Mmmmm….bacon!

I love bacon.  You love bacon.  Admit it, we all love bacon.  But some of us, well….has a love for bacon that should not be publicized.  Especially in the form of unusual recipes for bacon.* And as much as I adore bacon (crispy-limp, hot in a BLT made with homegrown tomato and lettuce on toasted homemade bread….ahhhh!) I know that bacon does have it’s limits and those rabid bacon aficionados should respect those limits. It is, after all, only humane.

So, with the taste of cold bacon grease coating my tongue, I give you proof that some baconites have no shame:

Bacon Martini

bacon martini

 

 

 

 

 

Lightly mist martini glass with vermouth, and rim the edge with bacon grease.

In a cocktail shaker, mix 3oz vodka, one dash Tabasco, and one dash olive juice.

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Skim excess bacon grease from surface of cocktail.

 Garnish with one slice of bacon.

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Bacon Wrapped Tofu

bacon_wrapped_tofu

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 1 block firm tofu
  • Several strips of bacon, depending on the size. A leaner type bacon is preferred. You can even use prosciutto.
  • Optional: brown sugar, soy sauce

Drain the tofu, and wrap in several layers of paper towels. Place on a plate and put a board or another plate on top. Leave for a few minutes to drain some water out of the tofu. Unwrap and cut into bite sized pieces that are about the width of your bacon.

Wrap each piece in bacon, going around at least once so the ends overlap. You may need to cut the bacon.

Heat up a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Put the bacon wrapped tofu pieces with the overlapping edges side down. Cook until crisp, then turn. Keep cooking and turning until done on all sides.

A sweet-salty variation is to add a little bit of soy sauce to the pan, and a sprinkle (maybe about 2 tsp.) of brown sugar; stir rapidly to melt the sugar, then turn the bacon-tofu in the sauce until the moisture has largely evaporated.

Eat hot or at room temperature, preferably with plain rice as part of a Japanese meal. Also a nice appetizer or sake drinking accompaniment.

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Candied Bacon Ice Cream

candied bacon ice cream 

 

 

 

 

3/4 quart

Ingredients
5 slices bacon
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons salted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 3/4 cups half-and-half
5 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons dark rum or whiskey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions
1 To candy the bacon, preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
2 Lay the strips of bacon on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or aluminum foil,shiny side down.
3 Sprinkle 1½-2 teaspoons of brown sugar evenly over each strip of bacon, depending on

length.
4 Bake for 12-16 minutes.
5 Midway during baking, flip the bacon strips over and drag them through the dark, syrupy liquid that’s collected on the baking sheet.
6 Continue to bake until as dark as mahogany.
7 Remove from oven and cool the strips on a wire rack.
8 Once crisp and cool, chop into little pieces, about the size of grains of rice.
9 (Bacon bits can be stored in an airtight container and chilled for a day or so, or stored in the freezer a few weeks ahead.).
10 To make the ice cream custard, melt the butter in a heavy, medium-size saucepan.
11 Stir in the brown sugar and half of the half-and-half.
12 Pour the remaining half-and-half into a bowl set in an ice bath and set a mesh strainerover the top.
13 In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the warm brown sugar mixture to them, whisking the yolks constantly as you pour.
14 Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.
15 Cook over low to moderate heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
16 Strain the custard into the half-and-half, stirring over the ice bath, until cool.
17 Add liquor, vanilla and cinnamon, if using.
18 Refrigerate the mixture.
19 Once thoroughly chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’sinstructions.
20 Add the bacon bits during the last moment of churning, or stir them in when you removethe ice cream from the machine.

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Bacon Crumble Apple Pie

Bacon_Crumble_Apple_Pie

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Topping:
1/2 lb bacon
1/2 c flour
1/2 c brown sugar
3 Tbl cold butter or margarine, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

 Directions:

Fry bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels then crumble into small pieces. Set aside.
In medium bowl mix together flour and brown sugar, then work in the butter until crumbly.
Mix in   bacon crumbles and cheddar cheese; refrigerate.
Pie:
1 frozen 9″ pie shell
3 medium Golden Delicious Apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp finely shredded lemon peelPre-bake pie shell at 400 d for 7 minutes, remove from oven.
Mix together apples, sugar, and lemon peel, put into pie shell (you may have to pack it a little).
Top with bacon crumble topping.
Cover loosely with foil and bake at 400 d for 40-50 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Let cool, then refrigerate before serving.

