Mindy and I decided to pull out her deep fryer and spend a night turning healthy things into greasy delicacies.
We started off with your standard tortilla chips. We used both corn and flour tortillas. Simply cut a tortilla into your desired triangular sizes and add to the hot oil. We used safflower oil for everything. It is a bit more expensive in the states, but it has a more neutral flavor and won't stink your house up as badly as other oils.
I wish I could convey more of a method, but honestly the best way to check for doneness is to watch the color carefully and remove one to test when you think they are getting close to done.
Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a sheet pan lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil. One of our favorites, as we knew it would be, were our fried plantains. Plantains become both crisp and light and reveal a sweet nuttiness when fried. Delicious.
I also prepared two dips. The first was a standard guacamole but the second was based on a recipe from Claudia McQuillan's book Chips and Dips.
I was drawn to Campanile's Fresh Fava Bean Dip, though I had no access to favas. I decided to try substituting lima beans, as she suggests in the book. The recipe was a fairly straight-forward take on a hummus, simply using a different base. The beans were heated over a low heat until bright green and then mashed with olive oil, garlic, onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper. The photograph isn't very appealing, however this was a very nice dip and I will be making it again. The flavors were subtle and it complimented the salted, warm tortilla chips well.
We also fried parsnips, Japanese eggplant, taro root, carrots, rutabagas, cheddar cheese, sweet potatoes, and turnips.
The rutabagas turned out absolutely gorgeous. When fried they developed a carmel color with flecks of deep brown in the centers and a stripe around the edges. They tasted fabulous too.
Lastly, we wanted to make some sort of dessert/alcoholic item. We concocted an idea to combine the two. First we injected vodka into strawberries with a syringe and then let them soak in the vodka for about an hour. Next we dredged the strawberries in a mixture of bread crumbs and sugar, rolled in beaten eggs, and then back in the bread crumbs. We fried them until golden brown and ate them warm.
These were astoundingly good. Mindy and I were both skeptical at first, but we were pleasantly surprised with our success.