Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Road Trip That Saved My Life By Almost Killing Me...

So OK, remember how I was all doom and gloom last week? Well, I'm feeling much better now. And all it took was a road trip with some of my favorite people in the world , The MNE Family.... these are the best bunch of friends a bacon lover could possibly ask for, we had the time of our lives....well most of us I think. I guess I can only speak for myself and the people that were immediately around me...and there may be some forgotten moments that are lost forever due to over consumption of Jager.

So without further ado, here is my simple recipe for Eggs Benny, made my bacon way. Mostly it's just tips about how to poach eggs and cook the bacon, but I must share something of that trip here to induct the weekend into the annals of the world wide web history....annnals...A.P.!!!
Wild Cow Breakfast
Enough to feed 4 wild cows after a long night of ass porn.

- 4 English Muffins
- 1 1/2 lbs of thick sliced bacon
- 8 Eggs
- 2-3 Tbsp white vinegar, one extra large splash
- Salt
- Hollandaise Sauce- you can either try and make it or use a package. When we showed up at Dawn's house all hung over and scruffy to take over her kitchen, there was already a pot made so I just used that.

- Paprika

1. Place as much bacon as you can fit on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake in the oven on 325 ish for about 25-30 minutes. I find that overlapping when you have a large amount of bacon works just fine, in fact it works better because the bacon kind of braises in it's own fatty goodness. I usually flip it once about half way through. Keep it in longer if you like it crispy, but I find soft bacon works best for the Benny.

2. Bring a shallow pot of water to the boil. Add a large pinch of salt and the vinegar. Turn down to a medium simmer.

3. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl, making sure not to break the yolk. If you do, throw it out, it's useless now.

4. At water level, gently tip the egg into the pot allowing a small amount of water into the bowl. This gives the egg a gentle entry (OMG Serena...just a little bit, I'll be gentle, I promise I won't hurt you...) into the hot water. Let it sink a bit and turn white for about 15 seconds, and gently move it around the pan, folding the white over itself. Keep the egg floating until it is set so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan, it should firm up a bit in about another 15-20 seconds. Repeat the same process with each egg, swirling the water as you go to keep them separated. If you use a large enough pan you should be able to do all 8. But if you're not a cool as me, you may only want to do 4 at a time. Cooking time will vary depending on how runny/hard you like your eggs. Keep the water at a very gentle simmer on low.

So the vinegar is key here. Vinegar is what stops it from spreading out into the water and becoming a white cloudy mess. Don't worry about putting too much in, I dumped about a 1/2 a cup in once and didn't notice any difference int the taste...although the whites were a bit tougher, but still good.

5. Toast and butter the english muffins.

Once everything is cooked, assemble as follows: spread a spoonful of hollandaise over each english muffin-yes it does already have butter on it, you got a problem with that? Layer on 3 slices of bacon, the poached egg, more hollandaise and dust with paprika.

That's about it, pretty simple once you get the hang of poaching the eggs...and taming wild cows.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

*Sigh* Oh Bacon, where art thou???

I'm tired, just bloody bone weary and have just about had enough....not just about, I have had enough. Day in day out struggle struggle struggle just to get through each dreary moment. Some days there are only a few things that make it possible to drag my sorry ass through the day----the Izbot, the Minellynator, and the possibility of Bacon. Yes, this is one sad bacon girl/lady/bitch today - the weather, the boredom of this soul sucking job, the life stress, it is all a-piling up on these narrow little shoulders, threatening to crush my spirit to the Wile E. Coyote waiting for the rocks to come crashing is it I always manage to find the exact picture I'm thinking about? Weird....

For a while now I have been discontent with life in general, which is really not like me. To say my life is challenging is a fair assessment - single Mom, 2 kids, no support, well paying job that has tanked into a low paying job, which is in an industry that is the antitheses of my morals and quasi-socialist values, with little opportunity to make significant change - but despite all of this I have for the most part in the past been able to maintain a positive and upbeat outlook. "The sun will come up tomorrow and line the clouds with silver, while unicorns prance in the meadows full of pots of gold and rainbows" has been my attitude for the most part. For without that optimism I would be dragged across that thin line that we toe between happiness and despair. I don't really know why things are suddenly getting too me, maybe just too much weighing on the old brain...maybe it's because I have a milestone birthday is coming up? Maybe it's because I feel like being a gigantic whiny baby? Ahhhh, who knows...OK, ugh, yuck this is gross, I have turned into that type of person that I despise for their weakness and pissy, pathetic, "oh woe is me" attitude. Jesus Christ on a cracker that's enough, at this rate I'm gonna have to bitch slap myself silly.