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Scottish Bacon Clapshot

clapshot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(hey, I didn’t name it. May be one of the reasons Scotland is the World Power it is) 

  • 1  1/3 pounds potato, peeled and quartered
  • 2/3 pound turnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste 

    Place the potatoes and turnips in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes.

  1. Drain the potatoes and turnips, return them to the saucepan and mash until creamy. Add the butter and milk and beat until fluffy. Stir in the crumbled bacon and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

 

* I’ve made the Bacon Crumble Apple Pie, and it was not that bad.  The other recipes, well, will have to wait. Except the Bacon Martini. I’ll be making that one soon as I run out of bacon to add to it.

Still Active in Job Searchage

It has been three months since I lost my last job. I have been sending out applications and resumes, going to interviews and reading rejection letters for 2 months and 3 weeks. 

It seems like it’s been years since I did the ol’ daily commute, years since I put on my business face and put in a good day’s work as that nameless, faceless person you talk to on the phone when your cellphone stops working.  Years since I had a complete stranger tell me I made their day or asked to speak to my supervisor to tell them what a great job I’m doing.

But it seems like just yesterday that I would be sitting outside my office building, shaking with anxiety about going in and facing the people I worked for.  Just yesterday when I would wonder, when called to my supervisor’s desk, what I forgot to do this time,  what I was doing or not doing to maintain the quality metrics that were carved in stone, somewhere.  These anxiety attacks, I believe, came from micromanagement and seemingly arbitrary rules and regulation that were enforced or not, depending on who was in charge that day.

I’ve worked as a customer service rep, in one fashion or another, since I was 18.  Waitress? Lousy…couldn’t carry more than two plates at a time, but I was always cheerful, quick, and mindful of the customers’ needs. Secretary in a greasy machine shop?  The customers were usually old farmers who barely said a word to me.  But I could always wow them when they wanted to buy welding rod.  I could, with one hand, grab exactly  5 lbs of welding rod in one fell swoop…even my boss was impressed.  Bank teller? Some of the customers were nasty, some were extremely polite, some were dirty and smelly, and some thought that nothing of theirs had any kind of odor, whatsover, if you get my drift. But I was always quick, accurate, and treated them all kindly.

When I was managing a convenience store, I met a man who was the CEO of a large bird seed company who had stopped to visit with the owners of the store, who were friends of his from way back, on a spur of the moment.  I called them at their home, about 50 miles away, and while we waited for them to come to the store, Mr Bird Seed and I visited about how he got started in his line of work, and how well it was doing now.  He said he always had this philosophy: ” The Customer Signs My Paycheck”.  He looked at his work and his business from the customer’s perspective, and always kept in mind that for every positive reaction from a customer, there were at least 12 customers who are not happy and will not hesitate to tell someone about it.  Knowing an unsatisfied customer would not be willing to sign a paycheck for someone who provided less than excellent service kept him on his game and kept him acutely aware what he needed to do to insure his paycheck was a reflection of his quality of work.

That was nearly 20 years ago.  I have made his philosophy my own: ” The Customer Signs My Paycheck”.  I have been a phone customer service representative  for several different companies since then, and I have always taken pride in knowing that a calm, respectful voice and a polite cheerfulness goes a long way when satisfying a customer. That’s not to say I haven’t had my moments where, if I could have reached through the phone and slapped the customer silly, I would have done it gladly.  My buttons have been pushed, and there have been times when I reacted with a knee jerk response that I had to apologize for.  But I have always felt I needed to do my utmost best to help a customer, even in the times where there was no possible way to satisfy them.

I don’t want to be a cookie cutter robotic customer service representative.  You know the type, the ones who sound as if  (and probably are) reading from a script and show as much interest in you,the customer, as they would in fly buzzing in the room.  I don’t want to work for a company whose product I can’t believe in and endorse.  I want my customers to know yes, they are actually speaking to a live person, a live person who cares how the customer is doing. A customer who ends the call with a heartfelt ‘thank you!’ and a smile in his or her voice.  A customer who would recommend my place of business to everyone.

   A customer who would be more than happy to sign my paycheck .

Ta-Tas for Now

Grandma, her brother in law, and her sister.

Grandma, her brother in law, and her sister. Faces have been blurred for obvious reasons.

Let’s talk about my breasts.

I inherited many traits from my parents; intellect, wit, and the ability to whistle and walk at the same time.  Two things I did not inherit from my parents, but rather,  from my grandmother are these enormous nancies on my chest. 

 Grandma, bless her heart, was a fun person to be around, but there was never a photo of her smiling.  She was too busy trying not to step on her melons…and I’m not talking about the ones growing in her garden. 

