CAR­NI­VAL TREATS

Fun fare for Fat Tues­day

The Boyertown Area Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Emily Ryan

Rio cel­e­brates Car­ni­val. New Or­leans en­joys Mardi Gras. Venice mas­quer­ades. This Fat Tues­day, feel that fes­tive vibe and splurge on some clas­sic car­ni­val food. It’s not just for sum­mer.

“Per­son­ally, I love car­ni­val food,” said au­thor Ann Hazan of Wayne. “I think it’s sort of like reck­less aban­don. Com­ing from a nu­tri­tion ma­jor, ev­ery once in a while it’s fun to let go and just en­joy this stuff.”

She and Irina Smith cowrote “The Read­ing Ter­mi­nal Mar­ket Cook­book,” which in­cludes fa­vorites like Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch fun­nel cake and creamy fudge — a sim­pli­fied ver­sion with sweet­ened con­densed milk.

“It’s de­li­cious. It’s creamy, but you don’t have to worry about the candy ther­mome­ter and the soft-ball stage,” Hazan noted. “We wanted to have recipes in the book where peo­ple could do them eas­ily.”

Fun­nel cake, for ex­am­ple, may be “a lit­tle messy to make,” but it’s not hard. And “kids love it!”

Just re­mem­ber: “Keep your fin­ger on top of the fun­nel open­ing un­til you get it over to the fry­ing pan. Oth­er­wise, you’ll have drips,” she said with a laugh. And “have good clean­ing sup­plies avail­able.”

Pop­u­lar­ized at the Kutz­town Folk Fes­ti­val, fun­nel cake traces its roots to Ara­bic and Persian dishes, ex­plained Hazan, who grew up with a yeast-risen Greek ver­sion.

Fun­nel cake “was brought to this coun­try by the Ger­mans, and when it was brought here, they made it with bak­ing soda,” she added.

On the sa­vory side, try the chili dog recipe from Franks A-Lot, fea­tur­ing draft beer, cof­fee and “chili pow­der to give it a lit­tle zip.”

And for a twist on tra­di­tion, how about a lob­ster corn dog?

“It’s a fun food, and then you bite into it and you get that gourmet taste,” said John Se­rock of John Se­rock Cater­ing in West Ch­ester, whose Parme­san truf­fle pop­corn also el­e­vates car­ni­val fare to new heights.

“I love the fla­vor of it,” he de­scribed. “You get that earth­i­ness from the truf­fles, but it’s not over­pow­er­ing.”

“Truf­fle oil’s not cheap, but it goes a long way.”

Parme­san Truf­fle Pop­corn IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

1 ta­ble­spoon veg­etable oil 1 cup pop­corn ker­nels 3 ta­ble­spoons truf­fle oil 2 ta­ble­spoons grated Parme­san cheese

Salt to taste (up to 1 tea­spoon)

IN­STRUC­TIONS

Pre­pare pop­corn with veg­etable oil in an air pop­per or in a lid­ded pot on the stove. Then driz­zle with truf­fle oil; sprin­kle with Parme­san and salt. RECIPE COURTESY OF JOHN SE­ROCK CATER­ING

Chili Dogs

Ac­cord­ing to Rus­sell Black, owner of Franks A-Lot, us­ing top-qual­ity hot dogs and un­usual top­pings makes the dif­fer­ence. Franks A-Lot also serves bar­be­cued chicken, home­made ham­burg­ers, kiel­basa sausages and in­cred­i­ble cheese corn­bread. The ad­di­tion of beer and cof­fee in this dish gives it a boost. The chili can also be served in bowls. (The recipe makes about four bowl-size serv­ings.)

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

1 ta­ble­spoon veg­etable oil 1 large onion, sliced

1 green pep­per, sliced 2 gar­lic cloves, minced 1 pound ground beef

Salt and freshly ground pep­per to taste

¾ cup draft beer 1 cup tomato sauce 1 to 2 ta­ble­spoons freshly brewed cof­fee 1 ta­ble­spoon chili pow­der 12 hot dogs, boiled or grilled

12 hot dog rolls

IN­STRUC­TIONS

Place the oil in a medium skil­let and cook the onion, pep­per and gar­lic over low heat un­til soft­ened, about 10 min­utes. Add ground beef and cook un­til well browned. Sea­son with salt and pep­per. Add beer, tomato sauce, cof­fee and chili pow­der, then cook about 20 to 30 min­utes, stir­ring of­ten, un­til thick­ened. Place hot dogs in rolls, top with chili and serve. Makes enough chili to top 12 hot dogs.

