Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thank Goodness It's Fryday

M and I have this not-so-secret dream to start food and/or travel blogs. Which we know sounds kind of lame, since just about everyone else I know dreams of making money from eating and traveling. And the blogosphere is inundated with people who think they are some combination of the following: foodie, good writer, good photographer, good cook. I'm actually only so arrogant as to believe two of those. Nevertheless, we have a bunch of food posts we've been saving up from all the rando stuff we've been making lately. So sit back and enjoy.

The first off is a tradition that goes all the way back to Creston House in Berkeley. Eddy and I made some deep fried sesame balls for Chinese New Year a couple years back, and we didn't want to waste the oil, so we decided to have a Thank Goodness It's Fryday party and fry up some chicken in our extra oil. I love me a good fried chicken. The awesomeness of the idea was further confirmed the following day by a full write-up in the SF Chronicle on how to fry up the tastiest fried chicken. Eddy won the hero award for carving up a total of something like 8 whole chickens. TGIF's breakout success led me to register for a deep fryer when M and I were getting married. And we are very grateful to M's second-cousin-once-removed for gifting it to us. Suffice it to say that the first year we were married, M and I gained a lot of weight.

So when we moved here to Beijing, I was very sad to leave my trusty fryer and the multitude of accessories and gadgets that made it possible. I'm realizing now that part of the reason M and I had such a rough year last year was because we didn't really have an outlet to cook at our tiny studio apartment (which mostly meant we just weren't willing to purchase the stuff we needed because we thought we were staying less than a year). We'd actually end up going over to a friend's house to cook and make a mess; the poor things must have wondered why we were such over-achievers.

So I'm sure you can imagine the abounding joy I experienced when our friends here pooled together for my birthday and bought me a frying kit:

Rather than the cheater electronic fryer I had home, I'd have to get back to my roots and fry up the goods with an aluminum fry pot, basket, and thermometer. Our friends were super generous and rather than buying a rusty wok and a camping stove, like most of the street vendors use to fry up their endless stinky tofu), they went to Pantry Magic. For Beijing prices, Pantry Magic is a little pricey, but these are seriously high quality goods here. M and I can't resist wandering in there whenever we're in the area; it's actually a pretty painful experience because we walk through the store and point out all the stuff that was on our wedding registry and is now in storage back in the States. Oh the pain.

But I digress. After a couple test runs with the fry pot, I was ready to kick off my first International TGIF Party. I wasn't really up to finding a whole chicken to fry (especially since M and I got used to frying up Amish chickens while we were in Ann Arbor. I doubted I could find them here), so I diddled around on the net for some recipes, and finally settled on Wings, Rings, and the requisite fries, for which I usually combine recipes from Alton Brown and America's Test Kitchen. M thought I was crazy because I invited way more people than this little pot should be able to cook for, and she had to go out to her internship studio for a film festival during the day, so I'd be sous-chef-less for the day. Thankfully a few friends were able to come over early to help out, otherwise I would have bitten off way more than I could chew!

I told some people to bring salads so we didn't die that night.

Here are the onion rings, pre-gloriousness:

Brian Chew had the freaking brilliant idea of making a blooming onion. Hellooo! Why didn't I think of that earlier? So he ran downstairs to find the biggest onions he could find:

And subsequently proved that if you want to attract the ladies, all you need is to batter and deep fry a gigantic onion. Notice the creepy dude skulking in the background? He's jealous of the magnetic power of the blooming onion and is plotting to steal it and take over the world.

At this point, I'd like to point out that sometimes there are moments in our lives where we accomplish something so great, so revolutionary, that we realize we've finally 'made it'. Making this blooming onion was one such moment. Of course, Marissa's homemade roasted red pepper aioli definitely helped with the euphoria.

I don't have any sweet pictures of the wings; mostly because they kept disappearing the moment we set them down anywhere. That and whenever we thought of it, our hands always had sauce on them from nibbling on the wings. Thankfully CC had the presence of mind to wash her hands and snap a few shots. Here's an action one for you:

We went with a garlic tabasco buffalo sauce and a tequila barbecue sauce. I believe (the aptly named) Mr. Chew has here the garlic tabasco kind.

Things were getting late, but we had one more trick up our sleeve:

Good donuts are so hard to come by in Beijing. So we finally got fed up and decided to make our own, courtesy of Allrecipes.

We ended up with chocolate glazed, cinnamon-sugar, and powdered donuts. These were tasty little guys and a fantastic end to a wild high-calorie night. The next time I make them, I'll have to be careful with the flour ratios, though, because they were pretty dense. I've seen some recipes for Krispy Kreme textures, so I might just have to try those next time.

All told, we spent over 8 hours frying together: the wings of 50 chickens, several potatoes, three large onions, two humongous onions, and 4 dozen donuts. Another smashingly successful TGIF.

Anyway, I'm sorry I wrote such an epic-poem of a write-up. I promise not every food post will be this involved.


Mind of a Stranger said...

Such awesome stories as this one makes me miss you guys and your awesomeness!!!

Sariah said...

Donuts!!!! Ahhh, I want donuts. That blooming onion was awesome looking. How did you cut it like that? I've been to wimpy to try making donuts, but maybe I will have to try it. Captain Crunch Chicken is very yummy deep fried. Baking it just isn't the same.

Man too bad I never lived close enough to you to experience TGIF. Come live in Washington. ;p

le loup said...

Brian Chew was always a very wise man in my eyes lol. I just hope that one day we can carve up a buffalo or a pheasant for the next TGIF =)

sarahst*r said...

That food looked so good. I haven't eaten a single fried thing (except french fries) since I got to the east coast. This post brought a little joy back into my otherwise cold, dreary, and fried-crispiness-less life.

Ingrid said...

THOSE DONUTS LOOK SO GOOD! can we make some when we visit? Can we get adventurous and fry unfryable things?