You can call me Donna Reed. Well, maybe Betty Crocker instead. Let me explain. I’m on a retro food kick in a big way. And just so I don’t offend anyone, I’m calling retro foods anything that reminds me of my childhood as well, so I’m throwing myself under the bus too when it comes to age! I opted for the Betty Crocker reference instead of Mrs. Reed because she was supposed to represent the picturesque housewife with the perfectly coiffed hair, pressed apron, and sassy little pumps who flitted about a perfectly clean and tidy little home. Hmmmm. Hair – I have some. Apron – I have one. It is stuffed in the back of my entryway closet. Pumps? I like slippers better. And clean and tidy home? A for effort? Betty Crocker was probably perfect too, now that I’m thinking about it. Whatever. Call me JB.
It has been lonely here around the house. Ben’s busy time of year is here, so he’s been on the road. A lot. You would think that without distraction or obligation I’d find myself knocking off all of those things that seem to always be on my list. You know, laundry, cleaning… yeah right. Motivation walks out the door, packed away safely in Ben’s suitcase and I race home after work each day to jump into my pajamas and curl up under the blankets on the couch with a pup on my lap. Even making dinner seems like a giant chore. I really am terrible at preparing food for one. To be honest, I’m terrible at preparing food for two. We always have copious amounts of leftovers, which tends to suit us and our budget just fine as we typically have the best looking (and I’m going to go out on a limb here and say best tasting) lunch among our peers. Is it bad if I love that my coworkers always ask what I’m eating after they catch a whiff as I walk back to my desk?
Anyway, dinner for one is hard. And it is even harder because something in my brain says when eating for one, this is a good week to save up on the grocery budget and to eat cheap. So cheap, small quantities that can keep my interest for both dinner and my leftover lunches send my brain searching. Because ultimately, these nights alone are my chance to eat whatever I want, whatever I crave, especially if it is something Ben doesn’t like (which admittedly, is very little these days). I’ve been running out of ideas because again, he’s been gone a lot. Grilled cheese and tomato soup. Tuna melts (which I think I’m going to have to repeat again soon. I forgot how good plain old tuna salad can be). Old family favorites. Easy Appetizers.
There it is. My single gal menu option favorite. Give me a good dip and some hearty bread and I’m calling it a meal (uh, plus wine, right?). Appetizers are my saving grace when I’m holding down the fort solo. I fill up my plate and hurry back to my spot on the couch before it gets cold or, more likely, the dog has stolen my spot. So when coworkers started discussing the pickle wrap or pickle roll ups the other day at work, needless to say, my ears perked. I may have hearing damage from chemo, but you can be sure that if someone is talking food, I’m well aware and have an opinion.
The pickle wrap is a simple thing – ham, spread with a layer of cream cheese, then a pickle dropped in the middle. The pickle is rolled up in the ham cream cheesiness, sliced into bite sized chunks, and devoured. I’m not ashamed to admit that my sisters and I ate these like crazy any time my mom made these. God bless her, she didn’t want to serve the ends of the rolls to guests so as not to skimp on the pickle portion of the roll, so we’d stand by like dogs begging, waiting until we could snatch a bite. So my coworkers chatting about this family favorite piqued my interest. But as we all know, I can’t leave well enough alone. I figured, if these bad boys were so tasty on their own, imagine if I amped them up a bit and, ya know, fried them. I’m glad I did.
Pigs in a Pickle/Deep Fried Pickle Wraps/Whatever You Want to Call Them
recipe: jb’s pour house
1 lb. good quality deli ham, sliced thin (if you can get ham off the bone at your deli, do)
1 package cream cheese, room temperature
1 jar good quality miniature pickles, preferably kosher dill
1 package wonton or eggroll wrappers
Lay a piece of ham across work surface and spread with a layer of cream cheese. You want to cover the ham fully with a decent amount of cream cheese so you can taste it in each bite. Cut the ham slice in half lengthwise and lay a pickle on each half. If pickles are larger, you will want to cut in half. Roll the pickle up and set aside. Repeat with remaining ham, cream cheese and pickles. Can be prepared to this point.
Whisk egg in a small bowl. Lay wonton wrapper on work surface and place pickle roll on top. Roll, jellyroll style, and secure wrap to itself by painting lightly with egg wash. Fold in edges like a present (or eggroll) and secure each edge with egg wash. You may find that your wonton wrapper is too short. You can avoid this all together by using an eggroll wrapper and trimming of the excess or, you may cut a wrapper in half, secure it to the full wrapper using egg wash, and procede as described previously. Repeat with remaining pickle rolls and wonton wrappers. Freeze for 30 minutes and no more.
Place canola oil in a large wok or frying pan, enough to come up about 1 inch on the side of the pan. Bring to 350 degrees over medium high heat. Remove pickle wraps from freezer and gently loosen from plate/tray. Place about 4-5 pickles in the pan, depending on size used, and fry until golden brown on all sides. Remove and repeat with remaining pickles.
Eat immediately and be happy.
Don’t you wish there was some great appetizer eating event coming up like the Super Bowl?
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