Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Maple Bacon Cupcake

So I'm hanging out on my man's couch the other night and he suddenly says "Oh yeah! I have something for you!" and whips out a big box. Inside this box was a cupcake. Resting on top of this cupcake were a few specks of bacon. omg.

I love bacon, but I really love cupcakes. Me and cupcakes go way back. One of the requirements at my superhippy preschool was that each child's parents had to bring in food for all the kids (once a year? I dunno). My parents, not being versed in the ways of American hippies, bought a crapload of Hostess chocolate cupcakes. So first off, vegans are not down with chocolate cupcakes. Second off, nobody in charge of a preschool is into the idea of feeding a herd of 3 year olds a bunch of sugary chocolate goodness right before naptime. So the offering was denied, and I had to eat them all by myself. Years later, when I was in elementary school, it was expected of parents to bring in the treat for their child's birthday. So my mom and I made chocolate cupcakes. By some strange calculation, we made about 80 of them. So I spent the next week eating pretty much nothing else. Oh, what bliss it was. Long story short, I love cupcakes, and I've eaten an awful lot of 'em in my day.

It's not a preference, it's a passion.

Uh... anyways. 

Chicago has been participating happily in the cupcake craze sweeping the nation - there are not at least 3 places that do nothing but cupcakes - but honestly, I haven't really looked into it. Partly because I'm lazy, partly because I'm poor, and partly because buying cupcakes is so much less pleasing to me than eating homemade ones at parties and such. So I had not actually been to More Cupcakes (1 E Delaware Place, between State and Wabash, Chicago, IL 60611). Their website is basically a long obnoxious ad (have you ever wanted... more?) and gives you absolutely no information, so I don't see the point in linking to it. But apparently they have a lot of bacon options - I hear tell of a BLT cupcake. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but hey, I'm open to the possibility that it could be tasty.

Anyhow, Tone got me a bacon maple cupcake.

So, first off, while I am a great lover of cupcakes, I have to say, this whole 1/2 inch thick pile of frosting on top is just not comme il faut. It's a common thing to see, particularly in the fancy pants yuppy cupcakes so popular these days, because the frosting is where you get to show off a bit, and cupcakes don't have a lot of surface area, so you've gotta go with volume. But the problem with that is, when you stack it so high, it's no longer possible to take a bite of the cupcake from top to bottom, so you basically end up eating the frosting and then the cake. Now, some people like to lick off all the frosting first, and that's fine, but here, the task is a bit arduous. That's a lot of frosting, son. And it's super rich. It's hard work - and this is coming from a person who enjoys eating bowls of whipped cream. Anyhow, point being, boo on the frosting to cake ratio (though I should note, mounds of frosting doesn't necessarily disqualify a cupcake from greatness in my mind. CakeLove packs a pretty massive amount of frosting onto their cupcakes, and they're still amazing. But then, everything at CakeLove is amazing.).

That said, the frosting was delicious. Buttery maple goodness - very nice, even if it was a bit overwhelming.

The cake part, on the other hand, was a bit of a let-down. Props for the fact that it's riddled with bacon. It's like chips ahoy! betcha get a chip in every bite, except with pork. But first off, the bacon is not so amazing. It's super salty and kinda chewy and tastes strangely artificial. Secondly, the cake itself is just not suited to it. It's sweet and salty and tastes vaguely of cornmeal, but not really in a good way. It tastes indecisive rather than complex - as though the creator couldn't really decide what kind of flavor s/he was going for a just kinda mishmashed a bunch of em. Sweet? Salty? Savoury? Meh, why not a little of everything.

Ultimately, kind of a disappointment. Maybe I'll give one of More Cupcakes' more traditional offerings a try someday, perhaps they're better with the basics.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Another fabulous concoction from Maura Laverty's Feasting Galore (see also: Haggerty), this is apparently a traditional Saturday night supper, and is guaranteed to prevent a hangover. I scaled it down from the original recipe (my version serves one hungry me), which called for a pound of bacon and half a pound of pork sausages, and I omitted the tablespoon of parsley because I didn't have any (and pretty much never do - I have very little respect for parsley), but what I made was pretty fabulous. Though I did overdo it a bit on the salt - the bacon and sausage are pretty salty on their own, so really, easy does it. But this is a fantastic, simple meal, and a pretty damn wonderful way to celebrate the first snowfall (yay! snow!).


1 polish sausage
3 strips bacon
2 small onions
8 baby potatoes
salt, pepper

Chop the bacon and sausage into small bits. Blanch for 6 minutes in boiling water (so far as I know, blanch pretty much means cook... the point being, throw em in a pot, boil some water in a kettle and pour it over the meatses and cook for 6 minutes). Meanwhile, chop the onions and potatoes into bite-size chunks. When the 6 minutes are up, drain the water from the blanching, throw in the potatoes and onions, add salt (this might not even be necessary. In any case, you definitely don't need much of it.) and pepper and cold water. Laverty says to just barely cover it in cold water and simmer for 45 minutes, and that the potatoes ought to be mushy, and the result should be more potage than stew. I covered 'em in water and then added maybe a cup or so more for good measure and cooked it at high heat for maybe half an hour? You've gotta be careful towards the end that it doesn't burn. Basically, after half an hour, listen to the pot sing - when it starts to hiss a bit, you're almost out of water, and the food is ready. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I received a very nice email this morning from a guy named Guy (!)* at Alltop informing me that Bacon the Blog (as I call this) has been added to their update feed, and asking if I'd return the favor. Though, given that he mentions that one can display a badge of the site, and that they "serve over 250,000 badges a day" (what does it mean????**), they probably don't really need me to promote them. There's also a twitter option, if you're hip to that sort of thing. No, I am not on Twitter, and I doubt I ever will be. I find it repugnant as a concept. I have this thing called privacy, and I treasure it. ANYWAYS. Alltop is a one-stop shop for RSS Feeds on a given topic, and they've got one devoted to bacon. Linky linky linky. Good stuff.

*Apologies Guy, you probably hear lame crap like that all the time. 

**I just watched Pineapple Express, so my first thought was of Seth Rogan in a strange costume brandishing a large ham. I dunno. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chi-Town Bacon Opportunities

This article intrigues me.

The country fried bacon at the Risque Cafe sounds amazing, but the all-you-can-eat Monday night bacon at Chinaski's, well. Well! I love bacon AND Bukowski! Count me in!