Tag: bacon

“Doesn’t Everyone Spend Saturday and Sunday Nights in the Kitchen?”: The Deadpan Entree Smackdown

We on the Deadpan/Ithaca FamilyStyles Team – you know, that ruggedly good-looking bunch – always love a little bit of competition. You can usually find us going to war with Bananagrams, settling Catan with all the imperial zeal of Cortez or Columbus himself, or quizzing each other on random yet seemingly important information (think real-life Sporcle): name as many pokemon as you can! List the members of the nightshade family! Extoll the virtues of kosher salt! You get the idea.

So, it was only natural that when it came down to figuring out an entree for our first Deadpan event, we decided to compete for it, with a facebook event, scorecards, and of course, hours upon hours in the kitchen. Once again taking advantage of Hilary’s generosity and five-burner Electrolux stove, we went to work.

Max Hull is a photoshop god

I’d say each one of us totally and completely brought it. Pictures and results after the jump!

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Exporting the Valuable American Traditions of Turkey, Pie, and Stuffing…Your Face

Thanksgiving is without question my favorite holiday of the year.  It involves all the things I love most – family, friends, fun in the kitchen, and obscene amounts of food. Before returning back to Boston for the annual FamilyStylesFoodFestFunTime, Chris and I decided to organize a London Thanksgiving to comfort the Americans missing their annual tryptophan hit back in the States and to introduce some Brits to their FirstEverThanksgiving. Such a phenomenal opportunity to welcome foreigners to a holiday that revels in stuffing yourself beyond capacity.  Oh and we tossed a few Australians and Canadians in the mix too. I only wish we could have invited about thirty other friends, but we could barely pack the 20-odd guests into the living room already.

The menu was a classic Thanksgiving feast for the first-timers but also involved some first times for me. Like my first time brining a turkey! Apparently the ratio of one gallon of water to one cup salt and one cup sugar  is ideal to unwind the meat proteins of the turkey, allowing the flavored solution to be drawn up into the meat. Sweet. More moisture + more flavor = happy eaters. There’s nothing worse than dry turkey breast. And you can add your choice of spices, aromatics and flavorings to make things even more exciting. Here’s what I came up with based on the contents of the kitchen:

Brine For A Juicy Turkey:

1 gallon water
1 cup salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 orange, sliced
1/2  lemon, sliced
4 cloves smashed garlic
1/2 tbsp black peppercorns
about 1/2 tbsp white pepper
about 1/2 tbsp Chinese five-spice
a few sprigs of thyme

Here is Boris (named for our London mayor) or Natasha (named for Boris) in his (or her) bag of spicy salty sweet bathwater.

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the breakfast club: bacon butties, BLTs, and the best bathrooms ever imagined.

holy BLT

i’ve found my new favorite place in london. i know i gush a lot, but this time it’s the real deal. i have fallen in love with the breakfast club and its newest incarnation in hoxton, just a short jaunt away on our trusty steed, the 55 bus.  it’s not just the food (which is excellent, as you can see by the BLT above), it’s not just the vibe (which is super cool, as you can see by the lettering above), it’s a general sense of thoughtfulness, maximization of enjoyment, and attention to detail, as you might be able to tell from the photo above).  i’ll explain.

chris and i were on the never-ending hunt for free wi-fi this morning since our internet isn’t getting set up until friday (thank GOD – it’s been two weeks of poke-my-eyes-out bureaucratic phone tree customer service hell).  all of our favorite places were either 1) not open yet, b) too far out of the way, c) not serving real breakfast, or d) just not getting me excited. then walking near old street, out of the corner of my eye, i suddenly spotted a little sign for the breakfast club tucked down an alley near hoxton square.

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writing home from last week's san francisco bacon camp!

dear mommy and daddy,

i am having so much fun at bacon camp! the people here are very nice and there are lots of fun activities. there is no canoeing or archery or s’more making, but instead everyone has made yummy dishes out of bacon to share with each other.  i took some pictures so you could see all the cool things people are doing at camp.

this is a smoked pea soup with bacon bits and truffle oil in a bacon bowl made by steve.

pea-soup-and-bacon-bowl

i think i heard one of the judges say that it looks like baby vomit, but apparently it was pretty delicious.  even though i am only nine years old i already know that truffle oil = automatic tasty.

some people made very pretty and very complicated things, like this deconstructed BLT by simon with bacon foam and tomato chutney.  he also made a bacon old fashioned with bacon infused bourbon.

deconstructed-blt

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happiest breakfast ever

the best way to get out of bed in the morning?

