Oh Lard

There are foods in this world where I start out eating just one. A handful max! And before I realize it, the veil descends, and when my senses return, all that’s left is the mangled carcass of whatever was holding that food in the first place. A few of the usual suspects are:

  • Salt & Vinegar chips
  • Green Apple sour straws
  • Cheese curds

The culprit in question today is the donut. Or doughnut, if you’re fancy. I had such grand plans of homemade donuts this weekend:

I would make donuts, and they would be excellent, and people would say, “woah! You should do this for a living!” And I would open a donut shop where we also sell hairbands and pumpkin spice NOTHING and all my workers would wear vintage and mismatched aprons and we would have regulars who say, “I’ll have my usual!” Consider my life planned out!

Then as I was researching recipes, I discovered, I would most likely be working with lard. Lard. Lard is about as close to onomatopoeia as you can get when you’re describing something that doesn’t make a noise. I found another recipe that called for whole milk and butter milk. As someone who has lukewarm feelings about milk (especially lukewarm milk), this is also a stretch for me.

Yesterday, I started walking to Target, thinking I would get my donut supplies AND great exercise! I forgot, however, how hot it was outside. I get to Target after a 25 minute walk, and because it’s hot, I decide it’s probably not a good idea to carry milk around in a backpack. But I walked to Target, you guys, so I buy a new makeup brush and take a picture of every new scarf they have, so once I get paid, I can stock up on more scarves. Because I’m running low.*

I start walking back to the grocery store that is much closer to my apartment and wouldn’t try and woo me with the prospect of plaid scarves (all of them were plaid), but once I get there, I’m hot and sweaty and donuts don’t sound good and whatamIdoingwithmylife?! I bought a ginger ale and a banana and went home and watched America’s Next Top Model.

This morning, I find the best of all the worlds, a recipe that doesn’t call for milk, lard, or anything that I don’t have in my kitchen! Hannukah churros!

What’s a Hannukah churro? I don’t know! But it includes the word churro! I’m in!

The recipe does, however, include deep frying. This is concerning.

Best case scenario:

 
Worst case scenario:

  
But, churros you guys! Worth the risk. You do this in phases.

Phase 1: Bring one cup of water, half a stick of butter, and two tablespoons of sugar to a boil.

 

This already feels incorrect. Also, Im going to go scrub my stove.

 
Phase 2: Lower the heat and mix in one cup of flour. Then remove completely from heat, and mix in three eggs, one at a time. And throw some vanilla in there too. The recipe says so this with a whisk. I don’t have a whisk, so I used one of the attachments from my hand mixer. In another world, someone would just use the hand mixer. We don’t live there.

Phase 3: I call this TERROR PHASE. In a saucepan, heat up about three cups, or roughly two inches of oil. To quote the recipe, “very hot, but not smoking.” I guess in the world of this recipe and my kitchen, thermometers aren’t a thing! Mostly because I can’t find mine! I think I just lost the high ground.

While you are playing Russian Roulette with your stove, you can craft a pastry bag out of a ziploc bag. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag, and then transfer your dough to the bag. Voila! We don’t need your stinking pastry bags. Should I say “bag” a few more times?

 

My piping bag. functional and adorable.

 
Back to the oil. It seemed hot? It was definitely turning my apartment into a furnace. I employed the guess and check method by gathering little dough left in the bowl, and trying to fry it. Success! This is the point where where you are taking your life into your own hands you fry things. With your state of the art piping bag in one hand, start piping out baby churros (about three inches) into the oil until there are 3 or 4 hanging out in there. Once you see them starting to turn golden brown, get a slotted spoon ready (I have that one! I don’t have to get creative with a fork!). Transfer them to a plate with a paper towel, so the excess oil can drain off.

Phase 4: “You’re alive. Add more sugar” Phase

You made it through the frying! Now you just roll your churros around in a cinnamon sugar mix. And WHAM! You just made yourself a Hannukah churro.

  
I’m currently not looking directly at my kitchen because yes, fried things are delicious, but they leave a disaster in their wake, including a giant pot of oil. You have options of what you can do with the leftover oil.

Option 1) Dump it down your sink! Don’t do this. This is not the correct option.

Option 2) See what else you can deep fry. I’m not going to lie to you. This is the fun option. Also, not a very healthy option.

Option 3) Find a safe container and dispose of it the old fashioned way- the garbage. I just remembered I have a backlog of old pickle jars (my life is exciting!) that are just waiting for a job to do.

I promise I’m not a hoarder.

All in all, a fun experiment. Would I do this every weekend? No. I’m pretty sure my apartment will smell like a state fair for the next decade. Is it nice to know that I can do it if I ever have a rampaging craving for churros? Yeah!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go read on my porch while my apartment airs out.  

 *I’m not running low. If I lived on the second floor of a building, I could make an escape ladder out of my scarves in the event of an emergency. I’ve thought about it.

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