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My Recipes-of-the-Week are featured here on my Home page. You can find 2000 of my kitchen-tested recipes using the Recipes tab, watch over 125 Kitchen Encounters/WHVL-TV segments using the TV Videos tab, join the discussion about all of my creations using the Facebook tab, or Email your questions and comments directly to me--none go unanswered. "We are all in this food world together." ~Melanie

06/30/2022

~ Stop Frittering Around & Fry Up A Batch of Fritters ~

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c6ce68e2970bHere in Pennsylvania, I grew up eating savory deep-fried corn fritters in July and August, when local sweet corn is in season, and  sweet apple fritters in September and October, when local apples are in season.  I grew up eating potato pancakes as well, which are technically a type of fritter, but, we don't refer to them as such because they are pan-fried.  Doughnuts were/are made on Doughnut Day, and, even though they're deep-fried, we don't call them fritters either. Why? Like their precursor cousin, the beignet, they don't contain any chopped protein, fresh or dried fruits and/or vegetables, and, with or without holes, they're just plain old deep-fried dough.

Fritters are deep-fried.  Fritters contain protein, fruit or veggies.

6a0120a8551282970b022ad376b6db200cA bit about fritters:  Defined as small, sweet or savory, deep-fried (not pan fried), dough- or batter-based cakes (fritters contain no bread or bread crumbs) made by combining chopped food (not whole pieces or chunks) with a thick, seasoned batter, dropped into hot oil and deep-fried until crisp on the outside and cooked-through on the inside. Depending on the consistency of the batter, fritters can emerge flat (like pancakes) or round (like golf balls).  Once chopped, almost anything can be made into a fritter:  meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruits or vegetables.  

Fritters can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner, as a snack, side-dish, main-course or dessert.  Fritters are sold on street corners and in five-star restaurants where they can be picked up and eaten with the hand or eaten with a fork.  Fritters are the original fast food and pub grub. Fritters are multi-cultural -- you can find a fritter anywhere in the world where they deep-fry food.

You can really use your imagination when it comes to fritter ingredients, but the most important thing is knowing how to properly deep fry food.  Oil that is too cold when food is added will impart an oily, greasy taste, which is undesirable.  Too hot oil can also cause less then perfect fritters or burned ones. Electric deep fryers with controllable temperature settings take all the guesswork out of deep-frying, though for experienced cooks, a simple temperature gauge and a sense of how the oil appears and smells is often enough information to produce perfectly fried food.

Try my recipe for Sweet Deep-Fried & Glazed Apple Fritters:

6a0120a8551282970b022ad39cd855200dOr my recipe for Savory Deep-Fried Sweet Corn Fritters:

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c6ce692f970b"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022)

06/26/2022

~ Lox, Gravlax and Smoked Salmon -- Your Choice ~

6a0120a8551282970b022ad39c5547200dLox, gravlax and smoked salmon -- they are all cured salmon products, and, while they look similar, they are all distinctly different.  For lovers of cured salmon, we all have a favorite.  For example, I prefer smoked salmon to lox and prefer lox to gravlax.  There's more.  In my food world, I tend to serve one or the other for breakfast or brunch -- I don't think of it much as a dinner fare.  For lovers of cured salmon, the good news is, they can, for the most part, be used interchangeably in recipes, and, they can be served any time of day for any meal.

Entire books & lots of commentary have been written about all three.  For the average cook, I'll make a long story short:

Lox is associated with breakfast or brunch -- at least for me it is.  Derived from the Yiddish word lax, meaning salmon, lox is taken from the belly of the fish then very-thinly-sliced.  It gets salt-cured about three months and does not undergo any smoking process afterward. 

Gravlax is pretty much the same thing as lox -- it undergoes the salt cure and does not get smoked. That said, gravlax has spices added to the salt cure (usually sugar, salt and dill), then it's prepped with a seasoning that often includes juniper berry, pepper, and aquavit.

Smoked salmon is salt cured and smoked afterward, one of two ways: hot-smoked (at 145º for about 8 hours) and cold-smoked (no higher than 80º for about 15 hours).  Hot-smoked salmon is dryer and smokier, while cold-smoked is moister, less smoky and more similar to lox.

Try my Smoked Salmon & Folded Omelet Bagel Sandwich:

6a0120a8551282970b022ad3bbee21200bTry my Lox, Caviar & Frambled Egg Breakfast too:

6a0120a8551282970b022ad376292e200c"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022)

06/23/2022

~ Crème Caramel -- The Ultimate Custard Dessert ~

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c754963a970bCrème caramel is a sophisticated dessert that is eaten around the world, but, was made famous in the later part of the 20th century in French restaurants.  It is a silky-smooth custard that is gently baked/steamed in a caramel-coated mold or in individual porcelain ramekins.  When slightly warm or room temperature the delicate custard is turned out onto its serving plate.  It emerges elegantly-glazed and exquisitely-sauced with the caramel from the bottom of the mold.

In the French language, the word crème means custard. 

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d0dddc37970cIn French, crème means custard.  It's worth mentioning that making crème caramel in individual-sized ramekin is much easier than turning out one larger sized one, as the fragile custard easily splits.  Large ones also require more care to avoid undercooking the interior or overcooking the exterior.  The objective is to obtain a homogeneous and smooth crème on the surface of the with a liquid caramel base.  For that reason, cooking either size in a water bath (bain-marie) is essential to the success of the dessert, as  cooking it in a bain-marie avoids burning the caramel.

Crème caramel is the direct opposite of its rustic cousin, crème brûlée, which is a similarly-baked custard with a hard caramel shell on the top that is served and eaten directly out of the vessel in which it is baked.  In France, crème caramel is also referred to as "crème renversee", in Italy it is called "crèma caramella", and, if you're in Spain, it is "flan" you are looking for.  It's an exquisite dessert that comes with a built-in elegant presentation.  When prepared using individual ramekins, it is conveniently portioned as well, so serving it is a dream come true.

Try my recipe for The Ultimate Silky Smooth Crème Caramel:

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c7548b4e970b"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022