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28 February 2008

bacon, a party unto itself

bacon-wrapped dates

Oh bacon, how we love you.

A few weeks ago, I received a rather long and hateful comment from someone hiding in anonymity. I didn’t publish it. No big deal. These things seem to happen, if you have a life online. Still, one of the lines that was meant as a terrible insult turned into a funny little chanting compliment around here: “I’ve never seen a website so filled with pork.”

Well, Mr. Anonymous Hater guy, you might want to click over to another website right now, because you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen today’s entry.

For the past few months, we have been having informal potluck parties at our home. On one of the last Sundays of every month, we pick an ingredient, send it to everyone on the email list, and sit back until we can share the succulence. Each month, it’s a different mix of friends, since we all have such chock-a-block calendars and a thousand directions we could go. The Chef and I love this, actually. It’s a different party every time.

Last month, we had the winter root vegetable party. The diehards showed up. We ate well, and healthfully, and there was space and time to talk with everyone, in meaningful bursts. But we knew that this month would be a bit more like mayhem. Why?

Bacon party.

an array of bacon dishes

There’s just something about bacon. Its salty, slightly-sweet crunch, the way it shrivels into itself when we fry it, the heavenly ahhhh one sighs when leaning in for a smell, and the way bacon seems to make everything, everything better. Some foods only mingle with a few others. They’re part of an exclusive club. Smelt — one of our favorite fish, to tell the truth — tastes divine with a few friends. However, chocolate-covered smelt sounds like one of the candies from the Crunchy Frog sketch from Monty Python. But have you tried bacon chocolate? Oh god. Bacon is the most exuberant, open-minded host you have ever met. Everyone is welcome. The door is always open. The sunlight streams in. And bacon is equally happy to see everyone.

And so, it’s no surprise that the bacon party was the best attended of all the potlucks so far, with a flurry of emails from frustrated friends having to bow out, saying, “Shoot! I had such a great bacon recipe, too.”

Actually, it’s probably for the best that we didn’t have more people. As a group, we seemed to test the limits of amount of bacon eaten in one day.

It was hard to resist. There was sweet-potato hash, made by Kimberly and Paul. Actually, they brought two dishes, one made with Skagit River Ranch bacon, and the other with low-sodium bacon. Could anyone tell the difference? Not a bit. They were both delicious. (And this may have been the only discussion of health matters all day.)

bacon-potato extraordinaire

Our supremely talented friend Monique came in, sunlight sweeping in with her, bearing a dish of these seemingly simple-to-prepare scalloped potatoes. Layered a dozen high with potatoes, sour cream, onions, cheese, herbs, and bacon, these potato-bacon extraordinaire (the only name I have for them) were deeply satisfying. Monique arrived a little later than most, when the entire room thought we couldn’t take any more bacon. But we all leaned forward from all parts of the room to take these bites.

My darling husband cooks better potatoes than anyone I know. But all afternoon, he kept moaning about these potatoes. “What did she do? I have to know.” We still don’t know. It’s her secret weapon, these potatoes. Hell with Helen of Troy. The Trojan Wars could have easily started over the bacon-and-potato goodness you see pictured here.

(Oh gosh, if only Monique would start her own blog and share these with us….)

bacon-wrapped dates II

My dear friend Karen brought these beauties: dates wrapped in bacon, drizzled with a balsamic vinegar reduction. She felt bad that she hadn’t realized the dates still had pits in them. Thank goodness, I say. Without the pits, we would have popped every one of these into our mouth in one bite. And then I would have eaten a dozen without even looking, and then I would have been sick. Pits forced us to slow down.

(And hey! No one brought bacon-wrapped scallops. There was a time those would have been at the top of the gourmet list. Luckily, our friends are more creative than that.)

deconstructed BLTs

Talk about creative? How about these — deconstructed BLT sandwiches. Combine cooked bacon, tomatoes, and mayonnaise, and then line lettuce leaves with the tempting concoction. For an extra crunch, top with gluten-free croutons. (Judy, who prepared these, doesn’t even have to eat gluten-free, but she was kind enough to stop at Whole Foods for croutons for the party. Now that’s a kind guest.)

Judy also made a dish so damned popular that we never got a photograph of it: candy bacon. Bacon roasted with brown sugar, walnuts, and a touch of cayenne pepper. Oh god, when it was warm, it was like a deadly elixir, some aphrodisiac put together by an evil witch. You knew you shouldn’t keep eating it — our arteries pumped harder in protest after several pieces —but you just couldn’t resist. Luckily, Judy is on the good side, so we weren’t lulled into 100-year sleeps. (I’m glad that fairy tales don’t use bacon as a force for bad.)

bacon-wrapped bacon

There were other dishes, and reasons to faint from heart over-exhaustion. But perhaps the most dramatic, in name and deed, was this: bacon-wrapped bacon.

