Best Fair Food of 2014

Funnel Cakes

Who doesn’t love the excitement of the State Fair? For many of us, as kids we walked the midway, chewing on roasted corn dripping with butter and licking sticky cotton candy off of our fingers. Those were the simple days of fair foods. Nowadays, fair food is less of a tasty treat and more of a mouth-watering art. Amid an array of fried candy bars and bacon-covered everything, states are taking their fair food to a whole new level. Here are just a few treats we’d like to snag. And devour.

Deep-Fried Texas Bluebonnet: “A blueberry muffin, scone-style batter that is stuffed with cream cheese, blueberries and sweet morsels of white chocolate” is this concoction’s description at the Texas State Fair. A finalist in the Big Tex Choice Awards, this fried goodness is topped with whipped cream, powdered sugar, more fresh blueberries and a special glaze. Seriously yum!

Funnel Cake Sticks: Ah, a classic fair indulgence. Well, sort of. At the Iowa State Fair, fair-goers had their choice of vanilla, chocolate or strawberry batter deep fried and topped with a smooth icing. It’s everything we love about traditional funnel cakes without all the mess.

Making your own funnel cake is not near as daunting as you may think. This simple Clabber Girl recipe makes it easy. 

Chicken-n-Waffle Cone: Despite original cream puffs being the oldest food tradition and crowning glory of the Wisconsin State Fair, we just had to know more about this dish. A finalist in the “Golden Spork Awards,” this fair treat boasts a rosemary cornmeal waffle cone stuffed with Cajun buttermilk fried chicken, blue cheese coleslaw, honey lager maple syrup and beer candied bacon. We didn’t make that up (though we wish we did!).

Fruit Twister Shake-up: This year, our home state of Indiana flaunted the Fruit Twister Shake-up. The refreshing thirst-quencher has long been an Indiana tradition, and the new spin includes lemons, oranges, pineapple, strawberries, sugar, ice and water.

Don’t let summer go by without trying out a few new drinks. Start with Watermelon Lemonade – perfect for sitting on the porch, flipping a few burgers or after mowing the lawn. Just blend 4 cups of watermelon, 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice and 1/4 cup sugar!

All of these creative recipes were worthy of treks to the State Fair. With all the delicious and innovative choices, we can’t help but wonder what the imagination will cook up next year!

Fresh Ideas for Fresh Herbs

lavendar

One of the things we love about summer is the abundance of fresh ingredients. Whether we visit the farmers’ market, or grow our own, nothing beats locally grown fruits, veggies, and herbs. Fresh herbs are a particular treat this time of year because they’re way more economical than buying a few small sprigs at the grocery store—like we had to do all winter—and they bring an intensity of flavor that simply screams summertime.

One of the most commonly used baking herbs is rosemary, and with good reason! The aroma of rosemary baked goods is enough to make us swoon, and the flavor of fresh rosemary in a savory bread is off-the-charts delicious. We combined chopped rosemary with a little lemon zest to make simple biscuits extra fresh this spring. You could also try Mani Niall’s recipe for Bacon, Gruyere and Rosemary Scones, a Clabber Girl favorite. It’s bacon, rosemary and cheese combined into golden wedges of bliss.

Chives are another summertime favorite. We love adding freshly snipped chives to some of our savory favorites like these Chive and Buttermilk Griddle Cakes. And the pretty purple blossoms make fantastic garnishes!

Though most often associated with Italian cooking, basil gives all kinds of dishes a fresh, summery flair. We love it in everything from bruschetta to pesto, but basil is also a great addition to obvious choices like focaccia, as well as these Herb Biscuits.

The rule of thumb for substituting fresh herbs in place of dried is to multiply the measurement of dried herbs by three. For instance, if the recipe calls for a tablespoon of dried basil, use three tablespoons of chopped fresh basil. But if you like your biscuits even more herby, then add a little extra! Or, double up the flavor by adding chopped fresh herbs to your butter.

Is your mouth watering yet? Same here. So make the most of the summer’s bounty of herbs!