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Friday, February 27, 2009

savory oatmeal is not gross

Kaytie and I have developed an interest in recipe contests. Could this be the way we finance our villa in northern Italy? Probably not.

But it's fun to come up with ideas. First, we sent a few recipes in to Mississippi Magazine's annual recipe contest. Then, Kaytie found a Top Chef slash Quaker Oats contest, and the brainstorming began. It could be anything, as long as the recipe involved oatmeal.

Kaytie dismissed my peanut butter-cinnamon apple-cranberry-white chocolate pie with an oatmeal-gingersnap crust idea. She said it was (1) too rich and (2) too expected. I think she was right, but on the second point only.

Kaytie's idea was savory oatmeal, topped with a fried egg and pork debris. (She'd read that oats can be treated like rice or grits.) We haven't worked the kinks out on the pork, but the oatmeal was great with a fried egg.

We made a couple variations. Kaytie did a truffled mushroom and onion oatmeal, which was great. Here's what I did.

Onion & Gouda Ris-oat-o
(I'm so clever.)

1.25 cups oats
3/4 cup liquid (half chicken broth, half water)
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup Gouda, grated
2 Tbs parsley, chopped

Put the liquid, bay leaf, salt, and butter in a pan, and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, add the oats, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.

This is the point when you could add anything your heart desires. I sauteed red onion in a bit of olive oil with some salt and pepper, then mixed the onion, cheese, and parsley into the oatmeal.

Top it with a fried egg, and have brunch.

Monday, February 23, 2009

red beans from india

As much as I hate to admit it, I think the internet is pretty cool sometimes. I realize this statement makes me sound old and out of touch. I don't care.

What has finally impressed me is that we were able to trade recipes with someone in India. (That's on the other side of the world. How cool!) Taste & Create is an event where cool people (like us) with food blogs sign up to exchange recipes and blog about it. (I still squirm when using 'blog' as a verb.)

We were paired with Arundathi at My Food Blog. On her site, she has many, many recipes for delicious-looking baked goods, as well as traditional Indian recipes. Kaytie and I finally decided to make rajma - the Indian version of red beans & rice. (Those of you who know us know how much we love Cajun red beans & rice. . . I am avoiding potty humor now. This is not an easy feat for me.)

They were great! Nothing at all like the red beans we normally make, but still a big hit. They were spicy without being too hot and flavorful without being too heavy. We served them over rice with naan and PBR. TOTT brought some mango chutney, which I thought complimented the flavors nicely, though Arthur found it unnecessary. You'll have to decide for yourself.

Thanks for a successful Sunday night meal, Arundathi!


2 cans Red Kidney Beans
5-6 Spicy Green Chiles, slit lengthwise and seeded
2 Onions, diced
5-6 cloves Garlic, chopped
2" piece of Ginger, minced
3 Tomatoes, chopped
1/8 tsp Turmeric
1 tbsp Garam Masala

In a food processor, grind the ginger and garlic together with a little bit of water and set aside. Puree the tomatoes in the food processor and set aside.

Heat about 2 tbsp of oil in a saucepan. Add the onions and saute very well until browned. Add the salt, turmeric, ginger & garlic paste, and garam masala, and continue sauteing until it begins to smell fragrant (about 2-3 minutes).

Add the cooked beans with 2 cups of warm water. Keep stirring and squashing the beans a little bit. (I used a stick blender, a little too enthusiastically. I wish I'd left the beans a little less squashed.) Continue to stir until the curry thickens (about 7-8 minutes).

Here, you can add a pinch of amchur powder. (Luckily, this step is optional, because I couldn't find this spice.) Add the tomato paste and let the curry come to a boil. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for 7-8 minutes, until the curry thickens.

Friday, February 20, 2009

after-the-cardiologist cookies

Well, I got home from the cardiologist yesterday (I have a clean bill of health, by the way), and I wanted cookies. Something delicious and sweet and accompanied by milk.

Kaytie makes fun of me because I have a massive sweet tooth, and I am irresistibly drawn to the most ridiculously overblown desserts that usually make my stomach hurt. (I recently purchased "Chocolate Seduction" ice cream, and I have had several stomachaches already.) I think what frustrates Kaytie most is that I always know when I'm going to feel sick, but I eat the dessert anyway. I'm a little stubborn.

