Wednesday, January 28, 2015

January 25, 2015: Still No Bacon! More Bacon Crime, and a Recipe

MY LIFE WITH BACON continues this week with gigantic bacon cravings, a very cool recipe for bacon wrapped onion rings, and some serious bacon crime.  


YES.  Finally, a bacon-wrapped onion ring.  Combining two foods after which I lust in a foodie way. I think I may have to go out and get myself a deep fryer – one of the few kitchen gadgets I currently don’t own.

The author is completely off base, however.  The likelihood of getting diabetes from eating this food is highly unlikely.  It clearly has significantly more FAT and protein than high-insulin-reactive carbohydrates.  I don’t think you can load the rings or the bacon up with enough coating to generate a big insulin spike.  But I could be wrong.

In any event, the picture does look un-appealing.  I think it’s simply the darkness of the batter-coated bacon.  Anyway, if I do make it, I’ll let you know how it turned out.  LINK courtesy of my daughter, Caitlin Murphy and her boyfriend Matt!

MORE BACON BASED CRIME.  Next up is an incredible article about some dumb lady who assaulted the police - with bacon!  I love the announcers who show the police video on this YouTube link.  They introduced it in a funny way "video has surfaced"... SURFACED?  Was it underground?  I wonder how it actually did come to light.

The woman brought in a Dunkin Donuts box.  The announcers rightly point out the irony here.  How better to camouflage something in a police station than to put it in a donut box!  The woman is asked by the policeman behind the desk how he can help her.  She then actually threw the bacon at the cops IN THE POLICE STATION, shouting "I'm here to feed the pigs!!"  So she wants to feed the pigs...with pigs?  A good summary article, in addition to the YouTube video, can be found here.  She was remanded into custody pending a psychological evaluation.

During the event, according to police,
"McNamara then ... began...smearing the greasy meat onto the bulletproof glass."  She clearly has issues.  Later, at her hearing when asked, she said:
"God told me to go over there and feed the pigs."
To all of us who are "sane", poor Lindsay McNamara is most definitely nuts.  Maybe she came to the same conclusion a little later when she had time to think about it.

I thought I'd go see what God told other people to do.

Aside from Abraham, who was tested when God told him to murder his son, there are many tales of evildoers who hear what they think is God's voice in their head - telling them to do unspeakable things.

I found this interesting book... now, I didn't read it, but it does propose an interesting question.

The last part of the title "...and I'm pretty sure I'm not crazy" drives me nuts.  How can people who hear voices in their heads 'discern' who's telling them to do things?  Abraham didn't think he was crazy. What do you think?

BACON CRAVINGS continue for me.  The final week of  It isn't changing my life, probably because I've been on some form of low carb / paleo for a while before trying it.  The hardest things to give up were bacon and alcohol.  I don't care too much about the sugar.

Monday, January 19, 2015

January 18, 2015: Bacon Cures Disease, and EGG Testing!

MY LIFE WITH BACON continues this week without eating bacon (so sad) the passing of a great business leader in the world of meat (also very sad) and some bacon news.  Ending with a comparison of fried eggs from three sources.


BACON CAUSES SMOG?  Some Chinese officials are blaming the numerous bacon-smoking factories for the smog enshrouding cities. Check out this site from The Telegraph.  They report that "Rao Bing, deputy head of the Dazhou environment protection bureau said the city's ongoing bout of "lingering smog" since January should be blamed on the local affection for smoking bacon, Xinhua reported."  Chinese bureaucrat claims bacon is to blame.  Yeah, right.

Of course you can blame bacon - forget about all the cars, diesel trucks, other factories and construction!  Blame bacon!  Easy target!  But I agree with one or who said:
"Only a pig-headed person would think that air pollution was caused by smoking bacon," commented one.
BACON CURES DISEASE!  Mother Jones reports that bacon can cure at least three maladies, including nosebleeds!  Here's the link.  I like it.  If you're primal / paleo / low carb, the claim is that it cures diabetes, and other metabolic cyndrome-related diseases, too.

BACON ICON PASSES.  This is very sad.  My favorite all-time bacon is Nueske's.  The company's leader, Bob Nueske, passed on January 5th.  This very nice article talks about the transformation of his company into the market leader that it is - out of Milwaukee, WI.  I hope there's bacon in heaven!  Photo from the link: The Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal.


Shifting gears from my normal routine of evaluating bacon (only because I've been too lazy to find and order sugar-free bacon on my program), I'm giving you some eggs.

I purchased three dozen eggs from The Fresh Market yesterday, and fried one of each, sunny-side-up but with a well cooked bottom.  This is a great way to have an egg.  You get to get the full flavor of the yolk with a solid base. 

The eggs are from Vital Farms, 365 (the Whole Foods brand) and Farmers Henhouse.  Non-clickable images of their home page from Vital and Henhouse below (links to the left are clickable).  I like "The Happiest Hens in the World".  How do you quantitatively measure a hen's happiness?  And why would that be important?  I have heard people say that a "happy pig is a tasty pig"... I wonder if there have been any studies.  Topic for another post!!!

All are 'cage free', which generally just means that the door is open so the chickens can go outside if they want to.  They don't want to.  In any event, all three were perfectly satisfactory eggs.  I don't think they are worth the very high price (approaching $5 a dozen for the Vital and Farmers) compared to a normal brand.  The Vital Farms egg was the richest flavor, as well as the a very 'orange' colored yolk.  The Farmers Henhouse was second in 'orange-ness' and had good flavor.  The 365 brand was quite satisfactory in all respects.  Its white ran the most (had the least consistency), the yolk was the softest and it was the least yellow.  No real hands-down winner but a slight tip to the Vital Farms brand.  Still not worth 3X the regular brands.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 12, 2015

January 11, 2014: Beer & Bacon, Whole30 Challenge and Crossfit

MY LIFE WITH BACON continues this week with Beer & Bacon, starting a new eating regime, and CrossFit!



