section of the supermarket. These are not really onions rings. They are onion-flavored glop. Real onion rings are actual rings of onion. There is nothing fake. Onion rings have been a staple of American diners, cafes and roadside eateries for decades. It was a way to get rid of older onions and make a profit by doing so. If you were really lucky, you got onion rings with a beer infused batter and there is nothing quite like chomping in Beer Battered Onion Rings!

When it comes to what type of beer to use in the batter, it is totally up to you. I prefer to use whatever I have on hand. If you are going to use a “dark” variety of beer, the batter will be a little darker and the flavor slightly more “hoppy.”  As far as the onions are concerned, any large sweet variety of onion will work perfectly. Just make sure to slice the onion rather thickly.

Since onion rings are deep-fried, oil is rather important. For any food item which is deep-fried, you want an oil with a high smoking point. The best oil for deep-frying is peanut oil. It is also rather expensive. The next choice is a canola oil, much more affordable. Often times in the South, they will use a combination of canola oil and lard and if you opt for this, you will have to watch the oil a little more closely as you don’t want it to start smoking thus burning the food.

If you want to know the secret of how the diner Beer Battered Onion Rings were always so golden, it is because of one simple and inexpensive ingredients. Just a touch of ground turmeric will give your batter a beautiful color and create the golden look to the onion rings.


BEER BATTERED ONION RINGS (serves 4)

Ingredients needed to make Beer Battered Onion Rings:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. ground turmeric

1 tsp. salt

1 12-ounce bottle of beer

2 large sweet onions, peeled and sliced thickly

Oil for deep-frying

Steps:
1) In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, turmeric, salt and beer until smooth.

2) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest 1 hour.

3) Re-whisk the batter.

4) In a large cast iron pan (or large saute pan), add a few inches of oil and bring to 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer.

5) Place the onion rings into the batter to completely coat them.

6) Carefully place them into the hot oil (in batches) and deep-fry until crisp and golden.

7) Remove the onion rings from the oil and place on a wire rack so any excess oil drips off of them.

8) Let cool slightly before serving.

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**The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, The American Table, is now available for pre-order from Amazon @ http://amzn.to/2oy87VR and is considered to be one of the most complete cookbooks celebrating the foods and flavors of America! **

If you have ventured into the produce section of your local market recently, you have no doubt seen the lovely and colorful bounty of spring vegetables starting to show up. Spring is one of the most flavorful seasons of the year and it is also a perfect time (and excuse) to make some incredible foods and celebrate the flavors of the American kitchen.

One of my favorite and delicious welcomes to this season is fried zucchini. There is just something magical about chomping into a nice delicate crust and then tasting the fresh flavors of newly harvested zucchini. When its comes to frying zucchini there are many different ways. One of my favorites is a light batter and then fried to a delicate texture.

Whereas fried zucchini can make for a wonderful and healthy snack, they are also quite nice when paired with a wine for a spring or summer garden brunch. You can also do what I do many times in the course of the spring and summer season and that is to serve them as a vegetable course with dinner. No matter how you slice them (or batter and fry them), fried zucchini is a much loved American food tradition.

BATTER FRIED ZUCCHINI (serves 4)

Ingredients for Batter Fried Zucchini:

¾ cup cornstarch
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. sugar
1 egg, beaten
½ cup water
2 large zucchini, sliced thick
Oil for frying

Steps:

1) In a large bowl, whisk the cornstarch, flour. baking soda, salt, turmeric, garlic powder, sugar, egg and water.
2) Let the batter rest 30 minutes at room temperature.
3) Re-whisk the batter.
4) Place the zucchini into the batter and stir around until completely coated.
5) In a large skillet, heat 2 inches of oil to 350 on a deepfry thermometer.
6) Carefully add the battered zucchini, in batches, to the oil and fry until golden brown.
7) Remove to a wire rack to drain of any excess oil.
8) Let cool slightly before eating.

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**The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, Style & Spice, is now available for pre-order from Amazon @ http://amzn.to/2nOJXrX and is considered to be the most complete cookbook ever written on Southwest cooking, including a full section on the famed cocktails served at the fabled Southwest cantinas**

Fried chicken! Is there anyone who doesn’t love fried chicken? No matter what area of the United States you live (or visit), you will find a specialized fried chicken. Of course the most famous fried chicken is what is usually referred to as “Southern Fried Chicken,” though there really is no particular “Southern Fried Chicken” – it is just a fried chicken fried in the South. Here in the great American Southwest, we have our own versions of the fried fowl and one of my favorites is this Santa Fe Spicy Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken.

