Sunday, February 13, 2011

Deep-Fried Sunday

When I was pregnant with Squeak, we filled the freezer with various foods so we would have lots of things on hand that I can eat with no guilt (especially since, in the 6 weeks or so following delivery, I'm still considered high-risk for preeclampsia and my blood pressure can still be wacky independently of that - during and immediately after pregnancy, the low sodium diet is even more important than usual).

One of the things The Beast made was bean paste (directly from a recipe in Diana Kennedy's The Art of Medican Cooking).  We had a jar of that and a bunch of corn tortillas (store-bought -- the flour variety are way high in sodium, but corn are fine).  I heated up some oil in a little sauce pan, quartered the tortillas, and plunked them in the pot several quarters at a time.

The red splatter is left over from last night's dinner.  The Beast made chicken with red mole, also from the Kennedy book.  It was yummy!  After dinner, we settled in and watched a movie while Bean was at Parents' Night Out.  The dishes and splatter clean-up can wait!

When the tortillas were crisp, I pulled them out with tongs and put them in a brown paper bag to absorb the oil (and, if I'd wanted, I could have put some seasonings in and given it a good shake).

I warmed up the bean paste, shredded a little cheddar cheese on top, and we ate chips and bean dip.

 Bean is asking "how is it crunchy?"

And, since I was hungry, it became clear that Bean and The Beast were going to be eating the chips, and the oil was already hot, I pulled some falafel batter out of the fridge and fried up a couple batches of that.  

 I've made falafel several times, using Mark Bittman's recipe from How to Cook Everything but only adding half the salt called for.  The batter keeps extremely well in the fridge for at least a few days.  We haven't tried it in the freezer.  We generally make up a whole recipe of the batter, fry only half of it at the original meal, and have the other half for a second meal.  Bean LOVES falafel - I think he partly loves the name (he also like "bonzo beans" on their own - again, I think partly because of the name!).

I usually serve falafel with "dip" (homemade, low sodium ranch dressing) and sliced vegetables (carrots, peppers, cucumber, celery, cherry tomatoes) and have everything over romaine lettuce.  Bean chows down on the falafel, carrots, and sometimes celery all dipped in "dip"  (that's what he calls it).

The Beast and I were discussing how healthy this all is today, since it's being deep fried in vegetable oil (because that's what we have, and it's cheap).  It's probably not great, but it meets my dietary needs in terms of sodium and we rarely do this much deep frying.  I think, though, that we might switch to a different oil when we run out of vegetable.  We need to balance health with cost and are thinking peanut oil is a good candidate.  Any other suggestions or thoughts?

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