Gravity Falls

Episode: The Time Traveler’s Pig
Mystery Dogs

“Ah, summer break. A time for leisure, recreation, and takin’ ‘er easy.” Unless you’re Dipper Pines. He and his twin sister Mabel get shipped up north to Gravity Falls, Oregon to stay at their Great-uncle Stan’s place in the woods. Well, their “Grunkle” doesn’t live in an ordinary house. He transformed it into a tourist trap called the “Mystery Shack.” “And guess who had to work there.” Dipper thought he’d have to suffer through the same boring routine all summer, but that changes when he finds a mysterious journal in the forest. Dipper’s suspicions about the town’s weirdness are confirmed and then some. The kids begin uncovering the mysteries of Gravity Falls and encounter all kinds of magical creatures and paranormal thingums. And of course, no summer is complete unless the fate of the world is at stake.

Dipper and Mabel unlock all sorts of crazy secrets surrounding the town, but there remains one mystery left unsolved: How do they get Mystery Dogs in the shape of a question mark? (“It’s unnatural.”) Yeah, I’m talking about the corn dogs at Grunkle Stan’s Mystery Fair. They’re the ones that Dipper and Wendy get before Dipper accidently hurts Wendy, steals Blendin Blandin’s fancy tape measure time machine, and goes back in time over and over to keep Wendy and Robbie from getting together. I know. There are a whole lot of puzzles and blink-and-you-miss-it things in this series and I get hung up on corn dogs. I’ve seen Soos direct traffic with corn dogs, and there’s the Tunnel of Love and Corndogs at the Mystery Fair, and-Oh my gosh! Is there some kind of Gravity Falls corn dog conspiracy? Nah, I’m sure Old Man McGucket would have mentioned something. Right? Hmm…maybe I should look into this. Or maybe I should just shut my yap and get on with making corn dogs.

Recipe makes 3 large corn dogs.

Ingredients

3 footlong hot dogs

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for coating hot dogs

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

Mustard (Optional)

Oil for frying-Enough to submerge corn dogs, a little over 1 gallon

Directions

Heat oil in a deep fryer or large pot to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. In another bowl, combine the eggs and milk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.

Pat the hot dogs dry and roll in flour to coat. Insert a 12-inch skewer halfway through the hot dog. Bend the top of the hot dog to make the curve of the question mark and continue pushing the skewer through so it holds it in place. Cut off part of the bottom of the hot dog and pull it down to make the bottom of the question mark.

Dip a hot dog into the batter and evenly coat. (You’re going to have to get your hands dirty.) Allow any excess batter to drip off. Carefully place the hot dog in the hot oil and cook until golden brown, 4-5 minutes. Transfer the corn dog to a wire rack or paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining hot dogs. Top with a little mustard and enjoy!

Gravity Falls Mystery DogGravity Falls Insp Mystery Dog

So I just made corn dogs shaped like question marks. That’s got to be one of the more weird things I’ve done over the summer. (You’re next, Mobius chicken strips!) Hey, my summer breaks weren’t nearly as supernatural as the Pines’. Still, I loved them more than anything, so whenever August rolled around, I’d start wishing summer could last forever. Unfortunately, whether you’re saving the world from a whole lot of weirdness or you’re just lazing your days away, summer ends. And then it’s time for us to grow up. (“But not too much.”) I wish I could go back and relive my past summers, but that’s not going to happen unless I get my hands on some sensitive, extremely complicated time equipment. But time machine or not, whenever I need just a little more summer, I know I can always return to a sleepy town in the woods called Gravity Falls.

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

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Johnny Bravo


Episode: Johnny Bravo
Deep Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

More often than I’d like to admit, I’ve released my inner Johnny Bravo on the unsuspecting world. I’ll say or do something Johnny-ish and my sister will immediately turn to me and say, “No more Johnny Bravo for you.” I can’t help it. It left quite the impression on me since I saw it on What A Cartoon! I felt like all of those shorts that went on to become Cartoon Cartoons were made just for me. (Forget all the popularity and demographic mumbo jumbo. They were made for ME and only ME.) There were so many things that went right over my head, but I didn’t care. That’s why now I appreciate quality shows with multiple levels. I hardly got any of Johnny Bravo‘s pop culture references, but I still enjoyed them. I wouldn’t love Donny Osmond as much as I do if I hadn’t seen him on the show. Sad but true.

