The Perfect Food

11 Jan
Bacon. Do not argue with me. Good bacon is, in fact, PERFECT. My apologies to every Jew, everywhere (including my roommate) – your people missed the boat such salty, sweet (albeit unclean) goodness that my heart weeps for you every time I hear the word kosher. Though, my roommate is not actually kosher. She’s just nuts and dislikes the one food that can improve absolutely ANYTHING. However being the wonderful roommate she is, she has embraced my own love for bacon and allows me to gleefully cook with it in our apartment – which usually means she says something like, “Yes, you can cook that chicken corn chowder in the same pot you cooked the bacon in.” Additionally she bought me one of these for Christmakuh. SOOO tasty. I had previously enjoyed the milk chocolate and bacon bar from Vosges, but this dark chocolate bar was even better. Are you too a bacon enthusiast? Well, you’re in LUCK!

Cornbread (with heaps and heaps of tasty BACON!)

from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

Ingredients
1 cup polenta (very coarse cornmeal)
2 cups buttermilk
8 oz bacon (My favorite is applewood smoked)
1.75 cups all purpose flour
1.5 Tbsp baking powder
.25 Tsp. baking soda
1 Tsp. salt
.25 cup sugar
.25 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2.5 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 Tbsp bacon fat or vegetable oil
Step 1: The night before you want to bake your super tasty cornbread, soak the polenta in the buttermilk. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight, preferably leaving it somewhere where cats (if at home) or overexcited roommates, you know because you’re making something with bacon, (if in New York) could knock it over.
Soak, soak, soak!
Step 2: The next day, place bacon on a rimmed baking sheet in a 375 degree oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. (or you could fry it like a normal person if you are down 1 rimmed baking sheet)
Step 3: Once the bacon is done, remove it from the pan to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Reserve any bacon fat in a bowl. Once the bacon is cool, chop or crumble in small pieces.
Step 4: Lower oven temp to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Then stir in both sugars.
Getting whisked away.
Step 5: Lightly beat eggs in another bowl.
Step 6: In yet another bowl (sorry friends) dissolve the honey in the melted butter, and add it to the egg mixture. You can then add the egg mixture to the soaked polenta. Be sure to mix well.
Wow – appetizing.

Step 7: Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix. Finally add your corn kernels and you should be looking at this…

Step 8: Take 2 Tbsp. of your reserved bacon fat and put it in your baking pan. This was another recipe that called for the mysterious 10-inch round cake pan. Luckily Mr. Reinhart offered some alternatives which I DID have (stupid 10-inch round cake pan). So, if you are a NORMAL person like me you can use a 9×13 or a 12×12. Now – what were we doing? Right! Put the bacon fat in the pan, and put in the oven for 5-7 minutes.
Step 9: Remove your pan from the oven (USING OVEN MITTS! an empty pan is not always a cool pan). You can sort of move the pan about so that the fat coats it more evenly, and then add your batter and top with bacon!
Step 10: Cook for about 30 minutes or until it is firm and springy, says Reinhart. Maybe because I wasn’t using a magical 10-inch round cake pan but this DID NOT take 30 minutes. It took more like an hour using a 9×13 inch pan. Even using his criteria for doneness (temperature of 185), I thought it could have used a wee bit more time. But I was hungry…
Not enough bacon for ya?
Try some of these restaurants for some Bacon-y treats!
Washington, D.C. Co Co Sala: Their bacon mac and cheese comes with chocolate covered bacon!
New York City The Red Cat: BACON TEMPURA. That is all.
Houston, TX Shade: More bacon mac and cheese…

2 Responses to “The Perfect Food”

  1. rugsmith January 24, 2010 at 3:19 am #

    Bacon is good in meatballs too!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Be Still My Heart « Things My Roommate Makes - July 13, 2010

    […] Well, you’d knew I’d say that as I am a firm believer that bacon, is, in fact, the perfect food. Non-believers go elsewhere. Lovers of turkey bacon step aside (apologies to my own roommate). […]

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