|Welcome to Thunderdome - is there a doctor in the house? - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
I have to give J + B a lot of credit, as they are true foodies at heart who understand quality meals and ingredients, but bless 'em, they are creative buggers with a wicked sense of humor. They set out on a quest throughout Seattle to find massive quantities of maneca, a natural, non-hydrogenated lard, and they found a supplier at a carniceria, a Mexican meat market, that sold chicherrones, which require the maneca to get the pork rinds to crispy, fried deliciousness. The carniceria tends not to do full deep-fat frying, so it took a couple of weeks for the market to save up enough for the party, but J + B were able to procure several gallons' worth in time for the party. In the words of The Simpsons' evil corporate mastermind Montgomery T. Burns: Excellent.
I seriously thought my heart would stop. And that was early on, when we were throwing battered strips of bacon straight into the fryer. Mr. J had wisely set up a card table on the porch with two frying appliances heating the lard to the perfect temperature. The cold of the night kept all the items in the fry-queue safely chilled. One of the first items that got fried were doughnuts -- a delicious pumpkin cake dough (gluten-free to boot). Hitting the pristine lard, they fried up nicely, ballooning into perfect golden rings. After that, it was a free-for-all of savory items. Anything you can think of, guests brought. It was like a glorious battle, full of vigor, pathos and agony. And hunger.
|Scotch egg, lumpia, fried jalapeno, bacon and Bakon Vodka - my chest hurts! Photos by Wasabi Prime|
The roster of items that took a lard soak included: breaded cheese, onion rings, potato fries, stuffed jalapenos, chicken drummetes for spicy hotwings, ravioli (yes, they worked grand!), breaded macaroni and cheese balls, and the aforementioned bacon strips. Some of the night's superstars were Mrs. B's heavenly lumpia, which were so popular, I didn't get a chance to take a photo of them after they were fried; and the almighty/unholy Scotch Egg. It's the perfect protein bomb, as it's a hard-boiled egg wrapped in ground sausage meat, breaded, and then fried. Given that the majority of guests were members of the Eastside CrossFit gym and are card-holding members of Team Protein, the Scotch eggs were a home run. Much like some mythic beast of Nessie or Yeti proportions, the Scotch egg was an entity often talked about, but seldom seen. I managed to have a slice or two, and the myth became a reality. I think my chest tightened a little, but I fought it back with a swig or two of beer.
You'll notice in one of the photos there is a bottle of Bakon Vodka. On a random alcohol spree, I picked up a bottle and hadn't quite figured out how to use it yet, and the Lar-D-Q seemed the perfect event to crack it open and let the Bacon Freak Flag fly. It's a locally-made spirit, a product of the Pacific Northwest, and probably should be spoken about in hushed tones so as not to frighten the children. Their website lists several recipes, and the only drink we used it for that night was a classic Bloody Mary. It was quite grand for that, providing a nice smoky flavor that I quite liked. But after a few of those and several glasses of sangria later, I decided to give it a try straight up, and I can say this was an example of impaired judgement due to alcohol. Definitely a mixer spirit, not to be sipped on its own.
|Can I offer you a frosty beverage... or seven? - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
Mr. Wasabi avoided my spirited mistake and enjoyed a glass of Johnnie Walker Blue Label as he supped on fried, breaded goodness. I think his favorite was the Scotch egg, which I'm sure goes well with whisky. As the gentlemen sat back and savored their prized liquor amid greasy fingers, the party turned its attention towards dessert. And by then, I think the divine inspiration of several drinks took over and macabre delights issued forth from the fryers, like creatures from a Hieronymous Bosch triptych.
There was pancake batter and several packages of cookies. That, and two deep-fryers filled with hot lard, and it's a recipe for the Manhattan Project. I must say the deep-fried Oreos were molten deliciousness, and the doctors insist the skin on the inside of my mouth will, indeed, grow back. There were also fried Twinkies as well -- thankfully no sponge cake explosions. Things got especially unruly and awesome when the cookies were being wrapped with bacon, battered, and then fried. I Tweeted one of those photos and in all likelihood, the internet melted down in a fury of confusion and terror. I did not partake in the battered bacon Oreo cookie, but I hear it was quite a gastric adventure.
|Fry, my little pretties, FRY!!!! - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
I must extend thanks yet again to the frying team of J + B, as well as the whole burly mass of Spartan glory that is Eastside CrossFit for lending their skills, stomachs, and livers for a thoroughly outstanding night. When my doctor gives me the clean bill of health and the staff of Mercy General takes me off the machines that are currently keeping my blood pumping through my heart, let's definitely do it again.