FAIR FOODS AT HOME / Bringing a taste of the fair into your own kitchen

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It’s time for the Monroe County Fair again, and as such, I’m keen to showcase some delicious Fair Trade dishes you can create in your own kitchen.

Our county loves its fair – and with good reason. From today through next Saturday, Monroe is teeming with delicious sights and smells as families gather to enjoy this late-summer tradition.

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Our fair is a food haven where you can have a different meal each day, if you wish. Established in 1849, it has a long history and you can’t tell that story without mentioning the food.

So eat, eat and eat more at the fair, but also celebrate these food traditions at home now and throughout the year.

Here are some recipes to satisfy your palette with good memories of your visit to the fair. They’re easy, delicious, and – surprisingly – even a little healthy!

I love the Monroe County Fair and all it has to offer, but the food is the highlight for me. Enjoy the week-long event and remember: you can recreate these foods at home for everyone to enjoy all year round.

I once saw a caption describing a state fair as a place “where the four food groups are fried, fried, sweet, and on a stick.”

As always, I couldn’t agree more – and I think that applies to our county fair as well.

Enjoy the week!

Jacqueline Iannazzo-Corser is a staff writer for The Monroe News, writing about food and recipes. She is a chef, co-owner of Public House, culinary specialist at the Opportunity Center at Arthur Lesow Community Center, and assistant professor of culinary arts at Monroe County Community College. She can be contacted at [email protected]

banana delight

For 12 people

Ingredients:

  • 12 firm bananas
  • 12 popsicle sticks
  • 1 bag of chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ tsp. Butter
  • ¾ cups of nuts, coconut, candy chips or other

Directions:

  • Insert 1 pop stick into the end of each banana. Place bananas on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and freeze until bananas are frozen – about 2 hours.
  • Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring after each melting, for 1-3 minutes (depending on your microwave).
  • Dip the frozen bananas into the melted chocolate, pouring the chocolate over the banana to completely cover it.
  • Roll in toppings then freeze until chocolate is firm.
  • Serve

Note: I like to add different toppings, so the sky is the limit, be creative! White chocolate may also be included.

Fried Oreos

Give 20

Ingredients:

  • 20 Oreo cookies
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 cup pancake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Directions:

  • Pour the cooking oil into a large spaghetti pot over medium heat
  • Using a candy thermometer, bring the oil to 350 degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper with a layer of paper towel and set aside.
  • In a bowl, mix the pancake mix, egg, milk and 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil.
  • Dip each OREO into batter mixture until completely coated.
  • Shake off excess batter as needed before placing them in the oil.
  • Fry it for 1 minute on each side. Turn to make sure each side is golden brown.
  • Drain on a paper towel lined tray.
  • Using a sieve, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

If you are using an air fryer:

  • Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees.
  • Line the fryer basket with two sheets of parchment paper cut to the size of the basket.
  • Place each coated Oreo in the fry basket and set the timer for 7-8 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Using a sieve, sprinkle each cookie.

Candy coated bacon

Yields 24 pieces

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds. bacon two packs 12-16 slices
  • 16 oz. white chocolate chips
  • 16 oz. dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Cook the bacon until crispy
  • Using a paper towel lined baking sheet.
  • When the bacon is done, place it on a baking sheet and cover it with another sheet of paper towel.
  • Place the white and chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper and place the bacon slices on it.
  • Brush or pour melted chocolate over the bacon to cover. Then decorate with optional toppings (listed below) if desired.
  • Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set and serve.

Optional toppings:

  • Asparagus
  • Coconut
  • Nuts
  • carmel drizzle
  • Coconut, etc.

Walking tacos

4 oz. Frito bags for 12

Ingredients:

  • Fritos in a 4 oz bag.
  • 2 lb ground beef, turkey or chicken
  • Taco seasoning packet
  • Olive oil

Toppings:

  • Cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Salad
  • salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Onions

Directions:

  • Place a skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add oil and ground beef, turkey or chicken.
  • Fry while stirring continuously until browned.
  • Add taco seasoning and stir for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, drain any liquid from the meat.
  • Assemble the walking tacos by pouring cooked meat over the fritos followed by toppings and condiments.

Note: Add any toppings you want and if you want to use different bagged chips, you can.

Meatball skewers

For 12 people

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb bag of thawed frozen beef, turkey or chicken meatballs.
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 baskets of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 large yellow bell peppers
  • 3 large red peppers
  • ¾ cup barbecue sauce
  • ¾ cup mango or strawberry jam
  • Bundle of long wooden skewers

Directions:

  • Heat an outdoor grill to low-medium heat.
  • Thread onion, tomatoes, peppers and meatballs alternately onto skewers.
  • Mix and heat the barbecue sauce and jam in the microwave or in a saucepan.
  • Place meatball skewers on grill and brush with sauce.
  • Grill for 8 to 10 minutes, turning and brushing with sauce as it cooks.
  • Serve hot.

Note: Serve with chips, corn on the cob, coleslaw or crisp salad.

Fried corn on the cob

1 per person

Ingredients:

  • Corn on the cob, shucked and cleaned
  • Candy apple sticks
  • Cornstarch
  • Corn muffin mix
  • Peanut oil or your choice

Directions:

  • Dry the corn and place candy apple sticks on both ends of the corn
  • Roll corn in cornstarch
  • Then roll in corn muffin mix
  • Fry in oil until golden brown

Note: Due to its relatively higher content of saturated fatty acids, peanut oil is more stable than many other common vegetable oils, such as regular soybean oil. But of course, if you have a peanut allergy, you need to choose a different oil for frying.

Serve with ranch dip, honey mustard dip or your choice of dip. I also like to sprinkle Parmesan on my corn.

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