Anyway, I wanted cookies, so I threw these together. They're fairly light and thin, a little crispy on the edges but chewy throughout. Yum. I do not, however, recommend eating (or even making - the temptation will be too great) these cookies unless you have a large quantity of milk on hand.
Billionaire Cookies
(I call these Billionaire Cookies because, like billionaires, they're rich. And they fly around in their own private jets. And have butlers. And golden toilets. I could keep going...)

1/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup Nutella
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
2 Tbs self-rising flour
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine everything but the white chocolate chips in a bowl and stir well. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Roll the cookie dough into balls that are roughly an inch in diameter. Place them on a greased cookie sheet and press them flat. Leave about 2-3 inches between them; they'll spread.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before moving the cookies to a cooling rack.

Makes about 2.5 dozen cookies.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

guest blogger: The TOTT!

Hi this is Tott. Kaytie has generously allowed me to "guest blog" so that I can rave about my all- time favorite food...soup. Seriously, I could eat soup for every meal, every single one. And tops on my list of soups is Tomato Basil Soup.

Kaytie and I did this ridiculous "cleanse" where we didn't eat anything for ten days and only drank a water/lemon/cayenne pepper/molasses mixture. Needless to say, it was hell. The entire time all I craved was tomato basil soup, so Kaytie was nice enough to create this fabulous recipe for me when it was all over. It puts all the tomato basil soup in this town to shame. And as an added bonus, it is easy enough that even I can make it, and I am not the world's best eater in the world, maybe. Especially when it comes to this soup. So make and enjoy!

Tomato Basil Soup

1 onion, diced
3 slices of bacon, diced
1 really big can of diced tomatoes (not drained)
1 ½ cups of cream
½ can beef broth
¼ cup basil, chopped
1 bay leaf
½ cup shredded parmesan

Melt a small amount of butter or olive oil in a large stock pot. Add onion and salt. Add bacon. Saute onion and bacon until bacon gets crispy and onion is golden. Add can of tomatoes, beef broth, ½ of the basil, and the bay leaf. Stir until everything gets hot. Add cream and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes or so. Fish out the bay leaf. Using a stick blender, blend until smooth. (This step is optional—if you don’t blend it, it will just be more rustic). Add parmesan and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with remaining basil or green onions and serve.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

better late than never

Okay, you've seen this dish before. Still beautiful.

This was the well-planned Valentine's brunch that I made for Kaytie. Never mind that brunch was served at 2 pm. It looked good, and, thanks to Kaytie's hollandaise, it was delicious.

This is a take-off on the Black-Eyed Benedict. Of course, I thought I could make it better. I think I did. (How could the addition of cornbread not improve something?)

Southern Style Eggs Benedict

Cornbread Cakes
(makes 7 3-inch cakes)

3 slices turkey bacon
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp creole seasoning
1 cup black-eyed peas, cooked and drained
1 pkg cornbread mix, prepared according to package directions
3 eggs
salt & pepper

Cook the turkey bacon in the olive oil until crispy. (If you're using real bacon, omit the olive oil.) Set the bacon aside to drain on paper towels.

In the leftover oil, saute the peppers, onions, and garlic for about 5 minutes. Season the veggies with salt and pepper as they cook. Set them aside to cool.

Crumble the prepared cornbread into a food processor, and add the eggs. Puree until smooth. (You could probably also do this in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon - just crumble and stir well.)

Combine the cornbread mixture, veggies, crumbled bacon, black-eyed peas, and spices in a mixing bowl. Stir well.

Shape the cakes on a lightly greased baking sheet. I used an egg ring that I got from the Everyday Gourmet to make perfectly round cakes about 3 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch tall. Put the cakes in the fridge for about half an hour to make them a little firmer.

Preheat the oven to 300.

Fry the cakes in olive oil in a saute pan until browned on both sides. Return the cakes to the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Top each cake with a poached egg (see here for methods) and chipotle hollandaise.

