Monthly Archives: October 2009

Ode to Bacon

As I have alluded to before, Twitter is like crack, really. It’s addicting. The best part though, meeting people who share their joys in life. The lovely Shauna & Danny express their love for all things pork on pork,knife & spoon. My good friend Lorna Yee of The Cookbook Chronicles has no shame in her adoration of the pig. Thus said, hearing daily about pork products Kairu and I were inspired to plan our own tribute to the deliciousness known as bacon. Bacon is abundant now days, you can buy chocolate bacon from Vosges in Chicago or even bacon scented air fresheners. Our list of bacon recipes slowly evolved and grew so much we decided a party was in order.

Skagit Ranch Bacon

Skagit River Ranch Bacon

And the bacon we chose,was the most delicious bacon to ever cross my lips. The people at Skagit River Ranch know their pork. I urge you to spend just a bit extra for the most exquisite flavored bacon to melt in your mouth. I could seriously write an ode to the bacon. Just how good? Kairu called me the morning of the potluck to tell me to buy two more pounds, she had eaten the first package the night before, piece by piece, the bacon quickly diminished.

Bacon Chanterrelle Soup

Bacon Chanterelle Soup

The first course- a bacon Chanterelle mushroom soup topped with caramelized onions cooked in bacon. We adapted the original recipe since our friend Becky aka Chef Reinvented is highly allergic to onions and garlic. This soup is absolutely divine, cooked with Mangalitsa stock and cream.

Corn & Bacon Salad

Corn & Bacon Salad

Matthew Amster-Burton cooked a beautiful roasted corn salad with poblano peppers and you guessed it, bacon. Unfortunately I had to share, otherwise I may have engulfed the entire container. Our friend Jenise prepared the healthy portion of the evening, a salad, with baconaise dressing.

The most important course, dessert. A bacon maple bar from Frost, bacon chocolate rice krispie treats and a divine bacon cupcake prepared by Becky. Kairu and I adapted the original recipe by utilizing cocoa krispies on the bottom and the regular variety on top. The recipe still needs some tweaking. I found the chocolate to overpower the bacon flavor.

Bacon Rice Krispie Treats

Bacon Rice Krispie Treats

Bacon Maple Bar

Bacon Maple Bar

Becky asked that we not photograph the cupcakes since they didn’t meet her aesthetic standards. I can tell you this, they were delicious. She really is an incredible cook. Bacon shined in the cupcake topped with a cream cheese frosting and of course a small piece of crispy bacon. By the end of the evening I was quite certain a heart attack was impending. I vowed to only eat vegetables and tofu for the next few days. I lied. The next day, I made mac and cheese for a dear friend’s birthday, topped with but of course bacon.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

Handwritten Recipe Underneath Freshly Baked Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies usually found at almost every bake sale represent the classic all American dessert, however finding the perfect cookie is not so easy. The right balance of chewy to crisp, proportion of chocolate chips and texture are integral to the very best cookie. Everyone has a recipe they swear by, for some it is their grandmother’s old fashion or the Jacque Torre’s salted version. Technique plays an extremely important role in results, recently a NY Times article discussed the role of refrigeration of the dough, temperature of the butter and how the various methods yield the perfect cookie. A few people I know are smitten with the new Cooks Illustrated version which calls for browning butter. My cookie is from Cooks Illustrated their original recipe. I’ve been making this for several years now, learning the nuances of producing what I deem the perfect cookie.

Adding the Flour

It’s been awhile since I’ve made them, well about a year. Fall leads to more baking, the smell of the cookie infiltrates my apartment, I love how the oven warms the small space. Tonight we were supposed to see a movie, instead I taught my friend Michael how to make the cookies he loves so much. Over the years, he’s eaten many many batches, but this was the first time he helped. Earlier this week we made apple pie, I really enjoy teaching him how to bake, the little nuances such as ratio of flour to add at a time, how long to cook the cookies and keeping your measurements consistent. Sharing something you love is such a joy, funny, it’s different than just cooking or baking for him, bringing him into the process was really fun.