close-up-of-slow-scrambled-eggs-bacon-and-firebrand-bread

backyard fresh slow scrambled eggs, niman ranch applewood smoked bacon from bi-rite, walnut bread from oakland-based firebrand sourdough bakery, and espresso with locally-roasted-right-here-in-the-Mission coffee beans.

happiest-breakfast-ever


bacon camp recipes, round two: panko encrustifried avocado and bacon sushi with wasabi bacon mayonnaise

three of the most i-could-eat-you-any-time-in-any-form-and-am-totally-head-over-heels-obsessed-with-you foods in my world of edibility: 1. bacon. 2. avocado. 3. sushi.

add them all together. toss in some deep frying action. squiggle on some bacon mayonnaise. OH HOLY CRAP!!!!!

deep-fried-avocado-bacon-sushi-with-wasabi-bacon-mayonnaise

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bacon camp recipes, round one: bacon caliente pockets and extreme sausage action

most likely you have not experienced this yourself, but people give funny reactions when you tell them you are going to bacon camp. they  fall pretty universally along the lines of whether said person happens to be one of the 99.9% who also absolutely adore bacon and want to rub it on their faces (holy shit! i love bacon! i wanna go!) and the .01% of crazies who find bacon revolting and yes those people do exist (bacon camp? ew. i don’t even want to know what that is).

debate raged endlessly within my mind when deciding what to make for bacon camp. the so-high-tech-it’s-scary organizers of the camp  made a wiki where you could write what you were planning to bring and see what other dishes were in the works. noting that a lot of the dishes already online were ones i’ve made before (maple bacon cookies and bacon-infused bourbon), i wanted to make something that would be new and different for me and something that wouldn’t already be there in 14 different variations.

thus spawned the bacon hot pocket. you already know i have a thing for hot pockets. however, i’d like to take the opportunity to publicly state for the record, for those of you noting the hypocrisy between my professed love for hot pockets and my attempted avoidance of all things processed and chemically, that i do not in fact eat hot pockets (anymore). i just revere them as a concept and a pop culture phenomenon and an edible item encased in dough. aside: i once threw a party with the food theme ‘wrapped in dough’. so many different cultures produce a delicious food item wrapped in dough. empanadas! jiao zi! pierogies! pupusas! jamaican beef patties! i’m getting off topic! so anyways, i started testing a bacon hot pocket recipe for a dinner party the night before bacon camp. here’s a money shot of the finished result, mid-bite:

bacon-hot-pocket-closeup

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i love you, sweet sweet bacon dessert.

part two of recipes from the bacon showdown covers my experimentation with the bacon dessert world. irene, as you and i know from the sweet corn-maple-bacon cupcakes incident, people do not necessarily enjoy their desserts tasting like meat. why this is, i do not know. however, the foodie crowd attending the bacon smackdown was definitely primed and ready for some sweet bacon experimentation.

i was having trouble selecting a single dessert recipe, so i ended up making two bacon dessert items plus a bacon cocktail (considered but discarded ideas included a maple bacon bread pudding, candied bacon popcorn, and maple icecream with bacon bits…i’ll save those for the rematch). two of the dishes included the fabulous duo bacon and bourbon together. here’s a photo of the new BFFs for life.

bacon-and-bourbon

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smackdown savory bacon recipes for your cooking pleasure…

here’s an overview of the recipes i used for last night’s bacon-off, in case you’d like to plan your own iron chef-style smackdown. the full overview of the evening can be found here

to take you into the list of dishes, recipes and photo, enjoy this starting photo of a selection of my three pounds of assorted pork belly product. yowza.

bacon-and-pork-belly-and-pancetta1

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the ultimate bacon smackdown menu! aka 8 courses of delicious pig.

i am virtually comatose from bacon overload, but the first annual top iron chef bacon invitational showdown competition was a huge success. the pork belly has never been showcased to such creative heights. both kwame and i produced four dishes – an tiny amuse bouche/starter, an appetizer, and an entree, as well as a bacon related dessert, for a judging panel of our serious foodie friends. kwame was a formidable opponent and i’m proud to have been a part of this culinary extravaganza.  to give you an idea of the level of competition, the preparation included, but was not limited to, a blowtorch, brining with juniper berries, homemade icecream, bacon-infused bourbon, white truffle oil, chocolate-dipped bacon, and that’s just the beginning. continue reading to get a brief overview of the menu with some food porn orgasmtastic photos. i dare you not to read further after seing part of kwame’s dessert below…

bacon french toast Read the full article »