Peer into the whirling vortex...
My friends Scott and Gareth were commenting on a photo I had posted on my Facebook Kettle Korn House page. As I remember there was a reference to looking contemplative while I was standing next to cast iron kettle I use to make my kettle corn. Being an armchair philosopher I started thinking about the history of the cauldron and it's use in alchemy. How many people over the ages have peered into a vat of various ingredients waiting for them to transform? It's still happening today.
Peer into the whirling vortex...
That's the business end of my primary tool of choice. Paddled many a batch. Had a bit of a workout here on Day Four at the OCF. Josh Turner performing on the main stage. Isolated showers off and on until 5 pm today. Much cooler and comfortable air temps. Tomorrow sounds like a great weather day. Montgomery Gentry on the main stage.
As I was walking back to my trailer I noticed some new floral arrangements outside the nearby 4H building. This one, and the accompanying text, caught my eye. It seemed particularly serendipitous since the fair up this point, Day 3, has been less than stellar for multiple reasons. This arrangement was an unexpected surprise that has lived up to it's title.
I'll be heading North and East to Seymour, WI on Monday July 23rd for the Outagamie County Fair . Seymour's claim to fame is it's title Home of the Hamburger. This five and a half -day fair has consistently been second in sales only to the Dodge County Fair in Beaver Dam, WI which happens a month later. This year we'll see. With two nights of nationally known country music acts - Friday night is Josh Turner and Saturday night is Montgomery Gentry - this could be the year Outagamie outdoes Dodge. The negative factor is the weather forecast - hot and humid. Captain Jim and I will be doing our part to keep the corn poppin' regardless. http://www.outagamiecountyfair.com
So I was at the local Trader's Joe's recently and came across a novel item: kettle corn cookies. Simple enough idea. But would the kettle corn taste come through the sugary goodness of the butter cookie it was embedded in? Thanks to my gal pal, Allison, we got a round of them and tried them out. The verdict? Thumbs up. I was impressed by how kettle corny the cookie tasted. Crisp and crunchy like the naked kettle corn itself.
After a quick search via www.dogpile.com I discovered a couple independent foodie sites on the web that referenced these very same TJ's cookies. These culinary creatives had endeavored to go where this kettle corn maker would fear to tread - they created their own version of kettle corn cookies. One site in particular, www.sugarhero.com caught my attention. Elizabeth LaBau has a great sense of humour and a sweet tooth comparable to mine. Shameless in her praise of sugar (God Bless!) it is her kettle corn cookie recipe I await her permission to post on my humble website blog. I did nick the photo posted here from her website but what the hey. Stay tuned for the recipe or go to Elizabeth's website if you just can't wait to do it yourself...
Elizabeth posted me back and she granted me permission to post her recipe so here 'tis:
Kettle Corn Cookies
yield: about 36 cookies
7 ounces unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1-3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups kettle corn, coarsely crushed
Preheat the oven to 350* Fahrenheit.
Place 5 ounces of the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook it, stirring occasionally, until it turns a medium-amber color. This should take about 6-8 minutes. Watch it carefully toward the end, so that it doesn’t burn. Once browned, remove it from the heat and add the remaining 2 ounces of butter, stirring it in so that it melts and cools the browned butter.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
Combine the melted browned butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a large mixer and mix it on medium-high speed for several minutes, until the brown sugar is moistened. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until the egg is completely incorporated.
With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture until it is almost completely incorporated. Stop the mixer and stir in the crushed kettle corn by hand. Scoop small 1-inch balls of dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes, until they’re golden around the edges and just set in the center. Don’t overcook, otherwise the cookies will be crispy instead of chewy.
Let the cookies cool completely on a wire cooking rack. Store Kettle Corn Cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
Make sure you visit Elizabeth LaBau at www.sugarhero.com and check out all the excellent recipes, stories and fun stuff she posts on a regular basis...
Ms. Allison taking Five
The Kettle Korn House was a first time vendor at the 3rd Annual Grass on the Chippewa bluegrass festival in Durand, WI July 7-8. After a week of 90+ degree weather the week leading up to the event it was a beautiful weekend - dry and mid-80's. Unfortunately the attendance was poor and sales were less than stellar. This was the first year the organizers tried charging an entry fee, $15/$20 and it definitely weeded out those folks who were true bluegrass fans. Despite the poor attendance numbers the twelve bands that performed were absolutely top notch. A wide range of styles and ages. What impressed me the most were the number of young players doing original tunes. I felt like I was back in East Tennessee at times esp. when one of the bands played "Rocky Top".
In addition to the music it was a real joy to spend two days with my lady friend, Allison. Her contributions stylistically, physically and mentally made for a successful weekend in ways much more important than money. Adding my daughter Elle, sister Wendy and nephew Jakob to the mix on the last day made the time spent in Tarrant Park a family event for me I won't soon forget.
Web Meister Joel