Fried Dill Pickles

fried-dill-pickles fried-pickles

In the South we always have a jar of dill pickles in our fridge, it’s a necessity and of course we fry everything so fried pickles are just a perfect combination. I am not tooting my own horn or anything (okay maybe a little) but my recipe here is the best I have had. One problem I have always noticed when eating other peoples is that they are not crisp enough and the batter is not holding. So my solution was to double batter and it has always worked like a charm.

You need to make sure your oil is hot (325F using a candy thermometer). I use a small saucepan and that way you do not have to waste a lot of oil or make a big mess. These babies are always served with ranch dressing on the side and I add a few drops of Tabasco sauce in mine to give it a little tang. I also use my hands for this entire process (keep some napkins handy). Now come on you all you gotta try them at least once!

4 dill pickles, sliced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk (I use laban)
Sunflower oil
Tabasco sauce
Ranch dressing

1. On medium heat add about 1 inch of oil into a small saucepan. Allow to reach 325F.

2. In a small bowl add eggs, a few drops of Tabasco sauce and buttermilk, mix.

3. In another small bowl add flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic, mix well.

4. Coat pickles in milk mixture, flour mixture, milk mixture an then again in flour mixture. Carefully place into hot oil and repeat. Fry until golden then remove with tongs and place on a paper towel to drain.

5. In a small bowl add ranch dressing and Tabasco sauce, mix.

Yields: 4 servings

Homemade Cracker Jacks

homemade-cracker-jacksLast night I just got to craving caramel popcorn and promptly went into the kitchen to make some. It’s not all that hard of a process and the results well they speak for themselves. This has to be the favorite caramel to date. It has such a nice creamy and sweet flavor. Do you all remember eating Cracker Jacks as a kid? I used to love to get a box but mainly for the cheap toy at the bottom. Unlike the real ones I have added almonds into this mix but go ahead and add any of your favorite nuts they will work just as well.

10 cups popped corn (I used yellow)
1 cup nuts (I used peanuts and almonds)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. In a large mixing bowl add popcorn and nuts, mix. Preheat the oven to 275F.

2. In a small saucepan on high heat add butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir once to mix the ingredients up and then allow a candy thermometer to read 245F. Remove from heat add add salt, vanilla and baking soda, with a wooden spoon quickly mix everything up again.

3. Carefully pour caramel over the popcorn and mix. On a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper add the popcorn mix evenly. Mix!

4. Place in the oven and take out every 20 minutes to mix. Allow to cool.

Yields: 6-8 servings

Cinnamon Rolls

cinnamon-rolls homemade-cinnamon-rolls

I have always loved cinnamon rolls since I can remember. Growing up we would have the canned version on the weekends and we sure did love it and when I would go to the mall I would calorie splurge at Cinnabun. Making cinnamon buns at home can sure sound tedious and well it has been in the past but I came across this recipe and it was so much easier and better. There is no need to change anything with this recipe it was absolutely perfect.

After dinner I made the dough up and it was a beautiful dough that a baker always wants. I went about my business while I left it to rise and then I rolled it out and I found that mixing the cinnamon and brown sugar together and using a hand sifter to sprinkle it evenly all over the dough worked really well. Before I popped them in the oven I brushed the remaining butter over them (do not skip this). I served mine with homemade gingerbread lattes and it was delicious and well worth the time. You can also make these at night and place them in the fridge then get up and pop them in the oven for an easy homemade breakfast.

2-1/2 teaspoons yeast (1 package)
1 cup milk (warmed)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 cups flour

1/3 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Vanilla Powdered Sugar Frosting
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk

1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons of sugar and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

2. Add sugar, butter, salt, eggs and flour to the bowl and mix well.

3. Once the dough starts to come away from the edges, knead for about 5 minutes (if you are using your hands, dust them lightly with flour to avoid sticking) until a large ball is formed.

4. Cover the bowl with a towel and allow to rise for 1 hour, until dough has doubled in size.

5. Lightly flour your countertop and roll the dough out until it is approximately 16×21 inches, and 1/4 inch thick.

6. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

7. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

8. Melt butter for filling.

9. Spread butter over the surface of your dough.

10. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture generously over the surface of the dough (using the butter to make it stick).

11. Carefully roll the dough from the long top edge to the bottom edge.

12. Using thread (wrap the thread around the bottom of the roll, bring up and cross over each other and pull tight), or a knife, cut dough into 1 inch slices.

13. Lightly grease a baking pan. Place rolls in baking pan and bake for about 14 minutes until they turn a lighten golden color.

15. While they are baking combine frosting ingredients . Add more powdered sugar to the frosting if it is too runny, add more milk if it is too thick.

16. Remove rolls from oven and allow them to cool for about 5 minutes before frosting. Apply frosting generously to rolls.

Yields: 16

Adapted from Like Mother Like Daughter

Roasted Carrot Soup

carrot-soup carrot-soup-recipe

I have heard about carrot soup quite a bit and although I love carrots I was not sure how an actual carrot soup would taste. I have had the flu this past week and wanting a nice warm soup and with an abundance of carrots I thought I would give a new recipe a try. Wow, was I impressed what a great soup this is and I am only sad that I am just figuring out what most of you all probably already know.

6 large carrots, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cups vegetable stock (or chicken)
1 piece ginger, an inch long, peeled
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Add sliced carrots onto a baking sheet and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on top. Place under the broiler in the oven for about 10 minutes making sure to flip every few minutes. Carrots should start to brown.

2. Meanwhile in a saucepan on medium heat add stock, remaining olive oil, ginger, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Add carrots into stock.

3. Bring to a full boil them reduce to simmer and cook for a remaining 10 minutes. Remove ginger from soup.

4. Place a stick blender in the pan and puree. Serve.

Yields: 4 servings