Friday, December 3, 2010

Some pig!

Jared van Camp, the chef at Chicago's Old Town Social*, has a charcuterie blog that is seriously awesome. Detailed photo entries on how to make various pig-related things. There are only 5 entires, and the last update was in April, but hopefully he'll get back into it. I should warn you, perhaps - the pictures are pretty graphic. If you're not read to see a roll of charcuterie with the snout still attached, or some de-boned pig carcasses, do not click on the link. For everyone else though: Some Pig!

*Which is a strange kind of place. It's basically the classiest sports bar you'll ever go to. In other words, there are tvs everywhere, they are showing sports, there are tons of people around watching them, and it's loud as shit. Strange, because otherwise, the interior and menu is more reminiscent of a nice gastro-pub. I understand that people may want to watch sports in a classy place. My point, I guess, is that if you're not interested in watching sports, this might not be the place for you, despite the fact that the food is great.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chorizo, Bean and Brussel Sprout Soup

This is one of the most delicious soups I have ever made. I based it off this recipe, but with a significant variation which saved two hours of cooking time, turning it into a soup that could be made in 20 minutes.

It involves:

5 oz dry cured chorizo (I used Daniele chorizo, which I am completely addicted to)
1 small onion
2-3 large cloves garlic
2 big handfuls (?) of brussel sprouts
1 small bag frozen shelled soybeans
1 small sausage (I used Garrett County Farm chorizo, because I love it, but any sausage that you love will work)
Chicken broth (I use Knorr chicken broth powder and water)

Finely dice the dry cured chorizo and put it into a pot over low heat. As the fat renders and it gets crispy, chop your onion. Add the onion, stir, then mince the garlic and add that. Let this saute over the same low-ish heat until the onion is translucent. Also, fill your kettle with water and set it to boil (unless you're using actual chicken broth, in which case, boil that)

Meanwhile, wash your brussel sprouts, trim off the ends, and halve them. When the onion is good to go, add the brussel sprouts and toss them. Let them fry a bit - rumor has it, this is what gets rid of the bitterness. When the water/chicken broth boils, pour 6 cups of it into the mix (adding chicken broth powder if you're going that route.) - actually, you might wanna do 5 cups and one cup water, depending on how salty your chicken broth is. Mine was just a hare too salty. Anyhow, yeah, add the boiling liquid and turn the heat to high. Meanwhile, slice your sausage into thin rounds and put it in a pan on low heat. When your liquid has returned to a boil and been boiling for approx 4 minutes, add the frozen soybeans. Once it's returned to a boil, it takes another 4 minutes or so for the soybeans to cook.
I should say that this is a corrected version - I cooked the brussel sprouts for ca. 8 minutes before adding the soybeans, and then cooked all that for 5 minutes or so, and my brussel sprouts were overdone. It wasn't the end of the world, but it would have been better if they were less mushy.
Anyhow, ladle into a bowl and top with some of the fried sausage. Serve with some good crusty bread.

It's seriously incredible. The brussel sprouts and beans are nice and buttery (I really wanted to use fava beans, but couldn't find any in the store), the dry-cured chorizo bits are crispy, the fried sausage is slightly chewy, and the broth is rich and porky. Really warms the soul.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bacon Egg and Cheese Biscuits

I stumbled across a delightful cooking blog* which included this wonderful post on bacon egg and cheese biscuits. So I decided to try it myself.

I basically followed his instructions, except I only used 2 eggs, and only made 4 biscuits (and I didn't grease the muffin tin - no need to, I figured, and was right). It turned out, 2 eggs is way too much for 4 biscuits. I realized this when Better Half kindly pointed out that one of the biscuits was spilling egg, and that adding bacon would only make things worse, but his idea of emptying out some egg and adding another biscuit did not seem feasible. So I stubbornly forged ahead, which is how I ended up with this monstrosity:

Fail! Next time, two eggs for 6 biscuits will be just fine I think.

The good news is, after peeling off all that egg spillover (I tried eating it, but it was kinda gross), the biscuits were still pretty fantastic. I don't know what Pillsbury puts in their shit, but goddamn it's tasty. I'm a complete fiend for their crescent rolls, and the biscuits turn out to basically be a bigger and chewier version. Bliss. But the egg, bacon and cheese (I used cheddar) are definitely a worthy addition, and less messy than making a bacon egg and cheese breakfast sammich. Also, actually less effort, though you do have to factor in baking time.

