Friday, April 04, 2008

Friday Night Pub Fare

I'm feeling inspired to make some pub food tonight. I've made boneless, healthy chicken wings for Super Bowl Sunday and they were fantastic. So they are definitely on the menu again. I like to try and sneak in as many veggies into what seems like a naughty snack night. I want to make baked zucchini sticks and I still haven't tried to make the baked onion rings. Tim made a request to attempt a blooming onion. Keep in mind that it has to be baked. I don't deep fry anything. Not that I am adamantly against deep frying, I just don't own the proper equipment and I'm a little afraid of a pot of hot oil. It's a good fear to have, I figure.

So I googled 'blooming onion'. Everything is deep fried. I do see that most recipes require that you soak the cut onion to help it bloom before battering. I was planning on dipping it in seasoned flour, then buttermilk then crumbs. This is not at all like any of the batter mixes I see but they are all for frying. A few of the recipes also say you should let the battered onion sit in the fridge for an hour before frying. I did get a good grasp on the dip recipe. Here it is:

Blooming Onion Dip:


  • 1 part Mayo
  • 1 part Sour Cream or Yogurt
  • 1/4 part Chili sauce (I don't have any so I'm going to take ketchup and mix is with horseradish, paprika and ground pepper)
  • Cayenne Pepper to suit your taste.


Mix it all up and let it sit for a couple of hours so the flavours can blend and bloom.

Okay lets google "healthy baked blooming onion" and see what we get...

Okay, the pickin's were slim. This is an indulgence that either people don't want to mess with and just give in to their cravings every once in a while (nothing wrong with that) or not many people think they can make a good healthy alternative. Well I love a challenge so here's what I plan to do.

Possible Healthy Baked Blooming Onion Recipe:
Since I have a good knife and fairly decent knife skills I will attempt to cut the onion into wedges. Hopefully I can do this without ending up with a pile of onion slices. Step 2 - I'll soak the onion for a bit in cold water to let it 'bloom'. Then I think I'll dip it in some buttermilk. I have buttermilk that I bought to make onion rings and I really don't want it to go to waste. Then I'll dip the whole thing in some seasoned flour. I'm going to put paprika, garlic powder, pepper and cayenne pepper in the flour. Then it's off to the fridge for an hour. This works out great because I can do this ahead of time and just pull it out when I am ready to bake it. To try and replicate the fried crispiness I'll spray the whole thing liberally with some olive oil from my spray pump bottle. Then it's off to the oven to bake at 375 for 30 minutes. If it's not crispy enough then I'll turn up the oven to 425 for 5 - 10 minutes. I'm going to go make the dipping sauce now so it has lots of time to sit and blend. Wish me luck! It it works out I'll finalize the recipe and post it.

Now on to the zucchini sticks. What makes these easier is that you let the parchment paper do the good browning and crisping work for you. Invest in some if you want to bake fried imitation recipes. Wow, the google results for "healthy baked zucchini sticks" were plentiful. Awesome! These are good to get the kids into veggies, just slice them thinly so they aren't too gooey inside. We may like the texture but soft vegginess will often turn a kid off. Serve with ranch dressing and you kids will be munching on veggies in no time!

The real key to getting these right is to cook them quick and at a high heat.

Baked Zucchini Sticks
  • 3 small zucchini, cut into sticks or wedges
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp cornmeal and grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp dried basil and oregano
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder and dried thyme (preferably ground)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 450
  2. Beat the egg whites in a bowl
  3. Combing the rest of the ingredients, from bread crumbs to cayenne pepper in another bowl or plate.
  4. Dip the zucchini in the egg white, then the crumb mixture and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
  5. Spray the zucchini sticks with cooking spray
  6. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, turn the sticks over and cook another 5 - 10 minutes depending on how thick you cut them and your preference for crispiness.

I serve these with ranch dressing to keep it simple. I'll already have 2 other dips for the wings (leftover sauce that they were cooked in, reduced and thickened) and for the onion (see above) so I'd prefer not to make a third sauce but you can do whatever tickles your fancy!

I'll let you know how are pub night in turns out. But in the meantime, it's Friday! CHEERS!!

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