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Slice of Life

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Try vegetables fried this holiday

Eileen Goltz

With Hanukah and Christmas it is to be assumed that there will be a boatload of recipes offering side dishes like creamed vegetables, potato pancakes and ooey-gooey desserts.

While, in theory, I believe you can never have too many holiday recipes (notice I didn’t say have too many to eat), I believe that this year we should shift our focus to all other kinds of foods that are just different enough that you’d consider serving them every time you entertain.

Truly, this is one of those columns where calories don’t count (they exist, they just don’t count), and your commitment to eating healthier just has to take a vacation. It’s the holiday season let the eating begin.

Tempura Batter No. 1

Try having your turkey, ham or standing rib roast as a main course and serve tempura vegetables or a breaded and oven fried vegetables that give a real wow factor to any meal.

1 egg

1 cup ice water/cold water

1 cup all purpose flour, sifted

Pinch of salt optional

In a bowl whisk the egg. Add the ice water in the bowl and whisk to combine. Add the flour and whisk in salt if using to combine. Be careful not to over mix the batter.

Tempura String Beans

1 cup flour

1 cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup soda water

1 pound string beans, washed, dried and trimmed

1/2 cup cranberry sauce

Preheat oil in deep fryer to 375 degrees. In a large bowl add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, sugar and salt and mix to combine. Whisk in the soda water and mix until a batter is formed. Dip the beans in the batter being sure to shake off the excess. Fry the beans in batches for 2 to 3 minutes until crispy and golden. Remove to a paper towel lined sheet tray to drain. Arrange the beans on a platter and serve with warm cranberry sauce.

Note: When frying the beans, make sure the fryer basket is submerged into the oil. Drop string beans into the basket in the oil to ensure the beans do not stick to the basket when cooking.

Oven-Fried Parmesan Zucchini

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup fine bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/5 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 large egg

6 zucchini squash, trimmed at each end

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking pan with sides with the olive oil and set it aside.

In a large shallow bowl combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, salt and pepper; mix to combine. In another bowl whisk the egg.

Cut each squash in half lengthwise. Then cut in half lengthwise again. Then cut them in half. Dredge each piece first in the egg and then in the Parmesan mixture, coating completely on all sides. Arrange the coated spears on the prepared baking pan.

Bake for 5 to 7 minutes then turn the squash over and bake and additional until the spear is crisp and browned. Serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 4 to 6. This can be doubled or tripled. Serve with marinara sauce.

Fried Cauliflower

2 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups flour

3 to 4 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon paprika

1 to 3 dashes cayenne pepper depending on how hot you like it

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 heads cauliflower, washed and broken into bite-size flowerets

Oil (for frying)

Salt to taste

Preheat fryer oil to 375 degrees. Place the beaten eggs, milk and salt in a shallow bowl. In another bowl combine the flour, cheese, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, paprika, cayenne and pepper. Place the flowerets into the egg mixture and toss to coat well. Then coat the flowerets with the flour mixture Fry in batches for 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and lightly salt and serve. Great with marinara or onion/sour cream dip. Serves 6.

– Recipe modified from one submitted by Aaron McCargo Jr. of Baltimore – Submitted by Ronan Cesaran of Bloomfield Mich.; modified – Modified from Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.