Homemade Funnel Cakes

Step Right Up For Classic Fair Foods

Our family went to the county fair for three important reasons: jug of root beer, corn dogs, and funnel cakes. These fair food delicacies might seem timid compared to the deep-fried candy bars of today, but let’s be honest– classic funnel cakes are the first (and best) foods of the fired fair midway.

Fair Funnel Cakes Forever

The first time I fried funnel cakes at home, I was in awe about how beautiful they were as they cooked. I know that sounds as corny as a corn dog, but seriously, the way the batter slowly turns from pale white to golden-yellow is kind of amazing.

I like to call it the Phases of the Funnel Cake.

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What Is A Funnel Cake Made Of?

I’ve tried a few different recipes, but I really like Martha Stewart’s Funnel Cakes the best. It’s easy and doesn’t make a huge quantity. Because as we all know, a little fried dough can go a long way.

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • Rounded 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

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How To Make Funnel Cake Batter

According to Martha (and I’ve found it to be true).

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and salt. Create a well in center of bowl and pour milk, egg, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and vanilla extract into well. Whisk into dry ingredients until batter is smooth and transfer batter to a squeeze bottle with a 1/4-inch opening at top (or to a wet measuring cup).
  2. Heat 1 inch vegetable oil in a deep-sided cast-iron pan to 350 degrees.
  3. Holding squeeze bottle (or measuring cup) 1 inch from oil, carefully squeeze batter into oil in a spiderweb pattern, starting from center, using about 1/4 cup batter per cake. Fry cake, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides, 3-4 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Return oil to 350 degrees before frying next cake.
  4. Sift confectioners’ sugar over cakes just before serving. 

 

 

Its that time of year, time for SLUSH

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There comes a moment every summer when it is time to make SLUSH.  What is SLUSH you may ask?  You have perhaps heard whisperings of it before on Hearty Eaters.  It is a drink that we always preface with…..”Its the one alcoholic beverage our mom drinks because its that good!”

Notoriously throughout our childhood our mother would and is a die-hard teetotaler until summer time arrived and she would whip up a batch of SLUSH.  In her eyes it was so good she felt she couldn’t deprive us children. There were attempts at virgin versions but the alcohol is what makes this frozen drink work.  It prevents all the other ingredients from freezing solid creating that slushy quality.   So mom would shockingly take pity on us and let us take tiny sips occasionally.  Now of course as soon as we are home for visits in the summer, she looks at us and goes “time for a slush!?”

Just last week we had one of those already too hot to stand early summer days in Louisiana.  All I wanted was a SLUSH when I got home and sadly none had been made yet.  I called my mother to get pity for this situation.  She was more shocked I hadn’t made up a batch in the last couple of years …. “What you haven’t made any since you lived in Tennessee!”  and was even more appalled that I seemed to have misplaced the recipe.  Raise your hand if you are shocked to find out that she already had the ingredients handy and ready to read off…..no one?

So my friends as I prepare for a weekend that involves both pool and beach, SLUSH is chilling to perfection in my freezer as we speak.  And no worries I’m about to supply you with the recipe as well. Lord knows we don’t want to misplace it again….mom would be so disappointed in us.

 

SLUSH

makes enough to last all summer

1 small can frozen lemonade – thawed

1 small can frozen orange juice – thawed

46 oz pineapple juice

46 oz apricot juice (or something similar, this can be hard to find)

1 cup vodka

1 cup apricot brandy

fresca or 7up

mix the first 6 ingredients together.  put into a freezable container, and leave in the freezer overnight.  to make the drink put 2 scoops of slush into a glass and mix with equal parts fresca or 7up, mix well, drink and enjoy summer.

 

 

 

 

 

The secret is in the sauce…….

Homemade pizza is one of my true weaknesses.   I love making them, smelly them back and then almost always burn my mouth because I’m so excited to try my latest pizza pie.  Lately I’ve been on a Greek Pizza kick, which is a hard one to come off of.  How can you not stop making things with Feta, Black Olives, Artichoke Hearts, Tomatoes, Garlic, Onions…..How?  Yet lately I’ve taken it to a new level of love for the Greek Pizza, the secret is the sauce.  No longer will my Greek Pizza pies have tomato sauce or even alfredo, no the only sauce and here’s my secret is Tahini.  Enjoy my friends, enjoy and think of me when you make your next Greek Pizza.

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Let’s Market!