Matthew learned this trick from friends of his — pork belly braised in aromatic Asian spices, cut down into bite-sized pieces, and then wrapped in bacon. Just out of the oven, these made us all slobber. I knew I shouldn’t, but I ate the first one in one gigantic bite. The rich, dulcet tones of pork belly sang out against the low bass notes of roasted smoked bacon and I wanted to join in with the heavenly choirs. But I just kept walking in the backyard with Monique, speechless, with bacon fat on my chin.

(And I can't give you the recipe here, because Matthew is including it in his book, which comes out in 2009. It will be worth the wait. Believe me, you'll want to read Hungry Monkey.)

Oh, but I take that back. Perhaps the most dramatic entrance was Megan’s, who arrived late enough that most of the people at the party missed this unbelievable feat. She made baskets of baked, woven bacon, and filled them with lettuce and tomatoes. When she and Scott walked through the open front door, those of us left in the living room wanted to drop to our knees and thank her. Seriously? These were visually stunning. No one wanted to eat them, at first. And that’s not only because we had been eating bacon products for hours, but also because they were so damned beautiful.

We gave in and crashed them with our teeth.

the end of the bacon party

Before we ate our fill, we all shared the brands of bacon we had used: Nueske’s; Daily’s; Skagit River Ranch; Whole Foods; and even good old Oscar Mayer. We all seemed to agree — in these dishes we really couldn’t tell the difference. In individual slices, I have my stalwart favorites. But mixed in and mingled in other dishes, they were all just bacon.

All good things must come to an end, including bacon parties. By the end of the afternoon, the sun had set and we finally closed the door against the now-chilly air. Our friends sat on the couch, draped against chairs, and on the floor, all of them in a bacon coma. I swear, I think we lost our words for awhile. All we could say was, “Bacon.”

The next day, the Chef and I tried to heat up some of the leftovers for lunch. After one bite each, we realized we couldn’t do it. We just couldn’t eat any more bacon in one 24-hour period. Even we have our limits.

But we’re going back to it soon. We have new brands and recipes to try, after all. For those of you who are gluten-free, or anyone just wanting to eat in your homes more often with your friends, we heartily recommend potlucks. Dinner parties are lovely, of course, but there’s a certain show-off energy to them, a frenzy in the kitchen trying to prepare everything, and a whopping big grocery bill in the end. With a potluck, everyone participates, no one pays too much, and we all have something to teach each other.

(What would you have brought if you had been invited to the bacon party?)

And when everyone brings something gluten-free, you are reminded again.

There is so much food to eat. There’s really no deprivation to this.

Thank goodness bacon is gluten-free. Yum…………bacon.

p.s. Thank you to our amazing friend, Mark Eskenazi, who not only arrived at the party with a free couch for us (really! Like I could make this up.), but he also brought his gorgeous, large-format Canon camera. When the food was placed on the table in the living room, he was so taken by the beauty of it all that he started snapping photographs. I put down my camera and enjoyed watching him compose the shots. So thank you, Mark, for these beautiful photos of bacon.


I'm thrilled and honored to announce that the Chef and I will be appearing at an event in honor of my book at Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks. This stunning bookstore in Vancouver B.C. not only holds a drool-worthy (and very dangerous) collection of cookbooks from around the world, but they also have a beautiful, long chef's table where they hold eating events for cookbooks.

We will be at Barbara Jo's on March 15th, at 11 am. If you should be there, you'll receive several dishes based on recipes from the book, some cook cooking techniques and suggestions from the Chef, and some (hopefully) funny stories and inspiring exhortations from me.

Space is very limited, so please click here for details. Sign up today!

twice-baked potatoes


Of course, we don't just ask our friends to bring food. We make something every time. And one of the many qualities I love about the Chef? He doesn't try to impress with foams and mousses, impossible dreams of food that no one else could make. He simply makes food he loves to eat. And in the end, he's pretty easy to please.

Potatoes, cream, sour cream, good white cheddar, salt and pepper. That's all he needs to make something that makes everyone moan with pleasure. They can taste his particular heart in these.

When I asked him to jot down a recipe for me, as we drove to the restaurant, so I could post it here today, he scrawled in the big black notebook I keep for food ideas, his sideways scrawl in rushed Chef chicken scratch. Rather than trying to translate for him, I'm going to write this one (nearly) as he did. (I'll spell out potatoes instead of pots.) He rarely works with recipes anyway, mostly with his hands and muscle memory.

