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A bacon explosion and more! Super Bowl munchies by men who cook

February 3rd, 2012 Posted in Arts and Life, Food

Story & photos by Steve Crass

PROVIDENCE – To throw a great Super Bowl party is one thing, but when you include a variety of delicious food it makes you nothing less than the MVP of the party. That’s what Cache Valley residents discovered when they attended Thursday’s class on Super Bowl Munchies, one of Macey’s Little Theater programs.

“Anyone is invited and the classes are free,” said program coordinator Kimberly Sessions. “We want to educate the community, and we understand that cost is usually an issue for people.”

The small room of nearly 30 chatty attendees sat anxiously as the class began, and quickly turned attentive as hosts Friend Weller and Jim Wellings introduced themselves. The long-time friends showed no stage fright as they both have years of experience in the media and entertainment world; Friend currently works as the chief engineer of Utah Public Radio, while Jim works for the information technology department at Utah State University.

The two quickly began tossing quips back and forth, and the humor never stopped as they displayed their “manly” culinary talents to the crowd. At one point the crowd expressed some concern as Jim placed a small pot on a large burner at high heat, causing the room to be filled with a scent of burning plastic.

“It’s a little warm to the touch,” Jim quipped, and Friend replied, “That’s a stage director’s way of saying ‘Don’t be alarmed, folks!”

Out of the chatter emerged five great recipes, each using ingredients found within the store. The recipes included Bacon Explosion and Sweet and Salty Snack Mix. The two said all are easy to make, and require little cooking experience.

The crowd lingered afterwards as samples were distributed, and many were impressed by the simplicity and flavor of the results. “These are great!” said one woman. “I’m interested to try my own versions of these when I get home.”

Sessions said classes are generally scheduled Tuesday through Thursday from 7-8 p.m. and feature a variety of different activities. Seating is limited, so those wishing to attend are advised to call (435) 753-3301.

“Often times it’s not even cooking classes,” said Sessions. “We’ve had gardening classes, health programs, and even child-rearing classes come through here. We also have kids’ activities every third Saturday.”

More information for the Providence Macey’s Little Theater can be found at http://www.maceys.com/providence.

Sweet and Salty Snack Mix

5 cups popcorn
5 cups assorted Japanese rice crackers
1 cup peanuts
1 cup roasted almonds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 1/2 cup wasabi peas
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup dark or light corn syrup
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Coat a couple of baking sheets with nonstick spray. Toss the crunchy salty snacks in a bowl.

Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then cook continuing to stir until thick, about one more minute. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in vanilla and baking soda. The caramel will foam up.

Pour the hot caramel over the popcorn mixture and stir to coat. Dump the mix on the prepared baking sheets, bake; stirring every 15 minutes until evenly coated – about 45 minutes.

Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

(recipe from Food Network)

Bacon Explosion

2 punds thick cut bacon – peppered bacon is best
2 pounds Italian sausage – hot
barbecue sauce
barbecue rub
1 medium onion, chopped
2-4 sliced jalapeños

Fry one pound of the bacon until crisp. Set aside in a secure location. Sauté the onions and jalapeños in the bacon drippings until caramelized.

Lay out a sheet of aluminum foil. With the second pound of bacon, build a weave of bacon slices on the foil sheet, about a 5 x 5 grid will be the right size if the slices are wide. The finished bacon weave should be square. Sprinkle the finished bacon mat liberally with the barbecue rub. Layer the pork sausage evenly across the bacon. Retrieve the cooked and crumbled bacon and layer that evenly on top of the sausage. Next, layer on the onions and jalapeños. Goop on some barbecue sauce.

Carefully separate the sausage from the bacon weave, and roll up tightly. Pinch together the seams and ends. Roll the finished pork log in the bacon weave, ending with the seam side down. Sprinkle on additional barbecue rub.

To cook, smoke in a barbecue smoker, grill over low, indirect heat, or bake covered in foil at 325 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees – about an hour. Take off the foil for the last 20 minutes or so to brown. Once the roll is cooked, coat the surface with additional barbecue sauce and return to the oven for a few minutes to heat the sauce and allow it to glaze the pork tube.

Put 911 on speed dial, slice the log into 1/2 inch slices and eat!

(Recipe from BBQ Addicts http://www.bbqaddicts.com)

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