Fried Pickles

Ode to the Pickle

Pickle, I have loved you for as long as I can remember. Some of my fondest memories are with you.
I recall the jars of pickling baby cucumbers my grandfather would have sitting out on his back porch in the summertime. I remember how the warm sunlight would illuminate the jars so beautifully. It was truly a joy plucking a freshly pickled pickle out of the jar and crunching into it.
My next memory of you, pickle, is when my keen culinary prowess began to bloom. I was six years old and thought how good your sharp acidity would taste with the sour of sour cream. (Don’t knock it until you have tried it people!) So, I lathered up two sides of rye bread with sour cream, placed a few pickle spears inside, and have been enjoying that staple Stefanie sandwich ever since.
You were at every family summer BBQ. Your pickling juices started the game of “I Dare You to Eat/Drink This” with my brothers. One of my brothers, who shall remain nameless, still enjoys a gulp of pickling liquid every now and then. No judgement.
I have always ordered extra pickles on sandwiches and burgers especially. (Confession: sometimes even extra-extra pickles). There are some nay-sayers who leave the pickles on the side of their sandwich plates and try to ignore you and send you back to the kitchen on a dirty plate just to be thrown out. I have always come to your aid and eaten you before you received that fate.
I would never want to do anything to destroy the integrity of your sour, vinegary appeal. So don’t be scared. It won’t hurt that bad. When you hit the frying pan, just know that this is for the best. It will only enhance your charm and whimsy. We may even convert some of those nay-sayers into lovers, not haters!
Ingredients
3 Claussen Pickle Spears (Any brand is ok, but I prefer Claussen. Call me a pickle snob, I don’t care.)
½ Cup Sour Cream
½ Cup Flour
1 Egg, beaten
1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1 ½ Cup Vegetable Oil
First, remove the seeds from the pickle spears. Then cut the spears into fourths or fifths, length-wise. You want small slivers of pickle.
Next, dredge each individual pickle sliver into the sour cream. Be sure just to drag it through smoothly. You want to make sure there is a thin layer, no clumps.
Then dredge the pickle through the flour, egg, and finally through the panko bread crumbs.
The idea is to get a thin coating on the pickle. It doesn’t have to be coated entirely. Place the breaded spears on a wire rack to set up until the oil is heated.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until the temperature of the oil reaches about 220 degrees.
Add the pickles to the oil three or four at a time. Fry them for two minutes on each side. When the breading turns lightly golden, they are done. Place pickles on a wire rack to drain.
The great thing about this breading and the fry time is that the pickle still maintains its integrity. It still has a crunch and holds on to its pickle-y taste.
The pickles are great as an appetizer. Serve them with some horseradish mayo for an extra kick. All you need is 3 tablespoons of mayo, a tablespoon of grated horseradish, and a dash of salt and pepper.
Or…..If you really wanna be a fatty…Add them as a topping to a cheeseburger.
Might as well call today FRY-DAY! Get it?

Balsamic Glazed Sausage Bruschetta

I love appetizers! I love everything from cheese plates with olives and crackers to a messy hard to eat bruschetta. In fact, the other night my husband and I made a meal out of those two very things! I know it isn’t the healthiest or most balanced meal, but hey, it is the holiday season. Don’t all of your normal eating guidelines go out the window eventually anyway?

When thinking of ways to make my all time favorite combination of ingredients even better, there was only one ingredient that came to mind: pork! Pork always makes a dish better!
The addition of a mild pork Italian sausage to the normal bruschetta takes this traditional vegetarian dish and makes it into more of an entrée or a heavier appetizer to lead into the main course. I highly recommend bringing this dish to your Christmas dinner. After all, it is red and green!
Ingredients (makes enough for 10 pieces of bruschetta)
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
2 Links of Mild Italian Pork Sausage, casings removed
½ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
½ Pint of Grape Tomatoes, halved length-wise
10 Fresh Mozzarella Ciliegine (small balls of mozzarella), halved
6 Large Fresh Basil Leaves, cut into thin strips
10 Slices of French Baguette or Ciabatta (or any other kind of crusty bread you like)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Add the sausage links. Using a rubber spatula, break the links up into small bite-size chunks. When the sausage becomes golden on each side and is no longer pink in the center, add the balsamic vinegar. Turn the heat up to high and reduce the balsamic by half until it is a thick glaze over all of the sausage.

 

When the sausage is cooked all the way through, remove from heat. Add the grape tomatoes to the pan. Coat them evenly in the balsamic glaze. Arrange the slices of baguette on a large serving dish. Spoon the sausage, glaze, and tomatoes over the bread. Top with fresh mozzarella and basil, then serve.

Bring this to your Christmas dinner as a unique appetizer, or do as I did, and sit your butt at home with a big glass of wine and some appetizers and pretend you went out to a party.
P.S. I am really going to miss using my tree as a beautiful back-drop.

Happy Hour Friday – Guacamole and Sangria

When my brothers and I were younger, we used to do stupid stuff. Let me also state, that I hope I am not the only person with childhood stories like this.
We used to dare each other to eat the grossest combinations of foods.
For example, I was maybe six, and I dared my middle brother to eat Pepsi mixed with dirt. “Pepsi-Mud.” He, being the most adventurous of the three of us, was most often the one that tried these nasty things, all for the love of food and new things.
He told me it was surprisingly good. So, I tried it as well. Our youngest brother was too scared to try it, and probably all the wiser. As I look back now, I thank God we did not get hookworm!
I know all of this is making you so in the mood for guacamole!
The worst combination we ever came up with was toothpaste, hot water, and 2 TBSP of cayenne pepper. My youngest brother dared my middle brother to drink this draught of death. (Keep in mind we are now maybe 12, 11, and 9. You think we’d know better.)
We told him we would pay him ten dollars each. So, my poor brother downed the mug of molten hot nastiness.
Seconds later his face was bright red and he was sweating profusely. (My other brother and I may or may not have been cracking up at this moment.)
I felt terrible, so I paid him his ten dollars. (Somebody else has yet to pay their half of this deal!)
A few weeks later, my middle brother came to me and told me…. “Hmm, it wasn’t that bad.”
It makes me think. I don’t remember the first time I ate guacamole. I imagine at first glance, I was kind of skeptical.  Let’s be honest.  It kind of looks like Slimer was thrown in the blender. 
But, if you learn anything from my childhood shenanigans, it should be that sometimes things that look unappealing are actually not that bad, if you can get past the way it looks.
Ingredients for Sangria
2 oz Light Rum
2 oz Grand Marnier
2 oz Vodka
Bottle of Red Wine
1 Cup of Orange Juice
1 Cup Club Soda (or Sprite if you like your sangria sweeter)
1 Lime, sliced
1 Lemon, sliced
1Orange, sliced

Add all of your ingredients to a large pitcher and refrigerate over night. Stir then serve!

Ingredients for Guacamole
3 Avocados
1 TSP Cilantro, finely chopped
½ TSP Salt
½ TSP Pepper
1 Jalapeno, seeds removed and finely diced
½ Shallot, grated
1 Garlic Clove, grated
The Juice of ½ a Lime
1 Roma Tomato, seeds removed and finely diced

Add all ingredients to a bowl. Lightly mash the avocados.

 

Try not to mash too much. You want to lightly fold all the ingredients together, so the guacamole is still a little chunky.

 

Get some chips, call some friends over, and enjoy your Friday!

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