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Guadalupe Mountains National Park in far West Texas is hoping to dry out after three days of heavy rain that caused flooding and prompted the park’s closure.

Texas Book Fest announces lineup of authors

Written by | Published September 11, 2013

The Texas Book Festival has announced the lineup of authors for this October's event, including several whose books are currently on the New York Times bestseller list.

A new exhibit opening at the Alamo today focuses on the Spanish mission system in Texas and the creation of the Alamo, including 16 original Spanish documents from the 1700s.

Put on your bibs and get ready to bite into this year’s winners of the State Fair of Texas’ Big Tex Choice Awards fried food contest for 2013.

On Monday, Sept. 2, eight of the 50-plus deep-fried dish entries made the final cut and will be among the food offerings at this year’s State Fair, Sept. 27-Oct. 20.

See related: Deep-fried Recipes ~ Refried Deep-Fried Blog

Cuban RollOf the eight standouts, the Deep Fried Cuban Roll –– slow-cooked pork shoulder, chopped ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and secret sauce is spread onto a slice of Swiss cheese, rolled up in pastry dough and deep-fried –– received Best Taste honors.

 

thanksgivingMost Creative nods went to the Fried Thanksgiving Dinner stuffing and diced roasted turkey rolled in a ball, dipped in southern cream corn and rolled in seasoned corn meal before being fried. It’s served with old-fashioned giblet brown gravy and orange cranberry sauce.

Other finalist deep-fried dishes include:

NutellaAwesome Deep Fried Nutella® – Cream cheese and Nutella® whipped together and spread over flaky Phyllo dough sheets, rolled up, and deep fried. Served with a drizzle of honey and shaved almonds.

 

kingranchFernie’s Deep Fried King Ranch Casserole –This stick-to-your-ribs Texas-shaped creation (complete with a proudly flying Texas flag) is melted cheese, salty, spicy, goodness that is dipped in a zesty southwestern egg wash and coated in panko bread crumbs.  Deep fried golden brown and crunchy on the outside; steamy and creamy on the inside! Served with a side of red, white, and blue tortilla chips and your choice of our homemade “salsafied” sour cream or cheesy queso.

 

milllionairGolden Fried Millionaire Pie – Sweetened, fluffy cream cheese filling is loaded with golden pineapple and Texas pecans then wrapped in a flaky pie crust and fried to a golden brown. Topped with whipped cream, toasted coconut, and candied pecans.

 

spinachSpinach Dip Bites – Creamy and delicious spinach artichoke dip bites are coated with crispy tortilla chips and flash-fried until golden brown. Bites are served with salsa for an additional kick.

  

meatloafSouthern Style Chicken-Fried Meatloaf – Homemade meatloaf slices are coated in an authentic Texas chicken-fried breading and deep fried golden brown. Served with garlic mashed potatoes, Texas cream gravy, and a ketchup/brown sugar glaze for dipping.

 

fireballTexas Fried Fireball – Pimento cheese, pickles, cayenne pepper, and bacon are rolled into a ball, dipped in buttermilk, covered with a jalapeno-infused batter and deep fried. Served with chipotle ranch for dipping.

Two Asian elephants born at Fort Worth Zoo

Written by | Published August 28, 2013

There's an elephant baby boom going on at the Fort Worth Zoo. Zoo officials are trumpeting the deliveries of two Asian elephants this summer, a boy and a girl, as a conservation success for the endangered species.

Newborn Asian elephant Bowie. Newborn Asian elephant Bowie.

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Davis Mountains State Park in West Texas will close for six months following Labor Day weekend to upgrade the park's utility system and add six new miles of trails.

The closure, which is scheduled for September 3 to March 1, will include the park's campgrounds, trails, and interpretive center. Indian Lodge, the park's hotel, and Black Bear Restaurant will remain open during the closure.

Refried Deep-Fried Blog

Written by | Published August 21, 2013

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I’m not sure I understand the competition to come up with the next best fried thing, and I’m not here to judge, but every year, when the State Fair of Texas (Sept. 27–Oct. 20) announces its list of fried food offerings, my ears perk up. I am excited to know what’s being tossed into the vat next.

Recipes:  Corn dogs, fried coke, funnel cakes and more. Try these fair faves at home.

Hot Chocolate

Written by | Published August 16, 2013

I know it sounds crazy to drink hot chocolate when the temperature is still regularly above 90 degrees. But on a recent trip to Houston, I couldn't resist the chocolate confection with chocolate made in-house from cocoa beans imported from Oaxaca at Hugo's, which serves its frothy cup with fresh, hot Mexican churros. Look for our story on Hugo's and its terrific hot chocolate in the Drink section of the December issue. Until then, do you know of any other spots in Texas that serve amazing hot chocolate?

Hot Chocolate at Hugo's, with ice cream and churros; Photo by Lori Moffatt Hot Chocolate at Hugo's, with ice cream and churros; Photo by Lori Moffatt

A visit to the Texas Masonic Grand Lodge in Waco

Written by | Published August 13, 2013

Lodge exteriorRight or wrong, the Freemasons are sometimes stereotyped as a closed group, characterized by secrecy and backroom power brokering. But when you come upon the massive Memorial Masonic Grand Lodge Temple in downtown Waco, it's hard to imagine the fraternal organization as a group of shrinking violets.

