Thursday, March 08, 2007
Aaaaah, the decadence
of bacon, of course... so, let's celebrate it just a little bit with some random babble about its smoky, tasty goodness.
I love this great blog called Slashfood, with which I usually start my day. They have the occasional feature post known as "Food Porn," and usually involves something that looks and reads as really tasty, and in no way resembles that Kashi Go Lean Crunch that I'm chewing.
Today, I'm scrolling down and what to my wandering eye doth appear? A post on the glories of bacon popcorn. Bacon popcorn?! Oh, my! They swiped it from another blog, the Nosheteria, where there are directions! Essentially, you fry up a bunch of bacon, drain it, then pop the popcorn in the remaining bacon fat. After the corn has popped, crumble the bacon over it and enjoy. More like wallow around in it! My arteries were hardening at the thought, as my mouth watered and my stomach rumbled like the opening day of NASCAR.
It's damned amazing what you can do with bacon, isn't it? So simple in its preparation, yet complex in flavor. It's smoky and salty, but can be kind of sweet, if it's sugar cured, and nothing smells better than bacon frying. (Although, nothing smells worse than the rancid old smell of bacon fried 2 days ago) Personally, bacon is truly the one thing that always keeps me from turning vegetarian. Because, have you ever had that nastiness that passes for faux bacon? It makes you want to go out and find a bit of leftover pressed board and gnaw on it, like a surly beaver, because anything that tastes that bad will make you surly. Guaranteed. We won't even go into the fact that it in no way remotely resembles bacon in any shape or form. Those bacon dog treats are better than vegetarian "bacon."
I'm not alone with my love of bacon in our household. The Man positively worships bacon, and has said many times, and I quote, "you could wrap a dog turd in bacon, and I'd think really hard about eating it." (Again, probably TMI, but that's life with The Man. Aren't I a lucky gal?) No doubt he could be lured down innumerable rabbit holes by plates of bacon with little signs that said "Eat Me." Not that he would need any encouragement.
For St. Patrick's Day, before we head out to the pub, I have some friends who are going to make something called "Chicken Fried Bacon with Cream Gravy." I know, sounds scary as hell, but you know you really wanna try it...if for no other reason than to say you survived it. Live to tell, as Madonna used to say, live to tell. Maybe we need t-shirts.
Linna sent me something about bacon brittle, which sort of amazed me. But, what could be better than bacon that's been turned into candy? A friend from culinary school worked at a country club in the area that specializes in "caramelized bacon" for their Sunday brunch. It was bacon rolled in brown sugar and fried. Which reminds me of a faux rumaki recipe that I learned from another friend. Rumaki, for the uninitiated, is chicken livers that have been wrapped in bacon and broiled. Personally, this is a waste of good bacon, because I hate chicken livers for the most part...there's the occasional bite of pate that can be tolerated, but little else. To each his own. This "faux" version involved taking a whole water chestnut, wrapping it with a half slice of bacon, and securing it with a toothpick. Put them in a disposable aluminum pan (because you don't want to ruin a good one), cover with a generous amount of brown sugar and broil until the bacon is done. This will make you get religion of some denomination. Trust me.
Bacon can make you do some really strange things, too. I badgered The Man to find me some old school lockers and build me a smoker so I could make my own bacon, a la Alton Brown's "Scrap Iron Chef" episode. That was the best looking bacon I have ever seen, and I wanted some! (I've not given up hope on this yet...I will make bacon, I will!)
The latest bacon craziness came about on Sunday as I thoroughly embarrassed myself in the local Publix deli with a man who was buying 2 pounds of pancetta (Italian bacon--oooh, exotic! and so much of it!) that he was going to wrap around a pork loin and roast. After broadly hinting that I'd like to come to dinner ("So, where exactly do you live?") and him not taking me up on it, I asked him where he got the recipe. "No recipe," he said, pointing at the side of his head, "I just thought it up." If I weren't already married to one bacon-loving fool, I might be persuaded...heck, when bacon is involved, polygamy actually starts to look like a good idea. Then, there's something to be said for living alone and not ever having to share your bacon...ever. I really want to try that pork roast covered with pancetta, though.
And the final entry in today's baconarama celebration involves a local restaurant in the little Alabama town where my mother grew up that has fatback on their breakfast menu. Fatback is bacon for the not-faint-of-heart crowd, and it's one of those really occasional foods, because you are absolutely afraid to have it often. It's quite possible that you might keel over at the breakfast table from having it too often, and who the hell wants their obituary to read "done in by fatback"? It would be an interesting way to go...
Then, there is this option for non-fat Bacon, of which too much might have the same effect as eating that fatback:
Be still, my little pancetta!