Monday, August 16, 2010

Grilled Bacon Tip From The Food Guy

Bacon and Freud

I have never met anyone who didn’t love bacon. There are people who don’t eat it as part of their diet, but bacon flavor seems to be universally loved…at least in my universe.

Americans owe our love of bacon, in part, to Edward Louis Bernays. Never heard of him? He was Sigmund Freud’s nephew, and a genius in public relations and propaganda. Bernays was a master of psychology and other social sciences and is considered the first modern marketing and PR wizard.

In his day, in the 1920s, he handled many advertising campaigns. One of them was for bacon. He convinced America, using Freud’s ideas of subconscious manipulation and indirection that the all-American breakfast consisted of eggs and bacon.

In order to get people to consume more bacon, he produced a doctors’ survey that recommended that patients eat bigger, heartier breakfasts. The results of the report were sent to 5,000 doctors and included publicity that a hearty breakfast should include eggs and bacon. The message took hold.

We don’t need much persuasion today. Bacon is still on the breakfast menu, and increasingly on the desert menu too:Chocolate covered bacon bars (Vosages), candied bacon ice cream (David Leboviz), Brioche-Bacon Bread Pudding (NYC Dovetail), and Bacon-flavored Popcorn (Nosheteria).

The Perfect Bacon Sear – try the Five (5) Easy Steps to Grilling It!

1. Identify the hot and cool spots on the grill. You’ll want to flash the bacon on a hot spot to start the process, render and cook on a cool spot and return to the hot spot for the finale.

2. Sacrifice a strip of bacon and grease up the grate. This won’t prevent all the strips from sticking, but it will help and add a more intense flavor.

3. Lay the strips of bacon at a 45 degree angle to the grates. This will help prevent them from falling into the grill. A safety note: be ready for flare-ups and handle them with a spray bottle.

4. Cook the bacon strips over the hot spot until they start to shrivel up, and then flip with your tongs and move to a cool spot to crisp up. Cooking time will vary greatly, so just hang out and keep an eye on them. Build the suspense by enjoying the wonderful scent of cured pig and fire.

5. For the finish, darken the bacon over the hot spot one more time. It should be dark rust colored, the fat should be rendered, and it should be crispy but pliable.
This method will produce consistent and solid results.

To spice things up, try adding brown sugar or maple syrup to the bacon at different stages in the cooking process. Amazing!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Chocolate Covered Bacon

6-8 slices thick Vande Rose Farms Bacon
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
4 ounces white chocolate, melted, optional for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Place the bacon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven, until bacon is cooked to your liking. 15 minutes for soft bacon, 20 minutes for crispy bacon.

Let bacon cool on the parchment paper for 5 minutes then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.

Meanwhile set up a double boiler. Heat a large saucepan filled with water over high heat until boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer.

Set a heat-proof bowl over the simmering water. Add the chocolate chips and stir with a fork until smooth and completely melted.

Cover another baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using tongs, carefully dip the bacon into the melted chocolate turning to coat all sides in chocolate. Transfer to the clean sheet of waiting parchment paper. Repeat with remaining slices of bacon.

Drizzle with the white chocolate, if desired.

Refrigerate until chocolate is hard.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Talking Turkey

Being someone who loves food, language and their history, I’m curious about the word “turkey.” For me it’s a head-scratcher. There are only a couple of species of large birds that are relatives to our Thanksgiving favorite: the wild turkey of North America and another that’s native to the Yucat√°n Peninsula. What does that have to do with the country of Turkey?

The Aztecs domesticated their large birds, and the Spanish conquistadors misidentified them as guinea fowl. During the sixteenth century, guinea fowl were imported to Europe from Madagascar through…wait for it…Turkey. The bird traders became known as turkey merchants, and their product shortened to “turkey” in English by 1555.

It makes some sense, but how about common phrases like, “talking turkey,” a “turkey shoot,” a “turkey” in bowling, or, “That movie’s a ‘turkey’”? Any idea about those?

A “turkey shoot” in the middle of the 20th century was a marksmanship competition where turkeys were tied to a log; and their heads stuck up as targets, you know the rest. A “turkey” as a failure comes from Hollywood in the 1920s. And in bowling, 100 years ago, during Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks, bowling alleys would give a live turkey to the first bowler who could get three strikes in a row.

But “talking turkey”? Not a clue.

Speaking of “talking turkey”, check out this really cool recipe.