Monday, February 16, 2009

procrastination & pepto-bismol petit fours

Tott says I should blog about my failures so that people will like me more. Well, witness the most hideous petit fours in the world, made tonight while I was in a fit of procrastination and denial. Unfortunately, the pictures do not really show just how bright pink and goopy they really were. They truly looked like they were doused in Pepto. The bright side is, they were so ugly that they made me laugh, and I really needed a laugh today.

Once I master these (and master them I will) I will post a recipe. But for now, you can just revel in your schadenfreude.

But don't revel too long. . .for behold, I give you chocolate-coated marshmallows.
While they are a little Sandra Lee-ish for my taste (in that they are a little overly precious, not that they are semi-homemade; I assure you that these are fully-homemade), I forgive them because of how well they photographed. See?

Drew and I made these together Valentine's night, because we had experienced quite enough excitement for the weekend, thank you. Okay, here's how you can make them, too:

Chocolate-Coated Marshmallows

Homemade Marshmallows

(Warning: You need a stand mixer to make these. But what a good excuse for getting one if you haven't already! We were blessed enough to get one from my in-laws. )

3 packets of unflavored gelatin
1 cup of ice cold water, divided into 2 halves
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup cornstarch

Put the gelatin in the stand mixer along with ½ a cup of the water. Let it sit. Now combine the rest of the water, the sugar, the corn syrup, and the salt in a pan. Stir it, turn the heat up to medium high, cover, and let it cook about 4 minutes. Then uncover and clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees, then immediately take off the burner.

Put the whisk attachment on your stand mixer, then turn the mixer on low. While the mixer’s running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. Once all of the syrup’s in, turn up the speed to high. Whip it about 12 minutes—you will be amazed because it will start to really look like marshmallow cream! Add the almond extract during the last minute of whipping.

Put the mixture in a pan that’s been sprayed with Pam and sprinkled with the sugar and cornstarch. Let it sit uncovered overnight. The next day, you can take a heart-shaped cookie cutter and cut out shapes. Then you dip them in more powdered sugar and cornstarch. Then you are ready for chocolate!

Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows

2 cups white chocolate
2 drops red food coloring

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler, then spread on top of the marshmallows like icing. Sprinkle with sprinkles and let harden.

These are for those with a serious sweet tooth, because they are tooth-achingly sweet. We got the idea to make homemade marshmallows because of Molly's article in Bon Appetit on the subject. You should make them, too, because people are amazed by homemade marshmallows, even though they're so easy. People think you're magic--until they see your hideous petit fours.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

of all the eggs i've poached before...

I love gear. Camping gear, tools, kitchen gadgets... So, when I decided to make a new eggs benedict-inspired dish for Kaytie, I made a trip to the Everyday Gourmet to pick up some gadgets. I got some egg rings to use in making black eyed pea-cornbread cakes, and some silicone egg poaching molds.

I was going to just get a silicone muffin tin and cut it into individual cups. (This is what we do at Amerigo.) I was distracted, however, by these little green cups that were designed for poaching eggs. I tried them out this morning.

Poaching eggs is pretty straightforward. I used the method described in the black-eyed benedict post, except that I put the eggs in the silicone molds. I was not impressed. It took the whites too long to firm up, and that made the yolks too hard. It worked better when I covered the pan with a lid, but that also pushed the molds onto the bottom of the pan. I'll try these again, but with a deeper pan and more water. Until then, I prefer just dumping the eggs into the water.

after-the-hospital hollandaise

Let's focus on the positive for a moment: this picture that my husband took is beautiful, isn't it? And the brunch we had today was lovely. And I have learned the secret of hollandaise sauce, which I am willing to share with you. All very nice things.

But I can't lie: I am still a little shaken and dazed from having taken Drew to the emergency room last night. Don't worry, he's fine now, or at least, he feels fine now. We don't know what exactly made him...what to even call it...pass out? faint? have a seizure? a spell? Let's call it a spell. Anyway, we don't know what caused the spell, but it was terrifying.

So I was a little surprised to wake up this morning to Drew busily putting eggs benedict together. Surprised, but oh, so grateful. And not just for the brunch.

He enlisted my help in making the hollandaise for the eggs benedict. He's submitting the eggs benedict recipe to a contest, and he decided that the earlier hollandaise recipe is just too darned difficult. We looked in the Joy of Cooking and saw that there are all sorts of short-cut recipes for hollandaise, and so I modified one and tried it out.

