From Out of the Dying Pan . . .
Talia spent her childhood at her nana's elbow watching her making homemade meatballs. She knew that Nana tweaked the recipe depending on whom she was feeding. Ingredients such as fresh garlic, Parmesan cheese, and herbs can be adjusted to suit your taste. If you'd like to cut down on preparation time for the deep-fried meatballs, there are many frozen brands that are quite good.
Talia's deep-fried meatballs
Ingredients for meatballs:
3/4 pound hamburger
1 tablespoon finely minced onion
1 teaspoon crushed garlic (more if you're a garlic lover!)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed basil
1/8 teaspoon crushed oregano
1 cup panko crumbs
5 tablespoons high-quality marinara sauce
Instructions for meatballs:
Mix all the above ingredients with a fork until well-blended. Form into small or medium-sized meatballs (about 1½ inch diameter works well, but you can make them smaller if you'd like).
Roast at 425° in a roasting pan coated with non-stick spray for 10 to 12 minutes. The meatballs should be browned, but not overdone. Chill in fridge for at least a few hours or preferably overnight.
Ingredients for batter:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons grated parmesan
1/2 teaspoon finely crushed basil
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon beaten egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Instructions for preparation:
Combine in a mixing bowl the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, grated parmesan, and crushed basil. In a separate bowl, combine the water, beaten egg, and oil. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk until well blended.
In a deep fryer or heavy pan, heat vegetable oil to 350 to 375 degrees, using just enough oil to cover the meatballs. A candy/deep fry thermometer will help gauge the oil temperature. One by one, coat the chilled meatballs in the batter. Using tongs, remove each meatball from the batter and lower each one slowly into the oil, but avoid crowding the pan. Fry until golden brown, about three minutes, then remove and drain on paper towels. Don't worry if your deep-fried meatballs end up with little batter "tails." They're crispy and delicious! Serve immediately with warm marinara sauce.
A big thank you to Cinnamon & Sugar and Little Bit of Murder for this wonderful instructional video on preparing this recipe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHsPh0v9GZg
From Fillet of Murder . . .
Talia experimented with different versions of this delicious treat before coming up with her final recipe. And she has a reminder for you: please be extra cautious when working with sizzling hot oil. A good policy is to keep children and pets a safe distance away from the stove while you’re in the preparation stage.
Talia’s Deep Fried Pickles
Ingredients for pickles:
Vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt
16-ounce jar kosher spear pickles, or deli pickles (quartered)
In a heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 inches of oil to 350° (test with a candy thermometer). Place flour in one bowl, beaten eggs in another bowl, and cornmeal in a third bowl. Blend the salt and cayenne pepper into the cornmeal.
Dip the pickles first in the flour, shaking off the excess; dip into the beaten egg, then dredge in the cornmeal mixture to coat. (For a thicker coating, repeat the process.) Using tongs or a slotted spoon, lower each pickle carefully into the hot oil. Fry in small batches, no more than three or so at a time. The oil will sizzle as you place each pickle into the pan. Allow them to fry until golden brown, approximately two minutes. Lift each one carefully from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
For best results serve fresh out of the fryer, but wait at least a minute so that you don’t burn your tongue. If desired, serve the deep-fried pickles with Talia’s honey mustard dipping sauce.
To prepare the honey mustard sauce, stir together the following ingredients:
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons honey 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
Pinch of black pepper
From Some Enchanted Murder . . .
Tressa Krichner might not be a top chef, but she has her moments of culinary inspiration. One evening years ago, when her young niece Apple was mourning the puzzling disappearance of her mom, Tressa jumbled together a selection of Apple’s favorite foods and baked it in the oven. The result was Kooky Macaroni. Though Apple is grown now and working as a paralegal, this simple and delicious meal remains her comfort food of choice.
Tressa’s Kooky Macaroni
Combine the following ingredients:
2 cups spicy tomato sauce (Tressa likes Barilla Spicy Marinara sauce)
One-half pound cooked, crumbled burger
3 cups cooked macaroni (mini-shells work well)
Sprinkle of garlic powder
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped black olives (optional)
Place the mixture in a casserole dish coated with non-stick spray. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350°, covering with foil to avoid burning the top. Serves 4 to 6.