Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two Teaser Tuesday!

Hey, y'all! This morning I wanted to start with a recipe since so many people said they loved the food in New Orleans. We really are all about food here, which is the reason I know I can never move away. Also, when coworkers see you at a food festival with a beer in one hand and two cannoli in the other, they don't find anything strange about the situation. They just ask where you got the cannoli.

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, and cooking for your loved ones, I'd like to share a recipe for callas. Leftover white rice from take-out? Don't throw it away, make calas!

What are calas, you ask? These hot, sugary fritters in the photo are from Elizabeth's, one of my favorite brunch places. I ALWAYS get the calas.

Diana Rattray, an avid home cook and recipe collector living in Mississippi, explains that calas are:
a breakfast fritter mixed with cooked rice, flour, sugar, and spices, and then deep-fried. According to "The Dictionary of American Food & Drink," the word Calas was first printed in 1880, and comes from one or more African languages, such as the Nupe word kárá, or "fried cake." African American street vendors sold the fresh hot calas in the city's French Quarter, with the familiar cry, "Calas, belles, calas tout chauds!"

Here's a recipe from Nola Cusine. Read the instructions carefully-- the dough needs to rest overnight.

1/2 Cup warm water
1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
1 pkg Active Dry Yeast
3/4 Cup Cooked White Rice
2 Large Eggs, beaten slightly
3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 pinch Kosher salt
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/8 tsp freshly grated Nutmeg
Peanut Oil for frying
Powdered Sugar for a heavy dusting

The day before you want to make your Calas, combine the water and sugar in a small bowl. Add the yeast and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the rice and stir well. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature overnight. This step will really give your Calas a distinctive flavor; think sourdough.

The next day, stir the rice mixture and kind of mash the rice against the side of the bowl with a wooden spoon. Don’t go too crazy though, I like to have a bit of that rice texture in the finished product.

Add the remaining ingredients to the rice mixture, mix well with a wooden spoon. The mixture should be a fairly loose batter, a little thicker than pancake batter. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. This step will make your Calas as light as air when fried!

Heat 3 inches of peanut oil in a large saucepan to 365 degrees. Drop spoonfuls of the Calas batter into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, turning once. Serve with lots and lots of powdered sugar, like Beignets, or drizzle with Cane Syrup. Recipe makes about 6 good sized Calas.

Hope you enjoy the recipe, and keep reading for a teaser from EVANGELINE!

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