Monday, August 16, 2010
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
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
Monday, August 2, 2010
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.
Passiflora edulis / P. edulis flavicarpa
PassifloraceaeCommon 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.
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.
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.