CULINARY THRILL SEEKING: More to Corsicana than fruitcake

Published 10:52 pm Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Looking for antiques? Nesting Pyrex bowls like grandma had? Check and check. I saw two sets at Corsicana shops. I left them there, because I have my own intact vintage set. I chatted with Darrell Raines of Grave Creek Mercantile, who says many of his drop-ins are friends who know they’ll find him there on weekends. He’s more untrackable when taking care of his property the rest of the week. He was nestled in the rear, past typewriters, blue and green glassware and Piggly Wiggly coasters. There’s more out back, he assured, and I opened the door to collectibles that can live in your outdoors.

If you mention on Facebook you’re in the Corsicana area, folks will steer you toward the Russell Stover candy outlet and the Collin Street Bakery, noted for fruitcake. Both are right on the highway and legitimate stops. I went to the old Collin Street Bakery, downtown, just like when I traveled with my parents. I did not realize it was so easy to get a sample cookie from the colorful temptations behind the glass. That, paired with 10 cent coffee, is why their tradition lives on. I really didn’t need more than one cookie, and I hated to leave them with only a dime for their trouble, so I was thrilled to find the day-old bread bin featuring a loaf of jalapeno. There went one more dollar to fuel the Corsicana ecomony.

Pumpkin update: Southwest style

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Pumpkin is no trend for Angelina LaRue. It goes in cornbread, candy and a muffin crumble topping in her world. She lets us visit in “The Whole Enchilada: Fresh and Nutritious Southwestern Cuisine.”

Pickled peppers, amazing salads, Christmas style burritos ( with strips of both red and green sauce), egg-topped enchiladas and serious cocoa is what this raised-in-West-Texas woman brings to the table. There are dishes we know, such as migas, and twists. We wrap bacon around jalapenos. She does it with serannos, cream cheese and piloncillo sugar that we see in wrapped in a cone on store shelves. Brown sugar will work if you have that instead.

Fall is the perfect time of year to play with the colors and flavors. Of all the hearty dishes to share, I picked this one, in honor of the Groves Pecan Festival. Think what great holiday gifts they’d make.

Sweet Spicy Pecans

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 tablespoons grated piloncillo sugar, or brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

one half teaspoon Mexican vanilla or other vanilla extract

one half teaspoon salt

one fourth teaspoon cayenne

1 pound pecan halves

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the corn syrup, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, salt and cayenne. Continue cooking for one to two minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Then remove from the heat.

Add the pecans to the saucepan, stirring to coat, and pour the mixture out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake in a preheated oven for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spicy Sweet Pecans may be refrigerated in an airtight container for three to four weeks (if they last that long).