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Anthony Bourdain's version of a bacon explosion is more of a bacon implosion. Last weekend, I made the Mignons de porc a l'ail from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook, or at least I would have if I hadn't managed to mess it up on almost every step. Fortunately there's only so wrong you can go with porkloin, bacon, and garlic confit, so GM and I ate it all anyway.

Amusingingly, this foodblogger made some of the same mistakes I did. You can find Mr. B's real recipe on this site, and while I've plagiarized it mercilessly that which follows is what I made.

1 small bottle of Christopher Ranch peeled garlic
lots of leftover bacon fat from the back of the fridge

In a small pan, warm the bacon grease until melted. While it's melting, check over the garlic cloves, removing any questionable bits and the woody brown tops. When the bacon fat is warm carefully dump the cloves in. The fat should cover the cloves by a little bit. Let them cook, stirring occasionally, until the cloves are very soft, about 20 minutes. When soft, remove the cloves from fat and place in two bowls. Save half the cloves whole for the sauce. Mash the other half of the cloves with fork into a paste. Pour the leftover garlic scented bacon fat into a jar, label and place in fridge for some future project. It's worth keeping, trust me.

1 little (about a pound?) pork loin from Trader Joe's.
8-10 slices of Dittmer's bacon

Slice the pork loin long ways, then slice each half in half, also long ways. You now have four long skinny slabs of pork loin. If you really like salt, or made your garlic confit with olive oil, salt the pork loin gently. using clean fingers or the tool of your choice, slather the pieces of pork loin with the garlic paste. Lay out the four pieces of pork loin on a large piece of saran-wrap, flipping the pieces around until it's as even a thickness as you can get. Place one piece of bacon in between each piece of pork loin. Put the remaining slices of bacon longways around the outside of the porkroll.  Roll the pork loin up into a tube shape, using the saran-wrap to get it as tight was possible. Place in fridge for as long as you can. (Mr. Bourdain said overnight, but I was on a deadline and got in an hour or two, I think.)

Remove the FrankenPork from the fridge, and unwrap on a cutting board. Find your kitchen twine. Cut off a piece long enough to tie (like a bracelet) around the FrankenPork. Tie off about 1.5 inches of FrankenPork and slice to separate. Repeat until you run out of FrankenPork. You now have 4-8 little circles of FrankenPork lying like unpressed flowers on your cutting board. They sort of look like celtic crosses.

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Get out a sheet pan fitted with a rack, like you were going to bake bacon with Alton Brown.

1 tablespoon/14 ml olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup/56 ml white wine, and then another 1/4 cup/56 ml white wine 
1/2 cup Swanson's chicken broth with some demi glacee
1 sprig of flat parsley, finely chopped

Put a skillet on the stove and melt some butter and olive oil in it. When the butter stops foaming, add the little pork bundles to the pan, working in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Cook the pork over high heat for about 6-8 minutes per side, after which the meat should be nicely browned. Place the meat in the roasting pan and finish cooking in the oven for about 20 minutes. When cooked through, but still moist in the center, remove from the oven and allow to rest on a plate.

In that pan of bacon grease and garlicy bits, add the wine, and cook down to almost nothing, after you realized you were supposed to put teh shallots in first. Add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes, or until the shallots are soft. Stir in the wine, scraping the bottom to dislodge the fond. Cook over high heat until the wine is reduced to a glaze consistency, then stir in the stock. Cook over high heat until it's reduced by half. Add any drippings from the plate that's holding your cooked pork, as well as whatever's in the bottom of the roasting pan. Add remaining cloves of garlic confit  (I mashed it all together to make it more sauce-like) and the parsley.

With kitchen scissors, snips the twine holding the pork flowers together. Serve. Cover with sauce and eat.

GM thinks we should tie the FrankenPork off with strips of prosciutto next time, instead of using string. Maybe.