So, what does a girl turn to in times of sadness and self pity? Well typically it's chocolate, but hey, this is me we're talking about here, so bacon it is...covered in chocolate and topping some fluffy delicious chocolate cupcakes. Now I just may have a reason to go on....

Chocolate Covered Bacon Bits

- 8 slices thick bacon - cook till crisp but not burnt
- 1 ½ cups milk chocolate chips, melt over double boiler

1. Dice the bacon into about 1/2 inch pieces and dip into milk chocolate, creating savory/sweet chocolate bacon chips.

2.Rest each small piece on a wire rack covered with parchment paper.

3. You will notice after you have chopped the bacon into pieces that there are crumbs left over. Grind them up fine - you have just made your own real bacon salt, not that garbage that contains no real bacon and is vegan friendly-and sprinkle over the chocolate covered pieces while the chocolate is still hot- You can refrigerate to cool.

The Ultimate Bacon Chocolate Cupcakes:
Makes around 20-22 small cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes

•1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
•1/2 cup boiling water and 1/2 cup cold water
•1 1/3 cups flour
•2 tsp baking powder
•1/2 tsp salt
•1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temp ****
•1 cup white sugar
•2 eggs – room temp
•2 tsp vanilla extract
•1/2 cup Bacon Chocolate Chips
•Fleur de sel
****The original recipe called for 1/4 cup butter, and 1/4 cup hard bacon fat. I chose to forgo the bacon fat, I just thought they would turn out greasy...but try it if you like.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.

1.Combine boiling water and cocoa in a heatproof bowl. Whisk until smooth then add 1/2 cup cold water or it will take forever to cool to room tempureature. DO NOT ADD THIS HOT OR IT WILL RUIN YOUR BATTER.

2.In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

3.In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy -this is key for light fluffy cupcakes, beat them till they cry... it can actually take quite a while, since it's cold and disgustingly rainy outside, my room temp butter takes a while to fluff up-like about 10 minutes in the Kitchenaid.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly in between. Mix in vanilla extract.

5. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add room temperature cocoa mixture and mix until smooth. Stir in about 3/4 of the bacon chocolate chips if desired. I just put them on top.

6. Fill each lined cupcake tin 2/3 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until cupcakes are springy to touch and a toothpick insert in the middle comes out clean. Let cool before applying frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Icing

•4 oz unsweetened chocolate
•2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
•1 1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
•1 1/2 t vanilla extract
•Fleur de sel

1.Set up a double boiler: heat water in a saucepan over high heat. Chop chocolate and place into a heatproof bowl set on top of the saucepan of simmering water. Stir gently until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

2.In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy.

3. Add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and melted chocolate. Beat on high speed until frosting is smooth.

4. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes and sprinkle the top of each with a pinch of fleur de sel.

5. Top with 3 chocolate covered bacon pieces.

As you can probably imagine, these are the best cupcakes you will ever eat. Seriously. And make extra Bacon Chocolate Chips, probably about a pounds worth of bacon, because you will want to eat them all...if this don't cure a shitty attitude, nothing will.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast

Whoa, hey there what's going on??? Where have I been? Well I'd like to say I've been really busy doing some super cool stuff, but we all know that's not entirely true....just been doing life and things and haven't gotten around to posting anything lately, but that DOES NOT mean I haven't been busy makin' bacon. Oh no, since my last post I have done a mean pork stuffed and bacon wrapped roast, made Chocolate Cupcakes with Bacon Chocolate Chips, I have deep fried bacon two ways....the list is long people so I better get on it eh!

So for an MNE Family bbq I of course had to make a pork dish, because if you think I like the pork products, look out! This bunch are pork fanatics....might have something to do with how awesome I can cook, or maybe they're just a bunch of swine loving misfits...perhaps we will never know the truth....anyhow.....on to the recipe.

