The Tragic Optimist

deep fry wisdom

Each year in mid September, friends of ours host a deep fry party.   They have 3 fryers running for the event, and everyone brings food that they think would be good (or just fun) to deep fry. There’s a couple of brilliant things about this deep fry event.  First, it’s not at my house.  It’s also an annual event, any more often would be way too much, but a year gives you just enough time to detox from the grease and plan your entries for the next year.  There’s also a spirit of experimentation and one-upmanship.  You start finding yourself looking around your kitchen in early summer wondering, would this be good deep fried (the answer is almost always yes).

This year, we brought three items

  • I made a curried use-up-the-farmshare-veggies (zucchini, carrot, onion, bell pepper, one little hot pepper) fritter.  The veggies made it healthy.  Like a deep-fried multivitamin with curry.    I added a lot of curry powder to the batter, but the fritters ended up pretty mild.
    curried veggie fritters (pre-fried)

    curried veggie fritters (pre-fried)

    fritters all fried up

    fritters all fried up

  • I also tried to make donut holes this year with the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day brioche dough.  After frying them, I tossed them with sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and a little salt and pepper.  I think I made the circles too small, but they were light and the sugar coating was yummy.

    my spiced donut holes

    my spiced donut holes

  • Chris tried fresh mozarella balls, that were battered and breaded with ancho powder and dried epazote, and then made a yummy fresh tomatillo salsa.  The fresh mozarella was too liquidy, but it was very tasty.

    Chris's Mexican-spiced mozarella balls and tomatilla salsa.  They didn't hold together well, but they still got eaten

    Chris's Mexican-spiced mozarella balls and tomatilla salsa. They didn't hold together well, but they still got eaten

  • Zoe got into the spirit of things, too, by helping a friend dredge zucchini slices in flour before they were battered and breaded.  It kept her occupied and entertained for nearly an hour.  Though ended with a very floured child.
    Zoe helps with zucchini fries

    Zoe helps with zucchini fries

    happy, and quite covered in flour

    happy, and quite covered in flour

Other pieces of deep fry wisdom that we’ve learned over the years:

  • You think deep frying Peeps would be cool.  It is not.  The peep will melt into the oil, leaving you nothing but a clean up job.  The same is true for unbattered candy bars.  You also shouldn’t try deep frying a whole egg.  In the shell.  Or maybe you should if you think exploding eggs are cool.  Which I kind of do.
  • A good batter can make a lot of things taste better.  Battered and fried twinkies?  Awesome.  Battered and fried candy bars?  Like donuts with the bestest filling ever.
  • If you aren’t up for battering food, try wonton wrappers, this works really well for dessert items.  At past deep-fry events, I’ve eaten wontons filled with: bananas and chocolate, gummi worms (not good unless you like biting into molten, brightly colored sugar), hostess scary cakes (also not good), apple pie filling, almond pie filling, and my favorite this year, rhubarb filling.  Sprinkling powdered sugar on these is highly recommended.
  • I’m personally a huge fan of shredding things, adding a flour-egg batter, and frying these to make fritters – like this year’s curried fritters.  A couple of years ago, I did apples and cinnamon this way, which was quite yummy.  The batter is approximately 1 egg to 1/3 flour – make enough to really coat all of the shredded whatever.

I have no desire to even look at anything fried for a good long time.  But if you have ideas for next year’s foods, let me know!

table of friedness.  Just before we left for the evening.

table of friedness. Just before we left for the evening. You'll note that there's not much fried food left. There are a lot of fresh veggies left. Coincidence?


  1. motherhoodandpotatoes

    I love the idea of a deep fried party.

    I recently was at a restaurant and saw deep fried avocados on the menu – so I had to order it. It was just OK – the texture of the avocado didn’t seem to go that well with the batter.

    I’ve seen deep fried mac and cheese on restaurant menus although I’ve never ordered it.

    I was a Trader Joe’s a few months ago and saw a bag of “tempura fried seaweed” chips. (I’m a chip lover.) I bought a bag. The chips were really good – a bit spicy with some wasabi seasoning on them.

    I enjoyed reading this post!

  2. Mel

    Oh my goodness! Was it the same deep-fry party at Macheesmo? I just read about a deep-fry party there and…wouldn’t that be so cool if it was the same one?

    • Mel, no, it was just yesterday, but that post on Macheesmo is very cool. It sounds like a very similar party, except that our friends now own two deep fryers that they run indoors, and rent another one for outdoors for maximum deep frying.

  3. Oh. My. God. That sounds AMAZING! Super fun, and super yummy. Add a floured kiddo and it’s perfection. 🙂

  4. Alicia Schimke

    Zoe was the best helper EVER for flouring zucchini. That was no exaggeration…I think she did sit at the table and do that for an hour! Fun post, Ann!

  5. Kelly T

    You left before the cheese-filled, bacon-wrapped, battered and fried hot dogs. Not that you would have eaten them, but they were a wonder to behold nonetheless!

    • Nick

      There are some pictures of those up on Facebook now.

  6. Brilliant idea. But it would have to take place at someone else’s house. The grease splatters after our Sunday morning egg fry sometimes send me to the brink of convulsions. And could that Zoe be any cuter?

  7. Yum! My mother-in-law loves to do this with tempura. She’ll go for a hike in the woods, come home with some random mountain weed, and then coat them with tempura batter, fry them up and voila! Everything tastes good this way! Those curried veggie fritters sound amazing! I’m reading through the 660 Curries cookbook from Raghavan Iyer at the moment and he has so many luscious fritter type creations that I want to try (coincidentally I also have some chickpea flour which is screaming out at me to be used and features prominently in several of his recipes). Excuse me while i go look for something fried….

  8. Being from Oklahoma, I LOOOOOOVE deep fried foods! Just thinking about a deep fried food party gave me a little heart palpitation. What a great idea!! And you’re right – once a year is perfect considering the grease intake and clean up requirements.

    I can’t believe how much Zoe has changed since the last pics I saw of her. Her hair is getting so long and thick!

  9. It was like your own little State Fair. What a great idea! Was happy to read your last post about jumping back on the bandwagon. Best of luck – you are in my thoughts!

  10. holy crap that looks amazing! I am so impressed with all your ingredients! I soo want to do this now 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: