Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sriracha-Glazed Bacon and Apple Scallion Sliders with Coconut Cashew Spread


It is funny how life has a way of making things disappear, only to reappear when you least expect it.  After the hope has evaporated.  And by life, I mean cats and toddlers.

For Valentine's Day, Max picked out a pack of pink balls to give to the cats. One of these, a tiny pink soccer ball, was given to Rambo.  Within five minutes, the ball was lost. We ( I ) looked and looked in all the usual places, eventually giving up the search.

It was lost, but not forgotten, as Max would ask me for the pink ball just about every day.  It became a sort of joke between us. Randomly, he would ask for it, and smile, and I would say I don't know and he would giggle.

Magically, just a few days ago, the elusive pink ball appeared in Max's hand as we made our way down the stairs.  I've tried asking where he found it, but I get no response to my inquiry.

Silence is the same response given to questions about the mysterious whereabouts of JiJi's collar.  Though not as surprising, since they are cats and all.

About 4 years ago,  when our puff cat was tiny and resembled more of a "puff" than an actual cat, we gave her a collar.  A red collar.  And that red collar, or so we thought, looked super cute on her.  At this time, our puff preferred staying in our bedroom, away from our pig cat.  A new home and big feline brother were a lot for this puff to take in.

The puff and pig would occasionally play paw games under the door.  A toe spot paw would wave its little black spot and the pig cat would come and play with her.  One day, this game evolved into "pass the collar under the door."  JiJi was caught passing her collar under the door to Rambo, who, we can only imagine, had instructions to hide it.  A not-so-subtle sign that she was not happy about that collar.

A few months later, no longer wanting to be confined to the bedroom, the collar completely disappeared.  Not even stumbled upon during our move to Dana Point.  We figured it was lost to the nether.

About four months ago, years after the move, a red collar was mysteriously placed on the floor of our bedroom.  A taunt.  A "Haha you thought it was gone, but we knew where it was the whole time," kind of taunt.  It was picked up and placed in a drawer.

Nut butter has made a similar, though not as dramatic, disappearance and reappearance in our lives.  Seth has never really liked nut butter, except in some savory dishes.  For me, it was something I enjoyed as a child, but not so much now.  Useful as an ingredient, but never the star of the show.  My affections for the stuff never ran deep, and it was never a pantry staple until Max came around.

Then we got word of March's Creative Cooking Crew challenge - a Chopped-style assignment using the following four ingredients in one dish - Granny Smith apple, bacon, vinegar and nut butter.

Here we were, face to face with nut butter, a not so beloved ingredient.  We decided to make our own nut butter with our favorite nut - the cashew (okay okay it isn't really a nut, but it totally acts like a nut, so we are just going with it).

Making our own cashew butter has actually forced a reevaluation of our nut butter stance.  We were seriously smitten with it.  Using a spoon to shovel the stuff right from the jar smitten.  It was so good, we decided to do a post just for the cashew butter.

The real reason for it, however, was as a spread for these bacon sliders.  We glazed the bacon with maple syrup and Sriracha.  The apples and vinegar became a salad/slaw concoction - a crispy, fresh, and tart counterpoint to the rich bacon.  The cashew coconut spread and a minty basil leaf added complexity to each bite.




Now the yelps of other nuts can be heard, begging to be turned into butter as well.  And we will gladly oblige their requests. The stuff will not be disappearing from our lives again.  And neither will these sliders.  To check out the rest of the CCC posts for this month, click here!

Ingredients
Sriracha and Maple Glazed Bacon
8 strips bacon
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha

Apple and Scallion Salad
1 large apple, julienned
1/4 cup chopped strawberries
2 scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon ume plum vinegar
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cashew Coconut Spread
2/3 cup cashew butter
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons lime juice

slider rolls or mini Kaiser rolls
basil leaves

Instructions
For the glazed bacon:
Heat oven to 400.  In a small bowl, mix maple syrup and Sriracha.  Place bacon on parchment-lined baking sheet.  Brush syrup mixture on bacon strips.  Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until browned and crispy around the edges.

