Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Fried Pickles and Covid


So there we were, cooking up a storm of wonderful food as per usual, and then Madeleina got hit with the Covid and couldn't taste. Then Adrian, her pal who lives with her got it. Then I got it. So nobody wants to cook, nobody wants to eat and those are not good conditions for me to push myself to stand in a kitchen for an hour cutting and cooking things. Plus the idea made me ill.
So the last week or so included burgers from two joints -- one good, one absolutely wretched -- fried chicken, unbearably bad; couple of sandwiches that were out of this world good, and they would have been better if anyone could have tasted them. I forget what all we bought, but it was a reminder of why I do not eat fast food often. Just not food stuff!!!!
Now at one or two of those places I ordered fried pickles. We don't have them in NYC that I know of, so when I see them on a menu i always order them. To my perpetual disappointment.
BUTTTTTT....Madeleina and Adrian discovered that there is a fairly new place called the Pickle Emporium in Fort Worth that is home to Best Maid Pickles. They are as good as barrel dills on the old Lower East Side. Shameless promotion and I get nothing in return. But they are just fantastic, from the gherkins to the full sours, though my favorites are the kosher dill spears.
So Madeleina and Adrian decided to visit the small flagship and pick up a gallon of pickle brine. I told them to pick up some whole dills--we got the 80 ounce jar.
When they were leaving I told them to stop by Carshons -- another shameless plug simply because they are that good -- a kosher deli in South Fort Worth. It might be the oldest and only kosher deli in the city. I think it has been around since 1928, almost a full century. They have moved a couple of times and their current quarters would not impress anyone: no flair, not enough people running the dining room, etc. BUTTTT -- and that is the second time I'm using that in a piece, a first! -- their basic goods are just outstanding. Their corned beef, the pastrami, the lox, the oversized hot dogs, the fried bologna for goodness sake! are all first-rate items.
So I had Madeleina and Adrian pick up a pound of untrimmed pastrami, sliced wafer thin; a pint of coleslaw, half-a-loaf each of egg bread and rye, and 1/2 pound of Swiss. Madeleina tagged on two matzo ball soups for good measure. And normally I would have picked up a couple of their pickles, which are divine. But guess what? One of the things they don't make on site are pickles. Those come from Best Maid Pickles, and in this case i already had more than half-a-gallon from the horses' mouth so I didn't need any more.
Now all three of us were raring to make our own damned fried pickles. I don't think I ever made them and damn, it was about time. Madeleina and Adrian agreed. So we sliced up two full dills into half-inch rounds and tamped them dry with paper towels. I had the kids put 1/2 cup of organic flour into a bowl with 1 tablespoon of oregano, one tablespoon of cajun spices, one tablespoon of smoked paprika, 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder, and sea salt and cracked black pepper. Mixed that up with half-a-beer and a couple of shots of Worcestershire sauce and fried those pickle slices up in one inch of good hot vegetable oil.
While they fried I had the kids make me a hot mayo: 2 large soup spoons of mayo, two shots of ketchup (Hellmann's and Heinz if you're counting), then three good shots of Cholula hot sauce, achiote, sea salt and cracked black pepper...(you guys could probably sing along with the end of every darned recipe of mine because you know it's gonna end with "sea salt and black pepper".)
I'm gonna tell you that you have not had gd fried pickles till you tried those. In all the time here in Texas I have never been thrilled with fried pickles until last night in my own humble kitchen. Now it could have been the little bit of marijuana; it could have been that the covid did not let me taste how horrible they were; it even could have been that I look for any little light I can find in this dark world these days.... but dang, we're making more tonight to make sure it wasn't a fluke.
You're all going to go out to find fried pickles tonight, right? Cool.

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