This one is made in a blender, and man, it's really easy. (Don't feel bad; I watched Top Chef this week and Chef Eric Ripert admitted that his restaurant makes their hollandaise in a blender, too.)

Chipotle Hollandaise

3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon ground dried chipotles
pinch cayenne

First, get some dried chipotles (we found ours at Rainbow Grocery). Put them in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. If you don't have a spice grinder, then I bet you could substitute ground red pepper or, better yet, smoked paprika.

Put the yolks and lemon juice and salt and cayenne in the blender, but don't turn it on yet. Put your stick of butter into a microwave-safe liquid measuring cup along with 1/4 teaspoon of the ground dried chipotles. Zap it for between 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until butter is melted and bubbly and quite hot. Watch it to make sure it doesn't foam over the cup into your microwave, 'cause that would be a serious mess.

As soon as butter is hot, turn on the blender on high and pour the butter in a small stream while the blender is running. Then it's done, and you serve it immediately. Seriously. It's that easy, and it's so good. It's not as bright yellow as the original, but I just don't care when you compare the taste and texture.

Take your hollandaise, pour it over your eggs benedict, and thank God for the people you love. Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 9, 2009

be very, very quiet...

I made bunny stew last night. I have a new theory. You know how the offal movement has become the new big thing? I think that the wild game movement is on the horizon. And I am its general.

My father provided us with three wild rabbits that he shot last weekend. As previously discussed, my mother thinks all game (and, for that matter, most meat) is disgusting. As my father doesn't cook, that means that we get all of his bounty.

I'd had rabbit before, but I'd never cooked it. I read that you can treat it like chicken, and that gave me comfort. Without further ado, here's what we did:

Stew de la Bunnie

First, soak 3 cleaned and skinned rabbits in buttermilk for at least 1 day, preferably 2. After soaking rabbits, rinse well and put in a bowl. Add 1 bottle of wheat beer, 2 cups of apple cider vinegar, and enough salad oil to cover. Add 3 tablespoons onion powder, 1 tablespoon juniper berries, 1 tablespoon peppercorns, 3-5 bay leaves, 5 cloves, 1 teaspoon allspice, 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, 1 tablespoon dried thyme, and a pinch of salt. Marinate at least 1 day, but no more than 2.

Now, it's stew time. Butcher your rabbit into pieces. (This does not have to be pretty, because you're going to take the meat off the bone later). Heat up a few tablespoons of oil in a big, deep pot. Salt and pepper the pieces, and brown on both sides. Remove and reserve. Add 6-8 pieces of chopped bacon. Brown. Add 5 chopped onions, 1 bag of chopped baby carrots, 2 bunches of chopped celery, and 5 smashed cloves of garlic. Saute until all the veggies are soft. Add 1 cup of dried currants. Then add 1 cup of dry white vermouth and the juice of 1 lemon. Add in spices as the alcohol cooks off. Add 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, 1/2 tablespoon juniper berries, 2 bay leaves, 1 pinch of allspice, 2 teaspoons dried thyme, 1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns, and 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary. Once alcohol has cooked off, add rabbit back in and add 7 cans of chicken broth (or enough to cover). Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook around 30 minutes and then check on your rabbit pieces. If not cooked through, cook longer.

Once rabbit pieces are cooked through but not tough, remove from the broth. Strain your broth and reserve. Let one person remove the rabbit meat from the bone and chop while the other person makes a roux of about 1/4 cup of flour & 1/4 cup of butter. Combine butter and flour over medium-low heat and cook around 4 minutes, stirring constantly. When roux looks blonde and thick (like me!), add about half of the stock to the roux, a little at a time, stirring constantly so that it stays smooth. Let it simmer for maybe 10 minutes.

To serve, add rabbit back to this gravy-type sauce, add parsley, and serve over white rice.

(If you are anti-eating-bunny, then you could do this exact recipe with chicken thighs. But just know that the game train is leaving the station with or without you.)

pleasantly peasanty

Last night, we fixed some rabbits that Kaytie's dad brought us. (Kaytie will fill you in as soon as she can.) With rabbit as a main dish, (and the obligatory carrots - what else to serve with rabbit?) we needed some good rustic sides, which I was only too happy to provide.

