Sunday, April 22, 2012

The 1st annual Friday Fry Day

On a recent Friday, some friends and I gathered for a holiday unknown to most.  A holiday known as Friday Fry Day.  This weekend seemed like a great time to gather among friends and fry up some food.  Indulgent you say? Yes, we know.  This is definitely a once a year type of event to enjoy-- or bi-annually at most.  This group of friends are the same folks who orchestrate a homemade Grilled Cheese Invitational each May, so I knew we were in for a good night.  These people know how to cook.  Friend of The Great American Bakery Hunt, April, hosted Fry Day in her kitchen. 
I own a WaringPro deep fryer and my friend Bryan recently was gifted a deep fryer by Emeril Lagasse's brand.  Here we are, looking tough and ready to fry:
The menu included: 
  • Fried pickes (made by Bryan) 
  • Tomato basil empanadas (made by Karin)
  • Kalua pork wontons (made by April)
  • Banana chocolate lumpia (made by April)
  • Beignets (made by yours truly)
  • Fried ice cream (made by Melissa)
For the beignet recipe, I searched through a stack of New Orleans-inspired cookbooks, but I chose the recipe from Cooking up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans.  After a week at work, this was the easiest recipe to whip up with limited time.  Best of all, you can combine some of the ingredients ahead of time if you want to prepare for guests.  Here's are some of the beignets, resting under the traditional layer of powdered sugar. 
Here's a shot of April's pork wontons, which had a delicious bellpepper bite to them:  

And no Friday Fry Day is complete without a little fried ice cream...

It was a great Friday Fry Day!

Tips on Buying a Deep Fryer: 
I'm including some brief tips about buying a countertop deep fryer because before I bought mine, I scoured online reviews and blogs to try to figure out what brand was best and what the most desirable features were.   After devouring all the online content I could find,  I was still unsure of the right decision.  (Note: I was choosing between brands at Macy's because they were having a sale at the time, so my research was limited to the brands that Macy's carries.)  I'm happy with the WaringPro so far and glad that I chose it over some of the cheaper options.  I would rate the ease of cleaning an appliance like this as an important feature-- hassle free cleaning makes it a much more enjoyable tool to use in the kitchen.  In any fryer, temperature control is also an essential feature-- so it's nice to have a temperature gauge and indicator lights.   Of course, most importantly, controlling the fryer at the right temperature ensures you can fry the food properly.   These features might require you to invest more in the purchase, but I think it's worth the difference in price.  Bryan's Emeril Lagasse fryer had a feature that allows you to transfer your oil to the bottom of the fryer into a storage container for re-use-- something the brands that I was choosing among did not have.  There are a lot of different options out there.  Good luck finding a fryer that's right for you!  If anyone has any other good tips, please feel free to leave a comment.
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