eating in portland maine, fried pickles, gluttony, hooters fried pickles, maine shrimp, maine shrimp dip, real italians, silly's restaurant

Edible Obsession: Fried Pickles



Silly’s, on Washington Ave., gave me my first pickle. Coated and deep fried ones, of course. I liked pickles just fine and well before these came into my life several years ago, but I do have to confess to having constant, insatiable cravings for these quite often. That craving struck last week while I was scratching my noggin over what to make for our Super Bowl meal. But, I didn’t want to deal with running out there and, one down side to Silly’s fried pickles is that they tend to be extremely greasy and don’t reheat well in the oven. So, I kind of just pushed the craving to the side. Then, of course, I realized that I could just make my own at home.

So, that’s what I did, using a recipe from everyone’s favorite bar with boobies, Hooters.

Hooters Fried Pickles

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika**
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper**
  • 1 11 ounce jar hamburger dill pickle slices (I used Vlasic and half of a jar of Trader Joes Kosher Sandwich slices).
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Instructions

Preheat 8 cups of vegetable oil to 350 degrees in a large pot. Drain dill pickles in a colander and then place into a medium sized bowl with the 2 cups of buttermilk. Place all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Take about a handful of the pickles out of the buttermilk and dredge into the seasoned flour. Shake off excess flour, and place battered pickles into hot grease. Be careful not to place too many pickles into the hot grease or the pickles won’t fry up crisp. Fry pickle slices until golden brown. Continue cooking pickles until all are done. Now you can make appetizers just like Hooters with this fried pickle recipe.

**I actually used a couple of tablespoons of Crazy Dick’s Cajun Spice Seasoning, instead of just the paprika and cayenne. I would recommend using any hot spice blend that you have at home to flavor up the flour.

Now, Silly’s spicy dipping sauce is half of the appeal of ordering the fried pickles, so I–with a tip from The Missus’ coworker–tried a hand at making that, too. It was good, but I still think I could have added a bit more spice and because I don’t really measure, these are the estimates.

It wasn’t exactly like Silly’s, but it more than did the trick.

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cajun food, chickens, duck, louisianna food, maine shrimp, paul Prudhomme, turducken, turkey

Lithuanian Kūčios and a Cajun Christmas Pt.2

If Christmas Eve marked the traditional, than Christmas Day celebrated a bit of the unconventional. Knowing that the Missus and I were without family in Maine, and celebrating their first Christmas being ‘Mainers,’ Dawn and Adam invited us over for Christmas Day dinner. Their friend, Shelley, along with her partner, Dan, were making the trip down from Nova Scotia for the holiday and they wanted to make something spectacular for Christmas. Then, somewhere along the way–I’m not sure who exactly proposed it–a Turducken was hatched. It could have been Shelley, whose roots stretch deep into Louisianna or Dawn, who never seems to have medium sized dreams. Either way, that beautiful bird pictured above, has two other beauties packed into it’s mostly boneless carcass, ala Chef Paul Prudhomme.

When I told family members what we were making, outside of my precious Grandmother who couldn’t quite wrap her mind around the concept of birds stuffed into one another like Russian nesting dolls, there were two questions asked:

  1. Is it hard to debone?
  2. How long did it take to cook?
  • The first question is easy, we didn’t have to. When I ordered the birds from Whole Foods, I simply asked them to de-bone the animals for us and they did without charge. Then I whisked them away to Dawn’s where the four of them did all of the stuffing and sewing and were grateful that hours of de-boning had been taken off their hands.
  • How long? Well, I believe this took about 9.5-10 hours, but there were factors to consider. The roasting pan could have been a little bit bigger, which would have evened out the cooking. The thermometer that I brought hadn’t been calibrated in a while and wasn’t meant to be heated with the meats in the oven but when it was realized I decided to just go with it. But, anything that weighs around 20lbs is going to take a while to cook and luckily there was cards, wine and Angry Birds to keep us occupied until the kitchen was properly descended upon.

But, much like Kūčios, I had very little involvement in the whole thing. Shelley, bless her heart, dealt with all of us sniffing around the kitchen, asking if the oven was high enough and picking off any/all scraps of food that may have become available. And then, when it was finally done, we descended like a pack of rabid dogs.




The Turducken was stuffed with a traditional Andouille stuffing, while a Maine shrimp cornbread stuffing was served on the side.



Now, because of my general boycott of turkey, a little red wine did help me not mentally freak out, which was fantastic because it was probably the best turkey I’ve ever had in my life. The fact that it was in a smaller roasting pan meant that it basically braised itself in all of the fats–turkey, duck and butter–that found their way into the pan. While none of us could have pointed out where the chicken was in this feat, the duck was probably the most sought after (which, I was told that we actually had a Tur-chick-uck because the chicken actually turned out to be larger than the duck).

The finished plate had a salad Dawn made with roasted cranberries and pecans. I made a green bean dish with La Quercia Prosciutto. Shelley also made a Sweet Potato and Eggplant ‘gravy’ that was truly unique.


Sadly, I completely forgot to snap a picture of the Vanilla Bread Pudding w/Whiskey Sauce that I had made, using the recipe from Commanders Palace in New Orleans, as a guide. It was the perfect ending to a brilliant meal shared with old friends and new.

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maine shrimp, ridiculously spoiled cats

Big Shrimpin’


Actually, it’s quite ‘Wee Shrimpin’ isn’t it?
Tiny, bright pink nuggets of fishy sweetness are finding their way onto the market as we come into the first full week of Maine Shrimp season. I picked up a quarter pound late last night at WF’s for $5.99/#, headless. While I’ve fallen in love with the lil ones over the past few years, this batch was almost exclusively purchased as a treat for our cats.

C’mon, we’re lesbians–this is nearly fucking protocol to dote on cats like this.


Having nearly od’d on them last season, I’m trying to pace myself before it becomes a habit. So, we ate the first few that came out of the water (boiled for 30 sec., then shocked in an ice bath) and then I stood and unshelled the rest for the cats feast.

I don’t tend to do much than the preparation above, so I’m always looking for different ways to enjoy them. If you have any recipes or suggestions, feel free to leave them.

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