Friday, August 31, 2012

BMan's Bacon

One of my boyfriend's co-workers,* Brian Lagerstrom, makes his own bacon. I had never really thought of bacon as something you might make at home, but there you have it. So Boyfriend came home the other day with this exciting package:

And we fried it up and had it for breakfast.**

(We cut the slices in half so they'd fit in the pan. Some bacon curls up like those mood-reading red fish when you do that, but this stuff was solid. But not so thickly sliced that it took half an hour to cook. Just right.)

Oh wow was it good. I'm gonna be honest, despite keeping this blog for so long, I haven't spent much time thinking about the intricacies of bacon's flavor. How thickly sliced it is, what recipes you can use it in, sure, but the range of taste notes - not so much. I first began to consider it when we did a fry-off between the bacon from Rich's, the Polish store down the street from us, and some from Butcher and Larder.*** Then I noticed that sometimes when I get bacon at crappy diners, it tastes like shoe leather. So I've started paying more attention.

ANYWAYS. This bacon was delicious. The perfect balance of salty and sweet, with a wonderful meatiness to it. Toothsome and quite succulent. There were definitely some good juniper and herb flavors, but they weren't overpowering. It tasted like bacon. Bacon this good should just be fried and eaten, not used for cooking, so that it can be properly savoured. It's awesome.

If you want to acquire some of this fabulous stuff, head over to his etsy page, where you can get a pound for the astonishingly reasonable price of $7. Let me give you that link again: HERE BE TASTY BACON. Come, my child.

*If you're wondering, they both work at (Michelin-starred) Sepia.

**He fried the bacon, I made the eggs (scrambled eggs with green chilis and cheddar). You may be surprised to learn that I am terrible at frying bacon, and almost always burn it - especially if I'm cooking for my boyfriend.

***I probably should've posted about that. Not at all surprisingly (if you know us), I preferred the former, Better Half the latter. It wasn't really a scientific study though, because the Polish bacon was sliced super thin, and the Butcher and Larder bacon was quite thick, so that affected the eating experience. But flavor played a role as well. To me, the Polish bacon tasted... like what bacon should taste like. I dunno. To my sweet baby, it had a strong juniper flavor that he wasn't wild about. In contrast, B&L's pork tasted like it should to him, whereas to me it had a carmel kind of sweetness that I wasn't wild about. No offense to B&L, because I love their meats.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chorizo, chilies and potato tacos

Inspired by the tacos de papas con rajas at Big Star, a simple and pretty fantastic taco filling. I improvised quite a bit, as should you, but basically, I used:

1 pckg chorizo - Mexican, not Spanish style. It was basically a pork paste in a plastic tube.
2 medium-large russet potatoes
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
1 can diced green chilis
1 can chipotle chilis in adobo sauce (I am so bringing a few cans of those back to Turkey!)
Fresh cilantro

I peeled the potatoes and sliced them into matchsticks, chopped the onion into small slices, and diced the garlic. I put a little oil in a pan on medium heat and squeezed the chorizo onto it, stirring it around to break it up. Once it was crumbly and had exuded a nice amount of grease, I added the potatoes. Then I wondered if I should've removed the chorizo onto a paper towel first (but that always seems like such a pain in the ass to me), or if I should've added the onions and garlic sooner. So I tried to push the potatoes to the side a little, and stack the chorizo on top of it, and added the onion and garlic. I sprinkled the potatoes liberally with salt, which proved somewhat unnecessary, because the whole thing came out super salty (luckily still good though. But I think it'd be better dialed down a notch. My point being, go easy on the salt.). Then I stirred it all, with a sinking sense that it was headed for disaster. But what the hell, I opened the can of green chilis and added them, and the can of chipotle chilis. I sort of shook some of the sauce off them and chopped them up and threw em in. Gave the whole thing a few more stirs and decided it was ready. And you know what? It was awesome. I ate it on heated flour tortillas, garnished plentifully with cilantro. It has proved to be a fantastic packed lunch option, too - roll some up in a tortilla (no need to reheat) with or without cilantro, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and boom, portable lunch! For reheating at home, I think a frying pan would be the way to go, and maybe a squeeze of lime.

I know my timing guidelines aren't so helpful, but it really is a wing it sort of meal. What is crucial though, is that you not overcook the potatoes. You want them to have some crunch. You also want the onions and chilis somewhat firm. It really doesn't take long for it all to cook - its a simple, cheap, and plentiful dish. If you overlook it, it'll still be delicious, just maybe kinda mushy. At which point, I suggest you form it into patties and fry it on high heat. I bet that'd be awesome too.