Yesterday morning gave me the opportunity to take some Crisco for a spin. I’m housesitting and I have long held that my first attempt at frying any dougnutty sort of thing was not going to be in my Sacramento house, what with its lack of a hood fan and any sort of fire retarding equipment.
Frying is serious business not to be undertaken lightly or without the proper equipment. Crisco itself makes it clear right there on the can with such colorful warnings as:
“Not intended for use as spread” Yuck.
“If shortening catches fire:” Grab marshmallows
One warning not put on the can was concerning proper attire for frying. DO NOT try to make fritters without a shirt on. Praise the lord that I was blessed with Burt Reynolds-esque hair genes or else Fry-Fest 2009 could have taken an ugly turn. While a liability at the beach and around zippers, chest hair saved me a trip to the Shriner’s hospital for first-degree burns. Enough about my body hair.
Fall is approaching quickly. Now that I’m no longer in school the only way for me to know the seasons are turning is by the proliferation of apples at the market. On Tuesdays my stand is next to Skip, aka Pear Guy, and all summer long he has pushed us to pair cheese with his fruit. We humor him because it is a natural compliment and he is a marked improvement over the psychotic old guy who used to sell pears, we’ll call him “Lucky.” Lucky has a distinct style of conversation, typified by the first time I ever spoke to him.
“Hi Lucky, I’m Matt. Nice to meet you.”
“What do you know about economics? What was your major in college?”
”Politics, also Rhetoric-”
“Well, shit. You probably think this Obama guy has it figured out. Don’t you?”
“-and Media Studies. It seems like the recess-“
“Know what inflation does? Do you understand what led to the collapse of the Soviet union? You probably don’t know what socialism looks like, do you?”
“Jesus. Was that even a question?”
Skip could probably run a Flea Circus on his table while yelling in Esperanto and still
sell more fruit than that asshat.
Digression, ho! Anyway, Skip and I have become pretty folksy on Tuesdays and now that fall is upon us I have more Fuji apples than I know what to do with. I conferred with a Junior League cookbook my mom had laying around from an era bygone but could only find a recipe for banana fritters. Well, a little fiddling around led to my development of a pretty tasty fritter recipe.
Pear Apple Fritter Thingies
Terrible picture. Shakey due to tremors I was experiencing as a result of insulin shock from eating the ugly ones.
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup flour
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs (separated)
1/3 cup buttermilk
3/2 diced fuji apples
1 peeled and mashed up extremely ripe pear
CRISCO BRAND FRYING FAT. Use only CRISCO. Don’t think about any other shortening. No the fine people at CRISCO aren’t paying me to all caps their product and hence jock their fat, its just such a really funny product.
Make like you’re baking and mix the dry ingredients. Blend the egg yolk and milk with the mashed pear and mix with the dry ingredients. Let that sit. Just like pancakes of yore, if you’re making a quickbread like this, the key is to let the dry ingredients absorb the mixture. The trick is after it sits to beat the egg whites stiff as you can and (along with the apple bits) fold that into the batter. Egg whites make for a fluffier fritter and that’s something we can all get behind. After folding the whites in, plop two big spoonfuls at a time into 375 degree shortening. 375 is really the magic number for frying things like this. Any hotter and it may not cook all the way through, but any colder and you’re not going to feel well after eating these as they will be doused in fat. “That’s not frying we can believe in.”
Flip your fritters once. The cook in you will want to fiddle with them a lot. Resist the urge. A fiddled with fritter makes for a faulty fryjob. Take it out and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Feel the rush.
My last post talked about my larger life project and how this blog fits into the grand scheme. Well, to be honest it doesn’t, but to act like the two acts are mutually exclusive is a false choice and just me being lazy.
The pipe dream lives on, and is more directed now than ever before. At this point it becomes simply a matter of starting. I have now taken a marketing class so that I can throw around terms like “target market,” “ROI” and, my personal favorite, “psychographic.” The steps to turning this from a marketing class homework assignment to something that puts burritos in my stomach is a matter of effort.
So how about this. I am soon going to embark on my first raised bed planter. I’ve consulted books, looked at websites and talked to enough self-described “garden consultants” to last a lifetime, and its time to starting getting dirty. Much in the same way that I described the trials and tribulations of a first time garden I can describe what happens when a yard kicks it’s addiction to grass and water and starts becoming a place where food comes from. Who’s with me?
Hey, there’s still a couple more weeks of it left. Let me have it.