Archive for the 'bacon treats' Category

07
Jul
11

Co Co Sala’s chocolate boutique

Walking back to the car after lunch at Ella’s, a Co Co Sala sign beckoned me and Mr. X-sXe: “Frozen Co Co.” It was 90+ degrees, and humid as a devil’s armpit. We dutifully went inside.

CoCo Sala opened a chocolate boutique adjacent to their main restaurant about a year ago. As we waited for our drink to be blended, we checked out the high-end goodies. “Chocolate-enrobed bacon,” read one sign. It brought back memories of the mac and cheese I’d had here a couple years ago, which came with a piece of said bacon. Although a little too chewy, it actually went well with the mac.

Finally, the frozen “co co” emerged. It’s made with ganache (chocolate + cream), ice, and chocolate shavings. Liquefied brownie meets Frappuccino. Delicious, yes. But if you’re looking for something light and refreshing on a hot summer day, this isn’t it.

While inside, Mr. X-sXe was taken by the fetching display of individual chocolates. Next thing you know, we walk out with a box of 4 for $10. At that price, it almost hurts to eat them. Our flavors were pistachio, lemon, co cojito, and banana ginger. While they were all good, I can only get so excited about filled chocolates. Doesn’t matter how high end they are—they always bring back memories of the Whitman’s samplers we’d get at the drugstore as kids (“I want the chocolate-covered cherry!”). Damn you for ruining filled chocolates for me, Whitman’s.

20
May
11

Pork belly donuts. Do you dare?

Dear U Street Music Hall: Your pork belly donuts take the pig-product-as-dessert trend too far.

Yes, I’m a fan of chocolate-covered bacon, bacon Rice Krispy treats, and even bacon-fat cookies. So why must I draw the line? Because pork belly is 90%+ chewy (ok, delicious) fat. But putting pig products like bacon, for example, in desserts works best when the fat has been rendered off so you’re only left with the crispy meat. That’s why I don’t enjoy Vosges’ bacon bar—it’s like eating chocolate-bacon gum. Why would anyone want to wrap their lips around a donut sandwich with a sizeable chunk of fat in it, unless they were training for the 2012 Olympics?

Mind you, I haven’t actually tried these so I’m just railing against the concept. It could be that:

Mushy donut + chewy pork belly fat = mouthful of greasy yeastiness.

OR

Fluffy donut + luscious pork belly slice = salty-sweet heaven.

But I’m probably not brave enough to find out.

07
May
11

Dessert truck NYC needs to come to DC

There’s something cool about getting really great food from a truck. Like, how do they cram so much tastiness into such a teeny space? How high-tech is the setup back there? And will I be able to track it down today? It’s all part of the mystique of the food truck.

Well, the Bobby Flay bread pudding throwdown has had me foaming at the mouth to try the Dessert Truck’s winning chocolate bread pudding. It was one of the food stops on my ever-growing list of places to try in NY. So on a recent business trip to NYC, I swung by to pick up something to bring home.

The bread pudding, which is less bread than pudding, comes with a bacon custard that’s just smoky enough. It wasn’t a gratuitous use of bacon in desserts, which was a relief. The pudding reminds me of the filling in dark chocolate lava cakes–pure liquid richness. This isn’t a dessert for people who don’t like dark chocolate.

Most bread puddings are too bread-y for me, but this one has barely enough bread chunks to give the dessert some texture. It’s really the perfect balance of bitter and sweet, bready and creamy.

These survived a 4+ hour trip from NYC to DC. Presentation suffered, but taste didn't.

Given how much I spent on a cab to/from the truck, I decided to try the creme brulee as well. This was creme brulee properly done, with tons of vanilla bean flecks bringing the flavor. Not as unique a taste combination as the bread pudding, but delicious nonetheless.

Was it worth the cab rides (that cost more than my desserts totaled), and the stress of wondering I’d make it back to Penn Station in time to catch the train? Definitely, yes.

Get the recipe for Dessert Truck’s bread pudding.

13
Feb
11

Bayou Bakery’s PorKorn

Bayou Bakery is a welcome addition to Arlington, sitting in the old spot where Camille’s used to be on North Courthouse Road. I went in for the sketchily named Muff-a-Lotta sandwich (one of my new favorite sandwiches, perhaps even trumping Taylor Gourmet’s 9th Street Italian) but as I went to pay, their dessert case beckoned.

I ended up taking home a bag of the PorKorn, since cupcakes and whoopie pies seem ubiquitous these days. There are few desserts that haven’t been touched by bacon in the past few years, including this take on caramel popcorn with pork drippings. It had a smoky, spicy kick, although the bacon bits were so hard, I was afraid I’d crack a tooth.

