Tablescapes, Fall at the Beach & Tempura Onion Rings

Hungry Husband and I were able to sneak away to the beach this weekend and it is still summer like here, highs still in the low 80’s, and last night we had no guests, plans or children…sometimes a little down time is needed!  We generally don’t go to a lot of trouble with meals when it’s just us but last night we decided to have a special little dinner for 2…

Of course the first thing I get out is my “Prissy Fish, ” she is usually the star of the show around here, and I perched her on this burnt orange and blue platter which is a subtle reminder of the season.

In the cabinet I have an assortment of plates, odd numbers of things acquired over time, but everything mixes because of similar colors or a beachy theme. I had salad plates that matched the platter pretty well, with the cobalt blue, turquoise  and golden yellow.

and these mosaic looking dinner plates have a touch of the rusty burnt orange along with lots of blues.  The cobalt blue bowls added additional color and I placed a starfish inside the bowl just for fun.  A couple of fish napkin rings that I borrowed from the kitchen window…

I added some blue fish martini glasses for the “Seasonal Sipper”, Pumpkin Pie Martini  that we are going to indulge in later…

and I found some funky ceramic vessels for water and some  fish goblets from JMdesigns Gallery

I finished out the centerpiece with a tall blue bottle and a wine bottle with a starfish stopper

We decided to grill some steaks and make some Tempura Onion Rings…Yum…

I want to share the method for the onion rings because it is SO EASY.  HHjr & I have read and tried many recipes, and his favorite is a lot more complicated than mine.  My method is EASY, translate that to mean that I am more likely to make it!  It is also delicious.  You can make these in advance, keep them warm in a 200 degree oven, or refrigerate after frying and reheat at 350 for 10 minutes. See post on Coconut Shrimp, Aug 17, 2012.

My big secret is this packaged Tempura Batter mix, I swear by it.  Make your own if you must, but this is really good.

My other secret is this big fryer.  It is so much fun to use, I always feel like I’m cooking in a restaurant…It IS NOT HARD TO CLEAN at all, you just pour the oil back into it’s original container.  I usually end up with almost all the oil back, because of the draining basket, the foods absorb very little oil and are not greasy at all.

All you need is sliced onions, Tempura batter mix, ice water and a large mixing bowl.

Stir the ice water into the dry mixI add some of the water, stir and then more water until the batter is the right consistency, thin enough to work with but thick enough to coat.

Me of little patience, I just dump all the onion rings in and stir them around

and drop them in batches into the fryer

When they are golden and delicious looking, drain on paper towels

and try to save some for everyone else!

Bon Appetit!

Here’s the recipe:

TEMPURA BATTERED ONION RINGS  for a printable version click here

1 box tempura batter mix

1-2 large onions

ice water

Slice onion into rings and make batter mix according to package directions.  Dip onion rings in batter and fry in hot oil.  I like to use peanut oil and a deep fat fryer.  Drain onions on paper towels and salt immediately.  Place cooked rings in a 200 degree oven to keep warm as you fry the rest of the onion in batches.

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NOTE: I am still experimenting with my watermarking technique, I hate to ruin beautiful photos but due to the internet thieves, it is necessary!

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