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Author Notes: I rode the bike to church Sunday, and one of the first persons I ran into was my friend Loanna. She was looking all forlorn because she said she had brought me something and wasn’t sure I could carry it on the bike. I got all excited because Loanna is known for her absolutely fabulous caramel corn that she makes with corn puffs (the inspiration for my Chicago Style Cashew Crunch). Every once in a while, I’ll come in to the sanctuary on Sunday morning to find a surprise bag of it sitting on the piano. Score!
Well, imagine my surprise when she handed me a bag of onions instead! I wanted to say wait, that’s not caramel corn! But then she went on to explain that her daughter had been in town from Georgia and had brought them a huge bag of Vidalia onions. Then she had my attention; I love the sweetness of Vidalia onions. In fact, they are so sweet, that Loanna says she eats hers raw with just a little salt. I had an uncle once who used to eat them like apples. Now that’s sweet!
I prefer them cooked, myself. Now that it’s grilling season, I wrap them in foil, with some olive oil and salt, and place them on indirect heat for a good hour. When I open the packet, I’m met with a creamy soft, sweet-as-candy pile of onion-y goodness. Then they’re ready to serve as adornments for chicken, burgers, eggs, you name it. Heck, at that point, all I need is a spoon!
But this time, I decided to make a cheese spread with them. And since peaches are also in season (hey, another Georgia specialty!), it seemed like a great idea to combine them, along with smoky bacon and crunchy pecans. I do believe the state of Georgia would be proud. Thanks, Loanna! —Sherry K-Jazzy Gourmet
- 4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
- 1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
- 2 large peaches, peeled and diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon poppy seed
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- assorted crackers
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towel. Put onion into skillet and sauté for 7-8 minutes, or until tender. Add peaches and salt and continue to sauté for 3-4 minutes longer. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In large bowl, combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, smoked paprika and poppy seed. Stir in bacon and onion/peach mixture. Spray a 1-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread cheese mixture into dish. Sprinkle pecans on top. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes.
- Let rest 5 minutes before serving with crackers.