Posts Tagged ‘fried pork rinds’

Thursday, August 5, 2010 @ 09:08 AM

Summer is in full swing. Car shows, street fairs, music festivals, block parties. We Americans sure do love a good summer party. Food goes right along with it all. Grilled burgers, brats, corn dogs. Those are a main stay at most venues because they are easy & hand held. Fried potatoes in one form or another are found at all fairs as well. There are many other foods that are fair staples, but it all depends on where you are in the country.   Roasted corn seems to be big at many fairs, no matter where you are. But what about gyros (lamb served in pita bread) and zeppoles? You can’t find those at every street fair you go to.  These items are bigger in the northern to north east section of the country or areas that have a strong Greek & Italian heritage. What about a Philly cheese steak sandwiches. You aren’t going to find one of those at a Maine lobster festival or a Memphis BBQ festival.

Kettle corn, which you can make at home with in a cast iron skillet on your grill, is big fair food. Not typically something you find at a New York street fair though.  At the State fair in Vermont they make maple cotton candy.Down south, I know a couple that works the fair circuit. They make “Pork Bubbles”, or fried pork rinds. Every region has different tastes, cultures, and favorites.

For those of you that don’t know what a zeppole is, it is a deep fried dough ball with powdered sugar on it. Some come filled with cannoli style filling or jelly filling. That’s too messy for fair food. Most street fair zeppoles that I have seen just come with powdered sugar. Not all fairs in the country have zeppoles, but most do have some form of deep fried dough. Take funnel cakes for instance. Technically, fried dough. Some places don’t even disguise it with a fancy name. They just call it “fried dough”. And they differ from region to region as well. Some are sweet, some are spicy, some are covered in powdered sugar, some you can spread maple butter or honey butter on.

I’ve included some Fair Food recipes for those willing to try.

Funnel Cakes:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • Powdered sugar to sprinkle on top

Combine milk, egg, vanilla in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar and gradually add to wet ingredients. Beat with a mixer until a smooth batter forms. Fold in melted butter. Pour batter into a funnel or squeeze bottle while using your index finger to stop the flow of the batter. Bring the funnel over the hot oil and release your finger to start a stream of batter while moving the funnel in a circular motion to create spiral-like shapes. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown and slightly puffed. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Kettle Corn:

  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 cup  popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt

Preheat grill. Place a large cast iron skillet on grill. Put vegetable oil in it. Heat until almost smoking. Pour in remaining ingredients and cover skillet. Shake skillet gently, but consistantly while the corn pops. Make sure you have protective gloves. Cast iron gets real hot! Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl. Don’t let it go too long in between pops (2-3 seconds) or the sugar and butter will burn. It’s better to have some “old maids” than a whole bunch of burnt popcorn.

Zeppoles:

There are a million different recipes for zeppoles out there, some have ricotta cheese in the mix, lemon zest, orange zest, with yeast, without,  I even saw one with white wine. But here is a pretty general one that I found:

    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast, or 1 pkg.
    • 1 cup warm water
    • 3 eggs
    • vegetable oil , for frying
    • powdered sugar

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. In another large bowl, empty the yeast package, then slowly add the warm water, mixing to fully dissolve the yeast. When the yeast mixture becomes bubbly, add the mixture to the flour & salt. Then add the eggs. Mix the batter. Set the bowl in a warm place & cover with damp dish towel. After 20 minutes, check the dough for rising, mix again and let rise for another 20 minutes. In a stove top deep fryer, heat the oil to about 375 degrees. Add the dough by the spoonful (about the size of a large hush puppy or large walnut) Experiment with your first batch to make sure the oil is not too hot. Turn the zeppole once or twice, cooking until golden and puffed up, about 5 minutes.  Place on paper bags to absorb the oil. Then place the warm Zeppoles in a paper bag with powdered sugar and shake. You want them well covered with the powdered sugar.

Grill Roasted Corn On The Cob:

Select tender young sweet corn. Remove large outer husks.

Soak  whole cobs of corn in a pot of cold water for 15- 30 minutes. Be sure they are completely covered with water. This will provide extra moisture for cooking and will steam the corn kernels inside the husks.

While corn is soaking, preheat the grill to 350 degrees or get your charcoal going.

Remove the corn from soaking and shake off any excess water.

Turn back inner husks and remove silk.

Brush the kernels with olive oil or soft butter. Pull husks back over corn and tie with a piece of loose husk. If desired, before you re-wrap the corn in the husks, add a little garlic powder, chili powder or oregano.

Place the prepared ears of corn on preheated grill or about 3 inches from coals. Rotate the corn as needed to keep it from getting charred too much on one side.

If cooking with propane, after a couple of turns, place the corn husk on the top rack of your grill, and close the cover.Cook for about 15 to 20 mins.

If cooking with charcoal, cook 20-30 mins.

Remove the corn from the grill. Be careful and wear oven gloves. The corn will be very hot!

Serve with butter salt & pepper. Enjoy!

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