I had this pork shoulder roast, it was all nice and evenly dressed with string, all pink and fatty and lovely and juicy...Ok, calming down now. So I says to myself, "Bacon Bitch, what are we gonna do to make this an even more porky dish?" Why of course, we'll stuff it with pork and wrap it pork...but wait, we've heard this one before....oh no no no not quite. If you recall the last pork on pork on pork trifecta was LOIN wrapped in PROSCIUTTO....this my dears is a full on pork butt wrapped in a bacon weave, stuffed with pork sausage...that's right, say it again, butt, bacon, sausage...and it went a little somethin' like this.....

I think I used....

1, 5-6 lb boneless pork shoulder (butt)
2 sprigs rosemary
butcher's twine.

...for the stuffing

butter and olive oil for sautee-ing
-2 Italian sausages, casing removed
-1 small onion, diced
-1 clove garlic, minced
-2 slices of bacon, diced
-3/4 -1 cup chicken broth
-2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
-2-3 cups of dried bread cut into about 1/2 inch square pieces
-1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped fine
-1 spring fresh thyme, chopped fine
-1/2 tsp of dried cumin

This is how I do it...

1. Heat about 1 tbsp of oil in pan, crumble in sausage meat and cook till brown and lovely. Remove from pan and put it on a plate for now.

2. In the same pan as the sausage, without cleaning it, add bacon and cook till bacon is done but still soft, if needed add each butter and oil and saute onion and garlic till fragrant (ooohhh big word!).

3. Add the apples, cook for a few minutes till they're a bit soft. Add the sausage back in, then the herbs, cumin and a small bit of salt if you think it needs it, depends on how salty your bacon is, and lots of cracked pepper.

4. Add bread, stir to mix in, then chicken broth. Stir well till the bread is moistened. Let cool....while you make your bacon weave!

The Weave

Now I don't think I've been over this, but I'm going to try and explain it without pictures. You will need 12-14 strips of bacon for this. I choose the longest and most uniform in width from the butcher's case...yes they do look at me like I 'm a loser until I explain what I am doing. Then they look at me with raptured awe...that's OK, I'm getting used to it.

**Side note, there's one girl there who still looks at me like I'm crazy, but for fuck's sake, if you do not love meat and eating meat then you have no business working in a butcher shop. So there, screw you lady.

On a large piece of parchment paper, lay out 6-7 strips side by side vertically, so they are just touching.

Staring at the top left, lay one strip horizontally across, begin weaving on top of the first vertical strip, under the second, over the third, etc till you get to the end.

Repeat this process with the second horizontal strip starting under the first vertical strip, and continue along with each strip, alternating over under over. Continue with all the strips of bacon. The end result should be a square "bacon mat"

Does this sound complicated, or, condescending? It's like in Kindergarten when you learned to weave Easter baskets out of construction paper.

Anyways moving on...set the weave aside for now.

Take your roast and if it's all tied up, well snip those strings off. It should open up, lay it out a flat as possible. Now we get a layer of stuffing over the whole inside, fold back up and re-tie with butcher's twine. Where to tie should be fairly straight forward as there will be lines left over from the original dressings...der.

Once you have it all secure and as much of the stuffing crammed in there as possible, you are going to wrap that bad boy in the bacon weave.

Place the roast with the seam to the side facing you, you dont want in on the bottom or the stuffing will just fall out and burn.

Using the parchment papers as leverage, lay the weave over top of the roast, covering the seam. It will probably not fit all the way around the bottom, but this is good, the bacon on the bottom would just burn as well. Tuck the weave in towards the bottom as much as possible, securing with toothpicks so it stays in place. Place in a disposable tin roasting pan, you will most likely never be able to use the pan again....Stick a few rosemary sprigs in under the weave before it goes on the bbq. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE PLACE THE ROAST DIRECTLY ON THE RACK!! SEE Warning...The Hazrds of bbqing Bacon! FOR A FULL DESCRIPTION OF WHY....

I did this low and slow on the bbq, about 300 degrees max. Cover with tinfoil for the first 2 hours, then uncover for the last 1 /2 to 2 hours. Use your meat thermometre that you have had plenty of time to buy to check for done-ness. Take it off the heat when you read about 145-150 and lest rest tented End temp goal is 160, end result looks like a giant ball of bacon all weaved together, golden, crispy and beautiful.

This was enjoyed by my favourite group of people, in my beautiful back yard and topped off with a fire and marshmallow roast. Another perfect MNE Family event.