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bacon David Chang Japanese Momofuku

Bacon Agedashi Tofu

David Chang will be the first to admit that both he and his Momofuku restaurants (Noodle Bar, Ssam, Ko) are overhyped and overexposed. The release of the Momofuku cookbook last month isn’t helping matters much since he’s making the rounds promoting the book around the country, and he’s actually doing book signings in the Bay Area through the weekend. I received the Momofuku cookbook a few days after Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home, and both books are the only things I’ve been reading since—aside from the Internet, of course. :)

(See EatMeDaily.com for great reviews of both books: Momofuku | Ad Hoc at Home)

Bacon Agedashi TofuBacon Agedashi Tofu, inspired by the Momofuku cookbook.

The first recipe in the Momofuku book that really got my attention was the bacon dashi. In the book, Chang says that when Noodle Bar first opened, he had a hard time finding good katsuobushi (smoked bonito) to make traditional dashi, the seaweed and fish broth that’s the foundation of Japanese cuisine. Chang started looking at other options to replicate the katsuoboshi’s smoky flavor, and good ol’ American bacon was the natural choice. Making the bacon dashi is pretty easy, and the final product looks and tastes like regular dashi but with a hint of smoky bacon flavor. It can be used in any application that calls for a regular dashi, and the first thing I thought of was one of my favorite dishes, agedashi tofu (fried tofu in broth).

For the broth, a.k.a. tentsuyu, I started by warming one cup of bacon dashi in a small sauce pan and added about three tablespoons each of shoyu (soy sauce) and mirin (sweetened rice wine). I did this to taste, but it should be salty and smoky with a hint of sweetness.

Butterfly a block of firm tofu and separate the two halves. Cut the tofu into rectangles and dry them for about 10 minutes on paper towels. Gently dredge the dried tofu in potato starch or cornstarch and fry them in 350F oil until they’re light golden brown. In a separate pan, fry up some finely chopped bacon until crispy. Chop up a stalk or two of green onions and grate some brown onions. Normally, you’d finish off agedashi tofu with grated daikon, but I didn’t have any on hand. Using onions did keep the dish a bit more on the American side and provided a similar texture to what grated daikon would have provided.

To serve, place three pieces of fried tofu in small bowl. Ladle enough sauce into the bowl so that half of the tofu is still exposed. Top with grated onion, chopped green onion and crispy bacon.

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bacon Filipino musings recipes

Bacon-Wrapped Lumpia with Alfie the Lumpia Queen

My homegirl Alfie has been experimenting with lumpia lately and recently started wrapping them in bacon. Yes, that’s right…bacon-wrapped lumpia. It started with turkey bacon, but Alfie was apprehensive about whether or not real smoky pork bacon would work or not. I told her to go for it since I don’t acknowledge the existence of turkey bacon (I feel the same way about turkey SPAM also).

bacon-wrapped lumpia
Yes…that’s bacon-wrapped Lumpia.

Anyway, I wish I was back in L.A. to be one of Alfie’s tasters, and the more you read about Alfie’s Lumpia Project, you’ll wish you were one too.

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bacon OMG recipes sandwiches

Peanut Butter and Bacon Sandwich

When my group leader at work told me that she made it through college by eating peanut butter and bacon sandwiches, I was immediately intrigued.


Peanut Butter and Bacon sandwich

My version was made with Niman Ranch bacon and some Trader Joe’s organic crunchy peanut butter. It was really good, but I really want to try this with some creamy Skippy….you know, for that true “after-school snack” vibe.

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bacon entertainment musings pork

The Bacon Flowchart

I found this on Flickr, but don’t know its origins. Anyway, that doesn’t matter. Just click on the picture so you can read it.

It’s funny.

I swear.

Bacon Flowchart, originally uploaded by ChrisL_AK.
Categories
bacon Italian recipes

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

A couple months ago, my friend Steph asked me what was in Spaghetti all’Amatriciana, which just so happens to be one of my favorite Italian dishes. The minimalist combination of tomato sauce, fried pancetta and chili flake tossed with noodles (usually spaghetti or bucatini) is comfort food at its simplest and best.


Bucatini All'Amatriciana

I first fell in love with Amatriciana when it was a regular menu item at Buca di Beppo, the chain of kitschy, obnoxious, family-style Italian-American restaurants. I would have been happy replicating something similar to that version, but I was extremely pleased to see that Babbo Ristorante, the flagship of Mario Batali’s restaurant empire, had posted their recipe online.


Italian Tomato Starter Sauce

Mainly due to laziness and because guanciale is not the readily available at Safeway, I took a few liberties with the ingredients. I picked up a box of Trader Joe’s Italian Tomato Starter Sauce, which I felt was basic enough to use instead of making a batch of tomato sauce as outlined in the original recipe. I also picked up some chopped pancetta because I couldn’t find whole or sliced pancetta. You can substitute bacon in a pinch, but you’ll get a much bolder flavor than intended. (which can be good or bad depending on how you look at it…) I used bucatini (thick round noodle with a hole in it) for this attempt, but my wife’s not a big fan of bucatini, so next time I do this, I’ll just use regular spaghetti.

Overall, this dish was really easy to make and the final results were great. If you’re not into spicy food, then adjust the amount of chili flakes to taste. Also, the Trader Joe’s Starter Sauce is a shortcut I’ll gladly take when making this dish again.

