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Great news for salty licorice fans in Seattle: Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, Wallingford and a brand-spankin’-new Cap Hill location, have announced their new flavors, and Salty Licorice is one of the lot!

For those unfamiliar with salty licorice (“Salmiakki”), it’s like regular licorice, but also flavored with ammonium chloride, which is almost but not quite entirely unlike table salt. It’s not quite an acquired taste; this is one of those items that you either lovelovelove or ABSOLUTELY despise. If you don’t like regular ol’ licorice, or are one of those crazies who toss the black jellybeans, do yourself a favor and don’t even think about trying the salty stuff.

On our recent trip to Europe, me an’ E had a layover in Copenhagen. Since salty licorice is a Scandinavian delicacy, I ended up bringing a plethora of the delicious stuff back with me in various forms (E thinks it’s nasty).

My favorite so far is “Turkish Pepper”– the hard, licorice shell is filled with about a teaspoon of pure salmiac, and once you’ve cracked in, it explodes in a spicy, savory, sweet sensation that must be experienced rather than described:

In the non-salty category, I procured some Skipper’s Pipes, which I suppose must be the Danish version of candy cigarettes:
skipper's pipe
The strangest non-salty confectionary, however, may be the licorice fudge:
licorice fudge
It’s exactly what it sounds like: black blocks of candy that have the exact consistency of fudge, but are flavored with licorice. It’s actually quite nice; the licorice flavoring is rather mild, and those with whom I’ve shared it have pretty unanimously enjoyed it.

If you live in Seattle and enjoy licorice, and would like to give the salty kind a try, you can find a fairly small variety at Olsen’s Scandinavian Foods in Ballard. Or, you could wait until this weekend, and look for me at the closest Molly Moon’s!

“Redneck Sushi”

My friend Thom introduced me to Redneck Sushi, and now any special grilling occasion features these delectable little wonders. Yesterday was so beautiful and warm that we dusted off the ol’ grill and whipped some up (along with a plethora of other delights).

Here’s how to do both the meaty version, and a special veggie version using our mildly famous eggplant bacon!

You’ll need:

1/2 package thick-cut bacon *or* eggplant bacon– see below
1 bunch green asparagus
bamboo skewers

Be sure your asparagus are in season! They should be crisp & sweet– the thinner the stalk, the better. We went to the fantastic Ballard Farmers’ Market yesterday and picked up a couple of the first bunches of the season. This stuff is so good you can eat it raw.

1. Soak your skewers in water for about an hour before using them– this keeps them from catching on fire on the grill and burning your goodies.

2. Snap your asparagus. Here’s a trick for getting rid of the tough, stringy, woody part of the asparagus. Hold the stalk at both ends and bend. The stalk will naturally snap into two pieces. Discard the bottom piece. Easy, & works every time!

3. Chop the asparagus stalks into 1-1/2 to 2 inch pieces.

4. Cut each slice of bacon in half in the middle– should result in 3-4 inch slices of bacon.

5. Collect four or five pieces of asparagus, and, holding them together, roll them into one of the strips of bacon. Carefully push two skewers through the roll, pinning the asparagus/bacon structure together. (The extra skewer is to prevent the rolls from flipping over if you turn them.)

6. Repeat step five until you’ve used all of your ingredients.

7. Cook over indirect medium/medium-high heat on the grill, flipping once halfway through. The bacon fat should get soft and surround the asparagus, sealing each roll together.

8. Remove rolls from skewers, serve and let the mouth-watering bacon/asparagus combination rock your world.

If you want to try a vegetarian version that’s danged good, you’ll need to start the night before. Prep the eggplant bacon following the recipe we’ve featured previously, but stop after part 6.

Once you’ve drained the bitter out of the eggplant, instead of cooking it, cover it well with an unflavored oil (we use Canola), and let it sit at room temperature all night. The eggplant will absorb the oil, which will give it the melty consistency of bacon when used in its stead on the grill. Substitue the eggplant for the bacon in the above recipe and challenge your friends to a blind taste test!

Fire up your grill, and try some Redneck Sushi today!

Sorry for the lack of posting– the missus and I recently returned from the Land of Tuscan Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar, and are getting all of our domestic ducks in a row. We’ll have a nifty update soon, featuring some of our culinary adventures in the lovely Italia.

Keep checking back!