Invention of the summer

We’ve been trying to keep up with two zucchini plants all summer… zucchini bread galore, catch them before you have a softball bat on your hands, you know the drill. My friends Lark and Dan had served thin-sliced zucchini straight off the bar-b-que and sprinkled with smoked salt at a backyard dinner party last summer, and it was the inspiration for my Zucchini Bacon.

From the grill with love.

First off, let me assure you, it is more baconesque in shape than flavor, though with some smoked paprika and smoked salt, it does get into the salty savory neighborhood. The way to make it is to slice the squash into 1/16″ ribbons on a mandoline, and then just toss them with the above spices plus some olive oil. They take 2 or 3 minutes on the first side, and another minute or so on the other side. Pull them off the grill before they get too crispy, though the thin areas will start to brown nicely.

It wasn’t a huge hit with the kids, but it is nice because it is sliced so thin that most of the moisture evaporates out. The thing I’ve been using them on is sandwiches; it’s a nice additional flavor to a regular turkey or cheese sandwich. So there you have it… more bacon for you.


Bacon Jam: Stocking Stuffer Edition

I planned to swing by Skillet Diner and pick up a jar of Bacon Jam for my brother Alex’s stocking, but I realized that I could probably make it cheaper, and then I would have more to give away. A quick search got me this recipe, which looked pretty good, and I was off and running. It is basically equal parts bacon and onions, cooked down for hours and hours with garlic, coffee, brown sugar, maple syrup, and vinegar to round out the flavors.

So how does bacon jam taste, you may want to know. I won’t resort to the superlatives that the other blog did about this stuff, but I will say it’s pretty tasty. It won’t change your life, but it would definitely improve a burger. When it finished cooking at midnight or so, I decided to test it with an egg poached in plastic wrap (testing a breakfast I was planning for the family getaway) and it definitely satisfied that late-night fat- and salt-tooth that I could really do without. Alicia said it was sweeter than she expected, but it is called jam, after all.

A personal note and disclaimer on bacon: I am not usually one to want to wrap everything I see in bacon. We do have a freezer full of it from buying half a pig earlier this year, though, so access isn’t a problem. However, this month I not only made bacon jam as a stocking stuffer, I also brought bacon-chocolate-chip-pecan cookies to a Cookie Exchange Party. And when I noticed that I was almost out of Bacon Salt (a stocking stuffer I received – and secretly mocked – last year), I thought, “I wouldn’t mind more of that.” Hmmmm…. I may need to re-examine the cool distance I try to maintain from bacon-obsessed dudes who are weaving bacon baskets to hold a dozen pigs sculpted in foie gras (or other ridiculous things…).

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