Bacon turns up in some unique recipesBacon. Mmmm. Bacon. Just mentioning it makes your mouth water and makes lesser men, like Homer Simpson, lapse into a catatonic state.
By: John Lamb, INFORUM
Just mentioning it makes your mouth water and makes lesser men, like Homer Simpson, lapse into a catatonic state.
It’s the instant association with the smoky aroma. The endearing popping and hissing as strips fry in the pan. The savory, salty kick as bits break off between your teeth.
And it’s more powerful than just a bite. The scent of cured pig has been known to drive some vegetarians hog wild.
Of course, the allure is just as strong for those who aren’t forbidden from pork.
Gordy Richardson, owner of the VIP Room in Fargo, hosts a bacon-themed five-course dinner Thursday night where everything from appetizers to dessert features fatty flanks of pork, from standards like bacon-wrapped water chestnuts to bacon-topped ice cream.
He got the idea after his executive chef, Patti Hanson-Vetter, gave him the book “Seduced by Bacon: America’s Favorite Indulgence” for Christmas.
“I think it’s one of those staples you grew up with,” Richardson says. “I think it makes just about anything taste better.”
Over the past few years, bacon cooks have developed ways of upping the ante, whether it was Wendy’s Baconator burger or the Bacon Explosion – two pounds of bacon woven around two pounds of Italian sausage and grilled.
Artificial bacon products have also crept onto plates. Bacon salt gives vegetarians a taste of what meat-eaters savor, while Baconnaise (yes, bacon-flavored mayonnaise) made Jon Stewart gag on “The Daily Show.”
Even fashion is getting high on the hog. In addition to any number of bacon-themed T-shirts, hipsters can now find ties, wallets, bandages, even sneakers that look like smoked sides of salty pork.
Not all things bacon leave a good taste in a fan’s mouth.
Jeff York, the publicist for the locally produced Web site www.baconorgy.com, documents his and his friends’ culinary experiments with the meat, like peanut butter and bacon cookies. The one flavor that didn’t take was bacon-flavored mints.
“Pretty disgusting,” York recalls.
The group started last summer when they spotted other Web sites devoted to outrageous bacon recipes.
“It’s about indulgence, seeing how over-the-top we can get,” he says.
But is there ever too much bacon for a baconnoisseur?
“I’m sure there is. The phrase ‘everything in moderation,’ you’ve got to believe that,” Richardson says. “It’s kind of hard to apply when it comes to bacon. For me there’s not Bacon may not just be for breakfast anymore, but who knew it was for dessert? Here are two recipes that can bring out the sweet side of the salty meat.
1 pound thick sliced bacon
Lay bacon strips on sheet pan and generously cover with brown sugar. Let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. Bake at 350 degrees until fully cooked and brown sugar caramelizes on top (approximately 10 minutes).
Drain excess fat. Lay bacon on parchment paper-covered-pan in strips. Refrigerate until cool.
Recipe courtesy of the VIP Room’s chef, Brad Graber
Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes
12 slices bacon
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup cold, strong, brewed coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the eggs, coffee, buttermilk and oil. Stir just until blended. Mix in ¾ of the bacon, reserving the rest for garnish. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter. Frost with your favorite chocolate frosting and sprinkle reserved bacon crumbles on top. Dust with additional cocoa powder.
Recipe courtesy of www.allrecipes.com
Bacon’s good, bad and bloody
Not all things pig are created equal. Here’s a look at three distinct bacon flavors that take taste to different extremes.
If you need a sweet and salty fix, try the Mo’s Bacon Bar by Vosges. This 3-ounce bar mixes applewood smoked bacon with
41 percent cacao for $8.75. I hope you’re not jonesing too bad – O’Day Cache, which carries them in Fargo, is out and awaiting its next shipment.
Who would think having bacon breath could be bad? Fargo baconnoisseur Jeff York gave a succinct review of Uncle Oinkers Bacon Mints: “Pretty disgusting.”
The most creative use for bacon locally has to be the Bacon Bloody Mary at Usher’s House/Monk’s Pub in Moorhead. Made with bacon-infused vodka, this $8 drink has a savory, salty kick that’s worth licking the glass clean.
If you go
- What: Makin’ Bacon: A five-course gourmet dinner
- When: 6 p.m. Thursday
- Where: The VIP Room, 624 Main Ave., Fargo, lower level
- Info: Dinner is $48 per person, with wine available for extra. (701) 293-1999
Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533