*The author seems to have gone on long-term blogging vacay, and most of the last posts were pictures of his (very cute) cats, but it's worth checking back from time to time to see if he's started up again, because the writing is entertaining and the food looks tasty. He has a post about Monkey Bread that links to this recipe, which looks frickin' incredible.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bacon Cheese Turtle Burger

I randomly stumbled across these on the internet, and I don't know why, but there's something really endearing about them. I think it's the little toes.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Beer Braised Cabbage with Bacon

Although the recipe I used said that bacon was "distracting" when added to this, I decided to give it a try anyhow, and I gotta say, I didn't think it was distracting at all. I thought it was delicious. The recipe is fairly quick and straightforward, and tasty. However, I ended up having to make quite a few modifications, so I'll give my version, with some discussion to follow.

Beer Braised Cabbage with Bacon

4-6 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 beer
2 tbs whole grain mustard
1 tsp thyme (preferably minced fresh)
4 tbs cider vinegar
1 small head cabbage, cored and chopped
salt, pepper

Fry up the bacon. Drain some grease, but only some - you want a good tablespoon or two still in the pan. Add the onion, saute until softened over medium heat. Add the thyme, beer and mustard and simmer for a minute or two until thickened. Add the cabbage and cider vinegar and cook covered, stirring occasionally, until tender - about 8 minutes. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

So, the recipe I used called for half a cup of beer, preferably a light-bodied lager. All I had in the house were a few bottles of porter and cream stout and a can of Busch light that someone left behind. So in went the Busch light. This was somewhat unfortunate, because, ahem, it doesn't have a whole lot of flavor. So next time, I'd definitely pick something with more character. However, half a cup didn't seem nearly enough. Same with the cider vinegar, which I doubled - though I wouldn't do more than that, because it'll get too vinegary. I also increased the thyme and mustard, because they weren't especially noticeable, and I might even increase them more if I do it again. I might also up the onion, come to think of it - it called for one medium, but you could do two. You might wanna do them on low heat into a more buttery brown kind of onion style. Also - don't assess until you've really seasoned it up with salt and pepper - that made a huge difference.

Overall though, definitely tasty, and definitely quite improved by the bacon, in my opinion.

Jones Bacon Soda

I received an email today from Annie Arnold, who does PR for Jones Soda. She wanted me to know that Jones Soda released a Bacon flavored soda today (in parternship with the people who make Bacon Salt). She included a cocktail recipe -

Yankee Breakfast Fizz
1.5 oz bourbon
1 oz Jones Bacon Soda
1.5 oz Natural Maple Syrup
1 Egg White
2 oz Heavy Cream
Soda water

- Combine everything except the soda and cream in a shaker with ice. Shake like mad (on account of the egg white) and strain into a glass. Add the cream, stir to combine, then top off with soda water.

I have to say, it does sound tasty, though I reserve judgement until I've tried the bacon soda. As you may recall, I had rather mixed impressions of Bakon vodka, so without tasting the soda, it's hard to say. I'm definitely curious though. I'm surprised that the cocktail recipe calls for the addition of soda water - you'd think the soda itself would provide that?

In any case, the bacon soda can be acquired at or
They have assembled a bacon grab bag of sorts:
bacon fans can purchase two bottles of the salty new soda; a bag of J&D’s Cheddar BaconPOP™ bacon and cheddar flavored popcorn; J&D’s Bacon Lip Balm and a package of J&D’s Bacon Gravy for $9.99 plus shipping and handling.

Pretty reasonably priced, all in all. Feel free to buy me one =-)

I will point out that I was unable to learn from the webpage whether or not the soda is made with actual bacon, which is pretty important information. I will also note that they apparently also have a tofurkey and gravy soda. Woah.

Edit: I asked, Annie says it's vegetarian (and kosher). Which is all well and good, but it does make me worry about the flavor, I gotta say.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chestnut and Pancetta Soup

¾ lb chestnuts, or 7 oz. dried, soaked overnight in cold water
half stick butter
3 oz pancetta, diced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise

The first thing to do is peel the chestnuts. There are several ways to go about this – the cookbook we were using suggested that you slit the shell along the rounded side, and then either cover in cold water, bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or roast in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. I did not notice that it said to slit them beforehand, consequently several of them exploded in the oven. Ooops. Peeling them wasn’t as big of a pain as I expected, though it was slightly tedious.

Next, you’re probably gonna wanna chop your pancetta and vegetables (or you can do that while your chestnuts roast). Once everything is ready: melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the pancetta. Fry over medium heat until the fat runs. Add the onions, carrot, and celery and cook for 5-10 minutes, until they’ve softened. Add the chestnuts, rosemary, bay leaf and garlic and cover with water. Bring to a boil, half cover, and simmer for 30-45 minutes, until the chestnuts disintegrate. Season with salt and pepper (we also grated a little parmesan in there).