Cookie Dough

The handwritten recipe pictured above is tried and true for me. A few of my secret tricks, take the cookies out before they are done, just barely, let them sit for a few minutes on the silpat before transferring to the cooling rack. Eggs at room temperature always. And the melted butter, just barely melted, shouldn’t be warm. Sometimes I chill the dough, but usually they go straight from the bowl to the oven. Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on a Sunday night, perfect.

Perfection

Community Through Food

Last weekend was an absolute treasure, filled with wonderful events revolving around food. Inspired by the Blogher food conference in San Francisco, which several local Seattle food bloggers were attending, we created #Bloghere. Why? What better way to foster community through sharing experiences. Actually #Bloghere started as a joke on Twitter, @Bonnevivante noted she was not attending #BlogHer  but would be attending #BlogHere as in blogging from here,  then Jeanne of Four Chickens jokingly suggested absurd sessions, quickly  a few real ones developed. The absolutely lovely Viv of Seattle Bon Vivante graciously organized several events. The weekend kicked off with the pie contest at the Queen Anne Farmer’s Market. Our first official session took place on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning at the University District Farmer’s Market, like the QA one, it is a non-profit, community led market. We gathered to stroll the market, take pictures and talk to the chef in resident Matthew Amster-Burton, author of Hungry Monkey. My mission, bacon from Skagit River Ranch. I’m smitten with farmers markets this summer, sad to see a few end for the season. The amazing bounty of the earth so much more than what we find in conventional markets, however it’s not just the food, rather, the community and relationships they build. Watching farmers interact directly with their customers, sharing recipes and most of all appreciation for the food we eat. This particular morning I started to play with my new camera, taking in the beauty of the market.

Chanterelle's from Foragred & Found

Chanterelle's from Foraged & Found

Billy's Tomatoes

Billy's Tomatoes

Following my morning at the farmers market I continued onto the next #Bloghere session, canning with the Shibaguyz who were absolutely hilarious, kept us entertained while educating us on the art of canning. Plums, the fruit of the day, quickly transformed into beautifully rich chutney, spicy sauce and jelly. My second canning experience of the summer made me wish I had jumped on the band wagon a bit earlier.

Plum Chutney

Plum Chutney

Jason & Shannon Canning

Jason & Shannon Canning

I’m saving my delicious chutney & spicy plum sauce for this winter, when I’ll enjoy it over a slowly roasted pork loin or served with a creamy brie perfect for having friends over. What I love about canning, the connection, how quickly food is transformed to be shared. Jars stowed away for gifts. Canning is a lost art, much like knitting that gained a revival in the early 2000’s. I’m happy to see people take an interest in finding another way to connect with our food. This past summer, Canvolution swept across America. I’m fortunate to know the ladies who founded Canning Across America, they inspired people to host canning parties and share their personal canning stories/journeys. Mine has yet to begin, it’s just the beginning. This particular Saturday afternoon, over several bottles of wine, food and steaming pots of plums we shared a common experience, some of us learning a new skill/craft, most of us new friends, quickly building a community that is incredible. Food connecting our lives becoming more and more entwined each day. The common bond for most of us, Twitter. Twitter is like match.com for foodies, slowly finding each other, planning dates (dinner parties), movie nights and book clubs. #Bloghere all started on Twitter. The social media device some argue alienate us from our communities brought this group together. #Bloghere was not the first or last event for us, rather just part of the inception of so many big things to come. Later that evening I hosted a bacon themed party (another post to follow), all because of Twitter. In a few weeks, Mac N Chesse & Fried Chicken night and in November Jewish & Chinese Foods.

#Bloghere ended with pie because all good things in life should end with pie. We are lucky to have an expert in our community. Kate McDermott kindly baked us a grape pie using local concord grapes from a garden in Queen Anne. Each #Bloghere participant left with but of course a cookbook. Oh and a remote session with Matthew Amster-Burton and the adorable Iris, sharing their thoughts on the state of food blogging and of course eating.

Kate's Grape Pie

Kate's Grape Pie

Bloghere Swag

Bloghere Swag