Homemade In-n-Out Animal Fries

We haven’t been to Southern California in a little over 3 months now. That means that the In-n-Out withdrawal, the so-called “out-n-out,” has finally set in. Luckily for us, with AK‘s creativity and SP‘s methodicalness, we have a temporary solution until our next visit West. Or South. Wherever there’s burgers.

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We’ve tried a few different ways of making what we miss most: animal style fries. People like the burgers and all, but for us, it’s all about that extremely saucy, super oniony fry mixture that gets our motors running. There are some serious bummer recipes out there that basically say that Thousand Island dressing is the same thing. They’re wrong. Here’s the closest we’ve come:

THE RECIPE FOR THE SOUSE:

  • 1 cup Hellmann’s Light Mayo
  • 1/2 cup (or a little extra) Ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar

Basically you mix all of it and set it in the fridge for a couple hours for maximum impact. But making it looks a little funny.

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Heinz for the appropriate taste.

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Maaaayo. Maaaaaaaaaaaayo. Daylight come and me wanna make fries.

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SOMEONE BLED ALL OVER OUR MAYO!

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We relish making this sauce.

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You can also add a bit of garlic powder if you want.

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If you went to Kindergarten, you may remember that you get different colors when you mix stuff together.

Ok, so the sauce is made. The next important part is the umyum. This part is even more tricky than mixing the sauce because it requires patience, varying temperatures, and a keen eye. We’ll leave the eyeball part to AK.

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White onion outperforms yellow onion in this mixture.

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Dice. (Yes there’s yellow onion back there that we were going to use for our Sloppy Joes.)

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A tbsp and a half of vegetable oil, and throw in the onions.

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Leave it on super low heat, covered, for 30 minutes. For serious. Just leave it alone. SP STOP OPENING IT TO CHECK ON THEM!

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After that 30 minutes, bring the heat up and stir for about 6-8 minutes. Then throw in 1/4-1/2 cup of water, leaving it on hot, and let the water cook out. This will help loosen any stubborn bits of umyum and help the flavor get a bit smoky.

Ok. Now it’s time to build our animal fries. We may be a bit sacrilegious because we aren’t using cheese, but then again, we can’t source In-n-Out fries either. So this can only be a temporary fix.

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We used some Ore Ida “zesties.” They’re great seasoned fries to make in the oven and really good quality fries no matter the style you get. 

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Get some of the umyums on there.

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DOUSE IN SOUSE!!

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Served tonight alongside some homemade Untidy Josephs.

Please feel free to try the recipe and give us your feedback!

Man it feels good to type up some stuff again. Catch you on the flip-flop?

-SPAK

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[FHCx365] National Bacon Day/National Bicarbonate of Soda Day

If this weren’t a leap year we’d be done tonight…

IT’S BACON DAY AND NATIONAL BICARBONATE OF SODA DAY!

Truly fitting that in our last moments of the Food Holiday Challenge that we revisit some classic food holiday shenaniganry: having two holidays for the same food. That’s right, bacon’s been done before. So it wasn’t too hard to just get some bacon and make it. It went perfectly with the latkes AK made for brunch.

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Nueske’s is the business.

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Latkes being prepared.

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AK was kind of scared of the bacon in the hot pan.

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Latkes are best served with applesauce and sour cream, btw.

Bicarbonate of Soda. Sodium Bicarbonate has many uses in food as a leavening agent, like we used in our date nut bread not long ago (and ate today as part of Baking Soda day). It also has a number of non-food uses, including: pest control, disinfectants, fire extinguishers, personal hygiene, and running jokes from Groucho Marx. So thanks, science! You made food and the world better.

Tomorrow… is National Champagne Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx364] National Pepper Pot Day

two… days…

IT’S NATIONAL PEPPER POT DAY!

As we drag ourselves towards the finish line of December 31st, we had one more major investment of a food holiday to go before easy street kicked in. This doozy of a day is actually dual in meaning, and we took it in a direction that others probably would not.

You see, pepper pot sounds harmless enough. However, a quick search on wikipedia reveals that there are TWO completely different foods both called pepper pot! There’s the Philadelphia Pepper Pot, invented during the American Revolutionary War to keep troops fed on hearty food through winter, and there’s Guyanese Pepperpot, a stewed meat dish traditionally served around Christmas that uses some very peculiar ingredients. Being adventurous, or rather having a SPad who likes challenges, we opted for the latter.

This meant first acquiring some casareep, a very appetizing-looking black sauce made from cassava root. Allow us to read this important passage, *ahem*: “Cassareep is made from the juice of the bitter cassava root, which is poisonous (it contains acetone cyanohydrin, a compound which decomposes to the highly toxic hydrogen cyanide on contact with water).” Glad we had this talk.

Another main component of Guyanese Pepperpot is the wiri wiri pepper. So many things that are basically unique to this one dish.

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Since SPad made the rest of this, we can’t speak much to the preparation. Just know that it required many pounds of meat including oxtail for its marrow. The final product was beautiful. It is best to make it a couple days ahead of time and let it sit for a while. But then this happens:

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Layer of congealed fat. YESSSSSSS.

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Ok so now that’s cleared up a bit…

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Beautiful beef and peppers with some couscous.

A well-met endeavor. Thanks, SPad!

Tomorrow is National Bicarbonate of Soda Day (Baking Soda) and National Bacon Day (the International version being one we already celebrated).

-SPAK

[FHCx360] National Pumpkin Pie Day

6 days to go.

