There is nothing like the summer in NYC. The blazing heat. The white light reflecting off of every window onto the concrete blinding your eyes. The wonderful aromas of the subway on a mid summer afternoon. The homeless people hoarding around you to sell you a bottle of mildly cool water for $2. Sweaty Joe Blow and Bonifa sandwiching you on the 7 train in rush hour-FYI for some strange reason deodorant and soap are not required use for the subways. The tourists stopping the the middle of the street in Times Square to take a picture. Not to mention to poor saps from the sticks trying to navigate the subway tunnels. Ahhh the good life.
Then there is another side of NYC in the summer. Roof top parties on a breezy night. Picnics in Central Park. Reduced admission at the museums. Long walks after the theater. But the best part are all the street fairs. The streets of NYC smell like Grandma's kitchen. Vendors line the streets selling anything and everything you can think of. And my god the food! Braciole, Clams on the half shell, zeppoles, funnel cakes, sausage pepper and onions sandwiches, shish kabobs, dirty water dogs (hot dogs), Nutz4Nuts, you name it and its sold in stands lining the streets.
There is one Street Fair that I both look forward to and dread every year. The Creme de la Creme of Street Fairs. Its the best one but when the street is cleaned, the flags are taken down and the Fair is over I know the summer nights are gone with it. The San Genero Feast in Little Italy closes the Summer season in NYC every September. Mulberry Street is closed to traffic for two weeks every year to celebrate San Gennaro and the Italian way of life. Live music on the corners, handsome Italian boys dressed to the nines trying to entice you to eat at their restaurant. The smell of cigars from the street side cafes. Carnie Games "ill give you one dart for free to hit a balloon!" "such a pretty lady! would the gentleman want to win this lovely lady a prize?". When I was younger I have such fond memories of Little Italy. Back then it really was a Little Italy. Now the true Little Italy is down to about 3-4 blocks long. Down Mulberry St from Broome to Canal St. Chinatown has taken over. Don't get me wrong I love Chinatown (where else can you get a Rolex for $10, a Birkin for $20 and Noodles at 3am?). But Little Italy is a part of my Soul. Every year it gets smaller and smaller. Beautiful clean streets lined with restaurants and shops are now littered with trash and the restaurants have long since disappeared. It truly is the end of an Era. At least I still have my San Gennaro Feast.
There is nothing like the San Gennaro Feast. The best food of any feast. All the restaurants set up tables in the middle of the streets. If you don't want to sit you can visit one of the many vendor stands. On the corner of Motts Street there is a guy who spends all day and night opening fresh clams. The next stand over is braciole and steaks. Down by La Mela you can get a plate full of meatballs. Every other stand sell Zeppolies...and they are all called "NYC BEST ZEPPOLI! get 'um while their hot!". I think they went to Chinatown to get the knock off signs for $1 each.
There is one stand that will forever hold my heart. I can smell it the second I get near the feast. I push and shove my way through the hoards of people to reach my pot of gold at the end of the Italian Rainbow. Deep. Fried. Oreos. (a moment of silence please)
Before I got Married I would have these once a year at the feast. Now that I got my own deep fryer for my Bridal shower I can indulge anytime I want. The second I ripped off the wrapping paper and saw the Deep Fryer I had one thought: Oreos. I've had ones that friends have made, I've heard horror stories from family trying to make them and they have all been epic fails nothing compairs to the ones at the feast. Too doughy, to dry, too soggy, no crisp bite, too crisp. Now I know the trick, and I will share it with you but you must keep it a secret. I have spent many hours of trial and error trying to get the batter just right. Thinner and less sticky then zeppoli batter but thicker than a crepe-with the taste and texture of a zeppoli. Its gotta crunch when you bite into it and be soft and fluffy inside. It also HAS to crust fast so the cream in the Oreo doesn't melt out and cook fast enough so the Oreo stays crispy. When I ran out of flour I found the trick. Determination wins again.
Deep Fried Oreos
One Package of Oreo Cookies
2 Cups of Bisquick (yes, pancake mix...just trust me ok?)
1 1/2 Cup of Milk
2 tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
Vegetable Oil for frying
Powdered sugar for garnish.
Turn on your deep fryer and get it hot. If you do not have a deep fryer then you can fill up a dutch oven pot or any heavy, deep, even heating pot over the stove with oil. You need about 4 inches of oil in the pot.
Mix together all of the ingredients. Dip the Oreos in so that they are completely covered. The batter should stick to the Oreo and not run off as shown in the picture above. If its to runny add more Bisquick, too thick add more milk. You want to put the coated Oreo in the hot oil as soon as it is dipped. Do not try to dip them all at once. If the batter sits on the Oreo it will make the cookie mushy and it will also never 'poof' up to a perfect little gem.
Gently place some the dipped Oreos in the hot oil. It is best to do them in batches and not all at once. You can test the oil first by dropping a bit of batter in, if it bubbles right away then your good to go. Make sure the Oreos don't touch when you first place them in the oil otherwise they will stick together. After two minutes turn the over and let the other side cook. Do not move them around to much or the batter will come off the Oreo if it is not cooked through. When both sides are a nice golden brown they are ready to come out.
As you remove the Oreos from the hot oil place them on a plate or cookie sheet lined with paper towels. this will absorb all the oil off the surface leaving you with a nice crispy crunchy shell.
Dust with powdered sugar and loosen your belt!
Serving recomentdation: A nice big ole cup of cold milk!