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Dec 10, 2013

Cooking 109 ~ It's Bacon Baby!

Bacon was the star ingredient in my November cooking class so you can imagine how my house smelled during the few weeks leading up to the class, as I tested and created new recipes. Heaven....pure pig heaven! Someone should bottle that fragrance and then you could bathe your kids in it. Make em more loveable!

In planning the menu I decided to do dishes that traditionally go with bacon ~ but in an nontraditional way.
     What immediately came to mind was bacon and eggs, bacon and blue cheese, bacon and pecans, bacon and peanut butter, BLT, bacon and maple, bacon and chocolate, pretty much bacon and everything. With those ideas in mind I went a little bacon crazy.

Here was the menu:
Poached Quail’s Egg and Applewood Smoked Bacon
With Potato-Chive Bruniose

Brunoise is just a fancy word for a precision cut where the food is first julienned (cut into thin match sticks), then turned a quarter turn and diced again, producing tiny cubes with equal sides (about 1/8”). 
     I "brunoised" the potato, making it the perfect size to be served in a small spoon with the bacon, egg and chives.

This cut is mostly used as a garnish for Amuse Bouche, soups, or for fine salsas. Ingredients of various colors are most commonly used in a brunoise mix to create a striking effect. This cut can be used on any vegetable but it is significantly easier (and neater) when using firm ingredients such as onion, tomato, carrot, celery, parsnips, turnips and peppers. Go ahead and try it, you know you want to!

Just look at these perfectly poached quail's eggs
with smoky bacon, crispy potato bruniose
and garnished with chives!

I ripped this idea off of the great chef Thomas Keller of The French Laundry, which by the way is on my To-Do-Before-I-Die List. Mr. Keller does a turnip, carrot, and leek bruniose and serves it with bacon and a quail's egg. 
     Bacon and eggs made me think breakfast, so I went with a crispy potato-chive bruniose. It was delish and we had a blast cooking with the quail eggs and we loved how easy they were to handle, once poached. A tasty Amuse Bouche this dish does make! A little dab of Sriracha on top kicked it up a notch. 

Cracking a quail's egg is an art and Chef Linda was pretty much a natural.
Chef Lori....well let's just say she needs a little more practice!

  Blue Cheese and Bacon-Pecan Lollipops
For an appetizer I combined two of bacon's big cheese and pecans. Who wouldn't love a bacon sucker?  The picture below was when I was rolling them but I used actual sucker sticks for the class; I forgot to get a picture, but you get the idea. Better than dum-dums!

 Deconstructed BLT

The deconstructed BLT was basically a BLT turned salad, with a Dijon vinaigrette, served with a toasted slice of sourdough smeared with creamy goat's cheese and topped with a drizzle of olive oil and some cracked pepper.

Peanut Butter and Bacon Jam Sliders + Chipotle Mayo

Let's talk bacon jam. Bacon, bourbon and maple jam to be exact. This jam is pig gold and is great on a burger, a turkey sandwich, a piece of toast with a fried egg, or a turd. Anything, to be exact! If you haven't tried peanut butter on your burger yet, what are you waiting for?  It's better than ketchup ~ seriously! Add the bacon jam and some chipotle mayo and you will never eat a plain cheese burger again. 

Bacon-Maple-Bourbon Jam
 The Big Guy and Chef Maureen preparing to chow down on the slider and the BLT.

 Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Saltimbocca
Served on Champagne Spiked Spinach with Bacon Shards
A bacon class wouldn't be complete without a prosciutto dish so we did prosciutto wrapped chicken breasts, stuffed with sage and served with a lemony pan sauce. If you don't have prosciutto you could wrap the chicken with a couple of pieces of thin sliced bacon, so don't not try this dish because of the prosciutto. It's easy and tasty and looks impressive and the hubs will think you've been slaving away all day.
     We served ours on some wilted spinach that we spiked with champagne vinegar. Chef Scott fell down on the job and forgot the bacon shards and it wasn't until we were about finished eating that I noticed. We let it slide because he promised us all bacon martinis.  

(Note:  You don't have to use toothpicks to secure them...I usually don't but wanted to show how to secure them with the picks. If you do use picks, pull them out when the chicken is cooked on two sides, so you can brown them all the way around.)

 Chef Vicki knows that all of my recipes start out with, "1 cup of wine ~ for the cook."
Here she is, following instructions while cooking the Chicken Saltimbocca. 

We pulled out all the bacon stops for dessert. I made a chocolate mousse and added some chopped, crispy bacon and then topped it with a Crown Royal Maple Whiskey Whipped Cream. Since it's the holiday season and I was feeling generous, I shared some of my pig candy stash with the gang and garnished each mousse with a small piece.  
     Chef Scott made a bacon infused vodka and we finished the night with bacon martinis and a mega dose of Lipitor and then everyone made plans for an immediate angioplasty procedure. Next class:  TOFU. NOT!!!!! 

Bacon-Chocolate Mousse
with Maple Whiskey Crème and Pig Candy

For the Blue Cheese and Bacon-Pecan Lollipops, click right here or go the "Appetizers" page. For the Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Saltimbocca, click right here or go to the "Beef-Pork-Chicken" page. If you want any of the other recipes from this class let me know and I will post them. Now go make some bacon!


  1. I had sooo damn much fun. Can't wait until the next class! I even made the blog. How fun is that? I will never see bacon the same way again! And, the Big Guy is sooo entertaining and a great tasting partner! Thanks again're just so awesome!

    1. Thank you dahlink, I too had a blast. I look forward to look seeing you again at the next one!