welcome to the year of the pig ! oink oink ! and oink !
people with chinese roots , from new york city to shanghai to singapore are ringing in the new year 4705 by feasting on traditional chinese new year foods such as whole steamed fish (for abundance), a whole chicken (prosperity) black moss seaweed (for wealth) , long noodles (long life) and oysters (for good business). (avoid unlucky white foods like tofu because white represents death). other chinese new year lucky foods are small round rice cakes because their shape resembles coins, tangerines (luck) and oranges (gold). normally , chinese new year foods are not very porky, but then you know what this year is ………
me, i’m crunching happily on bacon brittle, my new 4705 favorite snack. what is bacon brittle ? … that old commercial for reese’s peanut butter cups comes to mind, about how peanut butter accidently bumped into chocolate one day and a classic was created. well , bacon brittle is basically a pecan praline that slept with a slab of bacon, then had a smoke , only it was no accident ! this was a pre-meditated pigasm inducing wicked handiwork of bacon loving pastry chef tracy dempsy who worked at the cowboy ciao restaurant and was challenged by her meat crazed husband to come up with a meat dessert, although peter kaspersky, owner of the cowboy ciao restaurant in scottsdale, az is usually given the credit for it (see comment below).
bacon brittle is insanely pigtastic !!! notice those smoky bacon bits studding the sweet buttery brittle , embedded with pecans. pecan pralines are a southern confection and is delicious in its own right. but some mad bacon addled evil genius fried up some of the smokiest bacon , and it’s the saltiness and deeply intense smoky bacon flavor permeating the sweet melting praline/brittle that makes this bacon brittle positively addicting. don’t say i didn’t warn you ……..
the grateful palate is the only pusher …… i mean mail order catalog where you can purchase this porcine crack. (well it is brittle and it does crack) ..(but it’s legal) my palate is indeed grateful to the owner dan philips, who obsessively tastes hundreds of artisanal bacons each year, lovingly smoked and hand rubbed (the bacon that is) all over this great nation, and picks only the finest for his online catalog’s bacon-of-the-month-club. let’s just say that bacon brittle is the gateway drug, which if you’re not careful could spell your downfall into a full blown best-bacon-in-the-country addiction. you might then break out in tremors and cold sweats waiting for your ups delivery man to bring you your monthly bacon fix. again, don’t say i didn’t do my best to warn you good people.
bacon brittle comes in 1 lb. /$21.95 and 8 oz. /$ 14.95 plus shipping. i just polished off the 1 lb. and with bacon-on-the-brain, i remembered that i used to order 15 lbs. of pecans in the shell from various pecan growers in the winter, and that when i had too many pecans, i made pecan pralines. hmmm…… you see where this is heading …….. pralines or brittles are really easy to make since it only requires a few ingredients : sugar, butter and pecans. you just boil the sugar and butter , add the pecans and that’s it. if you fry up a batch of good bacon and throw it in the praline — you’ve got bacon brittle ! the advantage of making it yourself is that you can add in as much bacon as you like. you could even skip the pecans and just make bacon bacon brittle, or use macadamia nuts or …. see… the possibilities are endless. (use a smoky bacon for best effect)… much easier to just buy it though ………….
bacon brittle is not to be confused with praline bacon , which is a breakfast dish originating in a creole restaurant in new orleans. one is bacon candy while the other is candied bacon. ** praline bacon is made thusly : you cook up some bacon in the oven, then you add brown sugar and chopped pecans and continue til the sugar caramelizes. actually this sounds really simple to make, and with a much more yummy bacon to much less sugar ratio which is better for me, since a higher bacon to sugar ratio is less hypoglycemia inducing. not to mention less labor. and faster. and easier.
okay, being the lazy slug that i am , if i want to make a smoky bacon-iscious snack myself, i’ll make praline bacon. i recommend ordering from the grateful palate if you want bacon brittle, or any of their high quality bacons. most of the bacon brittle recipes i’ve seen suggest using 6-8 ozs. of bacon,(the chicago sun times has a recipe online). i think if you’re gonna go to all the trouble of making bacon brittle and sweating over a pot of boiling syrup, you might as well double the amount of smoked bacon for maximum baconiciousness, thereby turning all your loved ones into your bacon brittle slaves heehee ….
or simply call dan philips and say yeeeeehaw ! that’s chinese bacon speak for …………………………………. happy new year !
*recipe for praline bacon :
1 lb. thick sliced bacon (niman ranch is a good brand, at whole foods)
3 – 5 tablespoons brown sugar (more or less to your own taste)
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder (or onion)
1/4 cup pecans, chopped fine
Preheat oven to 425°F.
On rack of a large broiling pan arrange bacon slices in one layer and cook in middle of oven 10 minutes, or until it just begins to turn golden. In a small bowl stir together sugar and chili powder. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle bacon with sugar mixture and pecans. Return pan to oven and cook until bacon is crisp and browned, about 5+ minutes. Transfer bacon, praline-sides up, to paper towels to drain.
*these are general guidelines. i can’t eat chili so i’d skip the chili powder. you can also adjust the crispiness of the bacon to your own liking. praline bacon can also be made on top of the stove in a frying pan.
copyright 2009 Jo Jo Kwong. all rights reserved.
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