For the apple salad:
Toss apple, strawberries, and scallions in a large bowl.  Drizzle oil and vinegar, and coat the apple mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the cashew coconut spread:
In a medium bowl, stir together the cashew butter, coconut milk, and lime juice.

To assemble the sliders:
Toast the rolls.  Spread the cashew spread on the top bun.  On the bottom half, layer the glazed bacon, a basil leaf and then a generous helping of the apple salad.  Close the sandwich and eat!

29 comments:

  1. I love how you used the ingredients for this challenge! That cashew coconut spread in particular sounds fantastic!

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  2. Glad you went with cashew butter. It fits and I love the slider idea.

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  3. Nut butters have never completely disappeared from my life, but they do rise and fall in popularity. And, now I'm wondering why I so rarely use or make cashew butter? This spread sounds fantastic!

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  4. WOW, I really wish I had one of these in front of me right now. This is epic brunch food. And i love your story, you just never know when (or where) things will turn up haha.

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  5. What a great flavor combo for a burger!

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  6. Sriracha-glazed bacon sounds so delicious! I love sriracha but never thought to use it on bacon before.

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  7. Cats are so quirky - what's not to love? (I have a pig cat too! He and I like to go on late-night fridge raids.)

    Oh, and how can I refuse bacon? This looks so fabulous right now!!

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  8. This sounds so lovely and a seriously awesome twist on the bacon sandwich. Plus I'm a sucker for spicy candied bacon.

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  9. Lovely!

    What could I substitute for the coconut milk.

    Have a Joyful Day :~D
    Charlie

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  10. Umm, what? These are crazy amazing! They're cramazing!

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  11. these look absolutely amazing!! love the combination of cashews and coconut- bet it could find its way into indian-themed dishes as well :)

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  12. Such a brilliant idea adding cashew coconut spread to sliders!

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  13. I am not a huge fan of nut butters (except in cookies) but I haven't tried a cashew version...and I adore those nuts! You spicy glazed bacon sounds phenomenal. I have a feeling I'd love your sliders, nut butter and all :)

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  14. Sriacha + bacon? Win alllll the way!!

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  15. Oh! How much fun to have such a challenge. I love this dish. I'm a lover of all things nuts, including their butters. ;) Great job!

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  16. What beautiful sliders! And how brilliant to add the cashew spread. I never would have thought of doing that! Thank you for sharing. As always, a bright and delicious spot in my day. I hope you have a wonderful and warm Spring week!

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  17. Holy smokes!! This looks amazing! I really could go for this right now. I love nut butters, too. I make cashew butter at home because it's so expensive to buy!

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  18. That coconut cashew spread sounds amazing!!!!!

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  19. I love your cashew spread and these sliders have my name written all over them :) So delicious!!!

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  20. Sriacha glazed bacon? With cashew butter? And apples?! I love this! Gorgeous food.

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  21. Wow, that spread is just genius! And this burger is to die for! It's close to midnight and this is all I want before going to bed!

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  22. The glazed bacon alone would have me wanting more. What a terrific slider.

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  23. You've consistently provided fantastic food since joining the group. Bravo to you both.

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  24. I like the idea of the sriracha bacon too. YUM! Going to try that for sure. Also like the combo of the crunchy/spicy/sweet bacon with the crispy/juicy/apple! Well done!

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  25. This is wonderful...the bacon did it for me...LOL

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  26. I have many cat toys and cat disappearance stories too lol. Love your creation for the challenge and cashew is a favorite nut of mine so this butter sounds awesome.

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  27. Nice to make your own. I wish I had. Although it worked well in the pie crust, I was surprised to find my $10 jar of almond butter had cane sugar as the second ingredient! It is sort of sweet. Not what I want for $10 jar. Next time I'll make it (using your tips?).

    Great combination for a slider, they are addictive, aren't they?

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