My Blooming Onion Try

Well, here is my try at a Blooming Onion in the Air Fryer. This is an interesting undertaking for me – since I don’t like onions. I started with a large White Vidalia Onion, and removed the skin, and cut off the roots, and then cut off approximately 1/3 inch off the top.

Then I removed the core of the Onion, then turned it upside-down and carefully made 4 slits with a knife in a “cross” pattern, then added 2 more slits in each section.

Then I mixed a milk and egg mixture, and a breadcrumb (and spice) mixture. I opened up the Onion and coated everything in the egg wash then coated them with the breadcrumb mixture.

Then I put it into the Air Fryer at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Here is the final result:

My granddaughter said that the Onion was way too strong. My wife liked it – but agreed that the Onion was strong. I will definitely do this again – but will tweek it as I go.

Homemade Pan Pizza

Today, I used my 2 cast iron skillets to make some Pepperoni, Mushroom, and Sausage Pan Pizzas. I made the dough from scratch – again, this was a first time effort for me – and it turned out good.

I made the dough, and let it rise in the refrigerator for 6 hours.

I put some Peanut Oil in the pans, and spread the dough out, and let it set for 2 more hours at room temperature – then started to make the Pizzas – sauce first.

Then I put some cheese and Mushrooms.

Then I put the Pepperoni, the Sausage and some more cheese.

Then I put them in a preheated oven at 550 degrees for 15 minutes.

We let them cool for 10 – 15 minutes before eating. They were incredible! I will definitely do this again.

Pizza Pot Pies

Tonight I made some Pizza Pot Pies from scratch. I saw them on TV, and decided to replicate it. I started by cooking some Pork sausage, with some Pizza sauce, Marinara sauce, Onion Powder, and Garlic Powder for 3 hours.

I made the Pizza dough from scratch, and set it aside to rise. I took four 5″ ramekins and applied melted butter to the inside. Then I started by putting 4 slices of Mozzarella Cheese in each one, then some Pepperoni.

Then I added Onions and Black Olives in 2 ramekins, then added sliced mushrooms in each one.

Then I scooped some of the “Sausage Pizza sauce mixture on top of each one. The I divided my dough into 4 equal batches, rolled it out and carefully placed one over each ramekin. I coated them with an egg wash to help them become a golden brown.

I baked them in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes. I let them cool for a few minutes, then carefully turned them over onto a plate to cool. They were absolutely amazing – all that I had expected.

Deep Fryer vs Hot Air Fryer

Well, as many of you know, I am a sucker for fried foods, lol. At our house, we have a deep fryer on the counter, that we use on a regular basis – albeit with Peanut Oil – but, still not a very healthy option. So, fast forward to a few months ago – my brother-in-law gave us a Hot Air Fryer – which, I have to admit, I sort of rolled my eyes at it. After all, how can you “fry” something with “hot air?”

Well, my brother-in-law kept asking what we thought about it – but, since we hadn’t tried it, I couldn’t answer that question. So, I tried it on some small things, like a piece of a cut up turkey, and some frozen wings – and they turned out ok. The frozen wings were definitely better than cooking them in the microwave, lol.

So, last night, I decided to put this “Air Fryer” to the test – and did a head to head test with the Air Fryer vs the Deep Fryer – knowing that I would be able to tell my brother-in-law that the Air Fryer doesn’t hold a candle to the traditional Deep Fryer.

Well, I started with some boneless Chicken Breasts, sliced them in half, so they aren’t so thick, then lightly coated them with Olive Oil.

I then dredged them in a mixture of bread crumbs, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Then I started with the Air Fryer, cooking them for 10 minutes at 390 degrees – flipping them at the 6 minute point. They were cooked to perfection, very moist and tender – yet fully cooked.

Now, for the traditional Deep Fryer – all preparations were identical – but they were fried at 375 degrees for approximately 8 minutes. As with the Air Fryer, the Chicken Breasts were cooked to perfection, moist and tender, but fully cooked.