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At last weekend's parties, I got a couple of questions about the bacon swizzle sticks from the Party of Pork last summer.
Drunken Sows, bourbon with ginger ale and a swizzle stick of crispy fried bacon.
[info]gormflaith, my practically perfect apprentice, was the one who suggested the skewer trick.
I got the idea of baking the bacon from Alton Brown's bacon episode: "Place the strips of bacon onto a sheet pan fitted with a rack and place into a cold oven. Turn the oven to 400 degrees F and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your bacon. Remove from rack and drain on paper towels. Enjoy."
To make the bacon swizzle sticks, get some ordinary bacon from the grocery store. Cheap, thin bacon is easier for this application than the good stuff. Get some metal skewers, like you'd use for kabobs. Place one end of a single strip of bacon on the tip of a skewer and twirl the skewer to wrap the bacon (overlapping slightly) as far as it goes up the skewer. Don't try to tuck the end in, just trust that fat loves fat. Place bacon and skewer on prepared baking sheet. Repeat until you run out of skewers. Bake. When done, remove from oven. When cool, pick up the non-pointy end of the skewer and with your other hand, gently slide the bacon off the skewer. You will end up with some bacon pieces for a future salad, so buy twice as much bacon as you think you'll need.
Put ginger ale in a glass (we used Blenheim Ginger Ale or Diet Ginger Ale Natural Soda), and shot of bourbon (we used Woodford ), ice (optional), and a swizzle of bacon. If you are very lucky, you can even use the bacon swizzle as a straw.

November

Nov. 30th, 2009 08:20 pm
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I haven't posted all month, mostly because work has been insane. Really. I think one of my technical editors actually had kittens.
Other than that, I made 3 lasagnas (sadly I’m failing to remember enough details to list them here), one excellent cheese soufflé (thanks to mom who grated cheese and GM who whipped egg whites; I think part of getting soufflé to work is having all the ingredients ready at the same movement), my father's favorite Thanksgiving dinner and more waffles than usual. My father in law has been here all week, and he's very fond of waffles.
Mom brought me some Death of Snails, hopefully they’re finding a good home and 24x7 buffet in my herb garden. She also brought me a bunch of Hens And Chicks, which we planted along the fence outside the kitchen window. She promises me they don't need much care or water, so hopefully they will survive.
GM and I had a great anniversary dinner at The Kitchen Table in Mountain View. The “Koshuterie Plate” alone is worth the trip, and the duck two ways was fabulous. Madbaker had told me about the lamb bacon in such glowing terms I didn't believe him, but G-d as my witness, it really was better than pork.
:Q My dad can fix anything better than your dad. While here on vacation, he fixed my sink, the wall-heater in the back hall, and the kitchen light. He pulled out bamboo volunteers from the front yard, and installed a fan in the dining room. My dad's the best!
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If only I'd known! I wouldn't have changed the date of the bacon explosion party, because this Saturday is Ducal, LoudBand camp, and my semiannual visit to my parents, but maybe I'll take some Dittmer's bacon down for my dad. http://internationalbaconday.blogspot.com/2008/01/welcome-to-international-bacon-day_20.html
eta: My BiL, Peter, who sent me this link just followed it up with:
> Remember, remember
> The Fifth of September
> The Bacon Cheeseburger and Fries
> I know we'll be makin'
> The Day just for Bacon
> And eatin' smoked pig til we dies.

::sniff:: That's beautiful, man.

edited to add (again): OMG! The bacontini
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Some of you might remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about making the bacon explosion. I tried a variant on it last night, in hopes of making something that was tasty but would only kill us slowly.
1 12-oz package of applewood bacon from Trader Joe’s
1 1-pound-ish pork loin
about 8 garlic cloves, sliced paper-thin
about 1/4 a bottle of Mo's Philthy Phil's barbeque sauce
about a tablespoon of a commercial Creole blend (can't remember what kind, it's in a green paper "can")

Weave bacon mat, sprinkle with Creole seasoning and garlic chips. Drizzle with bbq sauce. Place pork loin at edge of mat, and roll up. Sprinkle with more Creole seasoning and drizzzelw ith more bbq sauce. Place on pan, and bake at 400F for about 45 minutes or until an insta-read thermometer pushed into the end reaches no less than 145F, preferably 165F.