If this doesn't make sense to you, ask. But he'd like to encourage you to not rely so much on tablespoons or precise measurements. Throw in a pinch of this, pour a little of that, grate a pile of that other thing, and see what happens.

With bacon involved, you can't go wrong.

Cook 5 slices of bacon down until crispy. Save the fat.

Bake 10 red potatoes at 425° for an hour or so. (Toss with bacon fat and salt and pepper first.) Until soft. Cool.

Halve potatoes. Scoop them out.

Run insides through ricer, or sieve.

Add cream, sour cream, olive oil, white cheddar, salt and pepper.

Put back into the potatoes.

Bake until golden brown.

Top with bacon pieces.


At 7:23 PM, Blogger Catherine said...

I love love love bacon and have recently been cooking with it quite a bit. Now I am even more inspired - candy bacon is brilliant!

At 7:26 PM, Blogger Ellen said...

I've been eating vegetarian for years now, but this post made me hungry for bacon...

At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Shauna-
You know I wanted to be there. I sent my choice recipe: dates stuffed with hard Locatelli Romano cheese wearing bacon wraps grilled until crisp outside and molten inside! "Hempler's" thick cut is still my choice.

Bacon is decadent, but who knows how long we get to do this dance... so you might as well sizzle, pop and smoke before you go.

-La Niña

At 7:51 PM, Blogger House of Jules said...

"I've never seen a website so filled with pork" should be the new tagline in your header. That is some priceless humor right there!!! I am really sorry he didn't mean it to be funny, but see, that's the beauty about the rest of us who HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR. Good on you for turning it around into something we can all enjoy!

When I first read this post I wondered if there was something about February that inspires people to be creative with bacon, having read Not Martha yesterday... though now that I realize she was making those bacon baskets for your potluck, everything makes sense!

Now I'm certain to dream of bacon,
House of Jules

At 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must say, I'm not much of a meat eater, and I have bacon a handful of times a year. But MAN is it good. Smoky, nutty goodness. Pile on the pork girl - I love your website!

At 8:17 PM, Blogger mamster said...

My favorite was the twice-baked potatoes--nice work, Danny. And I have good news. The bacon-wrapped bacon recipe is already online here. It was invented by Lorna Yee; all praise is due to her. I left out the hoisin sauce because I couldn't find gluten-free hoisin, and it's totally fine without it.

But you're welcome to buy my book anyway. (The recipe isn't actually in it; I just talk about it.)

At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim Gaffigan - Bacon


At 8:20 PM, Blogger Shelby said...

This is too funny. I went to a "beer and bacon bonanza" in Chicago in December - but then I went hopping from Nashville to Montreal to New York immediately after and never got a chance to blog about it. Suffice it to say that the last course was a shortbread cookie filled with brown sugar-bacon buttercream paired with a chocolate stout milkshake. Talk about rich! Everything here looks great!

At 8:30 PM, Blogger Dahlia said...

HA! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post - can't say enough good things about bacon, myself (is there such a thing as a "Bacon Jew?" If so, I am one. Hope I don't offend anyone...) Really, bacon is a condiment that goes with everything. Wonderful. Have you seen this: ?

At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a wonderful favorite bacon dish, but I don't know how to make it!

It is large shrimp, stuffed with mexican cheese, wrapped with bacon and deep fried. YUM! When you bite into them, the hot cheese squirts out...

Maybe you can play with this Shauna and figure out how to make it?

Thanks for your wonderful blog! I hope to catch up with you at a book event someday. Maybe you'll come to Vegas sometime?


At 10:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I make these Spring Picnic rumakis (that's what I call them) based on my favorite sandwich creation--minus the bread of course.

I cook bacon, drain it and while it's still soft, I wrap it around a tiny ball of fresh mozzarella and a thin slice of tomato and skewer it on a toothpick. Then I set them all on a tray and drizzle balsamic vinegar over them, sprinkle them with finely chopped fresh basil and when I'm super trying to impress.. i add a scant dusting of finley chopped walnuts or pecans...It's always a hit, so that's what I'd bring if you had a bacon party in the summer.

At 10:55 PM, Blogger AutoSysGene said...

I'm in a bacon induced coma just from reading this post...and I like it!! Thanks!!

At 11:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmmm... bacon. :-) Paul's favorite was Matthew's wonderfully over the top bacon-wrapped bacon. I couldn't choose, and I couldn't eat leftovers on Monday, either.

At 11:48 PM, Blogger Allison the Meep said...