This grandma was not my mother’s mother. Oh, noooo. THAT grandma was blessed with 6 gorgeous daughters whose tahitis probably never saw the inside of an underwired bra. Normal, everyday mammies. The grandma with the Howitzers was my father’s mother. I’d read somewhere that a woman’s bust line is genetically determined by her father’s side of the family. Thanks, Dad.

Back to my own Twin Peaks.

I was fine till, I believe, 10:31 am on July 23, 1970. I remember that moment as if it happened just yesterday.  I was walking down the street towards the community swimming pool, swimsuit and towel in hand, when suddenly I felt a tearing pain in my chest  and the sound of buttons popping off my blouse. I looked down, and there they were, like alien spawn emerging from an unsuspecting host.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic. But the realization dawned on me at that moment that I now had not only developed boobies, but large  Tetons. And the swimsuit I was carrying would not hide that fact. I turned around, went back home, put on a loose sweatshirt and begged my mother to buy me some real bras; you know, the kind with cups and adjustable straps.   That fall, going  into  8th grade with my new cans meant a school year of being teased and tormented by boys and ogled by male teachers (and maybe the female gym teacher, I don’t know. I don’t WANT to know).

As my teen years passed, I found that having a rack such as that brought a lot of (mostly unwanted) attention from the male of the species.  WHAT was the big deal? I thought.  A fulsome bodice, I discovered, gives a woman special, magical powers over man.  Just by laying his eyes on a set of maracas that size instantly lowers his IQ 50 points. Big bubulas could be bartered for dates, rides in fast, hot cars, front row seating at concerts and keggers. The downside of massive mambas as a teenager was unsolicited attention from creepy guys, pimply jerks, and other girls’ boyfriends.  Looking back, I see now that my two best friends were very flat-chested, thus boyfriendless, so there was no jealous cat-fights between the three of us, just an everlasting discussion of “Why couldn’t I have been born with…?” I’d always tell them if there was such a thing as Tittie transplants, I could be donor to both of them and we’d all be happy.

I could not, and still can’t, understand why women would want bigger bazookas and even go through the pain and expense of implants to get them.  They don’t realize how good they have it; not having back aches, permanent bra strap canyons on your shoulders, stretch marks circling the globes in a constant search for unmarred territory.  They get to buy the cute bras; bras without steel belted cups and bras made from soft, clingy-lacy fabric, not tent canvas. They can own bras that can be folded and carried discreetly in one hand. Flowery, pushup, fun to wear bras.  And, blast them to hell, they can go braless with nary a care in the world that their nipples will be peeking out from below their shirt hems.  And, if they choose to breastfeed their babies, won’t have to worry about their lactoids hanging like flesh pancakes after the baby is weaned.

Self-examination of my bubbies was a joke. Like looking for a needle in a haystack or searching  for a speck of dirt on the face of Big Ben with just your fingertips, it is a daunting task. Something you need to set aside a long weekend to undertake.  So eventually I gave up examining the girls for possible lumps or suspicious bumps.  My husband was of no help;  it was like asking Steven Hawking to climb Mount Everest alone.  I’d had a baseline mammogram done about 10 years ago, and kept putting off having another one done since.  Not because of  the pain involved in the procedure; it didn’t hurt a bit.  I just didn’t like the sight of all that flappage spread out between two sheets of glass…made me think of pressing flowers, only uglier and more expensive.  My doctor finally put her foot down and said I must have a mammogram done…a lot can happen in 10 years, other than gaining length to these torpedoes.

So, I caved and had it done.  The radiologist compared the mammograms and found a suspicious spot on my right hand gal. He ordered another done, only this time the radiologist took shots from about 10 different angles, including one where she twisted that jemima upside down, then flattened it. That was the first time I’d ever seen the bottom side of my nipple without looking in a mirror.  It was like seeing the dark side of the moon.  This was followed by an ultrasound, done by–you guessed it—a technician who toted a set of A cups.

During this time, I never worried about cancer.  I was actually looking forward to having a radical mastectomy…I would have the left one removed as a prophylactic measure, then have a new set of  hooters constructed. B cup, if you please, and make them snappy!

Alas, this was not to be.  The radiologist, damn it to hell, said the spot was “probably benign”, and to come back in 6 months for a followup mammogram.  I am thankful there’s no cancer, I am thankful I won’t have to undergo major surgery.  Maybe someday I will be able to afford reduction surgery, which would make both me and my husband happy (he is a member of the Itty Bitty Titty fan club, ironically), and I’ll be able to wear a  tiny lacy bra. Or none at all.