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Posts Tagged ‘bacon’

Girls have a collection of chick flicks.  Guys have Field of Dreams.  Perhaps the only movie in which a fella can unashamedly admit to shedding a tear or two.  And when Ray Kinsella’s brother in law shows up to foreclose on the farm towards the end of the movie, things get a little intense.

At this point, the film has undoubtedly reached its climax.  All the known characters, dead and alive, good and evil, have essentially convened on or around the ballfield to await Ray’s decision on the farm.  Stay or Sell? “People will come” advises Ray’s daughter Karin, which then prompts Terry’s articulate speech about baseball and its historic qualities which, if marketed correctly, would easily make Ray a first ballot Hall of Famer in the unique but lucrative niche business of harnessing the dead’s talents for one’s own personal gain (like in the cases of Elvis, the Beatles, etc).  It would also provide Ray a way out from his more pressing financial woes.

But Ray’s at-the-time evil brother in-law isn’t having it.  Evil bro-in-law shoves Karin off of the bleachers, who falls to the ground and lies motionless.  What to do?  Call an ambulance is Annie Kinsella’s first reaction.

“Annie wait,” says Ray, the tension building with each precious second passing.  Ray’s appearance of nonchalance in the situation is anything but.  Rather, it is faith.  Faith that Dr. Archibald Wright “Moonlight” Graham (a real person, by the way) will forgo the remainder of his lifelong dream of playing in the big leagues and instead cross over that magical stone line, turn into an old geezer doctor and save Karin’s life. And Ray’s faith pays off.

And the scene that follows is absolute goosebump city. (<—- Click to watch)

Graham, played brilliantly by the late Burt Lancaster (the younger version of Graham is quite capably acted by Frank Whaley as well), saves Karin’s life by forcing out the hot dog which is lodged in her throat.  And the hot dog, boys and girls, is what this post will be about.

The other day, my boss Andrew and I were out on the road coming back from a client meeting when he suggested that we make a quick detour through Rutt’s Hut on 417 River Road in Clifton, NJ.  Andrew, a self proclaimed hot dog aficionado, insisted that my visit to Rutt’s Hutt would be time well spent.  He was right.

While no aficionado of hot dogs myself, I’m no stranger to a good ol’ dog.  When I was growing up, Dad quite regularly resorted to the practice of cooking up some juicily boiled dogs for dinner when Mom was out for the evening.  To this day, The Box maintains a rigid adherence to Thuman’s Pork and Beef frankfurters, which he claims have the best “snap” of all supermarket available dogs.  And I’m not scared to dive into a Grey’s Papaya after a late night in the City.  Long story short, I know a good dog when I see one.  And it’s not you, Toby!  (Elana’s dog…We have our differences).

But Rutt’s was a totally unique experience.  The scene inside is quite dated and bare.  A take-out counter with some standing tables and extended window ledges to chow down at.  My colleague Andrew shakes hands with who appears to be the owner (a friendly, blinged-out crucifix donning fellow named John) and orders me three particular kinds of dogs, all of which are more scorched than the next.  “We gawt a rookie here?” John says, nodding his head in my direction.

First up is what Rutt’s calls “The Ripper.” The least scorched (by veggie oil) of the three that I had, it’s still more charred than any dog I’ve had in recent memory.  Each chomp just about dislodges the skin entirely from the meat, so you are essentially eating two different foods with two totally different consistencies, simultaneously.  But it’s ultimately a successful exploration in wiener cooking science.

Second is what is termed “The Weller” which is a more aggressively charred frank.  In fact, it is so torched that the outer portions of the meat immediately beneath the skin have essentially been disintegrated into a thick crust of bacon-like flavor and texture.  The nucleus is still meaty, however.

And then there is the “Creamator” (above) which, in addition to being fried in oil, appears like it has been shoved into electrical sockets, struck by lightning, and screamed at by six hundred fire breathing dragons.  The entire diameter of the sausage has been completely, well, “creamated” into a semi-delicate shell of fat, salt and burn.  And it’s pretty “dog”garn tasty, to be honest.  It’s airy and crispy, like someone had rolled a few strips of bacon together and strategically placed them at the equator for a couple of months.

And as I successfully housed all the dogs in impressive time, and exited the establishment, I could have sworn John called out to me…”Hey Rookie…You were good.”  Like baseball and, indeed, the masterpiece that is Field of Dreams, Rutt’s Hut Hot Dogs is an American classic that should be enjoyed by men everywhere.  Ladies, on the other hand, just may not understand its message.

Overall Experience: The Big Lebowski

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I’m assuming you’re all swimming in sweet bacon, having made it over the weekend on our suggestion. If you’re not, I’m hoping you’ve eaten it all.

What to do with alllllll that extra sweet bacon (if I had a nickel for every time I’ve said this….)?

When life gives you extra sweet bacon, you say “thank you!” and then you make maple bacon scones!

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

*Note: this recipe is modified from Epicurious. I added the bacon.

3 cups all purpose flour
4 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup (or more) plus 6 tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
your fabulous 12 strips of sweet bacon (already cooked) that you’ve cut into little pieces.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk flour, 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl to blend.

Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Stir 1/2 cup whipping cream and 1/2 cup maple syrup in small bowl to blend.

Gradually add cream mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until dough comes together and adding more cream by tablespoonfuls if dough is dry.

Add in the bacon pieces and mix until incorporated.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead dough gently until smooth, about 5 turns. Using floured hands, pat out dough to 8-inch round; cut dough into 8 wedges. Transfer wedges to baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.

Bake scones until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool.

I brought these babies to work to feed the animals there, and they were promptly gobbled up. I did get one suggestion for adding more bacon, and I really couldn’t argue with it. I generally think more bacon is a good idea, but I will leave it up to your judgment as to how much bacon you would like to add.

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Hopefully by now you’ve either made sweet bacon or have spent the morning eating copious amounts of it. You might be thirsty by now. I know I would be.

Might we recommend the above: Rejadorada Temple? It pairs well with pork (and other meats). I know because I asked the helpful staff at the Chelsea Wine Vault where I encountered a free tasting last night. I admit to liking it so much that I impulse purchased a bottle.

Like the website says, it’s very rich and almost chocolately red wine. Gooooooood stuff. I would like to be drinking it right now.

Anyway, go get yourself some (and some more bacon while you’re at it). If you need some reading material while you are sipping your cinnamon and cassis aroma’d wine, please review the week here at Elana and John Talk About Food:

Elysian – tomorrow will be a great day to enjoy their outdoor seating.

Get ready for the Vendy Awards with Kelvin Natural Slush Co.

Last day! Post a comment to win honey.

Have a great weekend! More fun coming to you next week.

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Yesterday I promised to tell you why my apartment has been smelling like bacon for the past three days. Actually, I’m stumped.

No! I’m kidding. It’s because I was inspired to make sweet bacon.

Over Labor Day weekend, John and I traveled to St. Louis for a wedding (more on that later). At the rehearsal dinner, one of the passed appetizers was sweet bacon. I loved it. I started following the server around. I lost interest in the other appetizers. And the guests.

Not really. But the bacon was very good – a nice thick cut with that zing of sweetness that comes from baking it with brown sugar. Or so I was told.

So I decided to recreate it. Sweet bacon is surprisingly easy to make. You can use any kind of bacon. I generally like the pork variety and I also like a nice thick cut (the pre-packaged varieties tend to be on the thinner side, but that’s ok). Here is what you will need:

Ingredients (modified slightly from Epicurious):

1 1/2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 lb thick-cut bacon (12 slices)

Fire up your oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together the brown sugar and the cayenne in a small bowl.
Then, lay out your bacon slices on a broiler pan (great because the slots in the broiler pan allow the grease from the bacon to drip down, yielding a less greasy bacon overall). Cook the bacon for 15 minutes on one side (keep a sharp eye on it – if you use thinner bacon slices, you will need less time). After this time, flip the bacon over and sprinkle with the sugar mixture. Continue to bake until you have achieved your desired level of crispiness.
Great for a brunch with a nice asparagus and tomato omelette. Or you can chop ’em up and make some maple bacon scones. And YES, I do have a recipe for that. Which I will post shortly. Please stand by….

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I know you were concerned about returning to the topic of cured meats. I was, anyway.

For today, we are featuring BACON, which might be my favorite. And CUPCAKES.  Together again for the very first time in this Bacon French Toast cupcake by the Cupcake Stop. For those of you unfamiliar with the Cupcake Stop, it is another one of New York City’s fabulous food trucks. To find their daily locations, you can follow them on Twitter. They also have two brick and mortar locations: one insde the Limelight Marketplace, and the other in Montclair, NJ.

Back to the cupcake. Here is the scene: I was sitting at my desk dilligently working (compulsively checking my Twitter updates), when lo and behold, the Cupcake Stop posted that they had a NEW cupcake – a French Toast and Bacon cupcake. I nearly fell out of my chair (I actually did this on another occasion but it wasn’t cupcake related). I quickly tweeted them to see if they had any at their truck that was conveniently parked dangerously close to my office. EUREKA – they did. I bolted out of the office, saying something like, “I have to go see a guy about a cupcake,” and high-tailed it over to the truck parked by the Flatiron Building.

I demanded (nicely) one of said cupcakes (in exchange for money), and devoured it (not before snapping a picture, of course). It was brunch in a cupcake, in the best way. I explained it to John (who was a bit wary of the flavor combination) this way, “it’s like when you’re at brunch and you order French Toast and bacon. And the syrup that you poured on your French Toast runs into your bacon, and you eat the bacon with the syrup on it and it’s GOOD.” This has happened to you too, yes? Please say yes.

Anyway, I’m not sure John was convinced, but this cupcake falls into the chocolate-covered-pretzel category of foods: salty and sweet, perfectly covering both of those bases. The icing is a vanilla buttercream infused with maple and cinnamon. And yes, there are actual chunks of BACON in the cake part.

Go see a guy about a cupcake.

…And tomorrow, you will find out why my apartment has smelled like bacon for the past three days.

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