Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pralines (Just so you know "Prah-leens*")

1 c. evaporated milk
1 c. light brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
1 T. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ c. pecans

Put milk and sugars in heavy pot, mix well, and cook (without stirring) until mixture reaches “soft ball” stage (234ยบ). Remove from heat and add rest of ingredients. Beat until cool and slightly thickened, then spoon onto waxed paper. Makes 1½ to 2 dozen.

NOTE: Stirring while cooking will produce a sugary texture.

I actually had decided not to make and enter these after all, since it had been so humid and believe me, it does not work to make candy when the weather is humid! However, the morning of the 16th dawned a beautiful sunny day with very low humidity, so again I thought, why not give making a batch a try? Now I think I had made them once before and they turned out o.k. However, this batch turned out looking just like the Pralines I had seen and enjoyed in New Orleans. (A nice golden brown color, flat except where the pecan halves made them raised) In fact the recipe came from the Cooking New Orleans Style cookbook I had bought in New Orleans when we were there in 2004. I was so happy with them when I packaged them up for the fair! And I am actually very happy they won a ribbon. I do have to say that I am wondering if the Ky State Fair judges have even had a real New Orleans "Prah-leen*," since the first place winner looked more like penuche fudge - pale and thick and gloppy with chopped nuts. I guess they must have tasted a whole lot better than mine, for they certainly were not as pretty.

*The reason I have mentioned this is that we recently met a couple from New Orleans and Karen pronounced the confection as "Pe-cahn Prah-leens." I just want us to get it right, in case we do make it back to "N'Awlins" for another fun time!

Two Ribbon Winners!

Hi Friends! The 2010 Kentucky State Fair was held from August 19th to August 19th this year. I entered 13 items in the regular fair culinary contests. Entries had to be turned in no later than Monday (08/16) by 5:00 p.m., to be judged on Tuesday, displays set up on Wednesday for the opening on Thursday. On the first day of the fair, Elizabeth and I searched all the shelves for all my entries. Out of the 13,I had 2 Second Place (red ribbon) winners!

One was the Sour Cream Corn Muffins I had entered in 2008 for which I had won a second place ribbon. I figured I would try for First Place with them. However, it was Monday morning, August 16th and they had to be turned in that afternoon, and when I went to make them, I discovered I did not have any Self-Rising Corn Meal. So I ran up to Big Lots and bought a box of Corn Muffin Mix to use. I'm not sure if my mistake was buying the mix there, or in using the mix itself instead of Self-Rising Corn Meal. Anyway, they really did not turn out to be very pretty - tops were rather flat instead of the nice rounded tops muffins are supposed to have! At first I wasn't going to take them, but why not - they were made, so I packaged them up to take. Imagine my surprise to find a ribbon on them!

The other winner was Pralines. I will direct you to that entry for "the rest of the story."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kentucky State Fair-recipes already in blog

Hey Friends!

August is spent getting many entries ready for the 2010 Kentucky State Fair (08/19 -08/29). I only entered 13 entries in the regular culinary competition and 6 of the Sponsored contests. Why the Kentucky State Fair and not the Indiana State Fair? Approximately 90 miles! Jeffersonville is just across the Ohio River from Louisville, where the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center is. The Indiana State Fair is in Indianapolis. So, since Kentucky is so hospitable as to allow Indiana residents to enter, I do! This year the regular fair entries had to be in by 5:00 on 08/16/2010, so they could be judged on 08/17, placed on display 08/18 for when the Fair opens on 08/19. The Sponsored Contests take place several nights of the Fair, with entries for the specific contest brought to the Fair that night by 5:45 p.m. and are judged as we watch.

I have been entering the KSF for several years now. I have won a few ribbons, which always makes me happy. Below is a list of recipes already posted in my blog that I have entered in past years, some winners, some not. I'll post recipes, again winning and non-winning, that I think you might like on another day. I do want to let you know that if a recipe I have posted is a winner in a Sponsored contest, such as Crisco "My Favorite Pie," it actually now belongs to the sponsor-Crisco, as those recipes are original. The recipes in the Culinary Divisions of the Kentucky State Fair are not original.

November 2009 - Apple Crumb Pie (2005 Third Place in Crisco "My Favorite Pie")
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cinnamon Pecans
Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Icing

December 2009 - Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing (2006 First Place, Division 3303, Class 65 Favorite Sugar Cookie)

January 2010 - Sour Cream Corn Muffins (2008 Second Place Division 3301, Class 20)

February 2010 - Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Cookies

April 2010 - Blueberry Orange Whole Wheat Muffins