The picture with 2 breast pieces are from the Air Fryer – and as you can see – the color and appearance of the Chicken Breasts are very different between the 2 fryers – as was the taste. Now, for the results:

As I stated earlier, part of my purpose was to prove what I already “knew” – and that was that the traditional Deep Fryer would produce a much “tastier” end product than the Air Fryer. I tasted the 2 different types, then had my son, Jesse try them both, then had my wife try them both – and all 3 of us had the same opinion – and it was not even a close call: the winner is – HOT AIR FRYER!

While the consistency and texture of the Chicken Breasts were very similar with both fryers – the taste could not have been more different. The most telling sign, and the first thing that I noticed is that with the chicken cooked in the Air Fryer – you could immediately taste the mild bite from the Cayenne – while with the chicken cooked in the Deep Fryer, you could not taste any Cayenne at all – as though it was cooked with a different breading. The overall taste of the Chicken Breasts cooked in the Air Fryer was FAR better than those cooked in the traditional Deep Fryer. I could not have been more wrong in my perception of what this Air Fryer was capable of. This experiment has made a believer out of me, and now I am anxious to cook more things in the Air Fryer.

Short Ribs and Zeppole

As I get older, I continue to want to make new things that I have never made – hence today’s post. Today, I made Beef Short Ribs, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans for supper. I started with 4 pounds of Short Ribs and a Dutch Oven. I put some Canola Oil in the Dutch Oven, heated it up, then took the Short Ribs and rolled them in flour and salt, and seared on all sides.

Then I added a quart of Beef Stock and 1 1/2 cups of Burgandy wine, then added 2 peeled and sliced carrots, 3 sliced Celery sticks, and 1 sliced Yellow Onion, with some Rosemary on top.

I then put the lid on the Dutch Oven and put in the oven at 350 degrees for 4 1/2 hours. To accompany the Short Ribs, I made some homemade Mashed Potatoes – with Russet Potatoes – with 1 1/2 cups of butter, a little bit of milk, and some salt and pepper. It was absolutely amazing! The meat was falling off of the bones – with amazing flavor from the vegetables and the Wine. The vegetables were super tender and tasty as well.

Then, to top it all off, I made some Zeppole for dessert. The easiest way to describe what Zeppole is: an Italian Donut Hole.

I start by melting butter in water, then adding some sugar and stirring it in. Then I added the flour, and continue to stir until the batter pulls away from the sides of the pan. Then I let the batter cool slightly, then stir in 4 eggs (one at a time), while mixing with a mixer.

Then I scooped them into the deep fryer with a small Ice Cream scoop, with the oil at 375 degrees. Once they are a golden brown, I removed them from the fryer onto a paper towel covered plate. Then I rolled them in a mixture of 1 cup Sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon. My granddaughter, Leana, helped me with this part.

What a great Sunday night meal.

A Bent Ring No More!

This is a story about a Bent Ring, and some Woodworking. My wedding ring has been very badly bent for several years, and sometimes gets very uncomfortable – and sometimes I can barely get it off my finger.

So, since I have a wood lathe, I thought – why not just just a piece of Oak into a nice piece that I can straighten out my ring. So, here goes:

I started with a piece just like this:

Then I cut it down and started turning it on the lathe:

It probably took me longer to turn this small piece than it should have – but, I am still learning how to use this tool. Here are some more pictures:

It is a slow process of gradually reducing the size, and putting nice taper on it – then sanding it smooth.

Here, you can see that the size is substantially reduced, with the taper where I needed it. The remaining pictures show a finished product, as well as the ring on the finished piece of wood, and the ring after straightening it to a more “round” shape.

Now, the only thing left to do is to clean up the mess, lol.

Christmas Eve at the Liphart house

Every year, we host the big Christmas celebration at our house on Christmas Eve. We do a big BBQ, and this year we had 22 people at the house. We cooked Pork Spare Ribs, Tri-Tip, Chicken, Steak, Scalloped Potatoes, Corn, salad, Fried Potatoes, and many dessert treats. Then the kids all opened presents.

I started a fire in the fire pit – just for the ambiance – it was very mild weather. I hope all that read this had an amazing Christmas – and most importantly, that we remember the reason for the season – a celebration of the birth of our Lord, Jesus.