And how can I not want to be Johnny Bravo? (Or Jenny Brava in my case.) In his own way, Johnny is kind of a good role model. Not the vain, meat-headed, pig side of him. That’s bad. (There’s something up with those sunglasses.) What I’m talking about is Johnny’s self-confidence. I want to get up every morning, look in the mirror, and have to call emergency personnel because I look that good. And he can deliver the goofiest pickup lines with ease because he truly believes in himself. Then when he’s crushed (literally) his confidence only wavers for a moment, if at all. He’s good. I mean, he’s the kind of guy that can break into song, pull a pot of hot oil out of nowhere, make a peanut butter and banana sandwich, and deep fry that bad boy in seconds. Sure, that’s probably because he’s a cartoon character, but I’d like to believe that that’s just one of Johnny’s superpowers. I can make a deep fried peanut butter and banana sandwich too, but it’s going to take me a couple minutes. And I can’t fry a thing with that kind of finesse. I better get practicing.

So, Johnny just plops a sandwich into the hot oil. That’s fine and dandy, but if I do that, all I end up with is soggy bread without a trace of peanut butter left inside. To protect the sandwich, it’s getting a nice coating of batter first.

Recipe makes 2 sandwiches.

Ingredients

Sandwiches:

4 slices of bread

4 tablespoons peanut butter (You can add more if you want but beware of leakage.)

1-2 large bananas (Depends on how much banana you like.)

Vegetable Oil for Frying

Batter:

½ cup milk

1 egg, beaten

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup flour

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

 

Directions

Sandwich:

I know everyone has their own way of making sandwiches, so do what you need to make peanut butter and banana sandwiches. You can spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter onto each slice of bread. Slice the banana in half, lengthwise, or into about ¼ inch slices. Lay either both banana halves or about half of the slices on one piece of bread. Top that with the second slice of bread.

Batter:

In a small bowl, combine the milk, egg, and vanilla extract. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the wet ingredients and whisk until a smooth batter of dippable consistency forms. If you want it thinner, add more milk.

Putting It All Together:

Heat oil in a large pot/deep skillet or in a deep fryer to 350 degrees F.

Dip the sandwich into the batter and coat thoroughly. Allow the excess batter to drip off and use tongs to move it to the hot oil.
Fry the sandwich until golden brown on each side, 2-2 ½ minutes. Drain the sandwich on paper towels and repeat with the second sandwich. Serve warm!

Johnny Bravo SandwichJohnny Bravo Peanut Butter Banana

I understand that the zookeeper had a lot on her mind since a 900-pound gorilla escaped, but if I’m offered a deep fried peanut butter and banana sandwich, I’ll happily take it. Well, you probably shouldn’t take food from strangers, but I’d take one from Johnny. He was only trying to impress a pretty girl, but he went searching for the gorilla even though he had no idea what one looks like. His heart’s in the right place. It’s the Bravo brain that needs help.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Cartoon Planet


Episode: Toot! Toot!
Doughnut

One of my favorite shows in the entire universe is Cartoon Planet. I had been watching Space Ghost & Dino Boy for years, so I already liked the characters. Then they got the 90’s treatment (We affectionately refer to it as “being slapped with the 90’s pan.”) and I fell in love with them! The characters were taken in a direction I never imagined they would be (They became stupid, really stupid in Brak’s case.) and it’s so much fun to watch. I was immensely enjoying Space Ghost Coast to Coast and before I knew it, Cartoon Planet came out of nowhere and amped up the crazy! By that I mean they added Brak as a co-star. (Sorry, Moltar.) And they started “Zorak’s Helpful Hints”, and “The Cartoon Planet Storybook,” and songs about baloney sandwiches and other silly stuff. This reminds me, I’d like to take this moment to apologize to my parents who had to endure all those car rides with us wailing “Highway 40 Revisited” in the backseat.

Anyhoo. With my crazy love for the show, I’ve been dying to cover food from it. And Space Ghost and the guys do love food. They have several songs dedicated to foods and they talk about eating often. Brak even has his own cooking segment. (That he never really gets to do because his cooking makes people seriously ill.) The problem though, is Cartoon Planet was made on the cheap. When the guys spoke or sang about food, the same images were recycled over and over. I’d have no problem with that except that they were real foods. I very well can’t make cartoon food a reality if I don’t have cartoon food to start off with. On rare occasions, a quick drawing of a food item would show up. And lucky for me, a lone doughnut shows up during “The Cartoon Planet Storybook’s,” “What Does My Second Cousin Do?”

Recipe makes 18-24 glazed doughnuts.