RECIPE COURTESY OF “THE READ­ING TER­MI­NAL MAR­KET COOK­BOOK” SEC­OND EDI­TION

Creamy Fudge

You can buy dif­fer­ent fla­vors of fudge at the Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe. Their clas­sic fudge is made with real cream and but­ter. Here is a fudge recipe we dis­cov­ered that is easy to make at home. A cou­ple of tips: Use a lit­tle cook­ing spray on your pa­per lin­ing. And when cut­ting the fudge, run the knife un­der hot wa­ter so that it won’t stick to the fudge.

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

3 cups semisweet choco­late chips

1 (14-ounce) can sweet­ened con­densed milk Pinch salt ¾ cup chopped nuts, wal­nuts or pecans, optional

1½ tea­spoons vanilla ex­tract

IN­STRUC­TIONS

Line an 8-inch square pan with waxed pa­per. Leave enough over­hang to lift the fudge out when cooled. In a heavy saucepan, heat the choco­late chips, con­densed milk and salt over low heat. Stir oc­ca­sion­ally un­til the choco­late chips have melted and mix­ture is smooth. Re­move from heat and cool slightly. Stir in vanilla. Add nuts, if us­ing. Pour mix­ture into pre­pared pan and chill for 2 hours, or un­til firm. Lift fudge out of pan, peel off wax pa­per and cut into squares. Store fudge in re­frig­er­a­tor. Makes 25 pieces.

RECIPE COURTESY OF “THE READ­ING TER­MI­NAL MAR­KET COOK­BOOK” SEC­OND EDI­TION

Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch Fun­nel Cake

Fun­nel cake is so much fun to make and eat — a spe­cial treat for kids of all ages. A fun­nel cake pitcher or a reg­u­lar fun­nel can be used to make th­ese fried pas­tries. This is an easy ver­sion of a time­less treat.

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

11/3 cups all-pur­pose flour

3 to 4 ta­ble­spoons sugar (or half cane and De­mer­ara sugar)

1 tea­spoon bak­ing soda

1/8 tea­spoon of salt

1 egg

1 cup whole milk (more if needed)

1/8 tea­spoon pure vanilla ex­tract, optional Veg­etable oil for fry­ing Con­fec­tion­ers’ sugar for dust­ing

IN­STRUC­TIONS

In a bowl, com­bine flour, sugar, bak­ing soda and salt. In an­other bowl, beat egg with milk and add vanilla, if us­ing. Com­bine wet and dry in­gre­di­ents and stir un­til smooth. If bat­ter is too thick, add a drop or two more of milk (it should have the con­sis­tency of pan­cake bat­ter).

In a 10-inch skil­let, heat oil, 1 inch deep, un­til hot but not smok­ing. Spoon about ½ cup of bat­ter into a fun­nel (fun­nel open­ing should be no smaller than half an inch wide). Place a fin­ger over fun­nel open­ing so bat­ter won’t drop out. Hold fun­nel over hot oil, re­lease your fin­ger and let bat­ter stream slowly out of fun­nel. Use a cir­cu­lar mo­tion, start­ing in cen­ter and work­ing out­ward to form a spi­ral. Cook un­til lightly golden on one side, then us­ing two spat­u­las, care­fully turn over and cook other side. Fun­nel cakes will be done in about a minute. With a slot­ted spat­ula, re­move from oil, al­low­ing ex­cess to drip off and place on pa­per tow­els to drain. (Place in a warm oven un­til re­main­ing fun­nel cakes are cooked). Re­peat with re­main­ing bat­ter. Dust fun­nel cakes gen­er­ously with con­fec­tion­ers’ sugar and serve im­me­di­ately. Makes six fun­nel cakes.

RECIPE COURTESY OF “THE READ­ING TER­MI­NAL MAR­KET COOK­BOOK” SEC­OND EDI­TION

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Find fudge and chili dogs at the Read­ing Ter­mi­nal Mar­ket.

PHOTO COURTESY OF “THE READ­ING TER­MI­NAL MAR­KET COOK­BOOK” SEC­OND EDI­TION

Ann Hazan and Irina Smith wrote “The Read­ing Ter­mi­nal Mar­ket Cook­book.”

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

This creamy fudge doesn’t re­quire a candy ther­mome­ter and is “much eas­ier to make,” says cook­book au­thor Ann Hazan.

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Have a fun­nel and a fry­ing pan? No need to wait for a fair or car­ni­val. En­joy this Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch fun­nel cake at home.

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Parme­san truf­fle pop­corn el­e­vates car­ni­val food to an­other level

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