A good reason to head back to NJ is the Tropicana's 2015 Bacon and Beer week!  Two of my favorite indulgences paired for the entire week, in Atlantic City.  A quote from the article, worth reading: - a snippet of a discussion between husband and wife who made the trip:

“You can’t pass up beer and bacon,” Tim Marconi said, explaining the basic theory behind the trip.
And what about that theory that January should be the month to get to the gym, not the bar?
“The heck with that,” his wife said firmly, only in slightly stronger terms. “I want bacon.”
Now that's a good wife...

As you know, Vegans don't eat Bacon.  The Huffington Post, God bless them, write about bacon frequently.  They posted this about making bacon without bacon!  Interesting; they provide a couple of links to recipes.  Too much sugar for me, but I like the idea!  Pic above is from the post.

CROSSFIT AND WHOLE30:  We started a new eating methodology: - a somewhat challenging 30-day program to get on a healthier track.  Image not click-able:

The program is essentially paleo - but is extremely strict.  Absolutely no diary, no sugar, and no alcohol for the entire 30 days, along with typical paleo food guidelines.  But no deviation!  I often had blocks of cheddar or cheese sticks for snacks, and the weekend imbibing of wine, beer or a stiff one.  Totally off now!  They say on the site that "it will change your life"... I'm willing to give it 30 days, but the "life changing" effect may only be for folks who have never done low-carb or paleo before.  I don't currently feel any different.

My older son Sam Murphy and I also started CrossFit last week.  Check out the main CrossFit website; we're going to the one in Libertyville, IL - non-clickable image above but here's their website.  Kristen is our main instructor/co-owner/co-founder and is excellent.  It's a very challenging program and they are friendly and supportive.  The workouts are hard.  As is getting up at 4:45 in the morning.  But. I. Need. It.

THIS WEEK’S BACON is not bacon! I had difficulty finding a bacon, either cured or uncured, that does not have sugar in it!  So I didn't cook any bacon this week.  But I did make a great batch of Walter McIlhenny's chili, which was OUTSTANDING.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

January 4, 2015: First Post of the New Year; the Big Book of Bacon, and Paulina Market smoked

MY LIFE WITH BACON continues this week with Chicago bacon from the Paulina Market and PeaPod, a gift bacon book, and some bacon news. Oddly, some of these pictures don't post properly; I'll have to look into why.  If you encounter problems, please let me know.


As previously  mentioned, December 30th was National Bacon day; as this article says, “not to be confused with International Bacon Day, celebrated on the Saturday before Labor Day.”  The photo above is from the “Bacon Shell Taco”, which was the “centerpiece of the Bacon Day celebration at B.C. CafĂ© in Davie” (Florida).  I’ve often thought that the invention of a bacon taco shell form (like the Bacon Bowl) would be a great innovation.  Place your bacon on the taco form and bake; out comes a crispy bacon taco shell.  You can have the idea, for free. 

Daughter Caitlin gave me a cool, large format, thick book called “The BigBook of Bacon” for Christmas.  Lots of recipes and printed in a large font – easy on the eyes (is she trying to tell me something about my age?) – and lots of great pictures.  Guess which bacon is illustrated in the opening section?  Nueske’s!

Of course.  It’s featured in a lot of great restaurants nationwide and is an outstanding bacon.  I disagree with a few of the author’s assessments, including rating Farmland very high… but the book has a lot of great recipes and I’ll be using it for years to come.

For New Year's, we got three sizeable lobsters from Supreme Lobster & Seafood, a premier seafood supplier to Chicago's best restaurants, (image not linked)

and three bone-in ribeye steaks from The Fresh Market in Lake Forest.  (Image not linked.)

The side dish was cauliflower mashed - simply steamed cauliflower heads with a stick of Kerry Gold salted butter.  Incredibly succulent, rich, flavorful dinner.  I am so lucky.

THIS WEEK’S BACON IS FROM THE PAULINA MARKET in Chicago, IL, by way of PeaPod.  My friend Thomas Parkinson, co-founder of PeaPod and its sister company, itemMaster, highly recommended that I use the PeaPod home delivery service and get some of their bacon.

I did so! The Paulina Market has a nice website (although upon clicking "Pork", I couldn't find bacon, and the pork belly was missing its image) and I think I'll be visiting their brick & mortar store too.

This bacon was packaged in a plain wrapper but a great silvered, heavy cardboard backing, which made it tremendously easy to peel off and put on the skillet.

It wasn’t labelled for weight, so I’m guessing it was about a pound.  I didn’t do my normal pre and post cooking weighing, as I was too anxious to cook this batch. As it began to warm up, the bacon exhibited translucency - indicating over-curing salts.  I was not initially optimistic. 

The bacon cooked up neatly with minimal stickiness and almost no curl.  As a result, I got pretty even slices, with the trademark protein/meat stripes all lined up.  This was obviously a transitional package, going from main line pork belly pieces to the end pieces, of which there were several.  The end pieces were much more meaty and had a ‘hammy’ look to them.

Wife Debbie commented that the bacon was “succulent but not much bacon flavor,” while son Sam remarked that the bacon was “outstanding”. For me, the bacon had a real melt-in-your-mouth succulence while retaining some serious crispyness – a rare combination.  I felt like it had strong traditional bacon flavor and while the mainline pieces were correctly very fatty, the dissolvability quotient outweighed any lack of protein.   The end pieces were really meaty and naturally had more bacon flavor.  Highly recommended, I’d give it a 3.75 on flavor, 4 on succulence, 4 on crispness.  Good stuff and will be buying again.