This post was both hilarious and delicious. I want to laugh about it and then eat my computer screen. My greasy, porky computer screen. mmmmmm.

My son Julian does this thing where he belts out the U2 song "Crumbs From Your Table" but he always tries to be funny so instead he sings "I'm waiting on the crumb from your bacon!!"

Seeing all these photos really makes me want to cook right this minute! I really feel like getting down and dirty with some southern cooking this weekend and making gluten free biscuits, gravy, and bacon. And then I will die. Or maybe not. My Granny, who is from the deep South, keeps an old coffee can full of bacon grease on her countertop and uses it in eeeeverything she cooks and she's still rocking in the free world.

If I were to come to your party, I would bring a blanket woven of bacon so you could snuggle up in its greasy warmth, and then have a little bedtime snack.

At 1:17 AM, Blogger Grace said...

I make a version of the bacon-wrapped dates (I first had them at Veritable Quandary in Portland, OR) and stuff the dates with goat cheese and a Marcona almond. They are simply sinful, and went over VERY well with folks at Christmas dinner this year. (And, if you should -- somehow, inexplicably -- have leftovers, they're also delicious cold from the fridge.)

At 3:44 AM, Blogger QuiltingFitzy said...

My invitation got lost in the mail, how sad.

About the late 60's there was a peanut butter with bacon bits for sale. It was marvelous on toast.


Yes, I now know why I fight the bulge.

Love, love, LOVE your blog.

At 3:49 AM, Blogger ChupieandJ'smama (Janeen) said...

I'm not much of a meat eater, but even when I went vegetarian, bacon was the one meat I couldn't resist. Thanks for all the yummy pictures and the recipe.
Sorry about the hater comment. I think that guy has visted me too (only instead of pork, he used a few other adjectives);)

At 4:37 AM, Blogger asata (a.k.a. Life Chef) said...

bacon ... yes, yes, YEESSS!!!! No matter what diet I go on or how vegetarian I swing, I always come back to bacon. LOL. It was suggested (in a loving and supportive way) that I limit my pork recipes on my blog as well. I didn't realize how much I enjoy cooking pork. It's so versatile! Anyway I wanted to applaud your bacony backlash to whomever didn't appreciate your pork products. And I wanted to share a gluten-free food find that might be of interest to parents. Gluten-free all natural turkey hot dogs by Garrett County. I posted more about it on my blog

At 4:51 AM, Blogger Krys72599 said...

I'm totally deprived - there must be a picture of candy bacon soon. I'm drooling as I type this. And thank god for links - not pork sausage links - links to a picture of "baskets of baked, woven bacon." When I scrolled down and it was a picture of an empty tray, I almost cried. But thank you, Shauna, for linking me through to a picture at Megan's site... I simply HAD to see a picture!

At 5:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My friends are still getting used to my newly diagnosed food allergies. After I had to pass on the pizza and beer, even though I'm in the "Pizza and Beer" bowling league, one friend asked if I could eat her list of favorite foods. No, no, no came my answers. She was really glad not to be me. At the end of the evening she said, "Bacon! Can you still eat bacon?" When I told her yes, she saw the silver lining in the clouds.

I have to read labels, and make sure no corn syrup was used in the curing, but there are brands at my corner grocery that pass that test.



For a really funny take on Bacon Jews, read Christopher Moore's "Lamb." He also offers a hilarious story (not one you've heard before) about why Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas. His sideways wit has made him one of my favorite writers.

At 5:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man. I almost gave up on your blog, but you've reeled me back in with this post. Here I am eating a cupcake for breakfast (hey, it's Friday-- I can be a little decadent) and the sugary buttery frosting suddenly seems so inadequate. Bring on the crispiness and the salt and the grease! Those bacon baskets are ingenious, and I can't wait to make them for my next dinner party.

At 6:32 AM, Blogger Cannelle Et Vanille said...

How can anyone send write you a hateful comment makes no sense to me, even if they happen to be vegetarian. Your blog is positive and inspirational. I've never read anything negative here.

Bacon, crispy bacon. This is definitely an ode to it. Maybe I should have a bacon potluck party.

At 6:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at Barbara Jo's back in January on my last trip to Vancouver (wonderful city), and saw your book there on the shelves - Yay, you get to go there. It's a lovely little book store.

At 7:11 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

When I read your post I realized that there was another person on earth who would adore these -
Chocolate chip, cherry and bacon cookies. Heaven, only this recipe has gluten. However what better person to tinker in the kitchen to de-glutenize these than you? It's been on my list of things to try to convert over, but just haven't made it there. Have fun, and happy bacon.

At 7:20 AM, Blogger Gina Perry said...