This was a very tasty soup, and surprisingly flavorful, given that it was cooked with water, not stock. The rosemary really came through powerfully, it was great. Better Half loved it, but personally, I had some reservations. One, I thought it was a hair too salty. This may be because Better Half over-salted it at the end, or it may be the pancetta. Secondly, I thought it lacked a certain je ne sais quoi – I think maybe a touch of white wine could make the flavor a little more complex? Finally, I’d also wanna add some texture to it – I think it would be fantastic if there was some crunch in there, maybe with some croutons. Still, it was very tasty. We don’t make soup much, but now that it’s getting colder, they’re much more appealing.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Porcini Gnocchi with Prosciutto and Parmesan Cream Sauce

I'm not gonna lie to you - this one is pretty labor intensive, and somewhat expensive, what with the prosciutto and mushrooms. But it's so unbelievably incredible that it's absolutely worth it. We ate it as a side dish (because we were having a pretty insanely extravagant dinner), but it could definitely be a main course.

1 medium Idaho potato, peeled
3 oz grated parmesan
1 egg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour, or more as needed
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

1/2 cup liquid from rehydrating the porcini (see above)
2 tbsp butter
1 small red onion, sliced
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 oz shiitake mushrooms (can be dried and rehydrated) - separate caps from stems and slice the caps (but keep both)
handful of parsley stems
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1 oz prosciutto - doesn't have to be top quality, as it will be cooked
1/2 cup greens (we used arugula, but spinach or swiss chard might be more appropriate)
2 tbsp grated parmesan

First, make the gnocchi. Pour boiling water over the porcini and let them rehydrate for 15 minutes. Cook the potato in boiling salted water until tender. Mash it (or put it through a ricer, I just don't have one). Put in the refrigerator to cool, about 15 minutes. Drain your porcini, being careful to reserve 1/2 cup broth, stick on a food processor and blend until smooth.

Remove your potato from the fridge, dump it onto a clean work surface, form into a little volcano shape. Sacrifice the porcini paste, parmesan, egg, salt and pepper to Cthulu by throwing them into your volcano. Then destroy your volcano with your hands and mix it all up. Then add the flour and knead into a dough, using more flour if needed (I think I ended up using almost double the original amount). Divide the dough into quarters, wrap each in saran wrap. Clean the work surface. Take one of the quarters, roll it into a tube about as thick into your finger, and then cut into gnocchi side pieces. Indent each piece with a fork if you're feeling fancy; I quickly tired of this process and just made them into pillow shapes. Lay them out on a cookie sheet and set aside.

Start boiling water for your gnocchi. It is helpful to have two people at work here - in this case, I was on gnocchi duty, and Better Half made sauce. If you're doing it yourself, I guess you should probably do gnocchi first, because they'll re-heat in the sauce). When your salted water is boiling, add the gnocchi in batches. When they float to the surface, remove them with some kind of implement and drain.

Now, the sauce.
Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large pan and saute onions, mushrooms, garlic, parsley stems and shiitake stems. Cook until soft but not brown, approx 4 minutes. Add wine and porcini liquid. Bring to a boil then simmer until reduced to about 1/3. Add cream, reduce again "until the sauce coats the back of a spoon". This part, we had a hard time with, because it didn't seem to reduce. The recipe says you then strain it into a bowl and set aside. I dunno that you need to strain it, because everything in it is delicious.

Anyhow, in your newly empty saucepan, heat remaining butter (1 tbsp) until it begins to brown and add the chopped shiitake mushrooms caps. Saute 2-3 minutes. Return cream sauce to pan, along with prosciutto, greens, and half the parmesan. Cook 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add gnocchi to your cream sauce. Add remaining parmesan and parsley.


Bacon blogging

Cheryl emailed and told me about her bacon blog, Bacon Glory. Check it out. She seems to actually post stuff, unlike me.

Related to that... I am sorry I'm so inactive, I really am. One thing is that I'm really busy - my other blogs have fallen idle as well - the other problem is that honestly, I'm pretty sick of the whole bacon craze. And I feel like a poser, because I actually don't eat all that much bacon. But I do cook a fair amount, and enjoy cooking. I'm tempted to just turn this into a cooking blog, a la my friend Gemma's wonderful Pro-Bono Baker, so I could tell you about things like the awesome sammich I just had made from home-made Maple Walnut bread (I baked bread!), apples, cheddar and argula (awesome!), but honestly, I don't really update that much as is. So instead, I'm sticking with the general idea, and only posting stuff related to pork. I've basically made that shift anyways, posting about things that involve, say, chorizo, or prosciutto, but now it's official. So there ya have it. Sorry to the die-hard bacon fans out there who may be frustrated.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chicago Bacon Takedown

Via Gemma, who should practically be getting co-author credits on this blog at this point: the Chicago Bacon Takedown. September 11th, 1:30 pm at Lincoln Hall. Anyone can enter - you get 15 lbs of bacon and your quest is to make it tasty. For prizes.