Now you might be wondering, “how can you fry a chicken in the oven?” Well.. you can’t! What we do here is to fry the chicken for a short period of time, just enough to get that great fried chicken crunch on the skin. Then we take the chicken and place it in the oven to actually cook it. So what happens is you get the best of fried chicken combined with the best of baked chicken. Yes, Santa Fe Spicy Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken is an ultimate fried chicken.

You will notice that the chicken will be bathed in buttermilk for a few hours before you start the cooking process. This is not only for a great flavor, it is also because the enzymes in buttermilk naturally tenderize the chicken. As far as the actual frying of the chicken, you only want to fry it until it turns golden. Once it gets to that point, you place it on a baking sheet and place it in the oven to finish cooking. Fact is, Santa Fe Spicy Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken is one of the simplest fried chicken dishes you will ever prepare.

SANTA FE SPICY BUTTERMILK OVEN-FRIED CHICKEN (serves 4)

Ingredients needed to make Santa Fe Spicy Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken:

1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
2 cups buttermilk
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
Peanut or vegetable oil for frying

Steps:

1) Place the chicken in a large bowl and cover it with the buttermilk. Place in the refrigerator and let the chicken bathe in the buttermilk for 2 hours.
2) In a zip-lock bag, combine the flour, salt, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and, cumin.
3) In a large skillet, heat a few inches of oil to 350 on a deep-fry thermometer.
4) Pre-heat your oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with foil.
5) Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and place in the zip-lock bag and dredge (coat) with the flour mixture.
6) Carefully place the chicken into the hot oil and fry until golden.
7) Remove the chicken from the oil and place on the prepared baking sheet.
8) Place into the oven and bake 30-35 minutes (depending on the pieces of chicken you’re using).
9) Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.

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**The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, Style & Spice, is now available for pre-order from Amazon @ http://amzn.to/2nOJXrX and is considered to be the most complete cookbook ever written on Southwest cooking, including a full section on the famed cocktails served at the fabled Southwest cantinas**

When it comes to the food of the Southwest, once thing is for certain: We don’t do boring. Even when it comes to a dish which is a tried-and-true favorite of many, when we do it Southwest style is becomes a whole new eating adventure. Fajitas are a very popular food for those into Mexican cuisine and once they get the Southwest touch, they become something truly special… such as these Southwest Fajitas!

So, what really is a “fajita?” Originally, it was a flour tortilla taco made with grilled beef. The word “fajita” referred to the way the beef was prepared. With the on-slaught of Mexican fast-food eateries, it now basically means any tortilla filled with a grilled meat. So, the secret to any good fajita is the meat and what sets the Southwest Fajitas apart is the marinade we use before we grill the meat.

First of all, you will want a good quality beef with very little fat. You want the beef to be sliced very thin. We like to use a cut of beef often referred to as a “London Broil.” Then you want the beef to be marinated in a seasoned marinade with just enough acidic acid to permeate the meat (give it flavor). When it comes to the actual grilling of the meat, it should be done fast and over direct heat (or high heat if using a grilling pan). It really is quite simple to make Southwest Fajitas!

As for serving Southwest Fajitas, this is where it can be fun. You simply plate up the beef and have some heated flour tortillas at the table. When it comes to the “toppings,” a variety of salsas, some sour cream and a few sauces are the most popular. In our upcoming book “Style & Spice,” we will have an entire section on condiments you can make at home which would be perfect for Southwest Fajitas, tacos or any other variety of grilled meats and/or seafood.


SOUTHWEST FAJIATS (serves 4)
Ingredients needed to make Southwest Fajitas:


1 pound good quality lean beef, sliced very thin

1/3 cup olive oil

1 lime, juice only

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

Flour tortillas

Steps:
1) Place the thin slices of beef into a shallow bowl.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil, lime juice, cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt and garlic powder.

3) Pour the marinade over the beef and stir around so the beef is coated with the marinade.

4) Cover the beef and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

5) Pre-heat your grill or grill pan.

6) Brush the grill or grill pan with some vegetable oil.

7) Place the marinated beef onto the grill or grill pan and grill only 1 or 2 minutes per side (actual time depends on the thinness of the beef).

8) Serve with warmed flour tortillas, salsa, sauces and sour cream.