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December 2009
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Pasta Cici, Brussels and Onions…and oh yeah, FRIED PICKLES

I had a good friend over for dinner the other night, and he made his specialty, Pasta Cici.  Or as I refer to it, pasta with chickpeas and fennel.  It’s only fennel seeds, but when you get a bite of the stuff, you certainly know it’s there.  Not that that’s a bad thing…I love fennel, I’m just noting it.  We used some of my basil plant (which is flourishing inside, who would’ve thunk???) in the sauce, and I used a couple leaves to decorate on top as well.

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You’d have to ask him for the recipe, and maybe if we get lucky he’ll read this and post in the comments…hint, hint.  I was too busy working on the brussels, which turned out pretty well also.

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I don’t think you quite understand how excited I get when someone is coming over and says they want brussels, because my current and last roommate were not fans, and over time I’ve just had to face the fact that if I’m making them, I’m eating them.  All of them.  So this was pretty exciting.  I decided on the recipe as I cooked, and was pretty happy with the result, so I’ll share.  It’s nice and easy too…all the better.

Ingredients
Approx 1 lb brussels sprouts, de-stemmed and quartered
1/2 lg onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbs mesquite seasoning
S+P
3 drops liquid smoke
1/4 cup dry white wine

Directions
1. heat olive oil in a large skillet over med/high heat. Add onions and garlic, and saute for 3-5 minutes, until just becoming translucent.
2. Add brussels, along with mesquite seasoning, liquid smoke, wine, and S+P to taste. Cook another 5-7 minutes, stirring to combine flavors.

Now pasta and brussels are good and all, but there was one real star here, and that was the snack we whipped up later that night with my brand-spankin-new deep fryer.  I’ve been curious about deep fried pickles since some friends went to Tennessee for a conference 4 or 5 years ago, and came back raving about them.  It sounds wrong, but something deep inside told me that it really was SO right.  My intuition was correct, I went with my most standard no-frills batter recipe, and I just couldn’t walk away from these.  The heart burn I woke up with at 6am was my punishment.  Totally worth it.

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The sauce on the side is a combination of Nayo and Frank’s Buffalo sauce…nothing special, but perfect for the snack at hand.  And then there were pickles.

Ingredients
1 jar dill pickles, sliced into half inch rounds
1.5 cups flour
2 tbs baking powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup cold water
S+P
1 bottle canola/vegetable oil

Directions
1. Mix together everything except the pickles to create a batter. You want to add water slowly, until this resembles pancake batter consistency. Heat oil to 275 in a deep fryer or wok.
2. Drop a handful of pickles at a time into the oil, and allow to fry about 4 minutes each batch, flipping halfway if they are floating on one side.
3. Remove, drain, ALLOW TO COOL, and enjoy!

Notice how I say ALLOW TO COOL in caps?   Yeah, cause I was just a wee bit too excited about my deep fried pickles, and I burned the heck out of my tongue early on.  Even so, it was TOTALLY worth it.  These are awesome…yet another reason I probably belong in the south…

Selah.

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