Buffalo Deep Fried Turkey


1 (10 to 12 pound) Fresh Whole Turkey
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup Monarch hot sauce
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 1/4 cups Buffalo-style sauce
3 gallons peanut oil, for frying

Combine chicken broth, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl; mix well. Preheat oil in a deep fryer to 400°. Remove giblets and neck from the turkey. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Inject 1/2 cup mixture into each side of turkey breast. Inject 1/4 cup mixture into each leg/thigh area. Place turkey, breast side up, in basket. Slowly lower basket into hot oil, being cautious of splattering oil. Maintain oil temperature at about 350°. Fry turkey for 3-1/2 minutes per pound. Remove from oil to check for doneness. Insert an instant-read thermometer into thickest part of thigh, not touching bone. Temperature should be 180°.

Remove turkey from hot oil and drain on paper towels. Coat the outside of the turkey with Buffalo-style sauce. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Unbelievable Flavor – Enjoy

Monday, August 2, 2010

California Passion Fruit

First of the season Passion Fruit grown from California. Panta packed and available only for a couple of weeks. The passion fruit is a round or ovoid fruit, 1-1/2 to 3 inches wide, has a tough rind that is smooth and has a dark purple skin. It contains membranous sacs containing orange-colored seeds that are pulpy and juice. VERY LIMITED SUPPLIES CALL AHEAD.


B/W sketch

Passiflora edulis / P. edulis flavicarpa


Common Names: Passion Fruit, Granadilla, Purple Granadilla, Yellow Passion Fruit

Related Species: Fragrant Granadilla (Passiflora alata), Red Granadilla (P. coccinea), Maypop (P. incarnata), Yellow Granadilla (P. Laurifolia), Sweet Granadilla (P. ligularis), Sweet Calabash (P. maliformis), Banana Passion Fruit (P. mollissima), Giant Granadilla (P. quadrangularis).

Origin: The purple passion fruit is native from southern Brazil through Paraguay to northern Argentina. It has been stated that the yellow form is of unknown origin, or perhaps native to the Amazon region of Brazil, or is a hybrid between P. edulis and P. ligularis. Cytological studies have not borne out the hybrid theory. In Australia the purple passion fruit was flourishing and partially naturalized in coastal areas of Queensland before 1900. In Hawaii, seeds of the purple passion fruit, brought from Australia, were first planted in 1880 and the vine came to be popular in home gardens.

Adaptation: The purple passion fruit is subtropical and prefers a frost-free climate. However, there are cultivars that can take temperatures into the upper 20's (°F) without serious damage. The plant is widely grown in California as far north as San Jose, the Monterey Bay Area and the San Franciso Bay Area. The vines may lose some of their leaves in cool winters. The roots often resprout even if the top is killed. The plant does not grow well in intense summer heat. The yellow passion fruit is tropical or near-tropical and is much more intolerant of frost. Both forms need protection from the wind. Generally, annual rainfall should be at least 35 inches. Passion fruit vines make good container specimens but require maintenance. They perform well indoors.

Passion Fruit Sorbet

The distinctive tart-sweet flavor of passion fruit makes a refreshing dessert or intermezzo. Serve it over diced mango and papaya for a tropical fruit salad.

Look for passion fruits that feel heavy for their size (they'll yield more juice). There are two common varieties: the purple subtropical type grown in California, Florida, and New Zealand; and the yellow tropical fruit grown in Hawaii. Either variety will work in this recipe, although the purple fruit has sweeter juice and a stronger flavor and perfume. It's essential to let passion fruits ripen at room temperature until their hard skin is dented and wrinkled, as this sweetens the pulp.

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

2-1/2 cups passion fruit juice, pulp, and seeds
(from about 3 pounds of fruit)

Juice of 1 lime

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons Myers' rum, optional

Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a small pan and bringing to a boil over high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat.

Add the passion fruit pulp and salt to the sugar syrup and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, covered, until completely cold. At this stage the mixture can be stored up to 2 days.

Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl. Press hard to extract all the liquid; discard the seeds and pulp.

Stir in the lime juice and rum. Transfer to an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. Freeze until firm.

Greek Lamb Kabobs

Ingredients• 1/2 cup lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons dried oregano
• 4 teaspoons olive oil
• 6 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 pound lean lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 inch cubes
• 16 cherry tomatoes
• 1 large green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 1 large onion, cut into 1-inch wedges

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, oregano, oil and garlic. Set aside 1/4 cup for basting; cover and refrigerate. Pour the remaining marinade into a large re-sealable plastic bag; add the lamb. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
Prepare grill to medium high heat, brush grates with oil or coat with non-stick spray. Drain and discard marinade. On eight metal or soaked wooden skewers, alternately thread lamb, tomatoes, green pepper and onion. Grill kabobs, uncovered, over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side. Baste with reserved marinade. Grill 8-10 minutes longer or until meat reaches desired doneness, turning and basting frequently.
Serves 4