Archive for May, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011 @ 12:05 PM

This post may not be what you are thinking. This is regarding tailgate party, not tailgating cars.

I go to many car shows and cruise nights. Some are a few hours, some are all day events, some are weekend long events. The cruise nights are usually just a few folks hanging around, looking at each others cars, talking shop and parts, and sitting in collapsible chairs. Some cruises do actually involve food. The cruise that I attended last night, takes place at a local volunteer fire department, every Tuesday. They actually set up grills, cook burgers and hot dogs, and now they even have a blender that they make frosty drinks with. There was one car, a 1966 Comet, that not only showed up with their collapsible chairs, they also brought a folding picnic table. Now that is a great tailgater.

I have gone to an antique truck and tractor show and brought a picnic lunch in a cooler. I ate it right on the tailgate of my truck, forgot my chairs. There was food provided, but it was a two day function and I wanted to tailgate.

We attended a 3 day long car show/race this past weekend, The 9th Annual Jalopy Showdown in Latimore, Pa. There was much tailgating involved. People came for a day and just drank there way through. Some people came for the weekend, and camped and tailgated all weekend. I met 2 young men, brothers, that actually brought a BBQ smoker to set up and cook and sell to the tailgaters. That is innovation for you.

There was one young couple that came from Dover, Del. They set up a tailgate kitchen and found a spot to burn charcoal right on the ground to slow cook ribs.

Some people may call it camping, but I still view it as a tailgate. There were people from all over there for an event. They were not just at a campground. There was a museum, a car show, and an actual car race. People were sharing a common interest, having fun, making memories, telling stories, sharing a cold beer and breaking bread with each other. That is what tailgating is all about, isn’t it?

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Thursday, May 19, 2011 @ 07:05 PM

Having a deep fryer can make your life easier. You can cook food in half the time that it might take you to prepare something another way. I know that I can’t make a convincing argument that deep fried food is good for you. It is food that is cooked in fat. But if done properly, the food should quick cook, sealing moisture in and keeping the fat out. The key is to not let the food absorb the oil.You can cook meat, vegetables, fish, and tasty desserts.

Speaking of tasty desserts, doughnuts are a perfect reason to have your own deep fryer. Many people eat doughnuts for breakfast, but you can eat them for snack, for dessert, or anytime. These delectable pieces of fried dough are part of what make this world go round.

Some people like yeast- raised doughnuts. I prefer cake doughnuts. These are leavened with baking powder or baking soda. Some people like glaze. Some people like powdered. I like a little bit of sugar, or really just plain, warm, right out of the fryer, with a glass of ice cold milk.

Here is a great cake doughnut recipe:

5 cups all purpose flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 1\2 tsp. salt

1\2 cup room temperature sour milk(milk with tsp. of lemon juice)

2 room temp. eggs

1 egg yolk at room temp.

3\4 cup granulated sugar

1\2 cup vegetable shortening, melted and cooled

1\4 cup molasses

1\2 rounded tsp. lemon zest

1\2 gallon frying oil

Sift the dry ingredients, except the granulated sugar, in a large bowl. In another mixing bowl, combine the granulated sugar, sour milk, eggs, egg yolk, melted shortening, molasses and lemon zest.

Gradually add the dry mix to the wet mix stirring gently. (Do not over mix, this tends to make tough doughnuts. You will still see a little flour.) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator

for about an hour.

Time to heat the oil. Get your counter top fryer, cast iron Dutch oven or other stove top deep fryer ready to deep fry. Heat the oil to 370 degrees F.

Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Knead for 1 minute. Roll out to 1\2″ thickness. Cut rounds with a doughnut or pastry cutter (3 1\2″) then cut out centers with a smaller cutter. (1 1\2″) If you don’t have doughnut or pastry cutters, get creative. Use a washed, clean veggie or a large glass, and a shot glass for doughnut holes. Gather your scraps and re-roll and cut until done.

One of the best ways to avoid  over absorption of oil, in fried foods is to not over crowd. Over crowding can cause the oil temp. to drop too low and prevent items from cooking properly. Only do 2-3 doughnuts at a time. Carefully drop the rings into the hot oil. Make doughnut holes if you like. They will float in about 30 seconds or so. Fry for another minute. Turn the doughnuts over and fry for another minute. Turn them once again and fry for one more minute, until golden brown.

Drain on paper towels or place 1\2 cup of sugar in a brown paper bag. Place doughnuts, about 2 at a time in the bag, and shake. NEVER LEAVE YOUR FRYER UNATTENDED! Store the doughnuts in a warm place until they are all done.

Get a cold glass of milk & enjoy!

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011 @ 12:05 PM

Having a turkey fryer or any outdoor propane deep fryer is fun. It adds flavor to your holidays, it’s an extra versatile cooking appliance for big barbecues, and a great added piece of cooking equipment for tailgaters. You can steam, boil, and stew with a traditional turkey fryer, but when it comes to hot oil and flames, always remember…safety first. This goes for any outdoor cooking equipment, but especially when oil, flames, and propane tanks are involved.

You can always go with a safer fryer, like a Cajun Fryer from R & V Works, or a Bayou Fryer by Bayou Classic. These units’ flames are enclosed in a tube, typically on the back side of the unit, away from any possible oil spillage. Keeping oil spillage away from open flame is a key safety factor. But even with a safer fryer, safety is still important.

Some important equipment to use and have on hand when using any outdoor propane deep fryer, are heavy duty long gloves, a face shield or safety goggles, a bucket of sand and an all purpose fire extinguisher. Remember…water and hot oil don’t mix. A hose used on an oil fire can just make matters worse.

