Crispy Hush Puppies

Fall vacations on Myrtle Beach every year make me think of one of our favorite places and their incredible hush puppies!  Since we decided to have a fish fry on a 70-degree day in February I wanted to make hush puppies for the gang to snack on.  Finding the right combination of soft, crunchy, sweet and savory can be a challenge, but I love how these turned out.  Give them a try and use them as a base recipe for other variations as well.

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CRISPY HUSH PUPPIES

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Weisenberger Mills Self-Rising Cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper
  • 5 Tbs. Sugar
  • 2 Eggs, Beaten
  • 2 1/4 Cups Whole Milk
  • 1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Add onion and stir to coat with dry mixture.
  • Add milk and eggs and stir just enough to mix.  DO NOT BEAT.
  • Mixture will be stiff, but should not be dry.  You can add more milk if you need it to come together better.
  • Cover mixture and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  • Using a 1/2 or 1-inch cookie scoop or a small spoon, drop hush puppy batter into 340 degree frying oil (I use a mixture of peanut and soybean).  Do not overcrowd the oil.
  • Fry for 5-10 minutes until outside is a deep golden brown and inside is cooked through.  You will need to turn them through the cooking process and may need to cut one open to be sure it is cooked through.

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These are best served immediately, but are great for another day.  Eat them plain or with butter or honey butter (1 stick salted butter mixed with 1/4 cup clover honey).  Again, this is a great base recipe that can be elevated by adding whole fresh corn or diced jalapeño.  What else do you love to flavor hush puppies with?  As for the cornmeal, I always use Weisenberger Mills from Kentucky.  You might not be able to find it in the store, but you can definitely order it online.  I swear you’ll taste the difference!  Try these for your next get together – dig in!

Jerusalem Mediterranean Restaurant – Myrtle Beach, SC

When you think of vacation/beach cuisine, most people dream of crab legs, endless piles of shrimp, fresh fish and the like.  We’ve enjoyed a lot of that in Myrtle Beach, but found a new favorite “beach dinner” spot at Jerusalem Mediterranean Restaurant last night!  If you love Middle Eastern food you’ll find some of the best I’ve had at this beautiful family-owned place.  With a new building, beautiful and spacious interior and occasional live entertainment (think traditional and modern belly dancing) you’ll find it a perfect spot for a date-night or a large party of family and friends.  I love the colors, feel and shadow boxes full of pottery.  You’ll immediately be whisked away from coastal Carolina and off to the Middle East!

There is an ample selection of cocktails, beer and wine at the bar.  While we didn’t have drinks tonight, there were some interesting choices.  The menu is a good size with a fine mixture of starters/small plates, traditional fare and wonderful-smelling tagines.  Abandoning any sense of healthy, it’s vacation after all, we settled on the Jerusalem Combo Platter.  The lightly fried treats from falafel to kibbeh to potato wontons were perfectly cooked, well-spiced and delicious.  It’s hard to beat any of these crispy treats dipped fresh tahini!

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For dinner we split the kabob – a traditional mixture of spiced ground beef and lamb grilled and served on saffron rice.  This was absolutely the best we’ve ever had!  The crisp grilled outside sealed in a perfectly pink juicy inside.  It’s a large portion and almost too much for a single person to eat – good thing we split it!  Dinners are also served with warm naan bread cooked in their tandoori oven and a selection of chef’s salads of the day.  Let me tell you, these aren’t a side-thought, they are like bright little firecrackers of flavor to brighten the main attraction.  Spicy garbanzo beans, Israeli salad, soft warm curried carrots and creamy cool dill sweet corn were tasty and amazing compliments to the kabob.

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Honestly, I can’t think of a single improvement I would make at Jerusalem.  Take a right where most people go left and you’ll end up with one of the best meals you’ll eat at Myrtle Beach.  When you see the family and friends of the owners interact with each other you’ll know for sure there’s love in this food!  Check out their website at myrtlebeachkosher.com.  Brush up on your belly dancing skills and dig in!!

Tupelo Honey Cafe – Myrtle Beach, SC

You don’t often find me writing reviews of chain restaurants because most people have exposure to places they can find everywhere.  When we stepped into Tupelo Honey Cafe, we had no idea they had about a dozen locations around the southeast.  And let me tell you, this place is anything other than ordinary mass-produced food!  Their focus on locally sourced ingredients with beautiful southern dishes offer a twist on many classics.

This restaurant offers a ton of seating, indoor and out, with a full bar and ample large tables for groups.  The atmosphere feels more like a small southern kitchen though with comfortable chairs, soft lighting and a warm color palette.  There is a large local beer selection and some great craft cocktail choices.  After settling on a Westbrook IPA, brewed in South Carolina, we ordered the SC Pecan-Encrusted Goat Cheese.  Warm and creamy as you spread it on toasted bread, the cheese is complimented by a mixture of figs, grilled apples and pimentos.  We loved every bite!

Warm buttermilk biscuits are brought to your table before dinner, but won’t last long after they’re smothered with blueberry compote and buttery honey.  The small plates and dinner choices are vast and varied.  My wife settled on Cackalackie Pulled Pork with a tangy vinegar-y mustard BBQ sauce.  Served with fried onion straws and house pickles, she loved the creamy rich baked mac-n-cheese and roasted brussels sprouts.  There wasn’t a bite on that plate that either of us didn’t love.  I chose the Carolina Mountain Trout seared with brown butter – a huge filet with great texture and crispy edges.  My basil sautéed green beans and eggy Appalachian corn souffle were outstanding and Sunday-supper-feeling.

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The only regret here is that we didn’t get to try more!  The menu definitely will have us coming back again.  Banana Pudding served with fresh whipped cream and crumbled vanilla wafers was an awesome treat we brought home to enjoy later in the evening.  I highly recommend visiting their website and checking out where you might find them on your next trip around the southeast.  You can find them here at tupelohoneycafe.com.  Mostly, just find them and dig into a taste of the south!