Tuesday, January 12, 2010

...by any other name...

I am a faulted human being, but if nothing else, I try to be a woman of my word. Albeit, I have my slip-ups too, but more often than not, if I commit to something, I'll make it happen. Whether I'm having dinner with a friend but dead tired, or being dragged to an event that I have even less desire to attend than when I first reluctantly said I would, if I said, "Yes", you can trust that I'll come through.

Last week, when Teanna of Spork and Foon tweeted an apology to all the Tuesdays With Dorie bakers for this week's choice of Mrs. Vogel's Scherben, I immediately decided I would definitely participate and responded so. There it was. Written in stone.

And then I found out it required deep-frying.

My heart sank. I have avoided deep-frying for as long as I have been cooking. Even if the recipe sounds like heaven realized, I will mentally drool about it and then file it away until...never. That Ad Hoc fried chicken recipe that I've dreamed of having ever since I heard about their Fried Chicken Mondays nearly two years ago -- that will never be made. Taiwanese breakfast crullers that are a crazy weakness of mine -- I'll have to keep driving to the San Gabriel Valley for them, because they're sure as hell not going to be fried up in my home! I've imagined oil sputtering all over the place, getting multiple burns, and then having to dispose that glut of oil!! Not excited.

But, like I said, it was written in stone, so I sucked up all my qualms and started making the dough. The preparation is terribly simple and uses only one bowl!! (That little detail almost made up for the deep-frying.) This morning, I heated up the canola oil as instructed and dropped in the strips of dough. Amazingly, this recipe is not only simple to assemble, but cooks so quickly as well! The strips emerged in every which shape, but that was to be expected and soon, the job was done.

The scherben were a hit in the office, but it wasn't received as such. To my Guatemalan right-hand man, they were corbatas -- a taste of his youth and the reason behind a wistful, adolescent grin. To my Armenian co-worker who spent several years of her childhood in Italy, they were chiacchiere. It brought back memories of her mother in the kitchen, warm pastry puffs at the ready week after week. Though traditionally, both confections incorporate different ingredients in their composition than these scherben, the scherben were close enough to their recollections that making them was worth even oil-disposal inconvenience.

Aside from the frying smell permeating through the kitchen and living room and uncertainty in how I would get rid of the used oil, the process was incredibly painless. I can't believe I have avoided frying for so long! I'm not in any hurry to fire up another pot of canola oil, but suddenly, those recipes that I've filed away for "never" have been re-filed for "sometime".


  1. Good for you to try something new! FYI - If you want to keep the oil to use later you can, just funnel it back into the bottle or into a coffee can and put the lid on. It will keep for a long time.
    You've made me want to try the fried chicken recipe now!

  2. they look good! i like how pretty much every country has a version of these, so they're enjoyed by everyone!

  3. Yours look like they turned out perfect! Glad they were enjoyed.