Apple Cinnamon Rings

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You’d be hard pressed to find a person that doesn’t love the crunch and deliciousness of onion rings. They’re tender on the inside, crispy on the outside and have a fun and novel little shape to boot! I was enjoying onion rings the other day and it got me thinking about what other foods this particular format would work on. What else could be dipped in a delicious batter and fried to the perfect crispness and be completing addictive? The fruit bowl on my counter has been overflowing lately with a veritable myriad of apples – Fuji, Mcintosh and Braeburn to name a few and I got to thinking about these apple rings I used to enjoy as a child at local carnivals. They were always served warm with a side of caramel for dipping! The memory seemed to have whet my appetite for nostalgia and I found myself whipping up these delish apple rings despite my busy afternoon. 

DSC_0485 You can use any variety of apple that you’d like but try to avoid ones such as Mcintosh which are less able to handle the heat while frying without turning to mush. Granny smith is a good choice because it is crisp and retains its shape, but if that variety is too tart for your liking, stick to a hearty Braeburn or Red Delicious variety. 

DSC_0510 DSC_0514 I used biscuit cutters in graduated sizes to cut the apples into rings. For the smallest inner ring I used an apple corer. 

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Chinese Fried Dumplings

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There’s something about the delicious flavour and greasiness of Chinese food that is ever so tempting. I don’t have many vices, but Chinese dishes and fried foods definitely make the list of my top indulgences. Chinese food often gets a bad rap for being unhealthy, but that doesn’t stop legions of people from heading to Chinese restaurants each day, to indulge in delicious Chinese fare. It’s no wonder that, apparently, a third of the world’s population eat Chinese food daily (a statistic that seems somewhat suspect to me, but, hey, I’ll accept it). 

My inlaws were headed over this weekend to visit, and I decided to satisfy my yen for a delish fried appetizer and make enough to satisfy the appetites of my very hungry husband and brother-in-laws, so I whipped up these little fried bad boys. Dumplings are often steamed, pan fried with a little bit of oil and some water, or just shallow-fried in some oil. I prefer steamed dumplings in my soups but when eaten as an appetizer, frying the dumplings is the method of choice to produce dumplings that are crisp on the outside with a tender and delicious filling. When I make steamed dumplings, I use a filling that is uncooked and allow the water and steam to cook the meat through. When I’m frying dumplings, I tend to us meat that is pre-cooked as the dumplings only need about a minute per side to brown, which is not long enough to cook raw meat. 

These dumplings are great to make on a weekend because, although the filling is easy to whip up, forming the dumplings takes a bit of time. They can be frozen for use later on on a weekday when you’re in a pinch and need to fry up some delicious home-made dumplings as an appetizer. I often make these for dinner parties because it makes so many dumplings and who doesn’t love a little fried bite of chicken in a flaky crust with a sweet and sour dipping sauce?

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Be sure to use a green cabbage (often confused with a Savoy cabbage as it is similar in colour). The green cabbage, unlike the Savoy cabbage, has leaves that are quite thick and can withstand the heat of being fried without wilting beyond recognition. Green cabbage has a lovely and hearty crunch to it. 

DSC_0088 DSC_0097 I opted to grill the chicken because, well, I dig foods that are grilled and have a smoky quality, but you can just as easily pan-fry these chicken cutlets. Grilling the chicken is largely unorthodox for a Chinese dumpling recipe but I just love the flavour those beautiful char marks impart. 

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