Meanwhile, the rest of us can buy tickets to the event here. Curiously enough, they're only $15, even though you apparently get to sample all the recipes. I might actually go, I'm kind of curious.

Friday, August 20, 2010

National Bacon Day

So it turns out that the Saturday before Labor Day (ie, September 4th this year) - EDIT: wow, missing sentence anyone? It turns out that it is National Bacon Day. Kinda. Vicki, who works for the Edwards Virginia Ham company, sent me an email recommending their products as suitable fare for the occasion and describing the different varieties of bacon they have. I have no idea if it's good or not. All I know is that they had the initiative to send me an email. Most of the people who email me because of this blog are resourceful media people for various companies. Sigh.

Anyways. Come to think of it, I may have posted about Bacon Day last year, because I think someone sent me a link to a Bacon Day blog. I note with amusement that it has not been updated since 2009. I note with concern that the last post mentions illness, and I express my hopes that the author is still amongst the living. I put on my cloak and wizard hat...

So, I wanted to give this post some substance, and started looking around on the internet for the history of this alleged national day of bacon. From what I can see, wasn't nobody celebrating it before last year. Curiously enough, however, the internet does seem to have come to a kind of consensus on the date, though there are some competitors out there. More broadly speaking, it seems like the whole "National Day" thing gets started when someone in a specific place (like a city) sets aside a day for something (as with National Pig Day in Lubbock, Texas) and then it spreads and ends up being national. Bacon Day, I'm guessing, was started in a little place called the internet, hence it doesn't have any groundings in a specific geographic location (oh, this postmodern world we live in!) or any specific observances attached to it.

Personally, I think it's kind of dumb. The holiday I mean.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Some recent failures, and my other blog

I know, I know, I haven't been posting much. The thing is - the bacon related things I've tried to make lately have not been very good. And if you're already feeling lazy about updating your blog, it's kind of hard to motivate yourself to tell the world about your failures.

So, right quick:

Bacon Hush Puppies.
These could potentially be good, and I will revisit them. The bacon wasn't the issue here, it was the hush puppies themselves, which were awfully dry and kind of tasted like a mouthful of dust.

Bacon vodka.
I've mentioned, I think, several times that I was working on infusing my own bacon vodka. So, I did do it, but for whatever reason, I didn't feel like actually trying it. By the time I did, it had been sitting in the freezer for over a year. Which may explain why it tasted so ungodly awful. Another potential reason is that while I did skim the fact off the top, there was clearly some still in there. Next time, I'll try to strain it through a coffee filter before I dump it down the sink.
BUT I will say this: it DID taste like bacon. Intensely so, in fact. In a very pleasing way. So I really ought to give this another try. All I did to make it was fry a few pieces of bacon and stick them in a jar with some vodka, which I then stuck in a dark corner of the pantry for a few weeks.

Accordioned baked potatoes with bacon:
This too could have been ok, but for some reason wasn't. I suspect the problem was that I was using small red potatoes, which have a kind of sweetness to them that was really not good for some reason. Those, though, were fairly easy to make. Take a potato, wash it, then take a sharp knife and slice almost down to the botton, every centimeter or so. It fans out as it bakes, and it does look kind of cute. You can do just that (you probably wanna rub yr tater with some olive oil and salt), or you can squish a bit of bacon in between the slices, and that's very nice too. You can do the same thing with an onion, though the slicing gets a little more complicated there. You bake it for about 15 minutes at around 350 if it's a wee potato, maybe longer for bigger ones. When you pull it out, before it cools, you can get some cheese involved too, that's nice.

So those are three things I could've posted about and didn't. I think the real clincher is that I feel like I should upload pictures, but man, that takes more effort.

Anyways, one other piece of news:
I have yet another blog, which I've also been lazy about updating but vow to be better about. It's called Leave Room for Delight, and it's about restaurants. Check it out. Mostly Chicago based, as that's where I live, but who knows.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Maple Bacon ice cream recipe

Gemma just forwarded me this - it looks pretty delicious. I don't have an ice cream maker, but if I did, I'd definitely give this a try: Maple Bacon ice cream. The ice cream sammich idea is especially intriguing - maybe with some basic coffee cookies, for the full on breakfast effect?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bacon Camp

From my mom, an article in the Washington Post about Bacon Camp.

