Mad Man’s Brilliance

20 Dec


I introduced you to the culinary stylings of my brother’s mad scientist compadre (whom we are calling MM) with this purple pie.

Twas’ unfair, really, as I should have started with his AMAZING cranberry concoctions. He made both sweet and savory cranberry sauces, the former saving my not-sweet-enough-and-underspiced-because-my-brother-doesn’t-properly-stock-his-kitchen pumpkin pie when I got the brilliant idea to use it as a pie topping, the latter receiving raves from all carnivores on hand.

I’m thinking a New Year’s resolution will be to not use so many run-on sentences.

And to not resort to terse monosyllabic sarcasm instead.

Elegantly crafted sentences of the proper coherent length!


The sauces! MM gave me his estimation of what he did. A mad scientist never make notes while cooking, they just maniacally stir cauldrons and cackle. Or so I like to imagine MM doing in chilly Chicago where the cold seeps into the brains of its residents and leads them to such kitchen shenanigans.

Back in LA I made scaled down renditions of the sauces, even the bacon one! Litelife makes surprisingly tasty smoky tempeh strips called Fakin’ Bacon. MM is a renegade chef so I figured I should follow in his spirit and not be tied down to what he had done.
Here be my tempeh-bacon version:


Sip a Sazerac while making these.
I did.

Actually I made two different Sazerac recipes, from which I plan to concoct my ideal Saz and post it later. But you see the first two versions hanging out behind the bacon sauce.

Never thought “bacon sauce” would be words blogged here.

And good golly!

Apparently I like not only absinthe, but bourbon. Trouble’s a brewing!

Bourbon, berries, and bacon, baby.

MM’s Orange-Whiskey Cranberries, my adaptations (because I didn’t have enough cranberries and booze) in parenthesis

1 1/2 bags of cranberries (I had only two cups)
Juice of two oranges (I used one)
Zest of one orange (1/2 an orange)
About 4 shots of bourbon (4 Tbsp. of Jameson)
1 1/2 c. Brown sugar (1/2 c. Brown, 1/4 of white)
1 tsp. cinnamon (1/2 tsp. cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg)
Put everything in a pan, add H2O to a bit below the cranberry line. Bring to boil then reduce and thicken to taste. Add salt to taste. Gets thicker as it cools so leave it a wee bit soupy, says me. If you made a pumpkin pie that wasn’t sweet enough too, use this as a topping!

MM’s Bacon Cranberries

8 slices of bacon (3 slices “Fakin’ Bacon-LiteLife’s smoky tempeh bacon strips)
1 Vidalia onion, chopped (1/3 c. Chopped yellow onion)
Garlic (I used 1/2 tsp. chopped)
1 chopped Granny Smith apple (1/3 c. Chopped Fuji apple)
1.5 bags cranberries (2 c.)
Water to come up 1 inch below cranberries
1 1/2 c. Sugar (1/2 cup)
Chili powder (1 tsp.)
Sriracha (2 tsp.)
A bouquet garni of black peppercorn, rosemary and bay leaf (A grind or so of black pepper, a pinch of dried rosemary, bay leaf)
Salt to taste
If using bacon, render the fat, chop bacon and set bacon aside. Use the fat to cook onion, garlic and apple. If not using bacon, chop the Fakin’ and set it aside. Spray pot with a nonstick spray before sautéing onion, garlic and apple. Add cranberries, water, sugar, Sriracha, chili powder, bouquet garni or black pepper, rosemary, and bay leaf (and if you are using the Fakin’ add it now) and reduce. If using regular bacon add once it cools, add salt if you like. Don’t forget to take out the bouquet garni, or bay leaf if using the dried herbs.

10 Responses to “Mad Man’s Brilliance”

  1. Sabrina Bolin (@MyMiBoSo) December 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    Bacon on the gruel? Blasphemy! I keed – and I like the sweet and saltiness of this! Might try it with this DELISH new find from the farmer’s market instead of the Fakin’ – homemade tofu skins! Sound gross, but they’re totally not (here are the brilliant peeps who make it They’re already spiced so I would prolly cut down on the other spices but I think they would make a nice combo with the sweet/tartness of the cranberries!

    • Ellen December 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

      I have heard if the tofu skins but never had them! You may just inspire me to give them a go, thanks for the linkage. And I’d love to hear how they work out in the cranberry sauce if you try it. Thank you as always for the comments, m’dear, you always have some insight for me:)

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. milkandhoneyontherun December 21, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    Oh the Mad Scientist lol! Orange-Whiskey Cranberries sounds amazing! Did you use fresh cranberries? I wonder if you could use dried ones and I guess reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe?

    • Ellen December 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

      I would use fresh or frozen cranberries, not dried ones, on this. I imagine you could make some sort of interesting relish using dried, but it would be something texturally very different I think, plus its easy and not expensive to get cranberries year round-they always have them with the frozen fruit, and they are sooooo tasty and have a tart refreshing factor that dried ones won’t. Hope that helps! I guess I shouldn’t discourage experimentation, though! Whatever you do let me know how it pans out! Btw, I made your faux Thai noodles finally and will be sure to blog them up soon:) Sent from my iPhone

      • milkandhoneyontherun December 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

        I’ve never actually had “real” cranberries :S Sounds like they’re pretty easy to find though 😀

        YaY about the Faux Thai Noodles. Glad you like the recipe ^^

      • Ellen December 21, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

        I did! I changed a couple things-used shirataki noodles, and snow peas instead of green beans. I am craving making it again, now:)

  3. sippitysup December 24, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Sazerac! Can’t wait. GREG

    • Ellen December 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

      Should be good boozy fun! Actually if you have any bourbon or rye recommendations I’m all ears-I’m have Maker’s Mark right now but I really know nothing about bourbon…

      Sent from my iPhone


  1. Saz me « Scrumptious Gruel - January 1, 2013

    […] home to concoct the perfect one. Perfect for me, anyway. My first attempts were seen on the Gruel here. Unlike my perfect Camparied up Cosmo I came up with, the Mo-ellen, my Saz recipe is not just for […]

  2. The Things We Ate | Scrumptious Gruel - August 7, 2013

    […] Grody! It takes second in the weird department only next to the Dimetapp Pie made by the brilliant MadMan. […]

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