Tourism by Bus: A visit to San Antonio

Written by | Published August 6, 2013

When I got to thinking about the concept of sightseeing by bus in Texas, San Antonio was one of the first destinations that came to mind. Not only does San Antonio have a walkable downtown with a dense concentration of tourism sites, its intercity bus-line stops are conveniently located in the city center. Still, I wasn't sure whether it would be practical or enjoyable to take a sightseeing trip by bus and foot. So I decided to give it a shot, purchasing a round-trip ticket between Austin and San Antonio for a 10-hour daytrip.

The Owl in Elgin

Written by | Published August 2, 2013

I recently made the short drive from Austin to Elgin, a town about 25 miles east of the city via US 290. I’d heard about a new wine bar and home décor shop on the town’s historic downtown strip, and I realized: While I frequently pass through Elgin on my way to Houston, I’d never really explored the town except to stop for barbecue at Southside Market or Meyer’s.

Welcome to the Fried Food Capital of Texas! aka the State Fair of Texas. (Photo/State Fair of Texas) Welcome to the Fried Food Capital of Texas! aka the State Fair of Texas. (Photo/State Fair of Texas)

You’ve heard the phrase, “Don’t try this at home.” Well, that warning may also apply to these recipes, but each year it's hard to not be overcome with a mix of disgust, amusement and even a curious craving at the fried offerings of the Texas State Fair. For some, it's THE reason to attend year after year.

"What will they fry next!?" Check out the September 2013 issue and also stay tuned later this month for another blog exploring the menu of this year's State Fair, slated for Sept. 27-Oct. 20.

Til then, we've trolled the sources and made some adjustments, but here are a few recipes for some of the more popular State Fair items over the years.

What's your favorite fried State Fair dish? Do you have a similar fried recipe to share? Please do! We’ll be glad to share more.

Corn Dogs

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • ¼ tsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¼ cup milk
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • About 16 beef hot dogs (2 packs)
  • 16 wooden skewers

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add milk and egg to the bowl and whisk well. Insert skewers into hot dogs, then dip into the batter to cover hot dog completely. Cook battered hot dogs in a large pot of vegetable oil until golden brown.

Fried Butter

  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  •   1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, cream cheese, salt and pepper (to taste) until smooth. Form small balls of the mixture and arrange on a parchment-paper lined pan, then freeze them. Coat the frozen balls in flour, egg, and then breadcrumbs and freeze again. Fry (oil at 350 degrees) balls for 10 to 15 seconds until just light golden.

Fried Coke

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups cola
  •  1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cola syrup

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, and then add the cola and sugar. Blend together the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add dry ingredients to cola mixture until batter is smooth. Fry (oil at 375 degrees) small dough balls for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Dust hot coke balls with powdered sugar. Drizzle with cola syrup.

Funnel Cakes

  •   1 egg
  •   2/3 cup milk
  •   2 tablespoons sugar
  •   1-1/2 cups flour, sifted
  •   1/4 teaspoon salt
  •   3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  •   Vegetable oil
  •   Confectioners' sugar

Combine beaten egg and milk. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, flour, salt and baking powder together. Slowly add the egg/milk mixture and beat until smooth. Pour batter into a funnel, using finger to keep tip closed. Hold funnel over hot oil (375 degrees), remove finger and allow batter to drop into oil (about 1/4 cup of batter at a time). Build a circular funnel cake starting from the center moving outward. Turn once, and remove from oil when golden brown. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and serve warm. Additional topping suggestions include cinnamon, strawberries, chocolate sauce, etc.

You can also use the funnel cake batter to make Fried Snickers.

Fried Snickers

  •   Snickers candy bars
  •   Popsicle sticks
  •   Funnel cake batter (see above)
  •   Oil

Insert popsicle sticks into Snickers bar from the bottom about half way up. Freeze Snickers until frozen solid. Dip frozen Snickers in the funnel cake batter. Fry until golden brown. Top with powdered sugar or caramel sauce if desired.

Fried Twinkies The Twinkie went away in November, but a private equity firm took over the Hostess brand after Hostess filed for bankruptcy. Twinkies are back on shelves. But, just in case, Little Debbie Cloud Cakes are apparently Twinkies’ twin. I personally, don’t like either.

  • 6 Twinkies (frozen)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Strawberry Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 4 cups vegetable oil
  • Flour for dusting

Freeze Twinkies for several hours or overnight. Combine milk, vinegar and oil. In a separate mixing bowl, blend flour, baking powder and salt. Add wet ingredients into dry mixture and blend until smooth. Dust Twinkie with flour and dip into the batter. Place battered Twinkie into hot oil. Because the Twinkie will float, use a fryer-safe cooking utensil to keep it submerged and cooking evenly. Cook until it reaches a golden brown color.

Dust with powdered sugar. Optional: Strawberry topping.

Strawberry topping

  •   1 pint of strawberries
  •   1/3 cup sugar

Clean and cut strawberries in quarters. Combine strawberries and sugar in a saucepan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

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