Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Guide Day 19 of 26: Jerry Duff's Texas Trash Mix

If I introduced Jerry Duff by telling you that I met her because my husband picked her and her mom Cheryl up at a bar, it would be weird. And true.  Adding in the fact that Mike had left me alone to put our then one-year-old to bed while he grabbed a drink at the bar probably won't help.  I was also pregnant.  But before you get the wrong idea, let me also add that it ended up being one of my most favorite nights ever.

Jerry and Cheryl were staying at the same bed and breakfast we had retreated to with our friends Meghan and John before Jerry began a stint at the Culinary Institute of America.  My husband, the food-obsessed Italian that he is, struck up a conversation with these two lovely gals while I was putting the duckling to sleep, and next thing you know we're all having dinner together at the chef's table located in the kitchen of the inn's restaurant.  I quickly discovered why Mike had cozied up to Jerry and Cheryl.  Diehard Texans, these two gals were fun, vivacious and obviously friendly, especially when compared to my state at the time, which was pregnant, irrationally irritable and un-showered, having lost the chance for a clean-up to my son's epic resistance to bedtime that night. Jerry had just finished her undergrad at Texas Tech (guns up!) and was beginning the culinary program at the CIA.  We had a great send-off dinner, laughing and eating (Omg the eating.  So much eating. Thank goodness maternity pants have elastic waistbands) before Jerry's first day of culinary school. Here's all of us at dinner together...

Fast forward to today, and Jerry has graduated and is back in Texas putting her culinary degree to good use. I am no longer pregnant but am still un-showered (two kids, y'all), and we're still in touch with our two favorite Texas girls, Jerry and Cheryl.

In the spirit of friends far away, I asked my fancy CIA grad friend Jerry if she wanted to contribute a recipe for our holiday guide.  She said yes because she's awesome.  Even more awesome was the recipe she chose - not some spectacularly irreplicable and super fancy dish, but her mom's Texas Trash mix, which has been a holiday staple in the Duff family for as long as Jerry can remember. Keeping it real, my friends.

A love of food runs in the family (exhibit A), and Jerry's love for food and family is obvious in her contribution below.  So read up, enjoy, make some Texas Trash and then pack some in a Christmas tin and send it to your favorite friends afar.  Bonus points if you met at a bar.

For as far back as I can remember, the Holiday Season had not officially started without some Texas Trash…yes, Trash. If you were “anyone” you could walk through the Duff’s front door, say around November 15th ish, and request to be pointed in the direction of this mouth-watering snack and you would be taken care of. Growing up, there was no telling which day my Mom would begin her camp-out in the kitchen, but you knew it was the day when you awoke around 6:15am for school, to the smell of butter and spices permeating through the walls. It was not the most pleasant smell to wake up to, but something in your soul began to flutter, knowing the best time of the year had officially begun.

Trash simply consists of various non-sugary cereals, nuts and a Texas-sized helping of butter and spices baked in the oven for about an hour. There is no rhyme or reason to the ingredients you choose or alter; it’s simply what pleases those who you make it for. Throughout the years, this snack has served several important holiday purposes. In high school- it was the “Teacher gift” snack. During the college years, it was the “late night” or “I’m hungover” snack. Many a good times and conversations have occurred around a bowl of trash. I hope you make a batch and begin to create your own magical Holiday memories. 

What You'll Need:

1/2 box Cheerios
1/2 box Rice Chex
1/2 box Wheat Chex
1/2 box Corn Chex

1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon garlic salt

3 sticks butter
1 tablespoon Cayenne (adjust +/- to your spicy preference)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 can mixed nuts
1 small bag slim pretzel sticks
What You'll Do:

In a large roasting pan, combin all of the cereals. Sprinkle cereals with celery salt and garlic salt. Mix well.

In a sauce pan, melt butter with the cayenne pepper and worcestershire sauce.  Stir well to combine.  
When melted, pour over the cereal mixture.  Stir well.

Place covered in a 250 degree oven.  Cook for 1 hour, stirring well every 15 minutes.

Remove cover, add the nuts and pretzels.  Mix well.  

Bake for an additional 30 minutes, uncovered.

At this point, I always line the top of the roasting pan with paper towels and spoon the trash onto the paper towels to let it cool.  This prevents it from getting soggy.

Thank you, Jerry (& Cheryl)! xoxo

 All photos of Jerry Duff (and her famous Texas Trash) by Veronica Lourdes Luna Photography 

Ps - I just noticed this is my 300th post. To get our future posts (and the rest of our holiday guide) delivered to your daily feed, 'like' our Facebook page, which you can find here.  Mwah!

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