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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, April 24, 2014

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In Festival Guide

Sweet applewood-smoked bacon bowtie pasta salad.

In Festival Guide

Bacon and walnut chocolate chip cookies.

In Festival Guide

Smoked ham and Wisconsin fontina cheese crescent rolls.

In Festival Guide

Bacon buttermilk biscuits.

In Festival Guide

Bacon-wrapped shrimp with spicy barbecue sauce.

Bacon Lovers Day brings more baco-delights to State Fair

For the third straight year Chef Brian Moran of the St. Paul Fish Co. at the Milwaukee Public Market has been tapped by Patrick Cudahy to create five new recipes to showcase local ingredients, including, of course, Cudahy's own products.

The first year, Moran recalls, Cudahy had him working with turkey. But on Friday, Aug. 12, he reprises last year's Bacon Lovers Day event at State Fair. Cudahy will have a Central Park tent, from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., with samples of some of the new recipes Moran has put together and take-away recipe cards. Moran will be on hand most of the morning doing cooking demonstrations, too.

This year, Moran presents dishes like bacon-wrapped shrimp, bacon and walnut chocolate chip cookies and bacon buttermilk biscuits. Complete recipes for all five dishes are below.

Moran – who is also an instructor in the culinary arts program at Milwaukee Area Technical College – says he began working on this year's dishes in late May or early June.

"I come up with anywhere from six to 12 different ideas and then I work with their marketing group on ideas," says Moran.

"We're really trying to make things user friendly. We work back and forth. I come up with most of the ideas. That's what they're looking for me to do. And then as we work and toss things back and forth there's things we don't necessarily think are as user friendly. Being a chef I can tend to be a little more technical and sometimes those are good like last year I did a BLT with scallops."

It's no surprise that for the second straight year, Moran – who leads the kitchen at the Milwaukee Public Market's major seafood purveyor – works in a little seafood.

Ideas, he says, come from all over.

"I research, I start looking at old recipes from growing up as a kid," he says. "One of my recipes last year was inspired by a student. I liked his idea so I incorporated bacon into it."

Some of the recipes that didn't work out this year, Moran says, may get another look next year. That includes his idea to create a cheese danish with bacon.

Ease of preparation is a key factor in the recipes, Moran says.

"It's the importance of trying to find a recipe that's going to be simple, that's going to give you something that's reminiscent of that bacon flavor. These recipes are kind of geared to the consumer that can do something kind of fun.

"Like the crescent roll," he says. "It's something that you buy. The dough is ready. So I put some of the Patrick Cudahy ham in here, but you can use the bacon, also. It's simple. It can be a snack, it can be a sandwich. You could put spinach in there. You could put a couple sticks of asparagus in there."

And Moran's own favorite?

"The pasta dish that I do for my family. I like that one a lot. It takes me back to cooking for my kids and cooking at home. Chilling it is fine, you can serve it that way. It's kind of something that's nice fresh. It doesn't have to be hot, but I like it kind of warm."

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