Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22: National Chocolate Eclair Day and National Onion Ring Day

Wow, two very different foods are celebrated today - one sweet and refined while the other is greasy and common.  Okay, so not a perfect description, since both can go in so many different directions.  Let's take a look.

National Chocolate Eclair Day

Take a puff pastry, make it long, fill it with cream, and add a chocolate glaze.  What do you get?  A chocolate eclair, of course!  You can usually find this French dessert in bakeries or the starring menu item of a brunch.  My mom and I used to make chocolate eclairs for bake sales.  They did pretty well and I always had leftover chocolate glaze to eat.  The only problem I have with chocolate eclairs is that the filling always seems to squeeze out the opposite end of my bite.

There is so little information out there about the history of the eclair.  We can say that eclairs were around during 1884, as that's the first appearance of eclairs in an American cookbook. 

While not technically a chocolate eclair, there is a whole wheat chocolate eclair dessert.  You could use Nutella as the topping.  Chocolate eclairs can be sugar-free.  (I'm really curious to make that - how good can a dessert be if mae without sugar?)   of, if you want to make sure your breath is good, try a chocolat eclair with mint.

National Onion Ring Day

Onion rings are just rings of onion dipped in batter and fried.  Doesn't seem particularly glamorous when thought of that way, but the latest trend seems to be making onion rings much better than before.  For instance, there's a variety of batters to choose from: do you go with the beer batter?  Or how about the cheese batter?  Or herbs?  Or red velvet cake?  (Sorry, I doubt I'll try that one.)

And what about the onion?  I'm used it the onions being the normal yellow onions.  And I think that's what most stores serve.  Now, you can try using red onions

And of course, you may want dipping sauce.  The recipes where the batter is the star and you probably won't want to dip those into anything.  You can do a basic catsup dip, or use a barbecue sauce, or just add some salt and pepper.  You can make fancy dipping sauces.  Or just do a cheese and beer fondue.  (That pairs well with the beer batter onion rings.)   A lot of people like ranch dressing with their onion rings.  Just about anything can be a dip for onion rings.

Just let me know if you do a crazy combination.  For example, red velvet cake onion rings with steak sauce and marinara.  I just don't see that one pairing well.

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