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Today on Food For Thought I noshed on my go-to snacks with my sister Amanda.  We enjoyed some of our party favorites, like pig candy and bacon wrapped dates filled with goat cheese (aka devils on horseback), which are always devoured by her fashionista friends.  Then we sampled some healthier options, like a Smoked Salmon Tartine and my ultimate favorite Avocado Toast.  Simple, delicious, and ready in a flash, what's not to love about snacks?

Avocado Toast

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This is my everything. Breakfast, lunch, snack, I'm bored so I'll eat, dinner, whatever the reason, this tartine is instant gratification. The warm, crunchy wheat toast, which has just a hint of sweetness, is the perfect textural counterpoint to the avocado, while the Tapatio's punch of vinegar and spice brightens the whole thing up. Enjoy!

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1/4 reed avocado, sliced
Tapatio (or tobasco)
Olive Oil
Wheat Bread

Toast the wheat bread, cover with avocado. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top, plus a little olive oil and hot sauce. Eat, enjoy, repeat.

Pig Candy
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My dad just informed me that it's national bacon day, so I figured I re-post an old favorite that I make EVERY time I have people over. It's just one of those slam dunk dishes that everyone loves. Pig Candy.
Really, what could possibly be better than candy made of pig? Bacon to be precise. Smokey, salty, spicy, sweet: yes please! And the best part is that it is ridiculously easy to make. In 30 minutes you’ll have a bowl of kitsch bar snacks that are just as delicious with a rich red wine as with a spicy ale or sweet and smokey stout. The possibilities are endless and so is my appetite for these little pieces of heaven. In the words of the ad man, bet you can’t have just one.

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For 4

8 strips thin cut bacon (hickory smoked bacon was a wonderful maple flavor already within it)
1 cup golden brown sugar
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Turn the oven on to 350 F. Meanwhile, blend the sugar and pepper together in a bowl. Taste it. If it’s too spicy, add more sugar, not spicy enough, add more cayenne. However, the spice does become a little more pronounced after being cooked, so be aware of that. Lay the bacon on a cooling rack placed over a baking pan lined with aluminum foil (these means minimal clean up!). Cover each slice of bacon with the brown sugar mixture. It should be an even layer, thick enough so that you cannot see the bacon through it (about 1/8 or ¼ of an inch). Place the bacon in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the sugar is completely browned, and the bacon has curls at the edges and appears mostly cooked. Remove the bacon from the oven and flip. Cover the bacon with the rest of the brown sugar mixture, and pop back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes, or until the bacon appears how you like it, like crunchy, but not burnt. If the bacon seems underdone, just leave in the oven for a minute or two more.

Let the bacon cool on the rack for at least 15 minutes to let the sugar harden a bit before you start cutting the pieces. I find it’s easiest to use a pair of kitchen scissors and cut the pieces over the serving bowl. Serve it up with the libation of your choice and enjoy!

Smoked Salmon Tartine

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I am such a selfish daughter. Have you ever seen that Simpson's episode where Homer gets Marge a bowling ball that has "Homer" engraved on it as a birthday present? Luckily my self interest isn't quite so brazen, but still, this smoked salmon from Russ & Daughters has my finger prints all over it. My father's birthday rolled around last week, and unsure what to get the man who has a very complete collection of military patches and books on clipper ships (or is it schooners? Correct me in the comments, Dad!) the smoked fish I got him last year seemed like a welcome repeat. It just so happens I love it too, sooooo....yeah. Pastrami cured salmon for everyone! To balance out the repeat present, I created a a sandwich recipe (more of a composition, I suppose) and left a plate of them in the fridge. Now it's my favorite thing to snack on; a lovely blend of bright lemon, herbaceous dill, a swipe of cream cheese, sweet and spicy pumpernickel, and of course, some amazing smoked or cured salmon. Light, fresh, and absolutely delish, perfect for lunch or when you're feeling peckish between meals. Happy Birthday, again, Dad!

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1 slice pumpernickel bread, toasted and crusts cut off
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1-2 sliced smoked or cured salmon
2 dill sprigs
1 lemon slice
Black Pepper (optional)

To assemble, swipe the cream cheese on the toast. Pile the salmon on top, and slice the bread in half diagonally. Top each half with a sprig of dill, a bit of black pepper if you want, and squeeze some lemon just before you eat. Enjoy!

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