Stir Crazy: Go on, add some new foods to your list

June 17, 2013 

I really like the idea that there is still plenty of food out in the world for me to try. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean I will like it, but I am always willing to try. Octopus doesn't thrill me, but rare oysters do. Scrambled brains and eggs are OK, but I'd rather just have the eggs, thank you. Heck, I'm the reporter who ate dried meal worms (salty, with a nice crunch) for a story on edible bugs. On the other hand, I did turn down the opportunity to sample some thumb-size water bugs. I don't eating the tentacles on squid, but the feelers on those big black bugs just gave me the creeps!

So, here's a recipe I'd put on my list of things to try. Bacon has become an "it" food. Very trendy, covered in chocolate and showing up in ice cream.

Try this twist on bacon from "Salty Snacks." Author Cynthia Nims writes that the mustard and hot sauce offer a "nice zing" to the bacon's richness.

I think it would make an interesting appetizer.

Deviled bacon

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons hot sauce

3/4 pound thick-cut bacon, each slice halved crosswise

1. Stir together the Worcestershire sauce, mustard and hot sauce in a small bowl until smooth.

2. Arrange bacon strips on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Spoon about half of the mustard mixture over the bacon, spreading with the back of the spoon. Bake in a 400-degree oven until lightly browned on top, 12-15 minutes. Turn the bacon over; spoon remaining mustard mixture over the bacon slices. Bake until the bacon is nicely glazed, moderately browned, and crisp, about 15 minutes. If some pieces around the outer edge of the pan are browning more quickly, remove them earlier.

3. Transfer the bacon pieces to a piece of paper towel to drain for a few minutes; transfer to a plate or platter for serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Servings: 7, each with 93 calories, 7 grams fat, 18 mg cholesterol, 1 gram carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, 457 mg sodium.

Vera Chapman, of O'Fallon said she wanted to make a "colorful summertime cake" for her daughter's birthday. What could have more color this time of year than watermelon? This recipe is from Better Crocker and can be altered. Try a strawberry cake mix instead of white, or sub watermelon Jell-O (if you can find it) instead of the Kool-Aid dry mix. And always remember, you always can make your cake and frosting from scratch.

Watermelon Cake

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips

1 box white cake mix

Water, vegetable oil and egg whites called for on cake mix box

1 package (0.13 oz) cherry-flavored or other red-colored unsweetened soft drink mix

1 container whipped white frosting

Green and red food colors

2/3 cup green jelly beans, optional

Heat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for dark or nonstick pans). Grease or spray two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans.

In small bowl, toss 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of the cake mix. This will keep the chips from sinking to the bottom of the cake mix.

In large bowl, beat remaining cake mix, the water, oil, egg whites and drink mix with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

Stir in the 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Pour into pans.

Bake and cool as directed on box for 8- or 9-inch rounds.

In small bowl, stir 1 cup of the frosting with 10 to 12 drops green food color. Stir 10 to 12 drops red food color into remaining frosting.

Frost sides of cakes with green frosting; press green jelly beans into frosting, if desired.

Frost tops of cakes with red frosting; press remaining 2 tablespoons chocolate chips into frosting for seeds.

If desired, cut cakes crosswise in half and arrange slices randomly on tray. To serve, cut into wedges. Store loosely covered.

Here's how to reach me: Phone, 239-2664; e-mail, sboyle@bnd.com; or write, Suzanne Boyle, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

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