Bacon Jam


Yesterday was a beautiful day. For the first time this year I was convinced that winter will end soon. It was also the first time in weeks that I didn’t have a visit scheduled for my condo. I was really looking forward to spending the day in my kitchen, cooking and baking up a storm, but the weather had me conflicted. How could I waste such a beautiful day inside? This internal debate raged for most of the morning. And then a compromise was reached. I would walk to the grocery store to pick up everything I need. The walk would satisfy my need for time outside, and then I would get to create something wonderful in my kitchen.

This really was something wonderful. I had never heard of bacon jam until I started reading this months Food and Wine. As soon as I saw it, I knew something had been missing from my life. I had to have some. They recommend a brand available in the U.S only. In general, I  think jam is one of the easiest things to make at home, so I set out trying to find a recipe. I wasn’t going to let where I live keep me from my bacon jam!

I found several recipes, but the one that appealed to me the most was this one from Not Quite Nigella. I liked its simplicity; there are only a few ingredients, but each of them packs a punch. As with most jams, this one is quite easy to make, although a little time consuming (two hours, largely unattended). While you’re making it, your entire home and everything in it will smell like bacon. No need for bacon perfume. For step by step pictures, check out the original post from Not Quite Nigella.

The end result is a sweet yet savory jam, with a hint of smokiness to it. It was definitely worth the time to make it.

Once your bacon jam is done, you’re going to eat some of it with a spoon. That’s ok. Then you’re going to wonder what else to do with it. I suggest putting it in sandwiches or making this Bacon Jam Bruschetta. It’s just cream cheese (or goat cheese), bacon jam, and greens dressed with oil and lemon juice. The tanginess of cheese and the sweet smokiness of the bacon jam compliment each other perfectly.

Bacon Jam

Recipe from Not Quite Nigella

  • 500 g bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  1. In a large, heavy bottomed pan, fry the bacon in batches. Remove the bacon from the pan, and pour off all but 1 tbps of the bacon fat (bacon fat can be reserved for other purposes, like a pie crust)
  2. Turn the pan heat to medium high. Add the onion to the pan and fry until translucent. Add the minced garlic, frying until fragrant.
  3. Return the bacon to the pan, along with the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Stir occasionally, and add 1/4 cup of water every 25 minutes or so.
  4. Once cooked down, puree the jam in a food processor until it reaches your desired consistency (more or less chunky).

(Note: the original recipe called for 3 tbsp brown sugar, I forgot to add it and still found the jam delicious)

Bacon Jam Bruschetta

  • Bacon Jam
  • Baguette, sliced
  • Cream cheese or goat cheese
  • Salad greens
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  1. Spread the cream cheese on the baguette slices. Top with bacon jam.
  2. Dress the greens with olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Place a small amount on the bread.

Enjoy!

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Daring Cooks : Eggs Benedict

Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.

This is my first Daring Cooks Challenge. I joined the Daring Bakers because I love to bake, and although I love the baking challenges that we’ve done so far, I wanted to try something a little tougher. Enter the Daring Cooks. Baking comes naturally to me, cooking does not. The Daring Cooks will definitely push me to try things I would never otherwise do.

December 12th is my moms birthday. Since she already had dinner plans (busy girl) I decided to make her and my family Eggs Benedict for brunch. Eggs Benedict are opened faced sandwiches traditionally made with English muffins, Canadian bacon, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. You may have seen poached eggs on my blog before, like here and here, but I’ve always used a poach pod to make them. Now that I’m a Daring Cook I had to do it old school, that is, poor ’em into some hot water and hope for the best. Actually that’s not technically true. I did a lot of research to figure out the best way to poach an egg, and as luck would have the episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown makes Eggs Benedict aired on Food Network Canada a week before I planned to make them. Armed with this knowledge I felt pretty confident about the eggs. I was still pretty nervous about the Hollandaise sauce though,as overcooking the eggs is really easy to do.

I used a loaf from Premiere Moisson instead of the english muffins, mostly because  I forgot to buy the muffins. I also used regular bacon instead of Canadian bacon, (I have to say that as a Canadian I have never actually had Canadian bacon).

I started the process by cooking the bacon. Next I made the Hollandaise. For a few moments I was worried that I had curdled the eggs, but I whipped like a mad woman and managed to save them. Next I poached the eggs in a very large pot with four small bowls placed in it, as Alton suggested when poaching for a large group. I toasted the bread while the eggs poached then assembled.

