This summer, we have had the privilege of welcoming an intern from the University of Kansas into our newsroom.
It’s amazing how quickly someone can go from being a stranger to being part of the family, and that’s definitely been the case with Will. So, with his final day looming this week, Joey and I decided to have him over for dinner to treat him to a home-cooked meal and thank him for all of his work this summer.
I sent him a text message before setting the menu, double checking that he didn’t have any allergies or major dislikes before I started planning, and he gave me a carte blanche to do whatever I liked.
As anyone who knows me is aware, that can be a bit dangerous, but after some pondering and discussion, Joey and I decided it was going to be Cajun night at the Youngs, mostly because Joey has been craving some hushpuppies lately.
I’ll share the other recipes from the weekend with you in future columns, but I wanted to start with those hushpuppies, because they were absolutely delicious and actually way easier to make than I ever would have thought.
The recipe I used comes from the blog “Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen.” You can find her original post at https://www.melissassouthernstylekitchen.com/hushpuppies/. I added extra seasonings in my version.
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons seafood seasoning (I used Old Bay)
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk (or regular milk with a splash of vinegar)
1 yellow onion, minced
4 to 6 cups canola or vegetable oil
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, seafood seasoning, salt, garlic powder and onion powder and stir until everything is well combined.
In a small bowl, beat the egg with the buttermilk, and then add the mixture to the larger bowl, mixing until all of the dry ingredients are evenly moistened.
Fold in the minced onion, and then set the mixture aside.
In a stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. (You’ll want to put enough oil in the pot to make it a couple inches deep.) Using a two-inch ice cream scoop or a large spoon, carefully drop the batter into the hot oil. (I was able to do about five hushpuppies at a time in my pot.) As the hushpuppies cook, slide a slotted spoon underneath them to make sure they’re not sticking to the bottom.
Let them fry, turning them to let them evenly brown, for about four minutes or until your hushpuppies have reached your desired color.
Carefully remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper-towel-lined plate. Sprinkle them with a little more seafood seasoning, if desired.
Wait until the oil is back to 350 degrees, and repeat until you have used all of the batter.
These were everything Joey had been dreaming of, and he was super excited with how they turned out. I was, too. They were a little sweet but also had fabulous onion flavor without it being overwhelming, and they were a great side dish.
Truth be told, I could probably just eat a plate of them for dinner by themselves, too.
We ended up having a wonderful dinner together with Will, and we’ll be sorry to see him go back home this week. He’s been a great addition to our crew. Maybe someday we’ll be able to entice him into coming back and working with us again. I mean, at least he knows he’ll eat well.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly recipe column by Lindsey Young, who describes herself as an enthusiastic amateur cook and can be reached through her website at spiceupkitchen.net.