Hush Puppies!

Hush Puppies!

It’s not yet Summertime, but the fish are biting, anyway!  Warmer temperatures and sunshine perk up those little lake (and river) swimmers, and if you’ve got the line and the pole and the hook and the worm and the sinker and the bobber and the net and . . . well, maybe we’d better stop right there.  It’s amazing what we can spend on a hobby that used to be so simple, isn’t it?

Bluegill and Crappie are two of my favorite fish.  I like ’em filleted, dipped in a mixture of egg & milk, rolled in a blend of flour and cornmeal with some salt & pepper and fried to a golden brown.  Catfish are pretty good too, and right now several of my cousins are snagging Spoonbill.  These guys really know how to fry the fish, too, let me tell you!  It’s a skill passed down through the family, and a mighty fine tradition.

Some folks like Hush Puppies (or is it Hushpuppies, all one word?) with their fish dinner.  I made an online search for hushpuppy recipes, and there are a lot of variations out there.  Which to choose?  My only trial with making this simple fare was during my junior high days, when a friend and I decided to mix up a batch in her mama’s kitchen.  The result was not quite hockey-puck tough, but they were fairly tasteless, and not at all what we’d had in mind.  When you add in the thundercloud expression on Mrs. L’s face upon seeing the mess we’d strewn across the counter and stovetop, it probably is little wonder that I’ve been in no hurry to repeat the experiment.

Anyway, I copied down the ingredients listed in three separate recipes, mixed up what seemed like a reasonable combination of the trio, then tweaked it a little more, half-way through.  Here’s what I’ve settled on for now:

preheat cooking oil (2-3″ deep) in a deep pot to 365 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, place:

1 cup self-rising flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

2 shakes from the garlic powder can

Stir together the dry ingredients, then add:

1 small onion (or half, depending on your taste) chopped fine.

Then mix together:

1 egg, well beaten

1 cup buttermilk  (I used fresh milk, with a splash of white vinegar added)

Pour this into the dry mixture and stir just until moistened.

Drop (carefully!) by teaspoon into the hot oil.  You can use a second spoon to scrape the batter/dough off the first one, but I just used my finger.  Fry for about 3 minutes, turning occasionally with a heat-proof slotted spoon.  (Some of mine kept popping back over after I turned ’em).  Remove  from grease before they get too dark, drain on paper towels.  Best eaten fresh.

Next time, I’m thinking about adding a little fresh ground pepper to the mix.  What about you?  Got a recipe to share?


And How Would You Like That Served?

And How Would You Like That Served?

Now is the perfect time to write a post about food, because I am not the least bit hungry.  Having gone to the grocery store ‘way too many times when I was hungry . . . you ‘ve probably done the same thing, and already know how that story ends.

My D.G. dog Albert and his new companion Dot are getting along very well.  They’re of a similar size and build, and Dot can almost keep up with Albert in the running department, which is really saying something.  They play well together (if a bit rambunctious at times), and have been fairly decent about sharing beds, toys and bones.  I’m careful to give them both their share of attention.  The main challenge arrived at mealtimes:  Dot’s a Chewer, whereas Albert is an Inhaler.  Putting the chow in two similar-sized bowls at opposite ends of the room makes no difference.  Albert devours his ration and then wants to help Dot with hers.  And while he doesn’t have an overly dominant personality, seniority apparently trumps femininity, and she lets him!  Being young, and probably a healthy percentage Coonhound, Dot is skinny enough already.  And Albert?  Well, he used to be skinny.

So, I’ve worked out a new method.  Albert still gets his breakfast and supper in the kitchen, as usual.  Dot’s bowl is put down in the living room, near the sofa, where I sit to supervise.  About the time Dot takes her second or third piece of kibble, Albert trots in, where he’s invited to join me on the sofa for a little snuggle time.  He casts occasional glances at his friend (and her bowl), but seems mostly satisfied with the trade-off.  Dot just takes her time, crunching each morsel thoroughly before moving on to the next.  Sometimes she tips the bowl with her foot, spilling the dry food across the floor.  Often the meal takes long enough that she actually lays down, with her front legs stretched out on either side of the bowl.  Eventually, she finishes, Albert jumps down off the couch, and they both look toward the door.  I open it, and they hit the ground running.

People sometimes have funny food habits, too.  Some tend to eat a meal one food at a time, while others swirl everything on the plate into a hodgepodge.  My late step-father-in-law John would eat for a while, then lean back and smoke a cigarette, then continue eating.  Larry had dentures and believed in chewing everything to smithereens, so he was always the last one to finish, even in big groups.  I tend to eat fast, unless there’s a lot of conversation going on to distract me.  Some people like gravy on almost everything.  Others think the dinner spread is not complete unless there’s bread and butter on the table.  Some will salt their meal before they even taste it.  And as for chewing habits?  Hmm.  Not gonna go there.

The picture above shows a plate of nachos served as an appetizer at the Gourmet Café and Pie Company in Los Alamitos, California.  I dined there with my aunt, uncle and cousins on New Years Day.  The food was fantastic and plentiful.  The usual yellow tortilla chips were supplemented with red and green ones, presumably for the holiday season.  My uncle can really pick the restaurants, and we had some incredible meals during my visit.  And if they observed any silly idiosyncrasies on my part while at the table, they were kind enough not to say so.

Bon Appetit!   Got a food funny to share?  Leave a comment!