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. 

 

 

Cacio e Pepe: The Cozy Pasta

I’ve fallen in love with a pasta recipe.

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Cheese and Pepper Pasta

Motherland Mac and Cheese

Cacio e Pepe is such a simple pasta dish. I made it for the first time two years ago and it’s becoming one of my heart and soul comfort foods. The name literally means “cheese and pasta” and it’s as easy as that.

Cacio e Pepe Recipe Review

I love Bon Appetit’s recipe and highly recommend it. Whenever you’re needing a little pasta comfort, grab a fork and get ready to twirl up some cozy.

Bon Appetit’s Cacio e Pepe Recipe

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 6 oz. pasta (such as egg tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti)
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed, divided
  • 1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino

Preparation

Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot.

Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender.

Drain, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.

Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.

Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer.

Add pasta and remaining butter.

Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted.

Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.)

Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Potatoes and Pot of Guinness

darby-ogillEvery St. Patty’s day we watch Darby O’Gill and the Little People and eat something Irish-ish. Sometimes it’s pasties. Sometimes it’s cabbage, but it’s ALWAYS potatoes. Red ones to be exact.

This year I’ve decided to make a recipe I’ve had for years, but didn’t try until January. Real Simple’s Smashed Potatoes and Cornichons.

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Those gherkin pickles are amazing mashed up into the mustardy, butter love of warm potatoes AND it goes great with a Guinness– what else could you ask for on St. Patrick’s Day?

I know, I know….

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Sausage with Smashed Potatoes and Cornichons

From Real Simple

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1 1/2pounds small red potatoes (about 18), halved
  2. kosher salt and black pepper
  3. 3tablespoons olive oil
  4. Italian sausage links (about 1 1/2 pounds total) — I substituted Field Roast Vegetarian Sausage
  5. 1/2cup cornichons, chopped, plus 3 tablespoons of the brine
  6. 2teaspoons Dijon mustard
  7. 1/2small sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla), chopped
  8. 1/4cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the sausages to the skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornichon brine, mustard, remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  6. Add the potatoes, cornichons, onion, and parsley to the bowl and mix, mashing gently. Cut the sausages into large pieces and serve with the potatoes.

 

 

MOVIE FOOD: Temple of Doom

The Temple of Doom Dilemma

Let me start this by saying, I am a strict Ovo-lacto vegetarian. I am also a huge Indiana Jones fan. So when I decided to create meals for the three original Indy films, I had a small problem– Temple of Doom.

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There’s a complete dining sequence in this film. I can’t ignore that famous food, it’s what everyone remembers from the movie, but at the same time it’s not vegetarian friendly.

Raiders was easy, just don’t buy bad dates.

Last Crusade, simple, just make german potatoes, veggie sausage with onions, and have a nice English ale for Papa Jones.

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Remember that time I served you fake monkey brains?

Here was my solution, my dessert would also be their dessert with a huge exception–Chilled Pudding.

Here’s how I made vegetarian friendly “Monkey Brains” pudding.

First I made chocolate pudding. Straight out of the box for this one my friends.

Eerily, I had these white bowls that worked a little too well for the situation.

I topped the pudding with Chubby Hubby cookie bars from Whole Foods. They have some crunchy pretzel pieces and chewy caramel that I thought would be the, uh, right texture.

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Then I squirted a can of whipped cream into a bowl and added several drops of red food dye. And yep– I suddenly had veggie-friendly Temple of Doom food.

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Love Is Like A Heart-Shaped Pizza

Make Your Own Valentine’s Day Pizza!

Years ago I started buying heart-shaped pizza on Valentine’s Day. I can’t remember the pizza chain that started selling it in town, but there was only one. My sweetheart is a pizza lovin’ guy, so it was a perfect match. Of course, right after you get a tradition started then BAM, that single pizza place stops selling my got-to heart day meal.

Never daunted by food challenges, I decided to heck with delivery, I’m just gonna make my own.

Heart Day Pizza Melts My…Cheese, Of Course.

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Heart-Shaped Pizza Dough: Before

And as if cupid predicted it– making your own heart-shaped pizza is easy. All you have to do is buy pre-made pizza dough at the grocery story and stretch it into the heart shape. What I love about it is that I can make it like a friendship necklace heart; all cheese on one side for my sweetie and lots of veg on the other side for me. These days lots of chain pizza places make heart-shaped meals, but it’s a little more meanginfull when it’s your un-imprefect heart melting with cheesy goodness.

The Trick to Stretching Pizza Dough…

Julia Child taught me this one. To get that specific heart shape, you have to let the dough rest. Here’s what I do…

  1. Flour the dough a little, about 2 tablespoons.
  2. Drape it over the palm of one hand and gently stretch it into a circle with the other.
  3. Lay it down on your cookie sheet.
  4. Start to gently pull and stretch it into a heart, BUT…
  5. Always let the dough rest after each pull. Count to 20, or recite romantic poetry, or something.

Letting the dough rest gives it time to accept the shape you’re pulling it into. Making a heart takes several stretches and pulls, but don’t forget, this is for your true love, so it’s totally worth it.

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Heart-Shaped Pizza Dough: After

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curly-Q Me, Please!

Yes. I bought a spiralizer just to make curly fries.

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I have no shame. I’m also not a cooking gadget girl, so this was truly a spontaneous craving purchase on my part. Luckily the spiralizer and the recipe from Vegetarian Times did not let me down!

Curly Oven French Fries Recipe Review

I love this recipe and keep making it. The seasoned salt is very tasty, so don’t skip it. HOWEVER, I would change one thing. The first time I made these fries, I followed the recipe and boiled them after spiralizing– completely unnecessary and the potatoes didn’t hold up so well. No one wants mush curly fries.

I’ve re-listed it without the boiling and with a link to the original recipe.

Thanks Vegetarian Times!

Curly Oven Fries Recipe with Stephy Adjustments:

Fries

1¼ lb. large Yukon gold potatoes/ or Russet, unpeeled

3 Tbs. vegetable oil

Seasoned Salt

1½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. sugar

¼ tsp. chile powder

¼ tsp. ground coriander

¼ tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. powdered garlic

¼ tsp. paprika

Instructions: 

1: To Make Fries: Preheat oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2: Cut potatoes into curls with large-toothed blade on spiral slicer. I like the half-moon shapes and loooong curly fries, but feel free to trim them or discard the small fries.

3: Arrange curly potatoes on prepared baking sheets, and season with 1 Tbs. Seasoned Salt (see below).

4: Drizzle with oil, and toss to coat.

5: Bake 16 to 18 minutes, or until fries are lightly golden. Might take 20-25 depending on your oven.

To Make Seasoned Salt: Combine all ingredients in small bowl, and set aside.