We went en famille to the Balloon Glow last night in Albuquerque. All the hot air balloons are tethered in the field and we walked through these giants that light up intermittently as the pilots shoot the flames of the burner to keep them filled. Every October balloonists from around the world come and fill the skies each morning with color and huge bees, clown heads, cows, witches-just about every shape you can imagine.At night they do spectacular fireworks and have stalls set up with fair food and drink. Django's favorite
is the freshly fried potato chips that they make mysteriously ( to me) with a single potato, a drill and a blade. It comes out like Pierrrot's ruffle, all attached ,and is given to you on a paper plate. The fact that its all attached makes it literally impossible to just take one so our competitiveness and greediness made it disappear instantly as we stood there under the darkening sky.
Each balloon has a chase crew: a car filled with volunteers who follow from the ground and pick up the balloons and their passengers. The cars are decorated to match the balloon and the crews seem to have a kind of fireman-like focus and sense of urgency. It feels to me as if they're a special tribe just that much more willing to take risks than the rest of us. Many times the balloons put down in Corrales and since they only have a certain amount of control over where they land, they end up in fields, occasionally in trees, and last year, in our frontyard. The timing was so good it almost seemed ridiculous. I had taken the boys to school and came home to practice my donut making. They are simple to make, but my impatience always causes me to rush the heating of the oil which of course ruins the donut.( Although I will admit to you I love them even soaked with oil). As I was tossing them in cinnamon sugar, I heard the dogs barking and went outside to witness the bumpy arrival of a balloon practically at our front step. I ran back and piled my donuts in a platter and returned offering my surprise visitors coffee and freshly made donuts. They must have thought Corrales quite the hospitable place, with homeowners preparing just -baked goods on the off chance a balloon lands in their yard!
They came into the house and had coffee and donuts and when I asked them where they were from and they replied "Kansas" I thought they were kidding me. They weren't. Although we are no Emerald City, I think I would prefer what these travelers got: delicious donuts and a dashing chase crew to pick them up.
This recipe is from Jean Hewitt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon each of baking soda and salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg
Vegetable oil for deep frying
1. Beat eggs till thickGradually beat in sugar. Stir in the sour cream.
2. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon and stir to make a soft dough..
3. Roll out the dough to one half inch thickness on a lightly floured board and cut with a doughnut cutter. [ or improvise with whats on hand- a big and a small jar top, well washed will do fine.]
4.Heat the oil to 375 and fry a few at a time till golden, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
Now at this point, Jean suggests rolling them in powdered sugar- of course, delicious. But I love the tast of sugar blended with cinnamon and a touch of instant powdered cider. Take it easy with it and add the cider powder slowly as it gets intense very quickly, but it adds a good zing.