The beauty of living in the south is that you have almost a year round farmers market with fresh produce.  However, I enjoy a market that can offer me up lots of variety. Currently my favorite finds include but are not limited to: goat cheese, gelato, berries and more berries, flowers, chickens, tea, herbs to plant and of course grabbing some breakfast at the crepe stand!  When I make some truly beautiful purchases I do just have to share them. Yep hipster food farmers market pics on Instagram….guilty as charged.

Here are my most favorite finds of late!  Ready to go find some of your own?  Check out the top 101 farmers markets from 2016 to find one near you!

Quiche …. its what’s for dinner.

Yeah that’s what I said.  Quiche, its what’s for dinner.  My most latest solution to using up veggies that are on the verge of spoiling is to toss them into a quiche for dinner. And did you know that quiche though considered a classic French dish actually originated in Germany?  mmmm, yeah I may have googled that…… Any way…..Having made several lately I have determined the Quiche is highly under-rated as a meal.

What have been my combos of late?  Greek with feta, tomatoes, and artichokes, then there was the Roasted veg including brussel sprouts, peppers and ham.  and of course a little southwest flavor with salsa, roasted zucchini and loads of pepperjack cheese.

Its summer be adventurous, take all those great farmer market finds that have yet to inspire you to cook and put them in a pie crust with butter, eggs and cream…..would I stir you wrong?

 

 

Pasta of the Week —- Another Cookbook Challenge

Because I completed 95 bread recipes, I figured why not work my way through another cookbook.  This time its the Pasta Bible!  I’m picking one recipe from one chapter each week.  So far 18 down!  Discoveries so far?  Shocking use of thyme.  Have loved the minestrones and well still perfecting my ravioli technique.  Here are a few highlights from my journey so far!

 

 

Two and a Half Years and 95 Loaves of Bread Later………..

 

polenta     Pooris     SunshineLoaf

2014 I began baking bread as a New Year’s Resolution.  Little did I realize at the time it was actually going to take me roughly 2 years to make it through 95 different bread recipes from around the world.  Why was I doing this?  Because chefs have control over their kitchen’s and frankly baking is a wild variable of a culinary art.  I was convinced I’d learn through trial and error, the secrets bakers and pastry chefs had come to know over the centuries that create consistent baked goods.

When I reached the half way mark I wrote about the lessons bread had taught me up until that point.  “One Loaf at a Time”  chronicled some baking and life realizations. The lesson of patience, to never bake angry, to always give your bread away, some things need a second rise, and lastly if you want to do something well do it all the time.  So what have I concluded another 45 loaves later?

Lesson #6:  Leave It Alone:   Is cooking an art or is cooking a science?  My opinion it’s an art form to learn how to make the science work for you.  Translation—to bake beautiful bread trust that the natural chemical process is going to work. Walk away, go do something else and have faith that what you have assembled is going to work.  The best breads came when I’d mix and knead the dough together, would go off to run errands, hang with friends, all the while it was rising.  Come home smash it back down, take a nap, and the second rising was complete. Pop it in the oven, go work out, and trust that when the timer goes off you have some fine bread.  The more you fuss, the more you tweak, the more you check, it’s never as good because you haven’t let it become its natural self.

Needless to say this baking lesson can easily be translated into to daily life.  It always saddens me a little, whether its business or pleasure, to just see people TRYING TO HARD, at life.  I catch myself saying “it just needs to be organic”  as my sing song advice now.

swiss braid   panDeCebada   pumpernickel

Lesson #7:  Bread is Life:   I know it sounds super cheesy.  But honestly after when I baked that last bread and thought about all the things I had learned over the 2 and a half years….the conclusion was to just keep it simple.  Two basic ingredients, flour and water, can make a thousand combinations.  Bread is Life. To make a great life, keep it simple.  If you never bake a loaf of bread in your life by learning the 7 bread lessons you’ll be in a real good place.

Lesson #1: Be patient

Lesson#2: Don’t do things in anger.

Lesson #3: Never do something for personal gain, only for the enjoyment.

Lesson #4: Give second chances.

Lesson #5: Do what you love and do it all the time.

Lesson #6: Let life takes its course.

Lesson #7: Keep life simple.

Ha I don’t know too many bakers but after this I view them in the same category of Buddhist Monks…..zen like beings that just get it.  And isn’t that what we are all looking for?   I’m still baking bread, not every week but here and there.  Occasionally after a long day I come home and find that sifting my fingers through some flour, using the balls of my hands to knead, and smelling that sweet delicious smell of warm yeast just helps to keep things a bit on track.

MexicanBreadoftheDead    NewEnglandFantans     moroccanholiday