Ingredients

Doughnut:

1/3 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)

4 ½ teaspoons yeast

½ cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 cup milk, room temperature

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 ½ cups flour

Vegetable Oil for Frying

 

Glaze:

¼ cup milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Black Food Coloring

 

Directions

Doughnut:

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 2 tablespoons of sugar in the warm water. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes, or until foamy. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the rest of the sugar, salt, butter, milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and half of the flour. Add the yeast mixture and mix all the ingredients together using the paddle attachment. Once all the ingredients are fully combined, add the remaining flour and mix until the flour is fully incorporated. Replace the paddle with the dough hook attachment and beat on medium speed until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the bowl, about 5 minutes. Move the dough to a large, clean bowl. Lightly coat dough with oil and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a ½ inch thickness. (A little less thick is fine too. I just like big doughnuts.) Cut out doughnuts with a doughnut cutter or large and small cookie cutters. Move the doughnuts to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with a towel. Let the doughnuts rise for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a large pot/deep skillet or in a deep fryer to 370 degrees F.

Fry the doughnuts for 60-90 seconds on each side. (Whenever they turn golden.) Move the doughnuts to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Glaze:

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together butter, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. Begin stirring in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you’ve reached the desired consistency. Whisk until smooth. Move some of the glaze to a small bowl and tint with the food coloring. Place the black glaze in a piping bag.

Putting It All Together:

Dip the doughnuts, one at a time, in the glaze until they have a thick, even coating on top. Allow the glaze to rest a few minutes to fully set. Use the black glaze to pipe little circles onto the doughnuts. Once they set, you can eat up!

Cartoon Planet DoughnutCP Doughnut

Is this batch of doughnuts a desperate excuse to talk about Cartoon Planet? Oh you bet, but who doesn’t like tasty doughnuts? I mean aside from “My Second Cousin.” And it’s Cartoon Planet we’re talking about. Nothing has to make sense here. If you want something bad enough and throw a bunch of funky stuff together, you should end up with something great.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

 

The Princess and the Frog

Man-Catching Beignets

The year was 2009 and I was sitting in a dark theatre waiting for The Princess and the Frog to begin. I had been horribly underwhelmed by most of the Disney movies released over the last few years, so I had high hopes for this one. From the previews, it looked gorgeous and I knew it was in good hands, but I didn’t want to be disappointed again. I wasn’t. When I walked out, I thought it was a good movie. After sitting on it for a few hours it turned into a great movie. By the following day, it was absolutely fantastic. The magic I’d been missing so much had returned and brought with it beautiful music and wonderful characters, like Tiana. She’s got attitude and drive and knows just what she wants. (Maybe not what she needs but she figures that out.) She’s hands down my sister’s favorite Disney Princess and would be mine too if it weren’t for the fact that Belle’s held that title almost my entire life. But I do wish to emulate Tiana. Too bad I’ve got a little too much Charlotte La Bouff in me.

I wouldn’t say I have a gift like Tiana, but when I put forth enough effort, it shows in my food. She’s got a leg up on me just by living in a food paradise like New Orleans. Regrettably, I haven’t made my way down there yet, but when I do, I’m going to stroll right into a café and eat a stack of beignets. I know the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but that applies to me too. I wish I could hire Tiana to fry me up about 500 of her man-catching beignets, but that’s not happening. The only way to get what you want in this world is through hard work, so I guess it’s time to roll up my sleeves.

Recipe makes 3 dozen beignets.

Ingredients

¾ cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)

¼ cup sugar

1 ¼ teaspoons yeast

1 egg, beaten

½ cup half-&-half

2 tablespoons shortening (I use butter-flavored)

3 ½ cups bread flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Cottonseed Oil or Vegetable Oil

Honey

Powdered Sugar

 

Directions

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm water. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes, or until foamy. Whisk in the egg, half-&-half, vanilla extract, and salt. Add the shortening and flour and stir until incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball again and place in a large, clean bowl. Lightly coat dough with oil and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours or until it has doubled in size. If you want to make the dough ahead of time, you can cover and chill for 6-8 hours and allow it come to room temperature before frying.

Preheat oil in a large pot/deep skillet or in a deep fryer to 370 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a ¼ inch thickness. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 2-2 ½ inch squares. Fry the beignets in small batches, flipping constantly or ladling oil over them, until golden on all sides, 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Dig in!

Princess and the FrogPatF Beignets

This plate of beignets is the best thing I never knew I needed. Okay, that’s a lie. They’re sweet, fluffy little pockets of fried dough. I did know I needed them. Hmm. Maybe I’ve got my wants and needs and haves mixed up again. Really, without these beignets, Tiana’s adventure, let alone her dreams would never get off the ground. If they can work that well for her, who knows what else they can do? Maybe we should stop wishing on stars and start wishing on beignets. Or maybe we should just eat them.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!