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Bacon Flambé and Gold Lamé

September 8, 2011

Note: The soundtrack for today’s post can be found here.

If I’m lighting fires in my kitchen on purpose, summer must be over.

In summer I don’t even like brewing hot coffee, and coffee is critical for my survival. Yesterday I made my first hot pour-over of the season, using the tried and true Intelligentsia Coffee method. I’m also back to making brown rice by boiling it in a large and open cauldron of water for half an hour.

So, yeah. I lit some bacon on fire. On purpose. It was one of those things that just felt right at the time. And let me tell you, it was delicious.

First this was no ordinary bacon. I’m very fortunate to have a friend who makes her own bacon and solicits local chefs to help her in the effort. Albany Jane picked up some Berkshire pork belly from Adventure in Food Trading, cured it herself, hot smoked some of it and gave the rest to chef Christopher Tanner to cold smoke.

And thanks to my old friend LH, I have a vacuum sealer and what still seems to be a lifetime supply of bags. So none of this precious bacon goes to waste.

I think this is what they mean when they say it takes a village.

Anyhow, last night was just another weeknight stir-fry of non-GMO tofu and the seasonal vegetable of the week. In this case it was my mother-in-law’s homegrown string beans. It’s all fried up in my favorite peanut oil, a bit of fresh garlic and ginger, and finished in a pungent black bean sauce, enriched with chicken stock and brightened with dry vermouth.

Wanting to punch it up a bit and add a bit of meat, I thought of adding some bacon and recalled one crazy thick end-slice I cut from Albany Jane’s slab of the cold-smoked stuff. This got diced, fried up and put to the side.

The stir-fry was already salty, and I thought it could use a little sweet to balance it out a bit.

I glanced over and noticed the new bottle of brandy sitting next to the stove. Mrs. Fussy asked me to pick it up at the store so I could soak some dried sour cherries in the stuff for her Manhattans. And that’s when it hit me.

Have you ever made Bananas Foster?

The great thing about learning a cooking technique is that once you have picked up the fundamentals, you can apply it to just about anything. Bananas Foster isn’t substantially different from Crepes Suzette. You have something in a hot pan, add some fat, caramelize an equal amount of sugar, pour in some booze, stand back, and ignite.

If you can do it with bananas and crepes, you can do it with bacon. So I did.

And you know what? It totally worked. Besides putting on a stunning display of pyrotechnics in the kitchen, adding the sweet and smoky bacon totally brought balance to the dish. It’s not exactly the kind of thing one would expect to be served over brown rice. But then again in the early 1990s I never would have expected They Might Be Giants to become a children’s music powerhouse.

Just in case you were wondering Little Miss Fussy ate a bite of brown rice, a couple bites of tofu, most of her string beans, and all of her bacon. Young Master Fussy wasn’t all that hungry since he had half a peanut butter sandwich an hour before dinner.

No dessert for either of them last night. But, given what I made for dinner, that probably was for the best.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Ellen Whitby permalink
    September 8, 2011 9:12 am

    Is there no limit to what you can do? I’m impressed. Nice background music, too.

  2. September 8, 2011 10:21 am

    TMBG have new grown up CD out now…..good stuff!

  3. September 8, 2011 5:16 pm

    Y’know, you made my day just with the entry title. Bacon flambé will turn your brain around? Awesome. :)

  4. September 9, 2011 12:21 pm

    Yum. I’m far too lazy and lack the equipment to make my own bacon but it sounds delicious. Add sugar and flambe? Even better, I am sure.

    Now where does the gold lame come in? The picture in my head is most scandalous…

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