Sunday, February 6, 2011
This entry is a double whammy. I threw a brunch party yesterday and cooked a massive amount of bacon. Bacon is something I often get asked about: how do you get it crispy without burning it? Do you cook it on the stove or in the microwave or the oven? How high do you turn up the heat? I've touched on it lightly here where I tell you what to make your boyfriend the morning after you first seal the deal. But seriously, It's like adults are completely independent people who suddenly turn into helpless children when it comes to cooking bacon. Not a problem: let's talk.
Getting perfectly crispy bacon comes from cooking on a low to medium temperature for a longer amount of time. If you throw some bacon in a pan and turn up the heat really high, it's going to burned on one half and stay limp on the other. Limp bacon is something we all want to avoid. So you have two options:
1. Put the bacon on a sheet pan or a cookie sheet (with sides! You don't want bacon grease to drip all over your oven. It'll make every other food taste like bacon for the rest of time, and its effing dangerous.) Have your oven preheat at 375 degrees and put the bacon in there for about 20 minutes. During the course of 20 minutes, you'll want to flip the bacon over a couple of times. It's cooking 2 ways here- in the bask of 375 degrees, and in the sizzling bacon grease. If you flip it over, both sides get to cook in the grease and that's what makes it cook evenly.
2. Put the bacon in a pan on the stove over low/medium heat. If your knob goes up to 10, you want to keep it about 4 or 5. Same thing- as the bacon lets go of all that grease, you want to flip the bacon over a few times to make sure both sides cook in it. Keep the temperature where it is- like the timeless lyrics of the Beastie Boys say, "Slow and low, that is the tempo." I"m pretty sure they were referring to bacon in that song. If any of your bacon is starting to turn black before the middle of it is fully cooked, you turned the heat up too high. Don't do that anymore. Pause for effect.
After you cook the bacon, the last bit of crispness comes from draining the grease off- just let it sit on some paper bowls and blot it. Then enjoy your crunchy bites of salty heaven.
Okay, now let's talk about why I hate food blogs. I needed a quick biscuit recipe yesterday and thanks to the power of Google, came across the one I needed that happened to be on someone's blog. It was the perfect example of why I hate food bloggers.
I bring this up because people come up to me all the time, asking me if I've read this or that food blog by someone I don't care about. I don't read food blogs. I hate 98% of them. The other 2% that I can tolerate are ones that are written by chefs who tell you about their lives in the restaurant industry, or something substantial like that. I am not a blogger. I am an agency-represented writer/ex-chef who offers sound advice that makes you laugh and it just so happens the internet is the best way to get it to you at this point. I don't romanticize and reenact some easy as crap recipe that takes anyone else 3, maybe 5 minutes tops to make, describe in 17 paragraphs how it tasted and then take styled photos of it while offering "witty" anecdotes about my husband's reaction when I accidental dropped a biscuit in dish water. (This is for real. I read this when I was painstakingly doing why-I-hate-food-blogs research yesterday.) I don't think I'm Julie from Julie and Julia. Don't get me wrong: I love that movie. But the movie was already made- lets get back to the real world now.
On a side note, Anthony Bourdain offered a published intro in his latest book by holding a contest. Anyone could enter and write about why you should cook well. I looked through those entries and they were all written by the type of food bloggers I hate- romanticized bullshit about how a tomato reminds someone of their grandmother's curtains when they were little. This is ANTHONY BOURDAIN, people. He writes about eating raw meat and doing cocaine and camping in the middle of Thailand while eating local fish heads. I was disgusted by those entries. I imagine he was too. Or, at least I hope so.
On the other hand, If that's what you happen to enjoy- no judgement, and thank you for reading- then please enjoy this photo I took of an adorable kid at my brunch yesterday- who happens to be wielding a fist full of bacon. Notice how crispy it is. Now go practice.