DEPRIVED TRICK-OR-TREATERS

Bacon Bourbon Brittle | for the love of the southHalloween used to be a much simpler time. I remember dressing up like a genie, head to toe in cheap magenta polyester, lagging around a plastic pumpkin pail. The pumpkin and I grinned from ear to ear as we both filled to the brim with sweet treats. Under the cover of night, my friends and I scurried around the neighborhood, harmoniously shrilling “trick or treat” to whoever dared open their front doors. We sat on the curb at the end of the evening, rummaging through our loot of glassine bags chockfull with homemade cookies, crinkled parchment wrapped caramels and silver foil bound candies.

Now a day, kids saunter through the streets with their parents at hand and go door-to-door during the “safety hours” of dusk. Instead of the homemade caramels and brittle and popcorn balls, youngsters are only allowed to relish in prepackaged candies, for fear there may be a razors or poison in the candy. Razors or poison? Since when did Halloween get so treacherous? I long for the days when the faces on jack-o-lanterns were the creepiest part of the evenings, grinning from ear to ear from the dimly lit porch lights.

So here is a treat of homemade bacon bourbon brittle, not for the kiddies trick or treating this year, but for myself. I will devour this brittle on the couch, in the dark watching Arsenic and Old Lace, nibbling and awaiting the end of this scary season whichsomersaults into Thanksgiving and cartwheels onto Christmas. No tricks, just treats (which just so happens to be my favorite part of this holiday.) I’ll grin ear to ear like the pumpkin on the front porch, eating my homemade candy, dreaming of a simpler world, or at least a simpler Halloween.

Bacon Bourbon Brittle | for the love of the southRecipe: Bacon Bourbon Brittle

Serves 8

Vegetable oil, for greasing parchment paper

½ cup of sugar

¼ cup of light corn syrup

1 ½ tablespoons of water

1 tablespoon of butter

3/8 teaspoon of baking soda

1 tablespoon of bourbon

½ cup of crispy bacon, torn into small pieces

Sea salt, to sprinkle

Brush a parchment-lined baking sheet with vegetable oil; set aside. Bring sugar, corn syrup and water to boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Fit the saucepan with a candy thermometer and cook until the thermometer registers 290 degrees, 3-4 minutes.

Stir in butter, cook, stirring often until the thermometer reaches 300 degrees. Take off heat and add baking soda, bourbon and bacon pieces. Stir together and immediately spread onto prepared, greased parchment paper and spread with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle with desired amount of sea salt. Let cool and break the brittle into pieces. Enjoy!

Make Ahead: Brittle can be made one week ahead. Store airtight, layered between pieces of parchment paper at room temperature.

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Bacon Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs were always the last dish prepared on Easter Sunday. There was a reason for that indeed. In southern Louisiana, there is a tradition carried on every year called pâqueing (pronounced: pocking). Dyed Easter eggs are the victims in this little ritual. The sacrifice is great and the outcome even greater, multi-colored deviled eggs! Back to pâqueing though… every person grabs a dyed egg and with both little ends, you begin the tap the egg. The one that doesn’t crack, wins! Everyone goes on from person to person until all of the eggs have been used. Then we are left with cracked hard-boiled eggs…oh, you know where I am going with this…We quickly finished preparing the eggs just like we would with any other deviled eggs (or should I say angel eggs because grandma would not allow the devil to be part of Easter). Finally, we were left with a crystal egg plate filled with rainbow-colored eggs! Hallelujah!

* Note: this recipe contains normal hard-boiled eggs, not dyed ones!

Recipe: Makes 24: Adapted from Bon Appetit February 2012

12 eggs

2 tablespoons of melted butter

1/3 cup of mayonnaise

2 teaspoons of mustard

1 teaspoon of white vinegar

3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 scallion, sliced for garnish

Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

Place eggs in a large pot. Add enough water to cover over the eggs about 1 inch. Bring the eggs to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let the eggs sit for 10 minutes. Then transfer the eggs to an ice water bath and let cool completely. Peel and halve lengthwise while removing the yolks. Finely mash the yolks, butter, mayonnaise, vinegar, and mustard in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Transfer the mixture to a sealable bag and push all of the mixture to one of the corners. Snip off the end of the bag and pipe the filling into the remaining egg whites. Garnish with bacon pieces and scallions.

Cornbread

Cornbread was our traditional Sunday supper.  I can remember the smell of hot oil heating up in a skillet in the oven. That seasoned skillet was waiting patiently to be anointed with the humble, sunny cornbread batter that my paw-paw carefully mixed together.  My paw-paw’s cornbread was like an unsweetened corn cake. My mom would serve everyone his or her own wedge of bliss. The crunchy bottom of the cornbread was always mysteriously gone from my slice (which so happened to be my mom’s favorite part).  We filled our white bowls with the savory bread and christened it with milk and sugar.  At desperate moments to stay up and play cards, we snuck Community Coffee into our bowls.  Happiness and sunshine fit in-between my two hands on Sunday nights.

Inspired by Highlands Bar & Grill cornbread recipe. Yum!

Ingredients:

¼ cup of bacon fat

¼ cup of melted butter

1 ¼ cup of buttermilk

½ cup of milk

½ cup of flour

1 tsp. salt

2 cups of cornbread mix

2 Tbsp. honey

1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 4500

Put the skillet in the oven when preheated

Mix 2 cups of cornbread mix, flour and salt in bowl. Then add buttermilk, milk, butter, honey and all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. Stir to combine. Add egg to batter.

Coat hot skillet with bacon fat and let sit in the oven for at least 5 minutes

Once the skillet it piping hot, add the golden batter and cook for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly on top. Enjoy!