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THE DISH: Missing fair food? Cookbook has some suggestions

Although the fair was canceled, Kern County had some opportunities to enjoy fair fare through a number of pop-up events. You may have missed those or just want to keep the good eats going.

In "Fair Foods: The Most Popular and Offbeat Recipes from America’s State and County Fairs," award-winning chef, bestselling author and educator George Geary digs deep into our desire for carnival treats. He's quite an expert, having served as culinary coordinator for the Los Angeles County Fair.

The book contains a variety of recipes in five categories: drinks, sweet and savory snacks, "fried everything," the main event and desserts and treats.

Deep-fried butter

Of all the fried dishes we've had at the Kern County Fair, we've not yet had deep-fried butter. Here's hoping it's still to come but until then, let this recipe tide you over.

1½ cups unsalted Irish butter, room temperature

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

3½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Canola oil

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Using a spring-loaded melon baller, scoop butter into round balls and place on baking sheets lined with paper towels. Place in freezer to firm.

In a small bowl, combine light brown sugar and 1½ teaspoons cinnamon. Roll each butter ball in the mixture and place back into the freezer. Freeze for two hours.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and remaining cinnamon. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs and sugar. Stir buttermilk mixture into dry mixture. It should have the consistency of thick pancake batter that will adhere to the butter balls. Add additional flour if needed.

Pour 1½ to 2 inches of canola oil into a crockpot. Heat to 375 F.

Take butter balls out of the freezer and insert a skewer into each one. Dip in the batter to coat completely, then drop into the hot oil and cook, turning periodically, until golden brown and puffy, about two minutes.

Place on paper towels to drain. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

— Reprinted from "Fair Foods: The Most Popular and Offbeat Recipes from America’s State and County Fairs."

Coney Island chili dogs

We're a long way from Coney Island, but Bakersfield is not one to pass on a good chili dog.

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 pound ground chuck

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 ounces tomato paste

1 cup water

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground mustard

1 tablespoon dried onion flakes

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


6 hot dog buns

6 hot dogs, cooked

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ground chuck and cook until browned. Add the onions halfway through, then add garlic, tomato paste, water, sugar, mustard, onion flakes, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt, celery seeds, cumin and black pepper. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.

Place cooked hot dogs in toasted buns and spoon the sauce over the dogs. Top with chopped onions and mustard.

— Reprinted from "Fair Foods: The Most Popular and Offbeat Recipes from America’s State and County Fairs."

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.