A foggy Saturday and Bacon Brussels

I remember how gorgeous the sun was when I woke up around 9:00am yesterday. I was happy to see it was a beautiful day. Gen woke up about 20 minutes later, came and sat beside me and commented on the crazy fog outside. Without looking, I asked him if he had his contacts in because it was gorgeous out. Well, I was wrong, in that short time a billow of fog had rolled in. It lasted for maybe an hour before the day was glorious, warm, and bright again.

In the early afternoon I wandered over to the store, enjoying the warm sun and light breeze. I felt energized and excited to be out, feeling like spring was on the horizon. Our good friends, Heather and Tobias, came over around 3:oopm for some Minecraft and around 4:00pm we noticed that the buildings down the street had once again begun to disappear. The fog came in fast and thick, completely blinding our view of a building a block and a half away, the cranes across the street, and started to obscure the building right next to us. We could literally see wisps of fog, like smoke, blowing towards us. Huddled on the balcony, it felt like a completely different season from my earlier jaunt outside. It was the most intense fog that I’ve experienced in my year and a half in the city. It was eerie, but totally beautiful. We stood on the balcony taking pictures like tourists as buildings disappeared from view.

This is a construction site across the street.

This is a construction site across the street.

Anyway, you can imagine that the cold and the dream-like fog put me in a cozy mood. I wanted to make up a delicious dinner that would make me feel like curling up by the fireplace dvd playing on the tv. So steak was on the menu with a delicious bacon, butter, and Brussels sprouts side. These were absolutely simple and delicious, though I will forever love my cream-braised sprouts.

BaconSprouts

These could easily be made vegetarian with the use of some tempeh bacon (yum!) and vegan with non-dairy butter/margarine. The caramelization of the sprouts with the saltiness of the bacon and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar makes this dish a nicely balanced bite.

Bacon Brussels Sprouts

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 strips bacon, chopped (substitute tempeh bacon for a vegetarian treat)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 lbs Brussels sprouts (one of those great bags from Costco), trimmed and halved
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a wide pan over medium heat, cook your bacon until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to set aside the bacon pieces, reserving the bacon fat in the pan. If you are using tempeh, reserve the oil needed from cooking.
  2. Add the butter and melt.
  3. Add the sprouts and stir to coat with butter and bacon grease. Cook over medium-high heat for 8 minutes, stirring once to brown the sprouts. You want to get some good colour on the sprouts, don’t be afraid of darkness.
  4. Add the salt and pepper, stir to coat. When the sprouts are tender add the bacon, stir to combine and serve with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
This is my trimming setup. I dump all the sprouts into one  strainer or bowl, the empty bag in the sink, and use my awesome nicely sharp knife to quickly cut the bottoms, remove any bad leaves, and cut them in half.

This is my trimming setup. I dump all the sprouts into one strainer or bowl, the empty bag in the sink, and use my awesome nicely sharp knife to quickly cut the bottoms, remove any bad leaves, and cut them in half.

Browned, baconed, and ready to stir and serve.

Browned, baconed, and ready to stir and serve.

The infamous Bacon Jam (or Bacon Marmalade), we don’t fool around when it comes to bacon

Bacon Jam! I feel like not much more needs to be said. This is a smoky, savoury, caramelized treat. The appetizer we made from the bacon jam was inspired by a President’s Choice advertisement/recipe based on their Bacon Marmalade product. The appetizer construction was easy and delicious, but truly this bacon jam can be appreciated anywhere, on a sandwich, on crackers, with a spoon, with your fingers.

We made this for the party for Dad yesterday and it was a hit. I’ve been contracted to make a batch for one of our good friends, on the condition that he brings me the pound of bacon needed.

Bacon Jam

Recipe very slightly adapted from Dinner with Julie

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb (one package) good-quality bacon
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee (hot or cold)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Roughly chop the bacon and cook it in a large pan; transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon, draining off most of the drippings.
  2. Saute the onion and garlic cloves in the remaining drippings for 5 minutes, until soft and starting to turn golden.
  3. Return the bacon to the pan, add the brown sugar, coffee, maple syrup, and vinegar and cook over medium-low heat for half an hour, or until deep golden (mine was more bacon coloured… deep, rich browny red) and thickened to the consistency of jam.
  4. Serve warm on toast, sandwiches, crackers, etc. Or, follow the directions below for a delicious appetizer.
Bacon Jam Appetizers
  • a baguette
  • two pears
  • white cheddar
  • fresh or dried thyme
  • bowl of fresh bacon jam
  1. Slice a baguette and lay the slices out on a baking sheet, drizzle lightly with olive oil.
  2. Toast the slices in an oven set to 350┬░F for 10 minutes, or until crispy and slightly golden.
  3. Thinly slice your cheddar and place on the baguette slices.
  4. Put the tray back in the oven to melt the cheese and further toast the baguettes.
  5. Dollop some bacon jam on each slice and top with a slice of pear and a sprinkle of thyme.

Step-by-step

  1. Roughly chop the bacon and cook it in a large pan; transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon, draining off most of the drippings.

    Not roughly chopped, so much as evenly chopped.

  2. Saute the onion and garlic cloves in the remaining drippings for 5 minutes, until soft and starting to turn golden.

    Onions, bacon, garlic.

  3. Return the bacon to the pan, add the brown sugar, coffee, maple syrup, and vinegar and cook over medium-low heat for half an hour, or until deep golden (mine was more bacon coloured… deep, rich browny red) and thickened to the consistency of jam.

    Jamming out!

  4. Serve warm on toast, sandwiches, crackers, etc. Or, follow the directions below for a delicious appetizer

    Preliminary bacon jam testing.