IT’S NATIONAL PUMPKIN PIE DAY!

SP made a pumpkin pie with SPom’s help. We had fun.

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Festal pumpkin cans have this recipe… So we just had to follow it.

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We accidentally put in the whole 12 oz can of evaporated milk instead of just 8 oz. Made it really liquidy. We used some flour to thicken it back up. AK suggested we use non-evaporated milk to cancel it out.

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A very liquidy pie goes into the oven. Had to watch out for sloshing.

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This rose and fell quite poetically.

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Then we got to have it for breakfast today!

Tomorrow is National Candy Cane Day.

-SPAK

[FHCx357] National Date Nut Bread Day

9 days left!

TODAY IS NATIONAL DATE NUT BREAD DAY!

“Bread,” they call it. Because it rises in a loaf pan and has flour and water. But it’s much more like a banana bread. Basically, you love the taste of something, so why not turn it into a cake? Dates are naturally sweet and subtle, with a honey kind of flavor. Truly lovely.

AK went all over town today trying to buy some date nut bread somewhere, to no avail. Even Wuollet’s, Grand Ave’s terrific bakery, didn’t have any in today as they gear up for the holidays. So what do we do? Make it at home! Here’s our recipe.

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Chop up some dates.

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About a cup and a half’ll do.

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Pour them into a pot of boiling water with some baking soda.

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In the meantime, cream butter and sugar and all the other stuff.

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Chopped pecans!

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Add the flour in.

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Put in the dates with their water in the mixture to make a batter.

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Bake at 300F for a little over an hour.

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So tasty. We’d happily make this one again! Add it to the repertoire!

Tomorrow is National Pfefferneuse Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx354] National Hard Candy Day/National Oatmeal Muffin Day

IT’S NATIONAL HARD CANDY DAY AND NATIONAL OATMEAL MUFFIN DAY!

As children, some of us are particular about the flavors we’ll deign to ingest. That includes me, AK, to the point that I didn’t eat non-chocolate candy unless it was grape flavored. Well, really, purple flavored. We all know grapes don’t taste like that.

For years, any time I accompanied AKma to the grocery store, I’d go home with a purple thumb lollipop… pending good behavior. Some days the automatic coupon dispensers were too alluring, and a purple thumb lollipop is not always worth more than the joy of running up and down the aisles taking coupons you don’t need.

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Are these still a thing anywhere?

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This seems to be the only internet evidence of the thumb pops. What an unfortunate mold shape, in retrospect.

ANYWAY — a while back, I bought a bag of Jolly Ranchers with the intent of making stained glass window cookies. Unsurprisingly I never got around to it, so we finally cracked the bag today!

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No soft candy here!

My 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Whitton, frequently held candy counting contests. It wasn’t until I won a gallon jar filled with these fruity beauties that I began to understand the wonder of non-grape fruit-flavored candies. We nursed that jar of Jolly Ranchers for years.

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Green Apple is the best. Fight me.

On to the next! Finding oatmeal muffins was surprisingly difficult. Granted, we only looked in one grocery store… but THAT’S NOT THE POINT! We made some instead.

AKpa and AKma gave us a swanky new blender, so it seemed like a decent plan to use this recipe for Blender Banana Oatmeal Muffins.

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Don’t you love it when a recipe calls for things you already have in your kitchen? The only change I made was substituting Greek yogurt with sour cream, mostly because I was too lazy to go buy yogurt (and not because I know anything about baking). Worked out okay. Also, you can use mix-ins such as chocolate chips or nuts. We left ours plain.

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Preheat the ol’ oven and grease some cups

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All the ingredients just go in the blender! Except for the mix-ins, if you’re doing those.

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Fill ’em up 3/4 of the way

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Bake for 15 minutes!

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Behold! Muffins!

These suckers came out super moist! So moist, in fact, that we decided to refrigerate them rather than leaving them on the cute dessert stand. P.S. how do you like the glass dome? It’s a mixing bowl, because I broke the dome that came with the stand just seconds after purchasing it. Slick.

Tomorrow is National Sangria Day.

– SPAK

[FHCx347] National Gingerbread House Day/National Ambrosia Day

Sweet!

IT’S NATIONAL GINGERBREAD HOUSE DAY AND NATIONAL AMBROSIA DAY!

One of these is an appropriate Decembertime food. The other is definitely a Southern USA summer dish. So Southern that we used Alton Brown’s recipe for it. Ambrosia is basically an extension of fruit salad, and not the drink of immortality of the Greek pantheon. Oh well.

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Makin’ some whipped cream.

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Mini marshmallows, fruits, coconut shavings, and chopped pecans.

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Gooey and fruity and sugary.

Because we couldn’t get enough of a sugar high off of that, we also made and ate some Gingerbread House! Gingerbread used to be restricted to professional bakers in Germany and France except on Christmas and Easter, when anyone could bake it. It got to the point where there were fierce competitions of professional gingerbread bakers. The shaping into houses made it all the more fun.

Current record for size is this dude from Texas who made a 2520-square-foot home. That’s more than 1.5 times as big as SPAK‘s house. It used up 1800 pounds of butter. And the total calorie count? Estimated at 35.8 million. That’s enough calories for an adult male to eat for 49 years.

And here we are, building ours from a kit.

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The required statement of any food-house we build together.

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It was hit by a snowcandy storm before it was disassembled and partly eaten.

All these sweets put us right in the mood for bedtime. ‘Night everybody!

Tomorrow is National Ice Cream & Violins Day and National Cocoa Day.

-SPAK