"It's a thinking person's bacon camp," said Ari Weinzweig, co-founder
of Ann Arbor's gourmet mecca Zingerman's, which hosted the event. "I
want to get people off the 'I love bacon' thing: 'Give me any and give
me more.' I want them to know the differences between them and how to
use them."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paddy's bacon tasting deal

Via Gemma: Paddy Long's is offering a deal to followers of Baconfest Chicago whereby they can get in on a bacon beer tasting for $20 rather than $35. Given, however, that the link tells you what the "secret password" for Baconfest Followers is... uh... wanna discount on a bacon beer tasting?

By the by, if you're in Chicago, my bf and I had dinner at Rootstock last night, and it was full of porky delights. There was an absolutely divine charcuterie plate, and a pork belly sandwich that was so rich and creamy and crispy and wonderful that I almost swooned. Yes, that's a hyperlink. I have yet another blog - this one is about restaurants. Check it out. I just started it, so there's not much going on yet, but given the frequency with which I dine out, it oughta get updated at least weekly.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bacon hot sauce

Via Max: Bacon hot sauce.

I'm a great lover of hot sauce*, so I'm kind of curious to try it, but I don't currently feel like shelling out $5.99 plus s&h. But the makers apparently flew to Chicago for Baconfest, which is pretty impressive.

*One of my favorites, by the by, is Co-op hot sauce - it's not bacon flavored, but the stuff is absolutely delicious, so I can't resist the opportunity to give them a plug. Totally worth mail ordering.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Veal Saltimbocca, Kale with Pancetta, and Gnocchi

I didn't actually make this; my boyfriend did - I just assisted. Also, it technically doesn't involve bacon (though the kale recipe actually called for it originally instead of pancetta), but it does involve delicious cured porks, so...

(edited with bf's corrections)

For the veal:
Veal cutlets (2 per person)
Prosciutto (as many slices as you have cutlets)
Flour, salt, pepper
lemon wedges
some white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock

For the Kale:
2 bunches kale
4 thick cut slices pancetta
5 gloves garlic
2 cups water

gnocchi from the store...

The most time-consuming part of all this is the kale. Wash it thoroughly, making sure to get rid of all the grit. Shake dry and separate from the stems, then roll the leaves into long tubes and chop width-wise every half inch or so. Set aside. (at this point, you probably wanna set the water to boil for your gnocchi)
Dice the pancetta. Fry in a medium-sized pot (it's gonna have to hold the kale) until crispy. You're gonna wanna be on medium-low heat for this operation. Remove with a slotted spoon onto some paper towels and set aside.
While it's frying, finely dice your garlic (I dunno why my darling doesn't believe in garlic presses, but he doesn't. You could probably just press it though...). Add to the pot, to the pancetta fat. Sautee a moment (because your heat is so low, it shouldn't even brown), then add the kale. Stir for a minute or two, watch the kale turn bright bright green, then add the water. Cook for about 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it stand for a few minutes. Drain the water, add the pancetta back in, stir. A squeeze of lemon (once it's on the plate) really ties it all together.

For the veal (which I was doing with a friend while the kale was cooking):
Shake some flour onto a plate. Add garlic salt and pepper.
Set the cutlet on a piece of wax paper. Lay sage leaves on top of it - as many as you like. I basically covered mine. Lay a slice of prosciutto on top, eating the overhang or folding it over so that it's on the cutlet, up to you. Lay a second piece of wax paper on top, then take a glass or thermos or if you have one, a rolling pin, and firmly roll the cutlets until the prosciutto and sage are soundly smooshed in. Carefully peel the cutlet off the wax paper and bread in the flour. Fry in butter and vegetable oil (also moderately low heat on this one), about 2-3 minutes per side. (at some point around here, cook the gnocchi - they only take 3 minutes)
When you've fried them all, deglaze the pan with some white wine and the chicken stock, increasing the heat to reduce into a sauce. Pour that over everything. Squeeze lemon on top. Pour a glass of wine. Enjoy one of the best meals you've ever had.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bacon bracelet set from etsy

I got an email from Gary Simpson, creator of these bacon bracelets, informing me of his product and reminding me that Mother's Day approacheth. I'm kind of more into the fried egg ring myself.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bakon vodka

My man and I went to Oceanique for dinner last night, and on our way home we stopped in to the Morseland to see our friend Chris, who bartends there. We were chatting about whiskeys and beers and such, and suddenly he said - oh! you have got to smell this! He grabbed a bottle off the shelf, opened it, and waved it under our noses. The smell of bacon was enough to knock you on your ass. That's right: it was Bakon vodka. Of course, we had to get a shot to try.

