Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 27, 2014 Northshore Baconfest Report, and Captain Bacon

MY LIFE WITH BACON continues with the Army naming Captain Bacon, a little HufPo validation, and some bacon cookin'.

BACON IN THE NEWS some good stuff this week

THE HUFFINGTON POST CORROBORATES MY FINDING that the best way to cook bacon, about which I wrote a few weeks ago. If you recall, I tested several ways to cook the world's most coveted food, and HufPo agrees with me.  Click here to read their article.  Go back in time and look at my post of March 14, 2014 to see my method test. They call it "The Surprising, Easy Trick to Cook Perfect Bacon". Hint: it's not the Bacon Bowl.

ARMY DESIGNATES CAPTAIN BACON.  It's true.  The awesome Army Football Team has named Article here.
Geoff Bacon a co-captain of the West Point football team.  Beat Navy!

Glenview, Illinois' Historic Wagner Farm hosted the second annual baconfest.  Proceeds went to a great organization - The Friends of Wagner Farm.  The bacon was supplied by Oscar Mayer, so you know it would be solid vittles!  You can see all nineteen participating restaurants at their website: here.

The Farm was decorated with baconalia all around.  We were greeted by the Ms. Bacon Suit (picture top right) and we later met the youthful and fun Ms. Bacon Strip.  Ms. Strip was by far the more bubbly and energetic of the two, but Ms. Suit was a joy as well.

Here are some shots of the wonderful bacon-themed food in the various rooms:

Our best find of the evening was Sweety Pies Bakery from Skokie, IL.  Believe it or not, the little piggy to the left actually has over 40 bacon chocolate truffles inside.  They were conducting a silent auction for some lucky winner to take it home with them.  I couldn't bring myself to bid, because I am sure I would eat half of it in one sitting.  Well done.

Among the other wonder baked goods by Sweety Pies was the Maple Bacon Sheet Cake below.  Vanilla cake topped with maple cream cheese frosting and candied bacon.  Ohhhh.

The other thing we found out was that the proprieters make Primal type items - now my wonderful wife (we were celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary - at a baconfest!~) now has a source for my birthday 'cake'!  They also make lots of gluten-free and non-allergen baked goods.  (By the way, the printer of the night's program has the URL wrong - it goes to a different bakery - but the link above works.)

We sampled pretty much everything.  Here are a couple of our favorites:

The "Great Dane": Applewood smoked bacon inside of artisan baked bread, American/Cheddar cheese as a grilled cheese sandwich!

Awesome.  This is a specialty of the "Toasty Cheese Mobile Eatery" out of Schaumburg, IL.  Great website here.  Very reminiscent of the "Bacon Bacon" food truck and cafe out of San Fransisco, about which I've written in the past!

Debbie and I have passed Eddie Merlot's frequently, when driving on Milwaukee Avenue.  This is apparently a new item on the menu.

The shrimp weren't "jumbo" - they were colossal!  Cooked on site to perfection, stuffed with horseradish and wrapped in bacon, they were the ultimate in flavor.  Just a little too sweet for perfect paleo, but great tasting!

My next favorite is below: bacon scoops with Cobb salad inside.  Now that's Paleo.

See you next week!

Friday, April 18, 2014

April 20, 2014 Easter Bacon, Explosive Bacon, and another Bacon Alarm Clock link

MY LIFE WITH BACON CONTINUES THIS WEEK after skipping last Sunday.  I wrote a short post last week but for some reason my phone didn't upload it; I hope you didn't miss the blog too badly!

BACON IN THE NEWS.  There are a few interesting stories floating around out there.

The first one comes courtesy of my son, Sam Murphy.  Some engineering students created a real bacon alarm clock.  No, not the Oscar Mayer "Wake Up And Smell The Bacon" app and scent device for your iPhone, about which I have written recently (update on it in a minute).  No, this is a real alarm clock that cooks real bacon at your bedside!  It's a true DIY project with a lamp inside, that is triggered by the alarm clock; the lamp heats the bacon, which is accessed by opening a drawer.  Very cool idea.  Not worth spending the time to make, though.  See link here.

I'm not a big fan of this type of automation.  Do you know ANYONE who sets up their coffee maker before going to bed, so it brews coffee in the morning?  I don't, and this device falls into the same category.  But cool.

