I just survived a blizzard. Or what southern California refers to as a blizzard anyways. It was a rough couple of days. I burned close to five hundred calories a day shoveling over four feet of snow in this southern California blizzard. That obviously led to some gluten-free baking and possibly some low-carb deep-fried shenanigans. Just because I live this low-carb lifestyle does not mean I don’t deserve the finer things in life. And yes, by that I mean deep-fried eggplant. But this is no ordinary deep-fried eggplant! It is quite possibly the best eggplant you will ever taste in your entire life!
Here in southern California, some mountain residents are having an absolute meltdown over the inconsiderateness of this blizzard or possibly their own poor planning. Mountain millennials crying on social media; That’s why I drink. I mean that’s why I have to deep fry delicious things. And possibly snowshoe up a mountain, burning close to a thousand calories an hour.
My family has lived in these mountains since 1985. As a snow-shoeing hiking guide here in Big Bear Lake, I’m constantly telling my guests tall tales of mountain life before iPhones, Snap chat and Teslas. In the winter of 1987, my family didn’t even have a four-wheel drive vehicle. We had a rotary phone and three none working snowblowers. My family lived and still does in Upper ROWCO, an area of the San Bernardino Mountains that gets more snow than anywhere else in these mountains. In this southern California blizzard last week, they received almost seven feet of snow. This “southern California blizzard” is something that we lived with every snow season. And honestly, we kind of enjoyed being snowed in as a family, losing power for days, playing board games and walking to the grocery store for supplies (We did miss watching MASH though) My mom only locked us kids (And maybe my dad) out of the house in our eighties snow gear a few times.
The snow storms of the 90s were so much more pleasant before social media and all the Karens weeping because the mountain highways were still closed to the public after four days. These silly fellows didn’t stock up on food or gas or diapers and now had a real problem to tweet about. We have the technology now in 2023 to inform the general public that there is a BLIZZARD heading towards the San Bernardino Mountains. (The first blizzard ever recorded in southern California folks) It’s absolutely ridiculous the cry babies in this mountain community are on their soap boxes all over SocalMountains and FB groups throwing temper tantrums over the winter weather.
CalTrans District 8 is doing its part to be prepared by closing down the mountain highways, which makes complete sense. The few snowplow operators we have are working twelve-hour shifts to clear our highways. All the mountain highways are plowed to just one lane. This leaves no room for the tourists to come up and take selfies on the sides of the highway next to the lake shore of the pristine lake and the giant Canadian geese who are migrating through. I drove around the north shore of the lake, looking for a place to park to snowshoe yesterday and drove miles out of scenic mile out of the way and there is NO parking anywhere along the lake. But if they open up the highways to tourists this weekend, you know the tourists will be parking in the one-lane highway to snap snow photos for the Insta.
I remember in high school, back in the 90s, kids had to be taken home to Green Valley Lake in snowcats. School was canceled for two weeks. This recent storm was just a touch of what we all lived through in the 90s. All these city-its who moved here in their Teslas are beside themselves not being able to drive off the mountain for a week. What happened to the gritty mountain people who used to just walk to the local grocery store in four feet of snow for a gallon of milk? This photo is my parent’s house in Upper ROWCO courtesy of my sister-in-law Echo.
How to stay entertained during a southern California blizzard
Sometimes during a blizzard, you have to keep yourself occupied. Or distracted from getting into a fight on social media. I’m too tired from shoveling for four days straight to argue anymore with FB trolls. How do you entertain yourself during a blizzard? Maybe you dyed your hair pink. Or maybe you dressed up like you were going clubbing (Halloween costume Kelly Anne Conway wig? But of course!) Or sometimes maybe you just deep-fry the last few fresh veggies you can find in the pantry.
I personally remembered to stock up on groceries and propane. I put gas in all our vehicles. But I made the huge southern California blizzard preparation mistake of not getting enough books from the library before this epic storm. Fail. Total fail. I’ve now burned through all the emergency books I got for Christmas, which unfortunately were all duds. There is nothing left to do but deep fry some delicious tempura veggies and possibly snowshoe up another mountain.I mean there is no way on earth I’m heading to one of the only two gas stations in Big Bear Lake that now have fuel and waiting for an hour to fill up. I’m just not that bored, even with nothing to read.
Tandoori Tempura? What?
Is there any better-tasting food during blizzard-like weather than a nice hot and spicy Indian meal? How about we deep fry it but without the carbs? Sounds savory, spicy and too good to be true, right? After yet another snow day when I burned over 1,500 calories, I think I deserve a delicious Anglo-Indian app.
When you think tempura, I’m quite sure you think of a Japanese appetizer and not Indian food but be prepared to be amazed! This deep-fried eggplant tempura is quick to make, a cheap appetizer and best of all, keto-friendly. You obviously have to serve these delicious vadas with the best Mint Chutney Sauce ever!
Low-Carb Tandoori Tempura Eggplant Chips
3 teaspoons potatoes starch
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon tandoori seasoning
1 eggplant, peeled and sliced into very thin chips
a ton of canola oil
Sprinkle your eggplant slices with salt and let them sit for at least an hour. Combine the potato starch, 1 teaspoon salt, chili powder, tandoori seasoning, garlic powder and paprika. Heat the crap ton of oil on the stovetop in a deep pan. Dredge your eggplant in the seasoning and deep fry well. Serve with the best Mint Chutney ever.