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Thursday, October 9, 2008

10 Ways to Eat More Bacon

Elvis, Metallica—everybody loves it!

By Kathryn Hawkins

Metallica’s tour rider notes: BACON VERY IMPORTANT THAT BACON BE AVAILABLE AT EVERY MEAL AND DURING DAY. [Caps are theirs.] Yes, bacon sure does rock. It’s crunchy, salty, and incredibly versatile. What other ingredient could fill the needs of every meal, whether chopped and sprinkled on a salad, served fresh out of the frying pan alongside a platter of scrambled eggs and hash browns, or even made into a sweet-salty dessert? Or incorporated into one of these more unusual foods:

1. Maple-Bacon Lollipops. Courtesy of online retailer Lollyphile, they include generous chunks of bacon encased in a maple-syrup shell, delivering a full maple-syrup-drenched pancake-and-bacon breakfast in candy form.

2. Chocolate-Covered Bacon. There are chocolate-covered peanuts, chocolate-covered raisins, chocolate-covered pretzels—so why not chocolate-covered bacon? If you pass through Santa Cruz, California, stop by Marini’s on the Beach Boardwalk for its version, or try Mo’s Bacon Bar from Vosges Haut-Chocolat, featuring bits of applewood-smoked bacon and smoked salt immersed in a rich milk-chocolate bar.

3. Bacon Chocolate-Chip Cookies. Conceived of by Andrea Hockett, author of the blog Never Bashful with Butter, they include bacon chunks and a topping of maple frosting with a bacon garnish, and were an instant Internet hit. However, 10 percent of her readers, says Hockett, complained that the cookies “weren’t bacony enough.”

4. Bacon-and-Egg Ice Cream. One of the most memorable menu items at London’s triple-Michelin-starred restaurant the Fat Duck is the Smoked-Bacon-and-Egg Ice Cream, Tomato Jam, Salted Butter Caramel, Caramelized Brioche, and Tea Jelly—a complete English breakfast, deconstructed for dessert. If you feel compelled to try it at home, check out Chef Heston Blumenthal’s step-by-step video.

5. Chicken-Fried Bacon. At the Sodolak’s Original Country Inn in Snook, Texas, you can buy a steak twice the size of your head—but the true highlight is the appetizer platter of chicken-fried bacon. The bacon is dipped in seasoned batter and deep-fried, then served piping hot with a side dish of cream gravy. Check out this news report about the dish from Texas Country Reporter.

6. Bacon Vodka. If your cocktails seem a little lightweight, it might be time to meaten them up with some bacon-infused vodka. This intoxicating brew is easy enough to make at home with a few strips of cooked bacon and a bottle of store-bought vodka—visit the food blog Brownie Points for DIY directions—or if you’d rather imbibe on the town, bacon-flavored vodka is available at Baltimore’s Captain Larry’s Bar and Grill and Jake’s Dixie Roadhouse in Waltham, Massachusetts, where the liquor is used to beef up the popular Bloody Marys. Or try a bacon martini in Vegas or New Orleans.

7. Bacon-Wrapped Tofu. Food blogger Makiko Itoh of Just Hungry decided to bring the two ingredients together because she believed that “tofu was getting bashed too much, and bacon revered too much.” She wanted “to show how a marriage between the two could work.” Or try this: Next time you order a veggie burger in a restaurant, get it topped with bacon—what we like to call “The Hypocrite.”

8. Fool’s Gold Loaf. This specialty from the late Colorado Gold Mine Restaurant features an entire loaf of Italian bread hollowed out and filled with peanut butter, grape jelly, and a full pound of fried bacon. The loaf technically serves 8 to 10 people—but its most famous fan, Elvis, would often chow down on the 42,000-calorie sandwich alone, as a midnight snack. Serious Eats has the recipe.

9. Bacon-Wrapped Tater Tots. Get your fix of meat and potatoes in the same bite with these delicious snacks from the ode-to-all-things-bacon blog Bacon Unwrapped. Blogger Heather Lauer’s rendition features wild boar bacon, but the traditional variety should work just as well.

10. BLT Salad in a “Bacontainer.” Bacon is more than a simple ingredient: It can also serve as a bowl, as in this creative dish from Megan Reardon of the DIY blog Not Martha. In devising her dish for a fellow food blogger’s bacon potluck party, Reardon wrapped raw bacon around the bottoms of muffin tins and baked them in the oven, then filled the bacon cups with a lettuce-and-tomato salad. Although she received many suggestions for other fillers, such as eggs, potato salad, and meatloaf, “I’m a little afraid that anything other than a salad veers dangerously into territory otherwise reserved for KFC Famous Bowls and deep-fried things you can find at county fairs,” she says.