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Midway Munchies

Step right up and enjoy the mouthwatering smells, sights, and sounds of the midway without ever leaving your kitchen. I enjoy re-creating the experience by making fun carnival foods that I rarely work into my menu planning. I spent years making homemade favorites like funnel cakes for my daughter, Noelle, when she had friends over for late-night swimming parties. They were always a hit, Mom was a hero, and I had great fun eating my share too. So the next time the kids are craving a trip to the carnival or midway, crank up the music and try some of my favorites.

Vegetable oil for frying
3 cups baking mix (such as Bisquick )
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond flavoring
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Canned fruit pie fillings such as apple,blueberry, or cherry

In a deep fryer, heat oil to 375°. Combine the next six ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Using a large funnel, pour about a cup of the mixture in while holding your finger over the hole. When oil is ready, release your finger and release batter in a circular and squiggly motion until circle is filled in. Fry about 2 to 2-1/2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain and transfer to plate. Dust with powdered sugar and top with your favorite fruit filling. Batter will make about four cakes. Serves 4.

Olive oil
4 large hot dog or hoagie buns
4 cups Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
2 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced
4 smoked sausages or Polska kielbasa
Mustard for garnish

Brush inside of buns very lightly with olive oil. Place on grill to get good grill marks. On grill, sauté onions and peppers until soft and edges begin to turn brown. Grill sausages until done and place on buns. Top with lots of onions and peppers. Drizzle mustard over top. Serves 4.

Vegetable oil for frying
1/3 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup ground cinnamon

Heat oil in deep fryer to 350°. Bring butter, salt, and water to a boil. Stir in flour and beat vigorously until mixture forms a ball. Reduce heat, slowly add beaten eggs, and stir until mixture is incorporated and pulls away from the sides of pan. Put batter in piping bag and squeeze strips about 4 to 5 inches long into hot oil. Fry about two minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove and drain. Roll in mixture of sugar and cinnamon and serve. Serves 4.

Vegetable oil for frying
1/2 (16-oz.) pkg. frozen phyllo dough
1/2 cup cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

Lay phyllo sheets on a flat surface over a large, damp paper towel. You should have about 10 layers. Cover top with another damp paper towel. Use a rolling pin and press down hard, rolling back and forth several times. With scissors, carefully cut out three or four large circles from the stacked sheets to resemble an elephant’s ear. Remove top paper towel and carefully run a wet finger around each edge of each layer of phyllo circle to seal 10 circles together. Cover with paper towel and roll down again, leaving damp paper towel over until ready to fry. When oil reaches about 350° in a deep fryer, carefully lift a layer of circles (remember to remove the top and bottom paper towels) and gently lay in oil. These will brown quickly and will cook in 30 seconds to a minute on each side. Have cinnamon and sugar combination poured out on a large deep dish. Carefully lay on plate and sprinkle both sides with mixture. Serves 8.

2-1/2 cups water
2-1/2 cups sugar
Juice of 8 to 10 freshly squeezed lemons
2-4 cups ice cubes

Make a simple syrup by boiling water and sugar together until sugar dissolves. Cool completely. Discard seeds from lemon juice, then add juice until the tartness suits your taste (it will seem strong). Cool. Combine in a blender, gradually adding ice cubes, and process until it reaches a slushy consistency. Garnish with a slice of lemon if desired. Serves 4.

Coming Next Month: Hot Off the Press Paninis

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