This year I have decided to check out the Delray Beach Bacon & Bourbon Festival, which is surprisingly only about an hour from where I live. Typically, I spend St. Patrick’s Days weekend in other ways, but considering how much I love Bacon and Bourbon, and how much I dislike green beer, I’m changing things up.

The Delray Beach Bacon & Bourbon Fest is being held March 18 to 19, and this year it is better than before. Last year there were apparently 8,000 attendees during the two-day event — received hundreds of complaints about long lines and food shortages? Well, don’t expect the same experience this time around, says Festival Management President Nancy Stewart-Franczak.

“This year we’ve made some significant enhancements, changes that will make the overall experience much better,” says Stewart-Franczak. “Primary among them, we now have the ability to make more food as the need arises, have added several new bars, and we’ve also opened the event earlier — all to address last year’s prime concerns.”

That means the Delray Beach Bacon & Bourbon Fest will have more of the two things everyone loves: booze and bacon.

My Plans

I have the next few days off and plan to drive over with two friends but wanted to get myself cleaned up a bit before hand. This blog has been a random outlet I’m using in-between writing a cookbook that I hope to get published through a few contacts I know. Over the course of the last five months, I have been heavily focused on my book and have actually grown a pretty large beard. I really like my look. However, I’m in need of a nice hair cut severely. I did treat myself two weeks ago to a Beard Grooming Kit that I think convinced me to change my whole look entirely. I made a deal with myself; get a few nice beard grooming products and try to make yourself look respectable before shaving it off. I figured I owe it to myself as I have friends who have told me that you can get really bummed if you shave your beard off lol. The last thing I need is any personal setbacks from getting this book delayed, I really want to stay positive.

Events & Things I Hope to Try

On Friday they offer a sit-down Bourbon Pairing Dining Experience. This is something that I think could inspire me. You sip 4 different varieties of Bourbons paired with Bacon items from the top local chefs. They are bringing together the chefs from Hudson Waterway East, Caffe Luna Rosa, DaDa, and 50 Ocean to deliver a meal of bacon and pork creations that perfectly pair with these selected bourbons. You also get to take home one of our etched commemorative glasses, – Nice!

The premier dining experience of Bacon & Bourbon Fest is the Saturday night. Limited to only 70 guests which – I got into! This experience presents a giant table under the Old School Square Loggia where you can feast on a meal completely made to perfectly complement the variety of bourbon selections. They will also serve beer and wine at this dining setting in case my palette needs a change. You will also get to take home one of our etched commemorative glasses. You will not leave hungry – but you may need to schedule a designated driver.

Even though I’m live only an hour away, I booked a hotel for the weekend as a nice break away from my place (where my book haunts my every move) so I don’t have to worry about drinking and driving.

 

I plan to update this article later.

 

The long awaited recipe is here!  (okay maybe not as exciting as all that – but numerous health difficulties prevented me from getting this up sooner)  It is a good one for potlucks and picnics, or just because they are delicious.

It is also very simple, though it does take a little time.  The key to delicious beans is the pork bone and meat (sorry if that offends anyone, but smoked turkey isn’t the same).  Bacon is traditional, the odd pork chop leftover – if you didn’t use my leftover avoidance technique, and the tops is the bone from a roast pork or ham.  You can also brown up some ground beef or mild sausage (or other ground meat or meat substitute) and make it like non-toxic chili – very kid-friendly! (a combination of those listed makes stellar calico beans)

This recipe does call for one cheat – canned beans.  If you have some on hand or use a pressure cooker, by all means use home cooked beans (or you can cook some the old-fashioned way on the back of the stove while you are cooking something else). Depends on how much time you have and how well you have planned ahead.  Anytime you use canned beans, drain and rinse them.

For every 4 servings you need:

  • 4 cans of different kinds of beans (I use black beans, pinto beans, and small white beans), any combination your family will eat
  • 2 cans of no additive or organic baked beans (or 4 cups of homemade baked beans)
  • 2 cups browned ground beef (or other meat) drained
  • 1/2 pound bacon (preferably nitrate-free or uncured), cooked and chopped
  • 1 pork or ham bone
  • 2 Tbsp. homemade or organic ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. mustard
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. rum extract (optional)
  • 1/2 to 1 stick butter
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup molasses

Note:  A lot of seasonings are to taste; I tend to do a handful of this and a few squirts of that.  Just taste and adjust and remember that it’s easier to add than to take away.

Instructions

Add everything except salt and pepper to a Dutch oven (or larger if needed) pot.  Let it boil and then allow to simmer for 2 minutes.  Cook it until the beans are softer, but not mushy.  Season with salt and pepper, remove bone, and serve.

This Sunday when I woke up, I was leftover with a lot of pending work at home. I was in no mood to cook the regular dishes. I checked my refrigerator and found some potatoes. I thought to have some experiment with them and planned a sweet potatoes recipe. This is not a regular dish that you see on a Thanksgiving table.

This recipe takes about 10 minutes to be prepared and cooking time is 1 hour.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds of peeled sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup of lukewarm milk
  • 2 tbsp. of melted butter, unsalted is good
  • 2  tbsp of fresh chopped sage
  • Pepper and salt as per your taste

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Get an oven preheated up to 350 degrees and
  • Take the cooking spray and grease a 2-quart casserole dish with it.
  • Take a large pot and boil some water with some salt
  • Add the sweet potatoes. Cook it for about 10 minutes
  • Now drain the water from the potatoes and mash it together with a potato masher in a pot
  • Melt 1 tbsp of butter and add the chopped sage to it.
  • Cook this until you smell its fragrance.
  • Now pour the mixture of butter and milk over the potatoes and stir it well
  • Take a small bowl and melt the remaining butter and mix it well until the breadcrumbs have been moisturized
  • Now pour this mixture into a casserole dish and gently sprinkle some more breadcrumbs over it
  • Now cook it for about 45 minutes keeping it uncovered.
  • Just make sure that it doesn’t get brownish and burned.

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Your dish is ready. Serve it hot.

 

Later,