So first off, the smell. The smell is intense. It's like bacon. But it's also not like bacon. It's like hot fat that's been sitting in the sun too long, bathed in preservatives. It smells like it's supposed to smell like something good, and it kind of does, but it also really doesn't.

The flavor is much the same. It's unmistakingly, overpoweringly reminiscent of bacon. But it doesn't exactly taste like bacon. My better half, who is prone to putting bacon bits on his salad, said it was a very recognizable flavor. My palate, however, has not been properly primed to appreciate artificial bacon flavor, so to me, it's kind of narsty.

Nonetheless, I can imagine that it'd be nice in a cocktail, like a bloody mary. I added a hefty splash of Cholula to the last gulp in my shotglass, and that already dramatically improved the experience, so I imagine throwing some tomato juice, horseradish, celery salt and lemon after it would be a boon.

Overall though - I'd recommend going with an actual bacon vodka. Notice how the Bakon website, for all its talk about ingredients, never discloses where the "smoky bacon flavor" comes from. Yeah. That's because that liquor has never met a pig.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bacon, Mushroom and Kasza Pierogi

I decided to honor Poland by making pierogi with friends. I checked out some recipes, and was particularly intrigued by this one. I love kasza (buckwheat groats in English) and figured it was something many of my friends may not have tried - if you're trying to buy it, it's generally in the "ethnic" section of the grocery store, along with matzoh and kosher products.

The recipe is rather approximate, as such things tend to be.

The dough:
2 cups flour
1 cup water
pinch of salt

The filling:
1 cup kasza
a bunch of dried mushrooms (I used the gourmet blend from Costco)
1 onion
5+ strips of bacon?
(I actually made a vegetarian version as well, so you might want to halve the kasza?)

Step one, which is probably best done a few hours in advance? is to rehydrate the mushrooms in warm water.

Then, bring 2 cups mushroom water to a boil (adding regular water if needed to make 2 cups) with salt and pepper. Add the kasza, stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, fluff, and set aside.

As its cooking, chop the bacon (finer is better) and fry it in a large, deep pan. As it fries, chop the onion, and once the bacon is browned, add it to the pan. Then chop the mushrooms (squeeze out the excess water, but don't worry about it too much) and add them to the pan. Saute for 5 minutes or so? Or until the flavors combine, then add the cooked kasza and stir. Let it cook a minute or two to combine the flavors, adding salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Now, the dough. According to what I've read, you want to use hot - even boiling - water. Add it to the flour and salt (you want a decent amount of salt here - I think I used too little), stirring with a wooden spoon. Then knead it with your hands (let it cool if need be) until it forms an elastic dough. Cover your "work surface" (ie clean table) with some flour, grab a hunk of dough and roll it out. You want it about 2mm thick - thin, but not so thin that it becomes porous or breaks. Use a glass to cut out circles, put a spoonful of filling in the center (you always need less than you think) and pinch shut.
This is the most labor intensive part of the process. I underestimated just how much work it involved. By the end, it had turned into an 8 person operation (though I made a seriously ridiculous amount of pierogi, with several other fillings too).

When you're about halfway through or so, set a large pot of water to boil with plenty of salt. Once it's boiling, drop in about 6 pierogi at a time, or however many the pot seems to hold comfortably (there should be room for them to form a single layer, with some space). Boil 2-3 minutes, or until they float to the surface.

Garnish with fried bacon and onions, and enjoy!

(We also did a potato and cheese filling, which just involved boiling some potatoes and mashing them with grated cheddar, salt, and pepper. I might have to try doing those again with some bacon bits folded in...)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Custom Bumper Stickers and Banners

This isn't necessarily bacon related - but it could be? Cheryl, from, sent me a very nice email asking if I had any interest in designing (and buying) a bacon-related bumper sticker or banner. While I don't, really, I did appreciate the email. And I thought maybe some of y'all might be interested - custom bumper stickers are definitely tempting. The prices are quite reasonable - so long as you buy in bulk.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Ok, so it turns out people have been posting comments on here. Although I have the settings configured such that I am to be receiving an email whenever someone leaves a comment, uh, turns out I haven't been getting them. Instead they've been waiting in some kind of comment purgatory until I accept or reject them. So good news - today I accepted them all, except the spam ones (no spam! just bacon!).

HOWEVER, for some reason, I can't actually see which post you're commenting on, so I can't reply to the comments without going through the entire blog. So, to the people who wanted my contact info - it's on the right side of the page (and always has been) - kasiab at gmail dot com. To the person who asked what kind of submissions I'm looking for - uh, read the blog. That kind. Whatever bacon related stuff you've got. And to the person who left a long post about being in a labor camp and the food being terrible; I have no idea what inspired that comment, or what in the hell you're talking about. Sorry.