The most exciting thing I learned yesterday was that beets are beautiful (look at all the pics!!). I will cook with them again and again, if only for the aesthetic experience. It's a bonus that they're delicious, too.

I've only ever had pickled beets (on hamburgers - yum), but the Joy of Cooking said beets could be baked like potatoes. I figured that they would also perform well if I roasted them. They did.

Roasted Beets

beets (5-6 medium beets made 4 servings)
4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
kosher salt
roughly 1 tsp paprika
2-3 Tbs oil

Skin and dice the beets into 1-inch cubes. Behold their beauty, but beware their staining capacity. Toss them with the rosemary, paprika, oil, and a liberal amount of salt. I probably used about a tablespoon or two.
Roast the beets on a baking sheet in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until they are fork-tender. Behold their beauty and enjoy.

I woke up Sunday morning in a panic. Okay, that's a bit hyperbolic, but I did want to make some bread for dinner, and I hadn't started any dough rising the day before. I went straight to The Bread Bible. Beer bread could be made quickly and allowed to rise while I was at work. I had to change the recipe slightly to allow for what I had on hand, but it turned out great. It did not taste like beer, and it was a denser bread, good for slicing for sandwiches or for use as a vehicle for butter.

Beer Bread
(from The Bread Bible)

1.25 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbs sugar (the recipe called for malt powder or sugar)
13.5 ounces (just under 2.5 c) all-purpose flour (the recipe called for bread flour)
1 ounce (3 Tbs + 1 tsp) whole wheat flour
9 fluid ounces dark beer (I used Sam Adams Honey Porter)
1.25 tsp salt

Briefly whisk the yeast, sugar, wheat flour, and all but 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour together in the bowl of a stand-up mixer. Add the beer (it's easier to measure if it's flat and room temp - to hurry this along, microwave it for about 30 seconds), and use the dough hook to knead the dough on low speed for about a minute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it sit for 20 minutes.

Add the salt. Use the dough hook to knead the dough on medium speed for 7 minutes. The dough should pull away from the bowl. It if doesn't, add a little more of the leftover flour. The dough should be smooth and not too sticky. Turn the dough into a lightly greased bowl. Grease the top of the dough, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Let the dough rise for about 2 hours, until it doubles. I left mine for about 5 hours, and it tripled in size. No problem.

Preheat the oven to 450 an hour before baking. Allow a baking stone to heat as well, on the next to lowest shelf. On the lowest shelf, put a baking sheet of cake pan.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape it into a ball about 5 inches across and 2.5 inches thick. Set the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover it loosely with greased plastic wrap, and let it rise for about 1.5 hours.

Slash the top of the bread with a sharp knife. Set the baking sheet on the baking stone and drop 1/2 a cup of ice cubes in the hot baking sheet that you earlier put on the lowest rack in the oven. Shut the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes. Drop the heat to 400 degrees and continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes, until the bread is golden brown. Our oven tends to cook hot, and my bread was done in 20 minutes. Let the bread cool on a rack.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

ugly yet tasty chicken nuggets

I have been a little quiet about the Super Bowl party. I am a little sheepish. I made a few things, and they were pretty good, but they were no andouille corn dogs.*

*(They are "corn dogs," NOT "corny dogs." 'Cause "corny dogs" just sounds silly.)

Well, okay, so the chicken nuggets were really good. They certainly all got eaten. I used this recipe as a starting point. I took two packages of chicken thighs, trimmed them up (I'm saving the fat for making homemade schmaltz one of these days), and marinated them in something similar to the original recipe--lime juice, soy sauce, rum. I added honey and sriracha (Thai hot red chili and garlic sauce). I should've let them marinate longer--if I could do this over again, I'd let them sit over night. Then I dredged the bite-sized pieces in flour and added them to the much-beloved and over-worked deep fryer.

Yeah, so they turned out hideous, which I'm sure is my fault and not the fault of the lovely lady who authored the original recipe. I have no idea why they look like little fried turds, but it didn't stop the crowd from devouring them. Drew says it's because I used dark meat, but everyone knows dark meat is the best. Especially because you can cook it to death and it won't dry out. It's like buying insurance.

