Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mealtime Magic: Fair Foods (Fried Pickles and Spicy Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheeseburgers

I recently had a chance to review Fair Foods: The Most Popular and Offbeat Recipes from America's State and County Fairs. It's perfect timing, with summer county and state fairs in high season. The book has a ton of different recipes, some a little more standard (cheesecake on a stick, funnel cake with berries), some a little bit off beat (deep-fried oreos®, bacon-wrapped tater tots with dill dipping sauce), and some that sound too crazy to be good (chocolate-encased bacon, fried coca-cola®). There are over 100 recipes in the book, and the majority of them have great pictures that really make the dish look appetizing. I have a chance to share two of the recipes with you.

Recipe(s) reprinted from FAIR FOODS: The Most Popular and Offbeat Recipes from America’s State and County Fairs
by George Geary
Santa Monica Press/August 2017
The hot, crunchy pucker of these fried pickles is like no other flavor you can imagine. Pair with ketchup or mustard.
Serves 4
24 oz. dill pickles, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. seasoned salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ tbsp. hot sauce
¾ cup water
canola oil
Special Supplies:
Candy/deep fry thermometer
Paper towels
Drain dill slices on paper towels. Refrigerate until ready to use.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, seasoned salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Add hot sauce and water to make a runny paste.
In a stockpot, heat 1 ½ inches of canola oil over medium heat to 375°F.
Dip pickle rounds into the batter to coat all sides. If the batter is runny and doesn’t stick to the pickle, add additional flour. If it is too thick, add hot water.
Using a slotted spoon, lower the battered pickles into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 30 seconds, turning over halfway through.
Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.
Spicy Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheeseburgers
One of the most unusual combinations to emerge from county fairs.
Makes 4 burgers
1 1/3 lbs. lean ground beef
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
4 slices Swiss cheese
¼ cup grape jelly
1 jalapeño, sliced thin
4 hamburger buns, toasted
Special Supplies:
Grill pan or barbecue
Gently shape ground beef into four 1/3-pound round patties. Don’t handle the beef too much. Press a dimple into the center of each patty. Season well with kosher salt and pepper.
Grill burgers over medium-high heat for about 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium burgers. About a minute before the burgers are done, top each patty with 1 tbsp. peanut butter. Top with cheese.
Take burgers off the grill and allow to rest for a few minutes. Serve on toasted buns with a dollop of grape jelly and jalapeño slices.

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