I'm on a family vacation right now. I'm with all my children and grandchildren in Newport Beach, California and we're having a grand time! I think I can speak for the whole family in saying that the song we will always associate with this time together is Glenn Miller's "Moonlight Serenade." It's the absolute current favorite song of my granddaughter - who turned two years old yesterday.
This little girl wants to listen to this song ~ all the time. No - I mean ALL THE TIME! It soothes her. It makes her little girl heart beat with joy! She and I took a walk to the local farmers' market one day and she held my phone in her tiny hand, listening to the song on a loop - over and over again as she rode in the stroller. I eventually had to turn Glenn off to preserve the battery on my phone. When one of the vendors asked about why she wore such a frown, he got a good laugh when I said, "She's upset with me because she wants to listen to Glenn Miller's Moonlight Serenade." Haha! Lucky for us, it's a pleasant song to listen to over and over - as much of the music of that era is.
If you will remember, when my family gets together on one of our reunions, we have a cooking competition ~ a sort of Iron Chef thing. We have a not-so-secret ingredient which we all know in advance. The big surprise is which course we will be preparing, which we draw for when we arrive. There's four courses - appetizer, entree, side dish, and dessert - and each course must use the special ingredient. And this year is the fourth competition.
The special ingredient this year?
My daughter, Katy, and I are a team.
Three times we have tried to claim the title.
Three years we have come up short.
We have cooked with cheese, limes, and cinnamon - and each time it's been good -
just not good enough!
This year we had a planning lunch. We put our heads together and really came up with some great ideas! We came ready to cook! Bring it on!
As soon as we arrive, the trash talking starts. When we go to the grocery store we are peeking in each others' carts, trying to deduce what the other is making - what tricks they have up their sleeve.
It's all in good fun.
This year, Katy and I drew the appetizer.
We were excited! We were armed with a great idea!
I had made a little baklava purse from a recipe by Giada DeLaurentiis before. We were going to take that same idea but make a creamy bacon filling instead of the sweet and nutty one.
I got to thinking about how Katy likes to eat lighter and more healthy than what these little purses would probably be so I thought the filling would also be good as a stuffing for small cocktail tomatoes.
They both were very good, but I liked the tomato option better! I'll tell you how to make both, though!
The other offerings this year were these darling and delicious salads served in bacon cups!
The main course were these tasty hamburgers filled with bacon and cheese chunks!
All of these delectable bites led up to the winning course this year -
Bourbon Bacon Pecan Pie!
My son and his wife - and he will say it was just his wife - found this great recipe at The Daily Bacon.
Everything had tasted really good. But this fantastic pie took the tops this time - and deservedly so!
Good job, Rob and Erin!
Creamy Bacon Purses
Printable Recipe Cards
16 oz. mascarpone cheese
1 lb. bacon, sliced into small pieces
1/4 c. diced chives
1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
salt to taste
1 pkg. phyllo dough, thawed.
2 cubes butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook the bacon until crispy. Drain on a tray lined with paper towels. When cool, mince into small pieces.
Stir together the mascarpone cheese, crisped bacon pieces, chives, bell pepper, and parmesan cheese. Taste and salt as needed. Set aside.
Dampen a paper towel to cover the phyllo sheets with as you assemble the purses.
On a large cutting board, carefully lay out a sheet of phyllo dough and carefully brush lightly with the melted butter. Arrange another sheet on top and brush again, lightly, with melted butter. Repeat this step, until you have a stack of 6 phyllo sheets.
Using a long, sharp knife, cut the stack into 12 squares by cutting the longer edge into four columns, then the shorter edge into three columns.
Use a mini-muffin tin and place a buttery phyllo square over each cup and gently press down into cup. Fill with a tablespoon of the bacon mixture. Pinch together the tops, matching opposing corners into the center to close the square, creating the purses.
Repeat with the remaining 6 sheets of phyllo dough and bacon mixture.
Bake for 15 - 20 minutes. Cool and serve.
For the tomato version:
Make up the creamy bacon filling.
Cut 10 small cocktail tomatoes in half, vertically and scrape out the centers and stem ends with a spoon. Simply place a tablespoon of the bacon mixture into the center of each and sprinkle with some minced chives. Serve.