Every other table around me seemed to have a plate of beignets on them. Here they’re made to order, and you can get ’em full-on Cafe du Monde style with a mug of chicory coffee. Although I’m ambivalent about fried-dough desserts, they’re on my list for next time.

Tom Sietsema of The Washington Post may have been unimpressed by some of the savories here, but he pretty much dug all of the sweets he tried. Despite his lukewarm review, this place is definitely worth crossing over to NoVa (closest Metro: Court House).

22
Aug
10

Looks like boogers, but doesn’t taste like ’em

Unless boogers taste like vanilla ice cream with a caramel ribbon. This is but one of the out-there flavors currently on the menu at the Ice Cream Store in Rehoboth, DE.

The Ice Cream Store is known for offering at least a couple unusual flavors that rotate throughout the year. Luckily, no matter how unpalatable the flavor sounds, they still make it taste good.

Same can’t be said of Snow King, the ice cream place Pie and I went to years ago in Taipei. Known for their pigs’ feet ice cream, their disgusting flavors are unapologetically disgusting. We tried the sesame chicken and mustard flavors. They tasted exactly like what they were supposed to be. That was the problem. (Pie, the vegetarian, passed on the chicken. Good thing, because it left chicken in my teeth so I was eating it long after I was finished.)

PS: If you don’t know what “fluffy pork” is, ask a Chinese friend or just Google it.

Snow King menu. Via hungryintaipei.blogspot.com

29
Jul
10

The bacon-fat gingersnap recipe I’ve been meaning to try since 2005

I first came across this recipe in The New York Times in 2005 and remember being horrified yet intrigued. I don’t usually take procrastination to this extreme, but when does one have 3/4 cup bacon fat just lying around? Sure, I’ve made a few batches of chocolate-covered bacon in the years since, but that’s always using precooked bacon, which isn’t as fatty.

Since I was craving BLTs last weekend, I finally had a reason to cook up 1.5 pounds of bacon (doesn’t yield as much bacon as you’d think). I stuck the fat in a jar in the fridge (and at one point, in Pie’s face. Vegetarians don’t like it when you do that.), but let it come to room temperature before making the cookies later in the week.

Verdict? It’s a salty-sweet spice cookie with a touch of porcine goodness. I found the bacon flavor to be mild–not sure I would have noticed it if I didn’t know it was in there–but others found it pretty powerful (in a bad way).

A few modifications to the NYT recipe below:

  • I used a mixer to form the dough. Seemed to work as well as a food processor.
  • I doubled the amount of ginger powder but would add even more next time. That’s a personal preference–I like a mild bite from my gingersnaps. Taste the raw dough to gauge the spiciness, salmonella be damned.
  • The pieces on top were crystallized ginger (Ginger People). Read the label on the package to make sure they use baby ginger, or you could wind up with the super fibrous kind. Unless you’re serving your gingersnaps with a side of floss, you don’t want that.
  • If your bacon fry-up party doesn’t yield 3/4 cup bacon fat,  make up the rest with room-temperature butter.
  • Don’t use flavored bacon (e.g., apple- or maple-smoked). It’ll affect the taste. I used Trader Joe’s regular bacon.
  • Spread out your dough balls on the cookie sheet. Give ’em room.

Swedish Ginger Cookies

From The New York Times article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/04/style/t_h_2290_2291_talk_cookie_.html

Adapted from Nelle Branson in the “Trinity Episcopal Church Recipe Book,” 1982 edition. Bacon fat can be substituted with 1 1/2 sticks butter; for the authentic cookie, though, bacon fat is the key ingredient. Makes 40 cookies

3/4 cup bacon fat, cooled (from 1 1/2 to 2 pounds Oscar Mayer bacon)

1 cup sugar, plus 14 cup for dusting the cookies

4 tablespoons dark molasses

1 large egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine all ingredients. Spin until dough forms.

3. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for a few hours. Drop the dough in 1-tablespoon lumps on a cookie sheet, form into balls, roll in sugar, space 2 inches apart and press flat with fingers.

Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes until dark brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to finish cooling.

26
Jun
10

Chocolate-covered bacon 2.0

Party in your mouth? A cross-section of the chicharron chocolate bar with pork rinds.

Does hearing the words “chocolate-covered bacon” make you yawn? Then maybe it’s time to try the chicharron chocolate bar made with pork rinds from Xocolatl de David, if you can get a hold of one. These are hard to come by because they were made in limited quantities. (Food Network magazine describes the flavor as Nestle Crunch with a bacony twist.) But the Xocolatl de David online store did have a Raleigh Bar with bacon caramel on top of pecan chocolate nougat that you can order.


Via yumsugar.com