Always read and follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines when using a turkey fryer and LP gas.

NEVER leave your deep fryer unattended. This goes for turkey fryers, safer fryers, counter top fryers, and stove top deep fryers. You always need to keep a careful watch during the deep frying process. Should a grease fire occur, turn off gas immediately and cover the pot with a lid. Most counter top units have an emergency release cord, so unplug and cover. Baking soda and again an all purpose fire extinguisher are great to have with electric fryers. Also if your oil begins to smoke, immediately turn off the gas.

Always use your propane fryer outdoors. An open area is best, away from houses, garages, wooden decks, trees, and shrubs. Find a flat level piece of ground. Make certain that children and pets have another area to play in. You also want to be certain that the fryer will not be in a walk through area. Keep in mind that there are some larger electric “fryer” units on the market. The same goes for these units. They are intended for outdoor use, not in your kitchen or on your wooden porch and deck.

Always make sure that there is at least 2 feet of space between your propane tank and the fryer burner. Make sure that no one is going to try to walk between the tank and the burner. Place your tank and fryer so that any wind will blow the heat of the burner and fryer away from the gas tank.

Always center your stockpot, Dutch oven, or wok over the burner. You don’t want your pot to tip.

Immediately wash utensils, gloves, hands, and surfaces that have come in contact with raw meat.

Give your fryer proper time to cool down before straining or disposing of oil. Even though the unit is turned off, the oil will remain hot for a while. You still need to keep the kids and dogs away from it while it cools. With a traditional turkey fryer, get a battery operated pump or enlist a friend or two to help strain and funnel the oil. The oil can be used again if stored properly. Safer fryers tend to have an oil release port. Once the oil is cooled, you can strain and funnel the oil into storage containers with ease.

If tailgating with a safer fryer, you can get a proper hook up and radiator hose and empty warm oil into metal Gerry Cans. The cans will still be hot but they may be stored out of high traffic areas. The fryer will cool down quicker allowing you to put it away sooner. That way you may enter the stadium and enjoy the game, without the danger of someone stumbling into your hot fryer while you are away from it.

Have fun with your deep fryers, just always remember, safety first!

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Monday, May 9, 2011 @ 03:05 PM

Mother’s Day has come and gone. For us folks up north, that means it’s time to get back outside. We have always been told not to plant our gardens until after the danger of any frost. Mother’s Day has always been the key date. Time to plant tomatoes and anything else that is not a cold weather hearty crop.

That means it’s time to get back outside with your family and friends. Time to shed the long johns and get out the shorts and flip flops. It is time to start that outdoor cooking again. Whether you are going camping, tailgating, doing a car show, going to the beach or just having a backyard barbecue, it is time to get out the grill, the deep fryer, and the BBQ smoker. We American’s do love the taste of food cooked outdoors. There is no reason to wait for Memorial Day. Besides, the longer you wait, mosquitoes and bees tend to be included. You need to get out there now and strike while the iron is hot…well, luke warm anyway.

Let’s get the cover off our outdoor cooking equipment and get started on the long awaited and well deserved barbecue season. I know I shoveled enough snow this past winter, that I deserve a beautifully grilled steak, some smoked ribs, and some deep fried potatoes all cooked out in my own back yard. My outdoor propane deep fryer needs to see some love. My grill has been up and working already but my fryer wants some action too.

Whatever is your preference, grilled, smoked, deep fried, just get out there and cook. Go buy some charcoal. Get some cherry wood chunks or cedar planks. Amaze your friends. Make some new concoctions. Smoke some vegetables. Deep fry some apples. Make some planked salmon. Enjoy cooking in the great outdoors before the snow decides to fly again.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011 @ 05:05 PM

It’s that time of year! It is time to Dust off your Bayou Classic Turkey Fryer. “But, it’s springtime?”‘ you say. Yes, it is. It is time to start cooking outdoors again. Time to get your outdoor cooking gear up and running.

It has been a long, cold, snowy winter in our neck of the woods. I use my grill year round when possible, but this year we had some down time. Probably from New Years to March, my grill and  R & V Works Cajun Fryer were idle.  Too much snow this year.

Well, it is coming up on Memorial Day. A traditional time to start the barbecue. (I have already started grilling again, as I was missing fire grilled meat.) For those of us in coastal areas, this is a perfect time to start cooking fish again too. I know that many people were already out there using their outdoor propane deep fryers during the Lenten season. Fish doesn’t always have to be deep fried. Now is a great time to get out your turkey fryer and have a nice Low Country Boil. Have a surf and turf. Get a few lobsters and clams to steam in the stock pot while you are grilling the steak on your smoker grill. Make a big pot full of Manhattan style clam chowder to have as an appetizer for your holiday barbecue. Or just use your turkey fryer to steam corn on the cob for everyone.

Turkey fryers are versatile. You need not just use it for deep frying turkey. Though deep frying a turkey breast to eat with your other barbecue fair is a nice option too.

For those of you that tailgate during the summer, the turkey fryer is a great addition to your tailgating gear. You can make Philly Cheese Steaks at the baseball stadium. Have a New England style Clam Bake at the NASCAR race in Loudon or just for a day at the beach. For those of you without a blender you could probably even mix up a huge batch of margaritas in the stock pot while tailgating at a Jimmy Buffett concert.

There is no need to pack your turkey fryer away just because it is not Thanksgiving. Get it out. Use it! That huge family barbecue that you are planning is a perfect time to use it. Even if you are just going to cook corn in it. Don’t let it collect dust in the garage. Turkey fryers are not just for holidays anymore. Get that fryer out and make it pay itself off and then some.

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