Editorial: Fall, feasts and good times: Take it easy
Ah, fall weather. Finally. Fall is my favorite season, and not just because daytime temperatures dip and the nights get crisply cool.
For me, fall has always been the kickoff for several months of good times. There's usually a festival or two, and football, and then some football, and maybe your MLB team is still alive, and Halloween, and then the holidays and a New Year and then, at least on the Gulf Coast, Mardi Gras, followed by crawfish season. (Which we can replicate in Arizona. Crazy, right?)
And then summer heats everything up, and I'm waiting for fall.
Good times always meant good food. So I was glad to see the Arizona State Fair is keeping up with the great American tradition of fabulously unhealthy, bad-for-you, shouldn't-eat-it, tasty, enticing, simply cannot stay away fair food.
If you're on a diet, like I was trying to be, you should probably stop reading now.
Did you know spaghetti ice cream existed? I didn't until last week. It's ice cream pressed to look like pasta, then topped with jam and white chocolate or other sweet toppings to resemble a plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
I'm sure it's good, but I'm not a big sweets guy. So that's not tempting - but chicken-fried bacon sure is. I love anything chicken-fried, and I love bacon, and now those things are together?
How did civilization survive without this?
Despite temptation, though, I did not include bacon in my grocery shopping. Maybe for Christmas, just once. Or twice.
Bacon, I love you. But you're no good for me.
Deep-fried Twix is also on the list, and that got me thinking. I've had some Girl Scout Cookie samoas sitting in my freezer for months - why not fry those up? I picked up a Twix for good measure and made sure both were chilled, but not frozen, before I started cooking.
It's pretty simple - mix flour, milk and an egg with a little bit of baking powder, oil and salt. I powdered the cookies and the candy bars with corn starch, dipped them in the batter and then dropped them in oil heated to 400 degrees. Don't cook them too long. I didn't time it, but the outside gets golden brown quickly, and that's when you pull them out, blot the excess oil and let them cool a little.
The samoas were tasty, although it's a soft cookie already, so applying heat only made it gooier.
As for the Twix - well, if you ever have a deep-fried one, you'll probably never want a regular Twix again. Crispy exterior, melted chocolate and caramel, and a textured crunch from the cookie in the middle. That's a winner.
The marquee item on the Arizona State Fair's food list was this: Deep-fried peanut butter jelly cheesecake on a stick, with bubble gum frosting. I have neither the skills nor the inclination to take this on, but if anyone tries it, let me know what it's like. I'm curious.
As for our fall season that kicks off months of potential celebrations, remember the good advice that works in all areas of life: It's a marathon, not a sprint.
Deal with what's in front of you, and should a moment you want arrive, take the time to do it right and enjoy it.
If whatever you're doing is as satisfying as a deep-fried Twix, you nailed it.