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bacon hot dog recipes street food

The Bacon Hot Dog

Memorial Weekend is one of the most patriotic American holidays, so when we decided to have some friends over yesterday, I decided that I wanted to make bacon hot dogs. My friends don’t normally eat street food, so I thought I’d bring street food to them, and seriously, what’s more American than bacon and hot dogs? Truth be told, the bacon hot dog has its roots as street food in Mexico, but it also has a strong cult-like following in California. You can even get arrested for selling bacon hot dogs in L.A. as I’ve discussed here and here.


Bacon Hot Dogs

We normally have Niman Ranch thick-cut bacon in the fridge, but I got a tip from a friend that cheap bacon works better for this purpose because it’s thinner and easier to wrap around the hot dog. It also doesn’t add extra girth to the hot dog that would prevent the bun from closing.

I ended up using Oscar Meyer bun-length hot dogs and Bar S bacon. Next time, I’m going to try a different brand of bacon because the Bar S bacon didn’t have a very strong flavor. Otherwise, it was very easy to wrap the bacon around the hot dog. Simply wrap the bacon around itself at the end of the hot dog to hold it in place and then move down diagonally until the rest of the hot dog is covered. The process reminded me of regripping my tennis rackets back in the day.


Bacon Hot Dogs

I also had some meat glue (i.e. Activa TG-RM or transglutaminase) on hand, so I made a slurry and I brushed it on the hot dogs before wrapping them with bacon and refrigerating them to let the “glue” set. If you have access to some Activa, by all means use it.

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bacon Best of Inuyaki eggs sandwiches

The B.E.P. (Bacon, Egg & Pepper Jack)

When I walked in the door tonight, my brilliant wife presented me with this amazing sandwich of fried egg topped with two slices of bacon and melted Pepper Jack cheese on a Dutch Crunch roll.


The B.E.P.

My wife grilled the inside of the bread with some butter, filled it with the bacon, eggs and cheese, and then put it in the toaster oven to melt the cheese and toast the bread. She made the whole thing up on the fly, but it was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. Bacon and eggs are a given, but I really loved the spicy kick from the Pepper Jack.

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bacon dessert recipes

With Warm Weather on the Horizon…

I’m definitely trying David Lebovitz’s recipe for Candied Bacon Ice Cream. Here’s a little tease…I only hope mine comes out looking this good.


BACON   ice cream

Then again, why wait for warm weather? Maybe I’ll make some this week! :-)

Categories
bacon Best of Inuyaki hot dog musings Southern California street food

The Los Angeles Bacon Hot Dog War

I had my very first bacon dog right on Hollywood Blvd. I walked out of a taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live! and this amazing smell overcame me, and I said, “Goddamn! What smells so good?” This guy on the stairs pointed me toward this woman selling bacon-wrapped hot dogs from a sidewalk cart. Let’s just say that I bought and devoured one immediately.


Bacon Hot Dog Cart

Folks in San Francisco may want to claim the bacon dog cart (above) as their own because they’re pretty popular with weekend drunks leaving bars and clubs after 10pm in the Mission District. The truth is, bacon-wrapped hot dogs really belong to L.A., and you can get them from lunchtime till the wee hours of the morning (if you know where to look).

But things are not good for the bacon hot dog cart vendors in La-La Land. The L.A. Weekly recently chronicled the plight of hot dog vendors in L.A., who are now forbidden from using bacon AND grilling their hot dogs. (Boiling and steaming are the only acceptable cooking methods.)

Sound ridiculous?

They’ve actually jailed hot dog vendors like Elizabeth Palacios, who is featured in the article, for selling grilled bacon hot dogs. Palacios once served 45 days for health code violations, a sentence she said was orchestrated to “make an example” of her.

From the article:

“Honestly, I can tell you, I’ve been a working person all my life, I’ve worked since I was 9 years old,” Palacios says. “I don’t like being bothered, I don’t like being arrested. Never in my life had I been to jail, and they threw me in jail for violating the laws of the health department.”

There’s also a racial element to this story as the City of Los Angeles tries to revitalize and gentrify the downtown area and likely considers it in their best interests to “clean up” downtown for future investment and development.

“They told me, ‘The mayor wants to make this area like New York, Times Square,’ but I told them, ‘Who told him we want that? The people who come here are not like that.’ Ninety-nine percent of the people here are mexicanos. Here, you don’t really see americanos. One or two,” she says. “Why are they coming now to get us out of here? Why the abuse? Why the abuse?”

What’s worse is that while licensed hot dog vendors see the business suffer due to the restrictions, fees, and threats placed on them by overzealous city health inspectors, police and gangs, they have to watch their customers flock to the illegal bacon hot dog carts that have flourished since the ban, serving a customer base that probably doesn’t care where they come from…they just want their bacon dogs.

Will there ever be justice for the L.A.’s bacon hot dog vendors?

UPDATE: Drew Carey joins the fight.

Categories
bacon musings OMG

Oh, Hell No: Vol. 2…

Canned bacon isn’t nearly as disturbing as the Cheeseburger in a Can, but it seems just as pointless. I mean, how could this be better than picking up some fresh bacon from the store?


Canned Bacon

According to canned-bacon.com, Celebrity Foods released this product in Hungary almost 20 years ago, and it was discontinued by K-Mart in the United States around 10 years ago. They also have a 20-year-old can of their own that they decided to open so they can duplicate the concept for a new product they’re developing.

We’ve tried other forms of packaged, pre-cooked bacon, and they’ve been good, but not better than freshly fried bacon. I’m not really sure if I’d give canned bacon a try, especially if it’s 20 years old, but there is room for it on our shelf next to the SPAM.