Sunday, June 19, 2011

By popular demand. by violet

Seems like quite a few people were intrigued by the notion of bacon bourbon popcorn. And I have to tell you when I first came across it, so was I.  
JP and are I trying to get a tradition of hosting a Kentucky Derby party. It seems like such a charming idea, get dressed up, wear a big hat and drink mint juleps. Well those juleps are pretty powerful drinks and so I knew we needed to feed people. 
While I was searching for traditional Derby treats, I came across an article that mentioned bacon bourbon caramel corn. This particular place kept their recipe a secret but folks this is the age of the internet and there aren’t really secret recipes anymore.  
A quick Google search revealed that many bloggers had covered this territory and were MORE than happy to share. I found one that was a lot like my favorite caramel corn recipe from Organette so I went with that. Because I had practice with it but also because I knew it would be delicious. Basically, the only changes to it are to add fry up the bacon, crumble it up and throw it into the bowl with the popcorn. Then add bourbon to the caramel sauce.  
3-5 strips bacon
3 Tablespoons canola, peanut, or grapeseed oil (high smoke point oil)
1/3 cup of high quality popcorn kernels
1 3-quart covered saucepan
1/2  cup real butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup (or light corn syrup)
1 to 2 Tablespoon bourbon

1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
- Cook the bacon until crispy, place on paper towels to remove grease, cool.

- Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat. 
- Add the popcorn kernels into the oil. 
- When one kernel pops, cover
- The popcorn should begin popping soon. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl. 
- Crumble bacon. Add bacon to popcorn and toss.

- Heat oven to 250 degrees.
- Bring butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Reduce heat and boil for 5 minutes; remove from heat.
- Stir in bourbon, vanilla, salt, and baking soda and mix. 
- Pour over popped corn and bacon.

- Spread coated popcorn into (2) 11" X 9" X 2" baking pans.

- Bake in a 250 degree oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Cool for 1 hour, then break up before storing.

One thing that Orangette reminded me to do which I forgot was to take out the un-popped kernels of the popcorn. I had to pick them out while the mixture was cooling and that was a whole lot of work.  
Now, if you look at the ingredient list, you know that this is going to taste delicious.  It’s pretty much a given. But until you actual taste it you aren’t quite prepared for how everything comes together. Caramel corn is great in the first place because of the salty sweet combination adding the bacon and bourbon just ups that by a factor of two. If you happen to eat it while wearing a summer dress and large straw hat then that just makes the experience all the better.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

A fresh start. by violet

I’m a procrastinator. Of the worst kind. It seems like I can’t seem to find the motivation unless it has to be done RIGHT NOW. My taxes? April 14th every year.

I can probably count the number of times in which I worked ahead on projects. One was this class in college that was referred to as “Info Hell” by pretty much the entire Journalism School. I had an entire term to write a heavily-researched and well-documented research paper about a public policy issue. Armed with the fear of this class and the knowledge of my procrastinating ways, I created a weekly schedule for the whole term. I turned in my paper two days (two FULL days) early and got an A on both the paper and in the class.

You’d think that would have taught me a lesson. You’d think something would have clicked in my brain and said, hey, this working ahead thing really pays off. Not so much.

So what does this have to do with anything?

I’ve been procrastinating blogging. I’ve been putting it off. There are no deadlines here. No one yells at me or sends me “friendly” reminder e-mails. It’s just the seven of you. Which I’m afraid has now likely dwindled down to way less than that.

It’s not that I haven’t been doing fun things; just this past weekend JP and I explored the Arboretum or our day drinking adventure the weekend before. There has been delicious food – dinner at La Spiga and I didn’t even tell you about the bacon Bourbon caramel popcorn I made for the Derby (yes, and it was amazing). I’ve been to two Barre classes and starting seeing a personal trainer. Things have happened. I just put off writing about them.

So today, I start fresh. It’s the beginning of a new term and I have a plan.

Violet in Seychelles Password, Gold