Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It's State Fair Time of Year

Running mainly in July and August, State Fairs are big business.  There are blue ribbons given out for everything you can imagine related to the family farm.  Plus amusement rides and a wide spectrum of entertainment.  But in the last 10-20 years food at the fairs have become very popular especially, "Food on a Stick."  Of course, "Deep Fried Anything" on the stick are tops.

Deep fried sweet items like, Twinkies, Oreos and Snickers lead the way.  In fact, here is the link to my Deep Fried Snickers (V) recipe.  The batter for this recipe could be used with these other sweet treat items too.  You could have a lot of fun experimenting with any of your personal favorite sweets using this batter recipe.  Then just fry them to your desired doneness.  My suggestion is to pick the right size to match up with a toothpick or wooden skewer.  Then insert that item into your sweet, place on a sheet pan and place in the freezer.  Most of these sweets work best from the frozen state.  When you're ready to eat dip the sweet into the batter, let the excess drip off and carefully place into the hot oil to fry.

The same works for other types of food but with different batters.  There are two recipes this week and each uses a different batter.  One is a traditional cornmeal batter used for corn dogs (Fair Style Corn Dogs).  You will see in the recipe that you can make it plain or spice it up a little.  The recipe heats it up with jalapenos but use your imagination for the spice you want.

And you're not just limited to using it with hot dogs.  Precooked sausages of any kind, try your favorite, work well.  If you don't want a big deep fried corn something, cut them into bite size pieces.  In the recipe I mention mini-corn dogs but the mini can work with any ingredient you choose.  You might want to try dipping pickle pieces or bacon slices that have been cut into smaller pieces.  These last two ingredients would work well with the other batter used in the second recipe this week.

The second recipe is for "Deep Fried Avocado" and it is in a beer batter.  Like I said earlier, use your imagination for finding and trying different ingredients.  I mentioned a few weeks ago my experience at the Blue Door Pub and how they had the best deep fried green beans I'd ever had.  Well they use a beer batter with those green beans.

If you are looking for other batters to use when deep frying, there is tempera batter.  It is more Asian or South Pacific and is a lighter batter.  You could always use your favorite pancake batter too.  Just use a little less liquid in making the batter.  You want it to stay on the food your deep frying.  A trick I mention in the corn dog recipe to help keep the batter adhering to the food is to dredge it through some flour before dipping into the batter.  Be sure to shake off any excess flour before dipping in the batter.  Then let excess batter drip off before placing in the hot oil.

If you don't have a true deep fryer to use for this, then use a heavy Dutch oven type pot/pan on the stove top.  If you do it this way be sure to have 2 to 3 inches of oil in the pot.  You also want 2 to 3 inches of pot above the oil to be safe.  You'll need a thermometer to attach to the side of the pot going into the oil.  This lets you see and control the temperature of the oil.  You always want that temp to be between 350 and 360 degrees while frying.  To help keep the temperature there and be safe don't over-crowd the pot with product you want to deep fry.  Deep fry in batches and use the oven to keep food warm.  Use a 200 degree oven and a rimmed baking sheet to hold the fried food before it is time to serve.

Remember that you want to use canola or peanut oil to fry the food.  Peanut has a higher smoke point but is also more expensive.  I normally use canola oil because it is a more versatile product in the kitchen.

I hope you all can someday experience a State Fair somewhere.  But if not, you can now have your own state fair at home.  "Happy Cooking" and enjoy trying these recipes.

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