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Category: 1,001 things to do with bacon

Bacon: Key to longevity?

Gertrudebaineskenhively 

Forget an apple a day. The world's oldest person loves her bacon . . . and she wants it crispy.  According to today's Huffington Post, Gertrude Baines, who turned 115 this past Monday, "owes her longevity to the Lord, that she never did drink, she never did smoke and she never did fool around." Oh, and she likes crispy bacon.

Well if it's good enough for Gertrude Baines, it's good enough for me.  This comes in as No. 30 on my list of 1,001 Things to Do With Bacon. For the rest of the list, follow the jump.

— Noelle Carter

Photo credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

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Chicken-fried bacon. It's what's for dinner. Or snacks. Or dessert. Or ...

Chixbacon1 

So last Friday I finally made some chicken-fried bacon. At work (one of the perks of working in a test kitchen). I'd blogged about chicken-fried bacon earlier, and it came in as No. 17 on my list of 1,001 things to do with bacon.

The results? Love. At first bite.

Of course, the wonderful aroma of frying bacon tends to spread quickly, and within minutes the Test Kitchen was packed with people from throughout the building eager to help me "test" the recipe. (There was literally a logjam outside the door at one point.) Luckily, I  had enough ingredients to make a rather large batch of the bacon, and a big bowl of creamy ranch dip.

Most "testers" were quiet as they sampled the bacon — they simply closed their eyes and nodded their heads in agreement. Others were able to put their reactions into words. "This makes my whole body smile!" said Chris Erskine gleefully as he tore into a second strip.

Chixcarrots Now, if you've been following the latest string of bacon posts, you know that the Health section is located smack-dab against the Test Kitchen, right next to Food. And Health Editor Tami Dennis has been ... well ... frustrated at all the wonderful bacon goings-on in her midst.

So I wanted to make it up to her. I sliced a large carrot lengthwise on a mandoline into thin strips resembling ... bacon. And then I chicken-fried it. I plated it nicely and brought it to her with a cute little bowl of the dipping sauce.

Tami inhaled it. And then came in the Kitchen for seconds. So maybe bacon doesn't work for everyone, but chicken-fry a vegetable and you might even have a Health editor clamoring for more.

Anyway, the chicken-fried bacon — and carrots — were a success. My take on the wonderful dish follows the jump.

— Noelle Carter

Photo credits: Noelle Carter / Los Angeles Times

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Love bacon? Blame it on chemistry ...

Bacon-strip 

Or the Maillard reaction, to be exact.

The Daily Telegraph explains the science — yes, science — behind bacon's undeniable appeal. Apparently, it's the Maillard reaction at work, "a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar which often requires heat. The acid and sugar react to release a huge amount of smells and flavours," writes Alastair Jamieson in today's article.

Translation? When you cook bacon, the reaction between the fat and amino acids in the meat release smells and flavors that are almost impossible to resist.

Well, at least I now have some science to back me up next time I go on a shameless bacon binge.

That brings me to No. 29 on my list of 1,001 things to do with bacon: Blame it on science.

— Noelle Carter

Click below for the rest of the list.

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Here's to your health, bacon haters!

Martini 

The Health section of the L.A. Times is located smack dab in the middle of the Food section. (Someone with a sense of humor obviously devised the seating plan.) The setup means that all day long, Health section editor Tami Dennis and her colleagues have to listen to the Food section writers and editors talking about, well, food. And not necessarily the healthy kind.

Tami has been aghast at Times Test Kitchen Manager Noelle Carter's bid to come up with 1,001 things to do with bacon, starting with the candied bacon martinis, picture above. But it was Noelle's latest endeavor — candied bacon ice cream — that spurred Tami to take action, as you can see here.

In our defense, Tami, we preach a policy of all things in moderation. Why, this week alone, we printed a recipe for Gigantes (oven-baked white beans), which are just 249 calories per serving, including just 7 grams of fat and 11 grams of fiber. (Shouldn't that make them happy? Don't those health types like fiber?) And as you can see, we do plenty of salad recipes. (Those health types like salad too, right?)

In the meantime Tami, consider this an invite: We hope you are free Friday, because Noelle is planning on upping the ante. That's right. We're making deep-fried bacon. With bleu cheese dressing. For dipping. We don't have a definite time yet. But you'll know when it's ready — you'll be able to smell it.

— Rene Lynch

Photo credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Bacon: Put it in ice cream

Bacon4 David Leibovitz's story in this week's Food section, "31 Flavors? Think Outside the Carton, Homemade Ice Cream Lovers," definitely fires up the imagination when it comes to the wonderful world of ice cream, what with flavors like buckwheat and carrot cake.

But what really piqued my interest was a recipe from his blog, David Leibovitz: Living the Sweet Life in Paris. The former Chez Panisse pastry chef and author of "The Perfect Scoop" has a recipe for candied bacon ice cream.

Yes. Candied bacon ice cream.

And yes. I had to try it. Couldn't help myself.

Truly amazing! The ice cream has a thick custard base sweetened with brown sugar, with just a little extra flavoring from rum or whiskey (we chose whiskey) and vanilla (you've also got the option of adding a little ground cinnamon for added spice). Churn the base until it's almost frozen, then fold in some chopped fresh candied bacon and freeze. The results? Perfection.

