Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Cat's in the Cradle, and the Sink, and the Skillet, and the Pizza Box - Fried Pickle Spears

Deep sigh:  Oyyyyyyy ... These last few posts have been totally out of order.  I'm actually feeling a trifle better today, or maybe that's the ibuprofen working its magic.  Regardless, I am going to enjoy the moment. 

I am so excited about the Fox Republican Debate.  I'm not a Republican, and while we do watch Fox, there are times I get so aggravated at certain commentators I plug in my earphones and listen to Mandy Patinkin sing "Send in the Clowns."

Now - Can somebody explain to me what is going on with my cat?

Everything and the Kitchen Sink

My New Cast Iron Skillet

Al's Pizza, of course

He's turned into a container freak.

Me, I'm just a freak.  The latest "thing" is paranoia. I feel like I am being watched, spied upon, recorded. A car idling too long across the street, taking off when I happen to look out through the blinds. That gave me a very unpleasant feeling. I don't suppose it helped that earlier in the day, my iPhone popped up with a couple of wifi providers including "Surveillance Van."  No. really.  Not subtle enough to be for real, but it set my mind off.

I am still unable to walk into the courthouse or to my office.  I freeze at the thought.  Saturday will be five months since I was told to "go home and stay there until a doctor clears me to return to all of my duties. " That has never happened; neither of my doctors could sign off on something like that, now or anytime in the immediate future.  In the courtroom, publicly with no regard for my feelings or my illness, I was embarrassed, humiliated, and mortified. The self-esteem I had built up over decades crashed and burned in one afternoon.  I still can't get into details, nor would it be appropriate for me to vent.  The first sentence alone would include an enormous amount of profanity, with the word "bitch" being the mildest term there.

To say this is painful is an understatement.  But I am a patient woman, who believes that everything happens for a reason, what goes around comes around, and revenge is a dish best served cold.

Speaking of Dishes Best Serve Cold, this episode of Inspiration Nation is all about fried pickles.  Not those flimsy crosscut coins that every other restaurant seems to serve, but Fried Pickle Spears!  These are so good, you will be able to hold out until green tomatoes become available (I'm working on that - watch my garden grow). These are easy, but you will need a couple of ingredients you probably don't keep in stock.  Unlike me, who keeps some damn weird stuff in stock.

Fried pickles and fried green tomatoes are not foods I grew up eating.  Pickles are an important part of Jewish cuisine (walk into a New York Jewish deli and tell me what's on every table) and considered so perfect in and of itself  that breading and frying amounts to gilding the lily.

I never had a fried pickle until I moved down south, and even then it was not until I'd been here for years that my friend Tony mentioned them.  That boy is originally from Alabama, and I seriously trust his judgment on all things southern, so I was on the outlook for these things.  Found them at a couple of different restaurants and I was hooked, but I have to admit the best fried pickles we ever ate had him ordered at Uncle Bubba's Oyster House, just outside Savannah, Georgia.

Yes, Uncle Bubba. Paula Deen's brother. Get it out of your system now, and we'll move on to those pickles.

As I've explained before, I love Paula Deen.  I love her restaurant and I love her recipes. I'm going to guess that most of the recipes that her brother used and included in his cookbook had originally come from Paula.  I can read between the lines - Bubba has been a bit of an eff-up most of his adult life.  The recipes, the restaurant, that was all to help him.  Just my opinion.

Most restaurants, including Uncle Bubba's at its end of days, and the incomparable Jimmy Bear's BBQ in St. Cloud, fry crosscut pickle chips.  Just all right, in my opinion. The spears are best, and this is my recipe, and it is good.

Fried Pickle Spears

1 - 24 oz. jar kosher dill spears (I used Vlasic brand)
hot sauce, any kind (I used Sriracha; Crystal, Uncle Pete's, Tabasco are all good)

Night before the Big Fry:  Pour off all of the pickle juice.  Refill the jar with buttermilk and as much hot sauce as you can bear.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

1 - 8.5 oz. box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1/2 cup rice flour
black pepper, granulated garlic
1 pound Goya lard (yes, lard)

Combine the corn muffin mix and rice flour in a wire strainer with pepper and granulated garlic to taste and sift together into any pan or dish with raised sides. (You know I used an aluminum baking pan.)  Do not skip this step.

Heat the lard in a deep skillet over medium-high heat (that's 7.5 on my modern stove).  Remove the pickles from the buttermilk bath and roll them in the coating mix.  Fry them, in batches, until they are evenly brown (GBD = Golden Brown and Delicious) on both sides.  Drain on paper towels  Serve hot with ranch dressing (meh) or whatever you like to dip fried things into.

Like my Awesome Sauce Sauce.  You can find the recipe here.

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