“May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground, and Carry on”
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Whatever happened to fun.? I mean, I know 2020 did a good job of crushing fun, but I’m talking about fun. the band. For a brief moment in 2012, fun. was dominating the radio and video channels. Their bombastic pop with a hint of Celtic folk struck a chord with music fans who felt emo but weren’t emo. The theme here is the lesser-known of their two big hits, but I think it’s actually the better song. Sure it’s a bit over the top in a melodramatic way, but it’s sincere in the message of just keep keeping on. I mean, it’s a good song though, to be honest, I chose it simply for the carrot/carry pun and as this dish is not on a bun, I really had few choices for theme songs.
Sometimes an offhanded remark results in a recipe. A recent round of carrot dogs on the grill led to the question: “Hey, I wonder if you could make cocktail wieners (aka Lil Smokies) with baby carrots?” I already had a recipe that did a solid job of turning carrots into hot dog facsimiles, so switching to baby carrots seemed like a logical step. The sauce was easily found in a ’70s cocktail party book: grape jelly & mustard. I decided that was a bit too basic although my childhood memories kind of wanted to go with it. I opted to keep the grape jelly and mix it with a bit of my Sweet Lightnin’ BBQ sauce for a more balanced sweet & spicy glaze.
The result was a surprisingly spot-on vegetarian take on a nostalgic party dish. I opted to serve in a bowl, but if you have a vintage fondue pot, it would be perfect for keeping this dish warm. Lil Smokie Carrots: certainly fun and a great snack to carry on drinking during cocktail hour.
CARROT ON (LIL SMOKIE CARROTS)
a vegetarian take on a classic ’70 cocktail party appetizer
For the carrots
1/2-pound of baby carrots
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon chipotle with adobo sauce, minced fine
1 cup of water
For the glaze
1/4 cup grape jelly
1/4 cup Sweet Lighnin’ or your favorite BBQ sauce
Combine maple syrup, soy sauce, dijon, vinegar, chipotle, and water in a medium, deep skillet. Whisk to combine thoroughly. Place carrots in the liquid in a single layer. Cover and bring the liquid up to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 10 minutes. Uncover, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to cook, shaking the pan occasionally to turn and glaze carrots, until liquid is completely reduced and carrots are coated in glaze.
Add the grape jelly and BBQ sauce to the skillet and mix to combine, coating the carrots. Simmer on low for 30 minutes until the sauce thickens and the carrots are coated.