By Gini Rainey
The weather in Tyler is playing tricks with my brain this weekend. While it’s just the middle of August, looking out the window at the gray sky is making me feel a whole like fall has hit. My poor head thinks I should be in the kitchen making a big, ol’ pot of soup or stew for dinner, but I just don’t think I’m ready for that. We did have chili and rice for lunch, but I think that might be the only concession that I’m ready to make just yet.
This is the time of year when you have mixed feelings about seasonal changes – or at least I do. Being a warm-natured person, I really do dread the summer time, especially here in Texas, but once it gets rolling, I find that it’s pretty sweet running around the house bare-foot, dressed in shorts and t-shirts while spending time on the patio and around the pool. Then it seems when autumn shows up and the temperatures start dropping (I use the term loosely in these parts!), I really enjoy putting on my jeans and a sweater, curling up in my comfy chair with a good book and watching the fireplace send sparks up the chimney.
So, I’m sitting here, flipping through a cookbook that I picked up on ebay a while back, and wishing that my husband liked seafood and pasta. He says the only good shrimp, is a fried shrimp, but “Star Palate: Celebrity Cookbook for a Cure,” written by Tami Agassi and Kathy Casey, has an amazing looking recipe for Seafood Pasta that has crawfish tails, shrimp, and crabmeat served over linguini. Published in 2004 by Documentary Media, this cookbook is full of some of the most amazing full color photographs of the finished products that you’ll find.
Filled with recipes from stars from all walks of life, with this book you’ll come away knowing how to make Jay Leno’s Uncle Louie’s Chicken Wings Marinara, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s Tuna Pizza, Florence Henderson’s Chicken Piccata, Henry Connick, Jr.’s Jambalaya, Tracy McGrady’s Smoked Salmon Linguine, and Alice & Sheryl Cooper’s Almond Chicken Salad. If you were thinking that George Strait might have been left out, well his recipe for King Ranch Chicken is included, along with Tim McGraw’s Chicken & Dumplings, Michael R. Bloomberg’s Baked Beans, Alonzo Mourning’s Sweet Potato Pie, and Dyan Cannon’s Chocolate Mousse Parfaits. I just love flipping through these cookbooks because you never know what will be on the next page and this one is now exception. I had a great laugh over Joan Rivers’ recipe for Toast: take 2 slices of white bread and place them in a toaster. Press down the toaster handle. Wait till toast pops up. Remove from toaster and spread with butter. For special occasions, raisin bread may be substituted for the white bread.
But, I have to tell you, I’ve been looking around for a good sugared bacon recipe, and Arnold Palmer’s Crispy Brown-Sugared Bacon Strips is one that I think I might have to try. First you preheat the oven to 350°. Then roll, pat or shake one pound of sliced (thick or thin) bacon in 1 cup of packed brown sugar and place strips on a rack set on a flat pan with sides. Bake bacon in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until dark brown. You can turn the bacon once – using tongs. When the bacon is done, remove from rack with tongs and drain thoroughly on brown paper. As the bacon cools, the bacon will harden and can be broken into smaller pieces, if desired. Oh yeah – that sounds like some mighty good eating – might even entice my husband to eat some seafood pasta with this served on the side!