Anyhow, I reminded blogger that I want to get emails (by deleting and re-entering my email address), and at least now I know to look out for comments that need moderating (heh heh), so feel free to leave some comments.

As a side note, goddamnit, what the hell is wrong with blogger? My other blog gets emails about comments but won't post to my GoogleBuzz - no matter how many times I've told it to - this one posts to Buzz but won't tell me about comments. ARGH.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Celery and Fennel with Bacon

My man and I found ourselves saddled with an entire bunch of celery recently and were trying to figure out what to do with it, having decided that we didn't especially want celery soup. I searched on Epicurious (such a useful iPhone app) and turned up this recipe. I'd never actually tried cooking fennel before, so I was intrigued. Although it sounds like a lot of effort, it was pretty easy - especially if you mod the recipe a little bit.

Basically, you chop the fennel and celery and boil them for 2 minutes (in salted water), then pull 'em out and run cold water over them. Cook the bacon in whole slices, and as it cooks, chop the shallots. When the bacon's done, set it on some paper towels and dump the shallots into the fat. Saute for a few minutes, add the celery and fennel and saute for another 10 minutes or so. Then add a cup of chicken broth and simmer until it's mostly gone. Crumble the bacon in, and voila, you're done. Sure, maybe the celery and fennel leaves and parsley would have been nice. But it was just fine without them. The picture on Epicurious is totally wrong, here's what it actually looks like:

I was actually surprised by how delicious this was. The celery was surprisingly flavorful. The fennel's anise-y flavor paired beautifully with the bacon - and this is coming from someone who despises licorice. The texture was maybe a a wee bit more mushy - especially the celery - than I might have liked - I'd probably cut down the chicken broth a bit, I guess? And upped the bacon, definitely. But overall, it was fantastic.

dyed bacon

A guy named Neil emailed me a link to information about his Bacon Color Wheel project. Check it out.

I have to admit, I'm a wee bit suspicious. Neil is a graphic designer, and the link is to a graphic arts forum, and I can't help but wonder whether these lovely hues should be attributed to food coloring or Photoshop.

But they certainly are weird looking.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bacon Apple Sage Stuffing

My friends and I recently had Second Thanksgiving, which gave me a chance to try this Bacon Apple Sage Stuffing recipe that I randomly found online awhile ago. I love stuffing, but I've never tried making it before, so I was a little nervous. I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, and here are my thoughts:

1. Stuffing doesn't seem like stuffing without celery. If I were making this again, I'd probably add some.

2. It's really quite dry. I baked it in a pan not a turkey, so that's part of the problem (though I added extra broth as per recipe), but I thought it was a bit too dry. On the other hand, my friend James told me that his favorite thing about the stuffing was that it was so nice and dry, making it a good vehicle for gravy, and generally stuffings are way too moist. So who knows.

3. The parsley seemed unnecessary. But I'm probably biased, because I really don't like parsley very much.

4. The apples were a fantastic addition, nice surprise amongst the bread chunks, and wonderfully moist.

5. Oh! It's worth noting though, that I ended up having to bake it in ceramic dishes (my metal pans seem to have mysteriously vanished), which meant that I actually baked it for an hour rather than 30 minutes. That might be the real cause of the dryness.

6. Overall - the flavor combinations were fantastic. The bacon definitely added a certain oomph, and the apples and sage and onions went together beautifully. I bet it would be really fantastic if you actually shoved it into the bird and baked it that way.

Baconfest Chicago

Baconfest sold out in 10 minutes yesterday. No, I did not get a ticket.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

bacon art and more random baconalia

via Charlie, another photo gallery of omg more bacon things from The Daily Beast. I have a certain amount of sympathy for the feeling that bacon has become ubiquitous and annoying and the whole thing has gone too far. But bacon coffee might be delicious. And bacon has been a bloody mary garnish for ages, as have other meats, and that's because it's delicious.

Secondly, I just received an email from m. Brady Clark (that's how he writes it), an artist based in Austin Texas who has created some lovely bacon-related prints that are available for purchase on his bacon art website. I also recommend his main page, which can be found here - he's got some really cool work on there. I would totally buy one of the bikinis he's designed for Glamour Kills if I could try it on first - I'm not quite brave enough to buy a swim-suit online, especially from a place with a no-return policy. But if you're brave enough to buy me one, I'd guess I'm a size XL.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bacon Benedict

As we glory in our successes, so too must we admit of our failures. I have long maintained that there is very little point in making eggs benedict for yourself at home. It's not only difficult, but time consuming, and produces a lot of dirty dishes, and in the end, gosh, just get in the car and shell out the money to have it done right, with minimal effort on your part. Nonetheless, I occasionally dream of perfecting eggs benedict at home. First off, if you can do it, you will make someone's day*. I mean, seriously - they get all the joy of eggs benedict with none of the wait or expenditure**. Also, some friends of mine have done it, and they actually make it sound fun. So there has long been this small part of me that has wanted to actually make the attempt.

