We annually do cooking demonstrations in the Elwell Family Food building at the Iowa State Fair. This recipe was adapted from a recipe that was originally submitted as part of the Iowa’s Big Four Cooking competition at the 2018 Iowa State Fair. The original recipe was submitted by Kris Davis of Altoona and won 3rd prize in the savory division of that contest. We’ve made some slight modifications from the original. But first, where do all of the ingredients come from? Here is the farm-to-fork story.
Turkey bacon: Most bacon is made from pork. But turkey bacon offers a unique alternative. Iowa raises a approximately 8.54 million turkeys each year.
Beef: Beef is any cut of meat from cattle. Cattle are raised on grass for much of their life and then fed out with corn, soybeans, silage, and other feed components. This high energy feed ration promotes marbling in the muscle of the animal and increases the quality of the meat. Jerky is cured with salt – a preservation method that has been used for thousands of years.
Vegetable Oil: Most vegetable oil is made from soybeans. Iowa and Illinois are the two biggest soybean growers in the U.S. After the soybeans are harvested in the fall they are crushed to extract the oil.
Peppers: Red bell peppers and Jalapeno peppers members of the same family. Bell peppers can be green, red and orange in color. The ripest ones are sweeter, while the less ripe will be a bit tangier. Jalapenos are a chili pepper pod that is round, firm, about 4-6 inches long, and shiny green in color. It will be much hotter (spicier) than the bell pepper.
Onion: The biggest onion producing states are Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California. Onions are a root crop that grow for 5-6 months before being either mechanically or hand harvested from the soil.
Edamame: Edamame is a green soybean harvested before it has dried. Iowa and Illinois are the two biggest soybean growers in the U.S. But, most of those soybeans are harvested dried and processed into other products like vegetable oil, soymeal, tofu, and more.
Cumin: Cumin is the ground aromatic seed from a plant in the parsley family.
Paprika: Paprika is the dried and crushed red bell pepper fruit.
Sweet Corn: Although Iowa farmers do raise some of the best-tasting sweet corn in the country, less than 1% of the corn in our state is sweet corn. Although one is considered a vegetable and the other a grain, sweet corn and field corn are close relatives. Sweet corn is a naturally occurring genetic mutation of field corn. The sweet corn plant is shorter, matures faster, and its kernels have a higher sugar content.
Cream Cheese: Cheese is typically made from cows’ milk but can also be made from sheep, goat, and other animal milk. The flavor or cheese comes from the type of milk, the butterfat content, and also the type of bacteria and/or mold used in the aging process. Cheese might have a slight natural yellow color, but the dark yellow color of cheeses like cheddar come from the addition of food coloring.
Salt: Salt isn’t exactly an agricultural product. But, is an important component because it is the only rock that humans seek out and regularly consume. Salt can be harvested from salt pans (dried lakes) or mined from underground.
- 3 slices turkey bacon
- 3 oz beef, thinly sliced
- 1T vegetable oil
- 1 cup Sweet red pepper, chopped
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 cup tomato, seeded/chopped
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
- 1T ground cumin
- 1t salt
- 2t ground smoked paprika
- 8 oz pkg shelled edamame, frozen
- 14 oz pkg roasted sweet corn, frozen
- 2 oz cream cheese
- Cut turkey bacon into ¼ inch pieces. Add bacon and thinly sliced beef to a frying pan with the vegetable oil. Cook until browned. Drain, set aside.
- Discard all but 2T bacon drippings. In the drippings, saute the red pepper and onion until softened over medium-high heat.
- Add Jalapeño slices and cook 1-2 minutes more.
- Next add the corn and edamame.
- Add in the ground cumin, salt, and paprika. Mix well.
- Continue to sauté 8-10 minutes, stirring often.
- While sautéing, seed and chop the tomato.
- Add tomatoes and cream cheese, melting and mixing well.
- Stir in bacon pieces, saving some for garnish.