[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wdjqXnixIY&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b]I am a sucker for a theme party. So, with Ken's Korny Corn Maze right around the corner from our new house, we knew that we'd eventually have to have a Ken's Korny Corn Maze Extravaganza. We did that Very Thing two weekends ago. The only rule was that every dish had to have some sort of corn in it. Everyone was a good sport, and we ended up with a huge corny feast. Rocque and Peggy and Chuck and Susan made tamales. Mary Lou made creamy corn pudding. Thomas and Roberta brought cheesy corn casserole, chocolate/pretzel/Oreo/M&M/candy corn bark and pop corn. Mom made chicken vegetable soup with corn in it. Naomi made shrimp corn chowder. Jeff brought Indian Corn, plus there was candy corn, too. We ordered pizza for our young guests, who apparently hate all things corn related. Who knew?
It was a Big Fun Time. They grilled tamales outside on a grate on the fire pit. Mary Lou's power had been out all day, so she and Naomi cooked once they got to our house. It was like having a Progressive Dinner without ever changing houses. When a dish was ready, we ate it. We had a great time. The original plan had been to actually go to Ken's Korny Corn Maze and Haunted House that evening, but it had rained all day, and we weren't really interested in going to Ken's Muddy Corn Maze.
The Beloved and I offered up some homemade corn dogs. We used the leftover batter to make hush puppies. There were Lots of hush puppies. We used good old Alton Brown's recipe for corn dogs, and it was G.U.D. Good. I did find the batter to be just a bit too thick, so I think I added maybe another 1/3-1/2 cup buttermilk. And because I can never leave Well Enough alone--to the point that one time Well Enough actually took out a restraining order against me--I added a bunch of black pepper to the mix. Otherwise, it was pretty much his straight-up recipe, peanut oil and all. Friends, peanut oil is Expensive. I had no idea. I looked longingly at the $7/gallon vegetable oil, but I went with the $17/gallon peanut oil because Alton told me to. I'm such a sheep. Baa. But it is really great oil, and we strained it to use again, so there.
I bought some kind of hot dogs that were billed as "The Steak Lovers' Hot Dog," and it was a Very Good Choice. (I just looked them up. They were Curtis Beef Master Hot Dogs). I made 16 of these guys, and some folks ate three. I think I might have had two. Anyway, next time, I'm making 32 of them. I doubled the amounts for the cornmeal batter, and still had enough goo left over to make about Eleventy-Billion hush puppies, so I'm thinking that you could probably do 16 with a 1X batch, even though AB writes that the recipe serves 8. I'm not going to copy the recipe here, because you can go see it for yourselves with that link over there, but I will write down some Thoughts and Tips.
1)As I mentioned before, I added more buttermilk than what the recipe called for. The batter was still very thick--think pâte à choux. In Alton's video, his looks thinner than mine was. This is why volumetric measures are so Annoying.
2)When it says to coat the dogs in corn starch, really coat them well. Mine were white. I rubbed corn starch on them and then made sure to only leave a thin layer, but they were still white. Plus rubbing hot dogs with corn starch is just kind of...suggestive. Be prepared to giggle a lot.
3)Alton says to use those restaurant chopsticks that come stuck together. I found some long, squarish chopsticks at the grocery in the Asian section, and they worked Just Fine.
4)Grated onion is very wet--just go with it. I didn't measure it; I just grated until my eyes stung too badly to continue grating.
5)I read on someone's blog that they wished the batter had stuck better. I humbly submit that they were perhaps Somewhat Lacking in the Technique Department. Alton says to put the batter in a tall drinking glass and then dunk the dog into it, swirling to coat. The batter is Way Too Thick for that, so I just left it in a big bowl, shoved the dog in the goo at a shallow angle--kind of like how they stick the needle in your arm when they're getting a blood sample--and then used my hand to make sure it was evenly coated. If the layer of goo is not uniform, big deal. It's homemade, by crackie, and it's Way, Way Better than anything you could ever get in the freezer section or at the fair. Get over it.
6)I think I limited my frying to 3 dogs at a time, just to keep the oil temp from dropping too much initially. I just used a big pot--I don't have a swanky restaurant-style deep fryer.
7)We mixed up some honey mustard, and that was Quite tasty. But these guys were so good, they really didn't need any sort of Condiment or Accoutrements of any sort.
And I think that about does it. Please, enjoy the photos. Thank Mary Lou for them--she is more conscientious than I. Sadly, I didn't think to take pictures of the corn dogs, or maybe I was just being Moody and Passive Aggressive. Either way, the picture of the dogs is representative, not literal.
Here are pictures of happy, corn-fed (literally) folks: