Last week we were serving up some classic childhood snacks (with a twist, of course) at the Green City Market Chef BBQ Benefit in Lincoln Park. JV was handing out mini, brown paper bags filled with “Cracker-Jacks” and crispy pig ears, while our pastry chef, Sarah, was cooling guests down with her grownup cucumber-gin and black raspberry push-pops.
“As you can see, this is a very technical dish (:: insert sarcasm ::) … ” — JV
Technical or not — guests couldn’t resist the sweet ‘n salty combination of caramel popcorn and pig ears tossed with peanuts, green coriander and maple habanero sauce.
And just in case you missed us, try making your own at home — just follow our recipe below for the caramel corn, and then add some salted peanuts and crispy bacon for the full effect :)
Caramel Corn Recipe – Yields ~8 servings
:: INGREDIENTS ::
- 1 c. butter
- 2 c. brown sugar; packed
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. light corn syrup
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 8 cups popcorn; popped
:: METHOD ::
First, preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Then, combine butter, brown sugar, salt and corn syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda. Then, pour this mixture over the popcorn and stir until evenly coated. Bake on a large pan for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. When finished, spread popcorn on waxed paper to dry. Be sure to store in an airtight container to retain its freshness!
See you at next year’s BBQ!
If you joined us for brunch this past Sunday (1/6), maybe you were one of the lucky guests who ordered our savory tart. It was filled with a custard made from Clock Shadow Creamery quark, which was then topped with Brussels sprouts and a runny egg. Is your mouth watering yet?
The good news is, even if you didn’t have the chance to try it at the restaurant, I stopped by Nightwood on Saturday while JV was rolling out the tart dough for brunch and snagged the recipe from him … so now you can make it at home.
:: INGREDIENTS – SAVORY TART DOUGH ::
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. of each: dried dill, ginger, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper
- 3/4 c. cold, unsalted butter; cut into small cubes
- 1/4 c. cold water
:: INGREDIENTS – CUSTARD ::
(Note: This will only yield enough custard base for 1-2 small tarts. Multiply the recipe as necessary.)
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/2 c. soft/fresh cheese (we used quark)
- 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
:: METHOD ::
On a flat, non-stick or floured surface, combine the flour, salt and dried herbs/seasonings. Then, using the “cut-in method,” incorporate the cold butter into the flour mixture (using your fingers or a fork) until it resembles chunks the size of peas. This will ensure a flaky crust. Now, take the cold water and slowly add it to the mixture, carefully incorporating it into the dough. It’s difficult to say whether or not you will need all of the water; you are basically adding it until the dough comes together nicely and isn’t crumbling into dry pieces. Be sure not to over-work the dough. Once you’ve achieved the right consistency, you can either separate it into smaller disks of dough if you’re making individual tarts (yields ~6), or keep it in one large disk if making 1-2 large tarts. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
Now … watch JV finish the tart here:
Also, note that the cooking times are dependent on the size of tart that you’re making. The small tart featured here took about 10-15 minutes to blind-bake, and then an additional 20 minutes or so to bake until the custard was set up. Larger, thicker tarts will obviously take longer.
Please comment below if you have any questions about this recipe! Enjoy!