There’s a point between here and there where the newness runs out. When I do feels like do I have to? When a newborn’s cry feels common and exhausting. When misplaced rose colored glasses shatter beneath a tiny foot and a pile of leaves. When you walk through the back door for the 100th time and the house no longer smells new. It’s to be expected, even when it’s not.
This post is created in partnership with Kettle Brand Chips. Kettle has been doing the all-natural thing since before it was a thing. All products are naturally non-GMO certified and gluten-free. If I’m gonna grab a bag of potato chips, it’s gonna be Kettle Chips.
It hit a couple weeks ago. It was a quiet weekend, too quiet, with just the three of us. Our calendar was empty. It was everything we’d been craving the last couple months, a free weekend, until it wasn’t. The quiet was as thick as winter’s air. Like flour coated berries held stable in a cake batter, so were our uncomfortable feelings. Our house had finally started to feel like a home, but it wasn’t as we had imagined. It was too quiet. Our friend group felt unestablished. And on this specific weekend, non existent. There was nothing new on the horizon. We’d successfully yet barely worked our way through a long list of highs over the past two years—a new business, our first child, Kev’s first real job post grad school, a permanent move to a new city, building a new home, making it home.
It was on this particular weekend that we clicked through channels, football game after game, wishing it was ours. We both grew up in football loving families. My mom wore a Clemson Tiger paw embroidered orange sweatshirt on game days and lots of other days. When Clemson lost, we all lost. My dad was born with a star on his back. He’s forever been a Cowboy’s fan. We moved around a lot when I was young. But when we landed in Dallas, they made it home to give my younger sister and brother stability. I think it was mostly because of the football team.
Aside from the food which I loved, especially my mom’s killer seven layer dip that came out only during football season, I’m not sure why I never fell in love with the game. “I get it now,” Kev said that weekend. “Football connects people. It’s a steady companion come fall and winter.” It was a simple revelation. And it was what we were missing—a steady companion.
The other night at dinner, a new friend said it took him 3 years for things to feel right and rhythmic here. That’s about how long it took us in Chicago. We left Connecticut 11 months shy of that. If football were ours, it’d fill the gap between the newness wearing off and the normal setting in. I’m opting for football food instead—baked onion rings laced in crushed Red Curry Kettle Chips. We ate them straight off the baking sheet last weekend with our friend Julie, who’s also a recent transplant. Football was on for good measure, but muted. Kev had another revelation. “You’d never know these onion rings were baked. They taste fried.” Should I tell him they’re battered in chips?
This recipe is easy, and as Kev says, they taste fried (because the chips are). This method allows you to bypass the off-putting lingering smell of fried in your kitchen. The ingredient list is short. I borrowed all the flavoring from the Red Curry Kettle Chip. You could really sub any of their chips into this recipe. I was so lucky to visit their facilities a couple weeks ago in Oregon (more on that later). The flavor profile of all their chips is spot on. It’s not cheating to steal the flavor of the chips for the onion ring coating. It’s smart.
Whatever game day means to you, I hope you find your team. Make them baked onion rings to say you’re mine.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Into a freezer bag, add flour and salt. Close and shake to combine.
Into a food processor, add chips (half of an 8.5 oz bag or so). Steal 1 teaspoon of the flour mixture and add to the processor. Pulse until mixture resembles a coarse breadcrumb. You may need to scrape down the sides of container in between pulses. Pour into a small flat-bottomed container.
Into another small flat bottomed container, whisk together egg and water.
Now, cut off the top of the onion and remove the outer layer. Carefully (because there’s no flat edge to rest the onion on) cut the onion into 1″ thick rounds. Separate the onion rings out, being careful not to break the ring. Save tiny pieces for another meal.
Add a couple onion rings at a time to the flour mixture. Shake to coat. Completely dredge in egg mixture. Then coat in chip mixture, making sure the entire ring is lightly coated. Place on baking sheet. Repeat.
Bake for 8 minutes. Using a thin spatula, carefully flip and bake for an additional 8 minutes. Remove from oven and serve warm.