Try it on its own or be creative. David suggests adding the candied bacon bits to homemade coffee ice cream or even avocado ice cream. I'm thinking next time I might just scoop a little of this goodness over a nice, hot waffle with a drizzle of maple syrup. Redefine breakfast a little.

In the meantime, this gets No. 27 on my list of 1,001 things to do with bacon.

Click below for more.

— Noelle Carter

Photo: Noelle Carter

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Who could possibly upstage bacon? That would be Padma Lakshmi

Really, what else is there to say. Just watch the video. There's no doubt that "Top Chef's" Padma Lakshmi will drive more than a few vegetarians to reconsider their no-meat stance. (Padma, you may recall, earned a spot on our list of 1,001 things to do with bacon. Click below for the list.)

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Makin' bacon — and making sardines palatable

CharcuterieTimes staff writer Jason Song's piece last week about taking on the Food Stamp Challenge was a hit with readers — it was one of the most viewed and e-mailed stories of the week — and generated plenty of reader e-mail. Almost all of it asked Jason about his recipe for making bacon. Here's Jason's response:

Since many readers have asked for the homemade bacon recipe, here it is, adapted from “Charcuterie” by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn:

5 pounds of pork belly, skin on

The cure

2 ounces (50 grams) of kosher salt (about ¼ cup)

2 teaspoons (12 grams) pink salt (a preservative, not the Hawaiian kind. It’s available via mail order or from specialty stores like Nicole’s in South Pasadena)

¼ cup (50 grams) maple sugar or packed dark brown sugar

¼ cup (60 milliliters) maple syrup

Mix the dry cure ingredients together, then add syrup. Rub the mixture over the meat and put it skin side down in a plastic bag slightly bigger than the meat and put it in the refrigerator for a week. Turn it over every day. Remove the meat from the bag and rinse clean, then pat dry. Put it back into the refrigerator on a rack over a baking sheet and let it dry for 12 to 24 hours. Smoke until it reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees. Remove the skin while the meat is hot. (Discard skin, or cut into pieces and save for other uses.) Let the bacon cool, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

I happen to have a smoker, but if you don’t have one, you can bake the meat at low heat.

I buy my pork belly at 99 Ranch where it’s frozen and is pretty cheap. The meat can be a bit fatty, but it is pork belly, so what do you expect.

You can also mail-order meat from places like Heritage Foods, http://www.heritagefoodsusa.com/, which has a variety of pork breeds. I’ve had Heritage Farm pork belly and while it’s expensive — $85 for 9 pounds — it’s amazing.

During the Food Challenge I also ate a lot of sardines because I read a book called “Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood” by Taras Grescoe. Sardines are cheap and good for you and the environment. I would put them on fresh baked bread, but my wife refused to eat them.

Photo credit: Courtesy of W.W. Norton & Co.

Is bacon over? Don't think so

Picture_2_2 According to the recent "R.I.P Baconmania" video from Win Rosenfeld over at "The  Big Money," the bacon phenomenon is dead. Over. Done.

Well, I don't think so.

Especially not when -- just a few days later -- you hear about Padma Lakshmi hawking the Bacon Western Thickburger for Hardee's, as reported by People.com.  Lakshmi, better known for hosting Bravo's hit series "Top Chef," was directed in a new commercial for the burger chain by Chris Applebaum (Applebaum gave us Paris Hilton in that memorable commercial for Carl's Jr., Hardee's sister chain).

Bacon dead?  Nah.

Which brings me to No. 26 on my list of 1,001 things to do with bacon: Use Padma to sell bacon burgers... and convert bacon's unbelievers.

Click below to find the rest of the list so far.

-- Noelle Carter

Web grab from EW.com.

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Sweden gets its first bacon pillow

Pillowonchair2

I was chatting up the guys over at Bacon Today this afternoon, and they mentioned they sold their first bacon pillow to someone in Sweden. Yes, a bacon pillow!  Yes, Sweden!

Also referred to as "Stuffed Bacon," this red-and-white fleece creation is about the size of a standard pillow, all soft and fuzzy and bacon-y at the same time!

And as of this writing, I'm told pillows were sold this afternoon to Canada and Australia too. It truly is a small, bacon-loving world.

Sweet bacon dreams, everyone!  This is No. 26 on my list of "1,001 things to do with bacon."

— Noelle Carter

The rest of the list:

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The Bacon Explosion

Bacon fanatic? You've no doubt heard of the Bacon Explosion, a bacon roll combining two pounds of bacon (woven and crispy) wrapped in and around two pounds of Italian sausage, with a little barbecue rub and sauce thrown in for added flavor.

It's the brainchild of Kansas City barbecuers Jason Day and Aaron Chronister, and since its original posting on their site, www.bbqaddicts.com, it's become one of the hottest recipes on the Internet.

Not a bacon fanatic... yet? Well, check it out: The Bacon Explosion is on the cover of today's New York Times Dining & Wine section, and as of this posting is the No. 1 e-mailed story on their site.

Don't know about you, but I'm thinking Super Bowl fare right about now....

The Bacon Explosion is No. 25 on my list of "1,001 things to do with bacon." For the rest of the list, check below:

--Noelle Carter

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