My deep-fried cherry has been popped. (…too much?)
This past week I tried something new! Thankfully I had an experienced deep-frier (cousin Shaun) and an enthusiastic helper with the need to deep-fry anything he could coat in breadcrumbs and throw in the oil (Tyler). The inspiration to have a deep-fried kinda night came from an unfortunate trip to the local drunken late-night eatery…
The staple after-bar, greasy hangout in Port Elgin is a hot dog place, but they don’t only have hot dogs, oooh no. They have poutines and funnel cakes as well. All day I thought about the splendor of eating that glorious funnel cake, drizzled in ice cream and whatever delicious toppings my little heart desired. I’ve had the hot dogs (mediocre, although in Tyler’s opinion- amazing) and I’ve had the poutine (quite good). I’ve never had a funnel cake to myself, although I had a bite of someone elses once, that one bite of scrumptious beauty was all I thought about this fateful day. Finally, after what seemed like days spent at the bars (okay, more like three hours), it was time. The boys got their dogs and as my watering mouth starting to make my order, the lady at the counter interrupted me. To my horror she told me they don’t make funnel cakes in the winter. I instantly became depressed. I didn’t fight back, I didn’t even ask why. I felt my shoulders sink as I told her to nevermind, and that I wasn’t going to get anything after all. Sure, I could’ve gotten a crummy hot dog, or even a hot and cheesy poutine, but I knew there was nothing, nothing, that could fill that void.
I vowed that night I would make my own funnel cake.
The next day we bought oil and other goodies to deep-fry (zucchini, mushrooms, plantains). A few days later was the big day, we coated everything in egg and Italian breadcrumbs (homemade…duh). Tyler started going crazy, he cut up potatoes, threw in pickles, olives, pasta… he stopped there, but I’m sure it’s because that’s all we had on hand. I was thankful we hadn’t gotten that exotic fish we saw at the pet store a few weeks ago, I could easily see Tyler battering, breading and frying that poor sucker up…
A question for all of you obsessed with deep-fried pickles- why? Don’t get me wrong, I love pickles… cold crunchy pickles. The warm soft pickles just weren’t doing it for me (woe #1).
A question for those of you (Tyler) who do not like deep-fried mushrooms- WHY?? I’m not a huge fan of raw mushrooms, but nothing- NOTHING tastes as good deep-fried as a plain old mushroom (definitely woah! #1).
Dessert was deep-fried that night too of course, considering it was the inspiration for this entire night. I’ve never worked with plantains before but Shaun and I decided to give it a go, which would’ve been awesome, if we had done our research…
We didn’t do our research however, which was a big mistake, and resulted in woe #2. I cut up the plantain, coated it in some crushed up cereal and coconut and threw it in the oil.
It wasn’t until after I had done this that one of us decided to taste the plantain.
Shaun tossed an unused end in his mouth and immediately spit it out-
That’s a good sign, right?
At this point we thought it would be smart to look up some things on plantains. Turns out if they’re green, they’re not ready to be eaten (see plantain in background of photgraph). Any average moron would’ve thought that plantains are just like bananas, right? So if they’re green, they’re not ripe yet, right? Right.
Turns out we’re above-average morons.
As yummy as the plantains looked, they tasted like deep-fried cardboard covered in cardboard.
Tyler was in the shower when the research was taking place, so when he came out (thinking it would be funny) we told him to eat one and tell us what he thought.
He tried one alright, and you know what he thought? He thought it wasn’t funny.
Alright, so that was a failure on our part- lesson learned. I was determined to not screw up these funnel cakes. The recipe is easy enough, and the execution of actually “funneling” the batter into the oil didn’t seem too difficult, so we gave it a shot.
Success! (and woah! #2)
Funnel Cake yields 4 cakes
2/3 cup milk
2 tbsp sugar
1&1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
Mix ingredients together. Transfer batter into a freezer-sized storage bag and cut a fairly small hole in the corner of the bag. (Mine was a little big which made the dough a bit thicker coming out).
To test the oil, drop a small amount of batter into it, if it starts fizzing right away- it’s ready. If not- wait a few minutes and try again. When the oil is ready, quickly but carefully start squeezing the dough in a spiral motion into the oil. It’s okay to pile the dough on top of itself, it’ll just result in a thicker, taller cake (like mine). It’ll only take a minute to start browning, flip it over to cook the other side. When it is a deep golden brown (and when you get over the fact that it looks like a big golden pile of poo), take it out and place it on a paper towel to get all that extra oil off. Top it with the toppings of your choice and- voila!
Beautiful, glorious funnel cake.
We had a busy weekend, so stay-tuned this week for two more recipes- kalamata tapenade and rabbit in a white wine, bacon and mushroom sauce!
Yes, we cooked rabbit.