Thursday, September 4, 2008

All About Bacon

So, I thought I'd take some pictures of the fabulous food I've been munching on this week and tell you a few of my favs. I took the 'All About Bacon' Class at Culinary Communion on Tuesday, so you can imagine how good that can be. If I was ever a vegetarian, which I was once for a year in college, it would be bacon or cured pork that would make me go back to eating meat. We did a blind bacon taste test of about 10 different kinds of the lovely pig and I found out that not all bacon is made equally. In fact, most of it is kind of yucky, or chemical tasting (especially Oscar Meyer, no surprise there.) The good stuff is really good though, and we used bacon from the pig that we saw slaughtered in January-- a very big, healthy, free range, organic piggy.

I made BLT panzanella with grilled shrimp and I will definitely be making this again. It's a great salad to have at a BBQ or for a potluck. It's got a few grilled baguettes, grilled shrimp, bacon lardons, heirloom tomatoes, arugula and some goat cheese. We used warm bacon fat for the dressing, which was awesome, and also useful since it's a by product of cooking up some good bacon or pancetta. Of course it has some vinegar for tang, and seasoned.

I also made grilled collard greens. Katie showed me a wonderful way to grill greens, which is one thing I have yet to throw on the grill. Basically you take your greens, de-stem them, and blanch them in very salty boiling water with a few tablespoons of fat added to the water (in this case we used bacon fat, or course). So after a few minutes of boiling, you take them out and shock them in ice water. Now they have this lovely layer of filmy fat on each leaf so you can stack them up neatly like a stack of paper and throw them on the grill in stacks of 10 or so. They get all charred on the outside and soft and tasy on the inside. Take them inside, salt them again if needed and sprinkle a little sherry vinegar on them, then cut into triangles. These are so good.

For desert we had a spicy chocolate bacon pecan pie and bacon baklava. SO MUCH BETTER than regular baklava. The salty bacon really makes that sweet, sticky baklava taste like heaven.

In addition, I went to Cafe Besalu this morning. A place I've been wanting to go for years and in our neighborhood as well! After waiting 15 minutes in line (which I don't ever do) for a nectarine croissant and a ham and cheese one as well, it was well worth it. This is officially the best French pastry shop in Seattle, ever better than Bakery Nouveau. Amazing. Like flaky butter, but not too flaky, somewhat substansial, with some of the best flavor and texture I've ever had in a croissant. I can't wait to go back.

Yes, I know I told you I was going to walk the half marathon. I am still going to do that. I also still like bacon and croissants from time to time.

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