I have to say I was quite pleased with the results. My first Hollandaise was rich and creamy, my eggs were cooked to with a slightly runny yolk (just how I like them), and the bacon was .. well it was bacon. You can’t really go wrong with bacon. The only issue I had was it was a little difficult to remove some of the eggs from their bowls, I broke two of the yolks.

Eggs Benedict

For the Hollandaise

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter cold, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cayenne pepper to taste

For the eggs

  • eggs
  • vinegar or lemon juice (1 tsp per cup of water used)
  • salt

For assembly:

  • Bread
  • Bacon
  • Green onion (optional)
  1. Make Hollandaise. Set up a double boiler; fill a large sauce pan with 1 inch of water bring to a boil then simmer. In a mixing bowl that will fit over the sauce pan whisk the egg yolks with the tsp of water until the colour has lightened, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar then whisk for 30 more seconds. Place the bowl over the sauce pan and whisk for 2 to 5 minutes until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Take the bowl off the heat and add the butter one piece at a time, whisking until it is completely incorporated, place the bowl back over the simmering water if necessary to ensure the butter melts completely. Stir in the lemon juice, salt and cayenne.
  2. Poach the eggs: Place four small bowls in a large pot, fill with water until the bowls are covered by a quarter inch. Add vinegar and salt to the water. Bring to a boil then remove from the heat. Add one egg to each bowl the cover and let sit for 7-8 minutes for a runny yolk, longer if you prefer the yolks to be more cooked. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon.
  3. Assemble the sandwich: Place a few pieces of bacon on each slice of bread, top with poached eggs and pour Hollandaise sauce over eggs. Sprinkle with cayenne and garnish with green onion.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Hash

Part of our Thanksgiving tradition is the morning after brunch. My aunt and uncle make us a wonderful dinner, and the following morning the guests contribute to breakfast. The last two years I’ve brought a Sweet Potato Hash.

The first time I tried this dish was at an office breakfast. My friend JB brought it, and I loved it. I asked him for the recipe numerous times, and he eventually shared it with me. Turns out I could have just Googled it. What makes this hash great is the bacon, and the fact that everything else is cooked in bacon fat. Hey, it’s Thanksgiving.

The hash is really easy to make. The longest part is the prep work, having a good knife to cut the sweet potato is key. Once the chopping is done, the dish comes together very quickly. It’s a great make ahead dish as the flavours meld together well overnight. I’ve always had this dish as part of a brunch, but it would make a great side dish for a dinner.

Sweet Potato Hash

From the Oct 2007 issue of Gourmet

  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 2 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  1. Cook the bacon in a large non stick skillet. Once cooked, remove the bacon pieces from the pan and drain on paper towels.
  2. Drain off some of the fat, leaving at least 2 tbsp behind. Add the onions, bell peppers, salt and pepper to the skillet. Cook until the vegetables have softened. Add the sweet potato to the skillet, then cover. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes, until sweet potato is softened. Stir in reserved bacon and thyme.
  3. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Omelet

Every day is national something day. I got a list from Janice of what this weeks days are, and was very intrigued by Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Omelet Day. (Strawberry Sundae Day was also pretty awesome, check out the sundae Janice made!)

Despite the heat I figured I could turn the stove on long enough to make an omelet and some filling for it. I had seen Ricardo make an omelet filled with bacon and fiddleheads that looked really good. It’s much too late for fiddleheads, but you can still find some pretty nice looking asparagus out there, so I subsituted some for the fiddleheads.

Since I made this for one, I won’t give out quantities but here is a list of ingredients and how I put it together. I will say that two eggs are more than enough for me.

Asparagus Bacon Omelet

  • Onion, diced
  • Aparagus, blanched then put in an ice water bath (an ice water bath actually sounds pretty good right now..)
  • Bacon, sliced
  • eggs
  • milk or water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cheddar cheese, grated
  • butter or oil for frying
  1. Cook bacon until almost done in a small pan over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté until onions are softened and the bacon is cooked. Add asparagus and cook until just reheated. Set aside.
  2. Whisk eggs with milk/water and salt and pepper. Heat oil or butter in a nonstick pan. Pour egg mixture into pan. When the edges are done, pour the filling onto one half of the omelet and then cover that with cheese. Fold the other half of the omlete over using a spatula.
  3. Enjoy!

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