Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Funnel Cakes and Friends

I very fortunate to have people in my life who lift me up and say, "Kathryn - it will happen - one way or another."  From the wonderful ladies who read this blog to the girls I see in morning at the gym to my coworker, amidst her own struggle, whom I cry to monthly when I receive the "It's negative" call.  Thank you all.

I had one such friend for over for dinner on Friday, and no meal could have done this girl justice: she has listened to be bitch endlessly on work and health, and is one of the few people who makes work....well, doable.  She is also one of the funniest, brightest and most insightful people I know.  Oh, and she also accessorizes really well.  It goes without saying I had to make a yummy meal for this friend.

I thought long and hard about make-ahead meals because we were both getting to my place at the same time.  The only thing I could come up with lasagna, and I just wasn't feeling it.  That week Matt had harvested the last of our basil from the garden - a good two-hands full of summertime sweet and green leaves.  A new batch of pesto was born.

I cook with my dog and with music.  Matt (brilliantly) installed speakers in the kitchen this summer and now I sashay with my spoons.  Penny just waits for food.

I have learned the best pesto is made with roasted (in questionable amounts of olive oil) garlic.  The garlic mellows and an enticing sweetness is added to the dish.  And I admit: I plucked multiple cloves from the oil and ate them just like that.

Like a said, a lot of pesto was made.  And even though you'd think this batch was positively PUNGENT with garlic, I swear, it was, if garlic can be, mellow.  

I have no exact ratios: a large handful of basil, maybe a half cup of grated cheese (I used parm and romano), loads of garlic and, of course, the garlic-infused olive oil.  

To save time, I roasted bell peppers, grape tomatoes and zucchini with the garlic and mixed everything the night before, having only to make the pasta the day of.  I was a bit afraid things would get "mushy" but shrimp and roasted veggies are already mushy to begin with (right?), so I was good to go.

I thought it was only right to add MORE cheese to the already cheese-laden pesto dish.  Because that's just what I do.

I marketed the get-together as a "Harvest Party" - the only thing harvesty about this summertime meal was my fake leaves and gourds strewn about the table.  But, hey, I tried.  And aren't these two dears?  Yes, I really like them both.

I put Matt in charge of dessert and he came up with funnel cakes.  I was awe-struck with his genius and I think Danita was just as smitten.  Oh, this one sorts of looks like an intestine, no?  Thought it was a bit apt.

I debated over whether to include this photo because I look damn freaky, but thought it really just encapsulated the mood of the evening.  And my serpent tongue.

Did I mention we ate three of these babies?  It's sad but true.  Another friend was supposed to come for the evening but had romantic plans with her boyfriend.  When she found out we were having funnel cakes it presented a big quandary for her: long-planned big night out with said boyfriend, or funnel cake with us freaks?  She chose the former, and I think it's fair to state Matt, Danita and I would say she chose wrong.

So, here are the tips: always roast your garlic for fabulous pesto.  I buy a container of pre-peeled cloves at my local produce place.  It's great for us lazy folk.  Pre-peeled garlic is also great for mojo de ajo, Matt's favorite Mexican accompaniment (great on fish, veggies, anything).  It's a good thing we both adore garlic and don't mind morning garlic burps. (Yes - this stuff really sticks, uh, with 'ya.)

Matt's Funnel Cakes (really from
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the eggs and the milk. Add flour mixture to the egg mixture, and beat with a mixer until smooth. The consistency should be thin enough to run through a small kitchen funnel. Test it, and if it is too thick beat in a little more milk; if too thin, beat in a bit more flour.
  3. In an eight inch skillet, heat the oil to 360 degrees F (182 degrees C).
  4. Put your finger over the bottom opening of the funnel, and fill the funnel with a generous 1/2 cup of the batter. Hold the funnel close to the surface of the oil, and release the batter into the oil while making a circular motion. Fry until golden brown. Use tongs and wide spatula to turn the cake over carefully. Fry the second side one minute. Drain on paper towels, and sprinkle with sifted confectioners' sugar. 
 One last thing: don't look at the caloric content of this dish.  That just ruins all the fun.


  1. Roasted garlic is divine. I love it dosed in extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. It's amazingly good.

  2. Would like to have this exact meal next time we are over!!! What do I have to do for it--name anything.


  3. Red Deception - You speak my language!

    Nancy - I am not averse to you slipping me a $20 - then you can get your meal!!! Just joking - we'll be MORE than happy to oblige!

  4. Dearest hostest with the mostest:

    Yay for funnel cake and friends :)

    Thank you again so much for inviting me! I am available for incredibly suggestive inanimate object fondling ANYTIME!

    I had such fun and seriously, that meal? You should've kept that tupperware thingy for yourselves and I should've just stolen the entire bowl of deliciousness! It was so good I rationed it for Saturday din and Sunday brunch. And funnel cake. Yes, I was totally, utterly smitten. Plus, I believe I can still muster a Clump clap for how delightful those were really.

    Now seriously. When are we gonna start filming vignettes for your cookery show? Because we the people (namely hungry ol' me) can greatly benefit from a li'l sashaying with spoons.

  5. Danita:
    Thank you for your kind (as always) words. Now, regarding the cooking show: No way, Jose! You know the camera adds 10 pounds, and after that funnel cake...oye vey.

    It's easy! You don't need to dose it in olive oil, but be sure to at least coat (garlic can burn). Also, don't roast at a super high temp for garlic - I stay around 350 F. Afterwards, it's soft and mellow and absolutely delicious.