But what are chicken nuggets without dipping sauce? This is what I am slightly proud of. I took some leftover blue cheese butter from the Christmas party (what? it's not like it goes bad) and mixed it with mayonnaise, buttermilk, and more sriracha. I think that if I had to recreate this without the leftovers, I'd do it like this:

1 cup mayo
3 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 small package of cheap crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons sriracha
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/4 cup buttermilk (maybe less)
salt & pepper

Blend all together until smooth. I'd mix the butter and mayo together first, then add everything else a little bit at a time, because I am really not sure about the proportions at all. Wow, what a helpful recipe, huh? Look, the important thing is that these flavors together rock, and they really rock with fried chicken. So take away the lesson and do with it what you will.

Monday, February 2, 2009

the obligatory super bowl party: fun with a fryer

Sunday night. Super Bowl. Of course, we had to have some people over.

When I think of football food, I think of starch and meat and grease and calories. We had Rotel Dip (in Texas, we call it queso), Kaytie made sour cream and triple onion dip, I made a pan of King Arthur brownies, and Bethany made chili, all of which were great game-day staples.

Arthur just got back from Baton Rouge, where he had a field day in a seafood market. He showed up last night with crawfish boudin, hog's head cheese, and alligator nuggets, which he fried in our deep fryer.

Mmmm, deep fryer. I think I would eat cardboard or shoe leather if it were dipped in batter and deep fried. Mom gave us her old fryer when she decided it was not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. We don't use it enough, but I figured Super Bowl Sunday would be the perfect occasion.

The first task was potato chips for the onion dip. (Two Christmases back, we made sweet potato chips, seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg, covered with melted marshmallows.) No problem. Martin became the chip master, dropping them one by one, stirring to keep them from clumping, and seasoning them with Tony Chachere's. (Use a light hand; Tony's heavy on the salt.) Martin's verdict: just buy potato chips next time.

Next, we dropped Kaytie's chicken-thigh nuggets, which she served with a delicious buttermilk sauce. Arthur took a turn for his alligator nuggets, served with Chris's buffalo sauce.

We finished off with the tour de force: andouille corny dogs. (There's a long-standing debate in my house. Kaytie says they're corn dogs, but I grew up calling them corny dogs. I've done a little research. Though the origin of the corn-coated dog is less than definite, most people credit Fletcher's Corny Dogs, sold at the Texas State Fair since around 1940. I rest my case.)

Kaytie mixed the batter, I dipped the dogs, and Eleanor dipped the dogs after I deep-fried my index finger along with the first dog. Eleanor used tongs, which, in hindsight, as I type with my middle finger, is an idea that I heartily endorse.

Andouille Corny Dogs
(using Alton Brown's batter)

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & finely minced
1 8.5-ounce can creamed corn
1/3 cup onion, grated
1.5 cups buttermilk
cornstarch, for dredging
2.25 lbs andouille sausage (or any smoked meat links)
corn oil

Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder & soda, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Add the jalapeno, corn, onion, and buttermilk. Mix just enough to get the batter together. There will be lumps. Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes while you prepare the sausage and the deep fryer.

We used about a gallon of corn oil in our fryer. Alton recommends peanut oil, but peanut oil is expensive, and all you need is an oil with a high smoke point. Heat the oil to 375 degrees.

Cut the links into 2-3 inch pieces, and stab each piece with a chopstick. (You could use bamboo skewers, but this is a great way to use all of those wooden disposable chopsticks you've been saving from sushi takeout.)

Dredge the sausage in the cornstarch, lightly coating it. This will help the batter stick. Dip the dog in the batter, twirling to ensure sufficient coverage. (If you're using longer dogs, pour the batter in a drinking glass, and dip the dog vertically.) Transfer the dipped dog immediately to the hot oil, and fry to a beautiful golden brown. Drain for a couple minutes on paper towels.

Use caution before eating - they'll be hot.

We only used about 1.5 pounds of andouille, so there was plenty of batter left over, and the oil was still hot. Well, one thing led to another, and hush puppies were born. They were excellent, less dense than I normally expect from hush puppies, and if I ever have a fish fry, I'll be serving these.