In celebration of the CMT 2011 Music Awards, host Evan Farmer shares his favorite family party recipes.
Evan Farmer
Evan Farmer, host of CMT's Top 20 Countdown
| Credit: © CMT, Krista Lee Photography

By Evan Farmer

This is what we eat for Farmer Family events and celebrations. Many of us are on Lipitor, some of us are genetic marvels, impervious to delicious recklessness, but all of us know good tasting food when we smell, taste, or dream it. So…enjoy and live a little.

1.) Bacon Explosion
The first recipe comes directly from Aaron Chronister of BBQ Addicts who married my wife's cousin (and best friend) Jenny. It also happens to be a famous, and famously lethal recipe guaranteed to please hard-core bacon and sausage lovers. This recipe "exploded" onto the world stage (literally) as the most downloaded recipe in history a couple of years ago.

Welcome to the "Bacon Explosion." In honor of the 2011 CMT Music Awards, I'll sub-title this (for the next two weeks): The "Jason Aldean" Explosion…in honor of his incredible year, incredible career, and awesome showing at the CMT awards this year with 4 Nomination. I think he'd approve, but I'll ask him on the carpet to be sure….

Out of respect (legally and otherwise) for the magnanimous creation, I cannot reproduce this recipe in it's entirety here, but basically: you're rolling bacon, sausage and more bacon and more sausage into a giant log, tossing in some rub, and your favorite BBQ sauce and boom, that's "my kind of party."

You can get the specifics directly from the source at: Please also send my cousin-in-law, Aaron, feedback and… tell him I sent you. Please do not mention me to your doctor however.

2.) Summer Slaw
Next I offer one of my favorite treats from my wife Andrea, and it's actually healthy though, after you taste it, you'd never believe it. I present to you the newly titled: ‘Swift" Summer Slaw.

Not only is it quick to make (ergo: can be done Swiftly), this just seemed apropos of Ms Swift who has been tearing up the beginning of summer with her "Speak Now" tour.

The Slaw

2 bags of pre-shredded cabbage/carrot slaw (found in the salad section of your grocery)
2 cups of cashews
1 cup of green onions, thinly sliced

The Dressing*
1 cup of olive oil
½ cup of apple-cider vinegar
4 tbsp of sugar (more or less to taste)
1 tsp of ground/minced ginger
1 tsp of sea salt
1 tbsp of cracked black pepper
4 tbsp of honey-roasted peanut butter
2 tbsp of honey

In a large bowl, mix the cabbage slaw, cashews and green onions. In a separate smaller bowl, mix the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sugar, ginger, sea salt, pepper, peanut butter and honey. Stir until well blended. Can also use a food processor, if you have one. Pour mixture over slaw and mix well. Chill in refrigerator for an hour or two and serve. Make it a main dish by topping a bowl of slaw with sliced, grilled chicken. Perfect light, healthy summertime dish!

*Can also cheat and use the shortcut method, which would eliminate gathering all the various ingredients by just purchasing a pre-made dressing at the store. We like the asian-style dressings such as sesame-ginger vinagrette. Our family often takes the shortcut when we are on vacation and want a healthy side dish at our beachside barbeques but we don't have a stocked pantry. Never feel guilty about taking the easy way!

3.) Signature Cocktail
No party would be complete without the obligatory signature cocktail. For this, accept no substitute for a variation on a classic I learned while bartending in New Orleans: The "Chesney" Chocolate Mint Mojito.

I salute Kenny with this drink because it takes the genre and adds an appropriate new flavor which only serves enhance and celebrate the original, not take away from it, the same way Kenny flawlessly adds the Caribbean vibe to country music.

The key to this concoction however, is not skimping by trying to add chocolate or mint (in any form) outside the required herb: chocolate mint. No peppermint schnapps and certainly no combination of mint + Ovaltine, Chocolate syrup, and please, please no mint-chocolate liquors of any kind. I've tried all combos and what always ends up happening, is you lose any and all complexity that only the chocolate mint leaves can bring to the table.

Before you freak out that there's no time for growing chocolate mint (the most fun way to go for sure) a quick "Bing" search will bring you plenty of sources to last-second order a batch. And "If I Die Young," I personally want to go, knowing I spared nothing on the 2011 CMT Music Awards Party of the year.

2 tsp. powdered sugar (1 Splenda pack is acceptable for a "light version" – after all, it is bikini season)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
6 Chocolate Mint leaves
2 oz. Bacardi Superior White Rum
2 oz. Club soda
Crushed ice
Decorate with your lips placed firmly on edge of glass

Add the first three ingredients to a mixing glass and muddle with a muddier or wooden spoon (any way to crush the leaves is actually fine). Fill the glass with crushed ice, and then add rum and club soda.

Stir, turn, or give a simple shake, but do not use mixing glass as maracas. It may look cool, but it activates the ingredients and carbonation too much and ruins the intended sophistication. Suck down like your bow riding Chesney's personal yacht and enjoy.