BACK TO THE "Wake Up And Smell The Bacon" promotion by Oscar Mayer. I still think it's a great concept, but others think it's just a tease - there's no "there" there! No real bacon!  But the idea is to go out and buy some!  Loyal reader and friend Bill Uhlemann of TX submitted a sweepstakes bid and was notified that he WON.  Oscar sent him a picture of the box (looks really cool) and said it'd be 4-6 weeks before delivery.  Well, we're getting close.  Bill promises to put it in the mail to me immediately, and send me tracking info.  I will review it asap once received.

WE RECENTLY HAD A GREAT BREAKFAST at Marui's Famous Cafe in Mundelien, IL.  The food was fabulous, the service great, even though they were unusually busy.  Of course, there was bacon; although it was food service grade, it was very good, and the meal outstanding. The restaurant is Mexican themed, and their breakfast tacos/burritos were super.  I just had to give them a plug.  We like to support local businesses.

BACON PRICES UP 7% in a year.  Tiring news about the baby pig killing virus.  There are a number of articles on the price elasticity of demand about bacon.  Here's a link to a number of charts.

EXPLOSIVE BACON is an explosive headline.  Well, it turns out that the government asked housewives to save excess rendered fat for use in explosives in WW2. Having been an EOD Officer in the US Army, I probably came in contact with some WW2-era bacon.  Very interesting.  Great article, even better image, below:

THIS WEEK'S BACON comes from Al's Meat and Poultry Market in Wilmette, IL.  Dropped by this excellent establishment last weekend and picked up some super premium steak, and of course, some bacon.  While it isn't cured there, they sliced me two pounds right off a slab. Here's a link to their website.

Great stuff.  Bacon review below:

Al's meats are excellent.  Super Prime ribeye was great for dinner.  The bacon cooked up very well.  Produced a lot of rendered fat (maybe I should send it to the US Government).  Crispiness was high, because it was a little overcooked; 4 out of 5.  Succulence excellent, also 4 out of 5.  Flavor superb, the entire family loved it; 4 out of 5.  Very highly rated bacon.  Guess what?  Usinger's on the slab, sliced at the butcher.  Worth ordering online.  Go do it.  Unpaid plug.  See you next week!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April 6, 2014: Raisin River and another crime involving Bacon

MY LIFE WITH BACON continues this week with a test of Raisin River, and an another interesting criminal story involving bacon. 

And yes, I made jalapeno poppers topped with bacon.

BACON IN THE NEWS is always fun.  I get numerous data feeds about bacon in the news, which makes this job easy.  I just pick the best stories.  Here's a good one for you.  The headline is: 

Police: Suspect breaks in, steals man's bacon
Police said suspect also "Leaving the lights on."

"According to the Kinston Free press, a person living on Hardin Avenue complained to police about the break in and the breakfast food that was missing from the fridge."  
Apparently, someone keeps going over to this person's house, steals the bacon, and departs, leaving the lights on in the house!  I wonder what kind of bacon it is.  If I find out I'll have to try it.  Here's a link to the short news article if you'd like to read it.

RAISIN RIVER Premium Meats & Game Applewood Smoked bacon, distributed by European Imports Inc., Chicago 60647.

European Imports (they go by the initials EI) has a history going back to 1978, and have been successful through acquiring smaller specialty cheese and meat companies.  They were just acquired by SYSCO but still sell retail.  Their website is here.   In addition to the Raisin River brand, they apparently also distribute Nueske.  With this pedigree, I eagery anticipate good things from the Raisin brand.

Unfortunately it was not to be so.

The 12-ounce package netted out to 12.3 oz of bacon - a small bonus! There was a faint applewood aroma to the bacon, not overpowering.  It cooked up in an odd way. 

Remember the bacon bowl?  Well, this bacon seems to curl up lengthwise - let's call it a canoe bowl (close up shot above).  You could put all sorts of goodies in the canoe and eat it with one hand, just like the bacon bowl.  That is, if the bacon is any good, which it isn't.

It had a processed oily flavor, but the worst characteristic was that it was waaaay too chewy.  It took ten minutes to get through a few slices.  Not crispy at all.  Not recommended either.  See you next week.