Monday, September 30, 2013

maple bacon crackerjack.

Yes, you read that right. This is popcorn popped in bacon fat, tossed with bacon, peanuts, and maple caramel. Don't make this unless you have guests, and even then, you probably shouldn't make it until right before they arrive so you don't gobble it all up before they get there.

This is not the kind of thing I make often, and in fact I haven't made it in several years. But it's always a huge hit, it screams fall (tailgate food!), and I guarantee people will ask you for the recipe. You can say you made it up--my feelings won't be hurt.

maple bacon crackerjack
adapted from cooking light
makes about 10 cups

ingredients:
5 slices bacon
1/2 c popcorn kernels
1/2 c peanuts, roughly chopped
2 tbsp butter
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c maple syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, but it makes you eat it a little slower!)

instructions:
Preheat oven to 325. Place bacon in a large pot (this helps reduce the number of dishes you'll have to do later), turn burner to medium and cook until crisp, turning frequently. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels.

Add a couple kernels of popcorn to the pot and set your burner on medium-high. Wait for those kernels to pop, then remove from heat and add the rest of the kernels. Keep off heat for about 30 seconds (this gets all the kernels to the same temperature). Put pot back on the stovetop until most of the kernels have popped, which should happen fairly quickly. You might want to shake the pan a little so none of the kernels burn. Transfer to a large baking sheet and sprinkle the peanuts over the popcorn. Dice the bacon into small pieces and add that as well.

Combine butter, sugar, maple syrup, and salt in small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and pour over popcorn-peanut-bacon mixture, tossing to coat (this is pretty messy). Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Place in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes to crisp it up before serving.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

home.

This semester I'm in a class called "Visions of the Future," in which we're talking about some different ideas about what the future will hold. Mostly we'll focus on those visions that are informed by some countercultural perspective, perhaps feminist or queer or postcolonial. But for this week our professor simply asked us to write a vignette describing a sliver of our vision of the future--what we dream or hope the future will be. Because I don't have a picture or dish to post quite yet and I enjoyed writing this, I thought I'd put it up here. Of course, it always comes back to food, and feeding each other.

People from all over town trickle in to the church, tired enough from their walks that they will relish a good meal, but awake and healthy enough that they are as excited to see each other—to hug, to talk, to catch up—as they are to eat. Everyone has brought a little something to share, perhaps a loaf of bread, or carrots from their garden, or a bottle of wine if it’s been a good week. We put down our food and begin to set the table, and no one, not even new people, has to stand around awkwardly waiting for someone to talk to. No one has to ask how to help because it is so clear that this is what we do next. When the tables are set and the candles are lit we all sit down together. Anywhere is fine; there is no wrangling for seats or concern about sitting next to someone I don’t particularly like (or someone who doesn’t particularly like me). We all have a place at the table, and it’s not one that’s been assigned. Perhaps it is chosen for us, but we also choose it.

The meal begins without ceremony or prayer because we know the meal is our prayer. We pass around what we’ve brought without worrying if it’s fancy enough or fresh enough or enough. We do not worry that giving away some of what we have will cause us to run out. We simply provide for each other when need be out of an understanding that nothing we have is ours alone. We eat and drink our fill, then get to the work of clearing plates and wrapping up leftovers and washing dishes together. And we linger, never quite ready to leave this home for another.

 There's my vision of the future. What's yours?