I think the pan may be unsalvageable. The lumps of cooked bacon grease and bbq sauce are impressive. Next time, I might place the log on a rack over the pan, as the bottom was not as crispy as I'd like. It was pretty good while warm, we'll see what it's like as leftovers.

eta: sorry, didn't mean to make you run through a lot of links. Here's the original bacon explosion page.
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Today I finally made the bacon explosion I posted about a while back.
The recipe did not fill me with confidence, as there a few bits that did not math out correctly.
I started with:
3 12-oz packages of applewood bacon from Trader Joe’s
1 cup chopped bacon bits (Dittmer’s bacon)
½ cup finely shredded cheese (Rey extra aged gouda from Holland)
2 pounds of un-cased Italian sausage from Dittmer’s
1 bottle Mama Rap’s Barbeque sauce (it won in the comparative tasting we did of all of BBQ sauces we had in the house.)
The recipe says you should make a 5x5 bacon weave. No units, but I assumed inches. However, looking at the pictures on the website, I think that weave nearly fit the width of a 9x11 pan. (my practically perfect apprentice looked more carefully and saw that it’s a 5 slices of bacon by 5 slices of bacon weave. I am covered in Duh!) My weave of much thinner bacon took more slices. I ended up with a 7 inches by 7 inches mat of bacon.
I got lucky in the first package of bacon, in that the slices were quite rectangular. I was less lucky in the second and third packages, both of which had significant "waists". Non-rectangular bacon is harder to weave. The first mat took one package of bacon, plus two more slices. The second mat took one package, and about 6 more slices. The leftover bacon was fried and put into the freezer for future salads.
I followed the directions, except using the half the amount of sausage called for, because I wanted to make two explosions, one with cheese (I added the cheese layer over the interior bacon and bbq sauce).
At the end, I had two bacon explosions, about 3 inches across, unlike the Jason’s 2.5 inch explosions. I was expecting a much thinner explosions, as they had only half the sausage of Jason’s. It’s out on the smoker now. More details later.

eta: It's later.
Wow, that was good. The next one needs more cheese, and garlic, and possibly some sage. Kudos to GM for tending the smoker all afternoon. The serving suggestion on the website to make sandwiches with biscuits should be heeded.  The buscuit cuts that fat and salt to an almost-tolerable level. I think I just felt an artery slam shut.
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Every year GM has a dinner for his squires and apprentices. We don't usually have a themed dinner, but for this year I decided early I wanted to do a "everything but the squeal" pork dinner. I didn't succeed as well a s I wanted, partly because I didn't find a way to fix pork liver such that I liked it. But the dishes we ended up serving were good, so I'm happy enough with how everything turned out. Every dish had pork in it.
Cocktails before dinner were "Drunken Sows", bourbon with ginger ale and a swizzle stick of crispy fried bacon.
The appetizer course: 
Grilled Prosciutto-wrapped Shrimp with Creamy Herb Dressing  )Pancetta stuffed mushrooms (wrapped in slices of pancetta)
Phyllo Triangles with rosemary and pancetta filling
j_i_m_r's incredibly addictive dates stuffed with almonds and wrapped in prosciutto
smoky green olives stuffed with pate
Pate cut into cute little shapes
The salad course was Alton Brown's spinach salad with bacon and warm bacon fat dressing.  
The main dinner course:
Pork loin with garlic and sage, wrapped in prosciutto recipe from Gourmet magazine Sept05, use thin pieces of garlic, truffle oil, and bake for about 35 minutes.)
CousCous with veggies, wrapped in prosciutto recipe from Gourmet magazine Aug04, except I used sun dried tomatoes instead of bell peppers.
Mushrooms stuffed with Soppressata 
Steamed broccoli with maple/mustard sauce, recipe from Gourmet magazine, only for this recipe I used bacon fat instead of the salmon pan drippings)
Bread pudding with bacon and mushrooms , recipe from Emeril, double the garlic and cheese
Cheese puffs, recipe from Gourmet Aug03, except I used 1 cup of gruyer, 1/2 cup of parmesan, 4 ounces fried pancetta, 2 tesp prepared mustard and 1 tesp of ground pepper. I should have added at least 2 more tablespoons of flour.  
Dessert was blueberry pie with a lard crust (Bad link! Google for "All-Butter Pie Crust (With Variations)" I used 90g Plugra butter, 50g leaf lard), pig-shaped chocolates, and pig brittle.

I think next year's dinner will be Duck, Duck, Goose.

edited to add: I think I fixed the pig brittle link, many thanks to Urtatim who posted it last October..

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More than a heart was meant to take. It takes a minute to load, I think because there's many pictures. Link courtesy of Wilhelm von Homburg.

I can't imagine anything that will sound good for dinner after reading that page. I'm going to be bemoaning the lack of bacon in my office for the rest of the afternoon.

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