Furthermore, today is Valentine's Day. Which means that all of my favorite breakfast spots will invariably be full of moon-eyed couples on their annual outing (ditto for dinner)***. So I decided to shift for myself in the domicile. As it happened (which it doesn't, all that often), I had both lemons and english muffins, so I thought, hey, benedict. Let's do it. I didn't have canadian bacon, but I figured regular would do. I discovered that I only had 4 eggs, so that was a problem, but hey, we'd soldier on.

So first off - timing wise, eggs benedict are a nightmare. You have to make the Hollandaise, poach the eggs, fry the bacon, and (if you so choose), fry the English muffins in the bacon grease. The smartest thing to do is to make the hollandaise first - once it's done, it can rest happily without any real problems. But I for some reason decided to do it all at once. This led to burnt English muffins, poorly poached eggs, and an utterly failed Hollandaise.

Here's how hollandaise works - you combine egg yolks, lemon juice, and some salt and whisk em together. Then, you want to heat them up. Not too much - not so much that the eggs will actually cook - just enough to thicken them. Then you wanna add a shit-ton of butter. The proportions vary here - because I was making it for just me and was low on eggs, I did 1 stick of butter, two egg yolks, and the juice from half a lemon. Which probably would have worked out fine, if I had done it right.

Obviously, the tricky part is the heating. I tried Alton Brown's method, which is to get a saucepan of water simmering, then lower the heat, and place your mixing bowl in it and whisk away. This unfortunately proved too hot, my eggs clumped up, and the sauce was ruined. Because whisk as you will, once the eggs do that, no amount of whisking will restore them to a thick liquid form. It's game over. But I had no other eggs, so hell, I ate the whole monstrosity anyhow.

Note the flecks of cooked eggs and the runnyness. Le sigh.

But you know what? It was actually pretty effin' tasty anyhow. I ended up toasting another english muffin just to sop up the remainder. So it was actually a pretty righteous breakfast.

Still, I don't think I'll attempt it again for a very, very long time, if ever.

*It is absolutely key here that you not only learnt to do it, but learn to do it calmly. Being tense and frustrated SHIT! I FUCKED UP THE FUCKING HOLLANDAISE AGAIN! AAAAARRRRGGGH! kind of ruins the whole effect.

**Seriously, if you bust this one out after the first night you spend with someone, all like "oh hey, feel like some breakfast? lemme throw something together, you wait right here", that person will probably want to marry you. I know I would.

*** HEY! ASSHOLES! I know some of you don't go to restaurants all that much, so maybe you're not aware of how things work. Allow me to enlighten you - TIP YOUR SERVERS! Oprah be damned, tip your servers 20%. Realize that this is their livelihood. My Valentine works in the industry, and though he gets way more tables on Valentine's Day than most any other, it is also the absolute worst day for tipping. I'm not kidding. One of his coworkers received a $10 tip on a $400 tab. It's ridiculous. Don't be a jerk.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bakin and Eggs, Chicago

Just saw this in the Reader. Color me intrigued.

Bakin' & Eggs

3120 N. Lincoln | 773-525-7005



If bacon has officially jumped the shark, someone forgot to tell the folks behind Bakin' & Eggs (also the owners of Lovely: A Bake Shop). At this new breakfast and lunch spot, you can get it on anything from a burrito to a biscuit—even the waffle involves bacon. It's a good thing it's done well, or the bacon flight might seem a little over the top; as it is, you'd better have either a hearty appetite or plenty of reinforcements if you plan to attack the five large rashers of jalapeƱo, honey, mesquite, cherry, and maple-pepper bacon. Portion sizes are ample here, and at eight to nine bucks apiece are a good deal as entrees at moderately upscale brunch places go. Even a half order of rosemary-parmesan drop biscuits with sausage gravy and—inevitably—a slice of bacon (available weekends only) is a reasonable-size meal in itself. Pumpkin pancakes, only subtly pumpkiny, were three big, fluffy discs topped with chopped caramelized pecans and served with pear butter, maple syrup, and whipped butter on the side. And while the spinach, mushroom, and Gruyere frittata was more than decent, it was the side of cheesy potatoes that really won me over. Our waiter kept checking to see if everything was "perfect"—a tall order at any restaurant—but we couldn't find any reason to complain. —Julia Thiel