Black Beans and Bacon Spread

A hearty and dependable dip or spread that has always been popular but we love the added flavor of bacon…who doesn’t?

  • One dozen strips of thick bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Two jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • Three cloves of garlic, minced
  • Two fifteen ounce cans of black beans, drained and liquid reserved
  • One half cup of sour cream
  • Two tablespoons of lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • Zest of one lime
  • Sea salt to taste

Process all ingredients except the bacon in a food processor until finely chopped.  Fold in bacon crumbles and thin with reserved liquid if more of a dip consistency is preferred.  Refrigerate overnight if possible to let the flavors blend. Serve at room temperature.

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Bacon and Grits Kabobs

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This recipe calls for thickly cooked grits made with your favorite recipe and flavored with red pepper sauce, butter, garlic, a little cheddar or whatever is your preference.  I am not going to venture into telling my gentle readers how to cook grits.  Anyway, when done, pour out onto a cookie sheet at a depth of about an inch and set in the fridge to cool.  Meanwhile, cut about a dozen slices of lean bacon into thirds.  When the grits harden, cut into one inch cubes and wrap the bacon around each cube, skewering it with a bamboo kabob that has been soaked for a half hour in iced water.  Cook under a broiler for seven to eight minutes until the bacon is crispy and serve hot.

Stuffed Baby Med Peppers

We have always loved to add pepperoncini to our Greek salads.  On our last visit to Rhodes we were served these simple but satisfying pre-prandial bites at a little sidewalk cafe near the gate to the port.  These pickled peppers, which are just as popular in Italian dishes, are so easily available in the United States and so overlooked when we think of savory appetizers.  Our chef simply soaked them for a time in icy water, slit them open, and filled each pepper with an equal amount of local cheese, what tasted like minced salami, and a generous helping of grated onion.  Dust this with Greek seasoning, squeeze a little lemon juice over all and warm in a 300 degree oven for ten minutes.  You may substitute minced, crispy bacon and Monterey Jack for a departure. 

Cheddar, Ham, and Green Peppercorn Souffle

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A kind and generous follower of But First sent this recipe on to us very recently.  We were blown away with its cheesy goodness and the ease with which it all goes together.  The punch of green peppercorns gives it an unexpected flavor.

  • Four green onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of green peppercorns
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 3 cups of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup of smoked ham, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh garlic, minced

Process the onion, peppercorns, and egg in a food processor until the onion is minced. Pour into a one quart  baking dish and add other ingredients, stirring well.   Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes or until puffed and golden.  Serve while warm with crackers or thick potato chips.

Honeyed Ham and Caper Berry Toasts

If you have a few slices of honey-baked ham left over from the holidays, this is a very special way to use it.  Serve this as a cold spread or as a broiled canape on toast rounds.

  • One quarter pound of ham, chopped finely
  • One teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • One teaspoon of English mustard powder
  • Three tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • Two tablespoons of thinly sliced caper berries, stems removed

Combine all ingredients and spread about a teaspoon on each toast round.  If you desire, place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and put under the broiler for about four minutes until the canapes are puffed and golden.

Silver Queen Corn and Bacon Dip

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What a great time to try out this creamy corn and bacon dip!  Silver Queen and other varieties of tender, succulent, early June corn make it a very toothsome experience…or if it is the dead of winter, feel free to utilize frozen creamed corn or well-drained canned niblets.

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of homemade mayonnaise
  • 3 large green onions, sliced thinly
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups of corn, freshly grated off the cob
  • 1/4 stick of butter
  • 1 dozen strips of smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled

Combine first three ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.  In a microwave-proof pan, combine onions, garlic, pepper, corn, and butter.  Cover and microwave on high for three minutes.  Stir in cream cheese mixture, add bacon, and microwave for two minutes.  Remove and mix well.  Cover and cook for an additional minute or two until heated through.  Great with corn chips!

Uptown Sausage Balls

You will find other recipes on this site and in many cookbooks for sausage balls  but these are really unique and delicious.  We were visiting New Bern, North Carolina with Jim and Jane in the fall and came upon this recipe that comes originally from a parishioner of that city’s grand eighteenth century Christ Church.

  • 1 pound of lean bulk sausage
  • 3 cups of baking mix
  • 10 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup of Walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 cup of dates, chopped (I use scissors dipped in hot water)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine ingredients and roll into marble-size balls.  Bake on a cookie sheet for 14 minutes and cool.  These may be frozen and reheated in a 300 degree oven for about 15 or 20 minutes.  This should make about seven dozen.