~A Salty & Sweet Treat: Peanut Butter Bacon Bread~
A few days ago I posted my recipe for ~ "Russian" Sweet & Sour Poppy-Seed Vinaigrette ~, which you can find by clicking on the Related Article link below. Because mine is a variation of Helen Corbitt's (the woman who made it famous), it promted me to pull Helen Corbitt's Cookbook off of a shelf in my library. In it she jokes about how odd she finds it that men love this sweet salad dressing. My husband Joe is a testament to that, and he refers to is as "frosting for a salad"!
In case you've never heard of Helen Corbitt, she was a gal from NYC who was hired as the food-service manager for Neiman Marcus during 1940's and 50's. I first tasted this dressing in Dallas, in the Zodiac Room, the restaurant in Neiman Marcus's flagship store. Stanley Marcus declared Helen "the Balenciaga of food", Earl Wilson said "she's the best cook in Texas" and LBJ just plain loved her!
Texas Monthly magazine referred to her as "Tastemaker of the Century" and wrote: "In the years B.C. (Before Corbitt), Texans had no artichokes, no fresh raspberries, no herbs except decorative parsley, only beef (chicken-fried, barbecued, or well-done), potatoes (fried or mashed and topped with a glop of cream gravy), and wedges of iceberg with sweet orange dressing." "Into this bleak culinary landscape came a young Yankee named Helen Corbitt. In a career that spanned nearly forty years in Texas, she delivered us from canned fruit cocktail, plates of brown food, and too much bourbon and branch into a world of airy soufflies, poached fish, chanterelle mushrooms, fresh salsify, Major Grey's chutney, crisp steamed vegetables and fine wine."
"to the men in my life"
and, in her introduction (which is fascinating) she writes:
"... these recipes I have put into book form are ones my customers have asked for time and time again. Strange as it may seem, it has been the male half of the universe with which I have made gastrononomical friends, and I work overtime catering to their likes and dislikes. However, I do not believe that the man who says he likes a thick steak and a green salad always feels that way. Perhaps it is in defense, who knows? Anyhow, I say "I love men" -- tall ones, short ones, old ones, young ones, fat ones, thin ones:
"All men. All the ones who eat. And they all eat!" ~ H. Corbitt
My regularly scheduled hairdresser appointment was yesterday. I refer to it as a monthly 1 1/2 hours of Zen: no phone, no iPad, just a few foodie magazines or a good book and me. Helen Corbitt's Cookbook was on the kitchen counter, so I took it along, knowing it would be fun to revisit. I laughed out loud when I arrived at page 223, one of four that I had bookmarked back in the '80's. Why? All the men in my life love her peanut butter bacon bread too!
By the time my appointment was over, I had paged through the entire book. I returned home feeling rejuvinated and ready to get back to work, but, I just could not stop thinking about peanut butter bacon bread. It was kind of like when you get the melody of a song stuck in your head and you continue humming the tune all day. My husband loves it when this happens to me!!!
1 tablespoon melted shortening (I use Crisco butter-flavored shortening)
1 cup milk
1 large egg, well-beaten
1 cup peanut butter (I use Jif extra-crunchy peanut butter)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup chopped, unsalted peanuts (I lightly-toast the unsalted nuts, which gives them a nuttier flavor. I have also made this bread using Planter's Salted Cocktail Peanuts, and, I must admit, I like them the best. The choice is yours!)
1 cup chopped, crisp bacon (12 slices of bacon)
no-stick cooking spray, for preparing loaf pan (This isn't in the recipe. Just do it.)
~ Crispy Oven Roasted Bacon (No Spatter or Mess!) ~ in Categories 9, 15 or 20!
Note: At this point you can let the mixture sit for 20-30 minutes, meaning: if the phone rings, you can answer it!
Turn the mixer on low speed, slowly and gradually increase it to medium and throughly combine all of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a large rubber spatula frequently.
Transfer the mixture to a 6-cup loaf pan that has been sprayed with no-stick cooking spray. Set aside for 20 minutes, to give the baking powder time to start a "first rise".
~ Step 8. Bake in 350 degree oven 55-60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Place pan on a cooling rack and cool, in pan, about 5-10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and cool completely, 2-3 hours, prior to slicing and serving:
(This bread is awesome served w/ice cream for dessert, or, toasted and buttered for breakfast!)
"Ours is not to reason why. Ours is but to do and die." ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; 9" x 6" x 1/2" baking pan; 11 3/4" x 8 1/2" x 1 1/4" disposable aluminum pan w/corrugated bottom (optional); fork; hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2 1/2" loaf pan (a 6-cup loaf pan); cake tester; cooling rack
Cook's Note: Men just love quick breads, and, they are great toasted for breakfast or brunch. For another one of my menfolk's all-time favorite quick-bread recipes: ~ Macadamia-Mango Coconut-Rum Banana Bread ~ can be found in Categories 5, 11 or 22.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013)