I was vegetarian for several years, and when I finally decided go back to being a carnivore, do you know what my first meat was? Bacon, of course! There is nothing like it. Those pictures are deadly, even the one with just crumbs left behind. Thank you anonymous-hater, for inspiring a pork-bonanza!

At 8:02 AM, Blogger Lynn Barry said...

I love bacon too and all things pork...don't worry about one have such a HUGE following fuggettaboutit...Love you

At 8:07 AM, Blogger Cindy said...


At 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "bacon post" rocks! I adore your stories and recipes! You are SO the "cup of tea!" My husband and I used to be vegetarians before learning how gluten affected my wellbeing. That was six months ago. He came to accept the gluten-free lifestyle, willingly. . . . eventually.

At 8:47 AM, Blogger liannallama said...

mmmmmmmmm! Bacon! I'll never forget the way the bacon tasted in Tahiti! Thicker than ours and for some reason so much better! Maybe it was the tropical breeze that flavored it so wonderfully! I couldn't eat "American" bacon for months after that trip!

Thanks for sharing your bacon delights! I think I am in love with the bacon-wrapped bacon!

At 8:54 AM, Blogger Gaile said...

bacon! i didn't like the bacon chocolate when my friend brought it for me, but saw those bacon cups on megan's blog yesterday and thought now that's creative! Have you had the bacon wrapped dates at Tango yet? Awesome. I have a question though - do you worry that bacon is or isn't gf? I see discussions of this on the celiac boards and since until recently I was a veg I didn't think twice about it. But after those dates at Tango, I was fine, and then read the boards later. I'm trying to find some all beef pastrami that's gf, since i'm eating beef again and really want a ruben now... Anyway, great bacon post, sorry about the hater, there's lots of them out there w/ nothing better to do. poor sad little lives they must lead.

At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We love Datiles Endiabladso (Devilled Dates) - stuff the pitted date with cooked chorizo, then wrap in bacon, throw it in a frying pan (or under the broiler) and enjoy!

At 10:34 AM, Blogger momcan'tdance said...

Here's a quick and easy way to cook bacon that I learned from one of my nephews (both are chefs). Line a cookie sheet with foil. Arrange the bacon in separated strips in the pan, and bake in a 350 degree oven until desired level of crispiness is reached.

The beauty of this method is it's relative speed of cooking. No turning, no spitting, just yummy bacon in a matter of minutes. (15 minutes approx.) Don't get me wrong, there is a kind of "zoning out" that can be relaxing in the old fashioned pan frying method...standing with your weight on one leg, wondering about everything, and nothing. Thinking about how long I'm going to be standing here babying the bacon...turning and turning until it's just perfect.

If you're in a hurry, however, this is a good quick method to try.

As with everyone else, this post is making me wonder about my next bacon experience! Thanks for the inspiration!

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Leah Bevington said...

I have a bunch of food blogs bookmarked but I'm always pleased when you post and I either greedily read it first or save it for last.

I heart bacon. And your writing. I feel like I'd like to give both you and the Chef hugs, if ever we met and it wasn't creepy.

(And I hate haters- someone who hates pork probably isn't all that happy. I made a cider braised pork inspired by your blog for Christmas Day in Paris and it was one of our most memorable meals. All love.)

At 12:29 PM, Blogger E! said...

Oh my god...BACON. A dear friend of mine and I have a routine of cooking bacon for each other in the morning whenever we get a chance to visit. On her wedding day this past September, in my toast to her as maid of honor, I believe the closing line was "May your mornings together be ever filled with the smells of fresh coffee and crispy bacon!"

And for the record, one of my most favorite ridiculously simple bacon recipes has got to be whole water chestnuts wrapped in bacon. The crunch is heavenly.


At 1:11 PM, Blogger nicole said...

i'm a vegetarian, but i'm totally impressed with all creative the bacon-y results! wowie. i haven't had bacon in years, but i'm -- almost -- tempted. can i use soy bacon?!

At 2:00 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

Sweet Jesus. Brown sugar bacon? Oh, sweet, sweet Jesus. Can I put maple syrup on that?

At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

D'oh. Someone beat me to the bacon comedian, but the least I can do is make it a hot link instead:

Over 3 minutes of jokes ONLY about bacon

"Oh, my greasy lover, bacon. You wanna know how good bacon is? To improve other food, they wrap it in bacon. . . . Bibbity bobbity BACON!"

At 2:18 PM, Blogger Let Them (not) Eat Cake said...

Love the bacon-ness of your post! However, I'm currently very disappointed that there is no bacon in my fridge. Otherwise, I'd go whip some up in a flash! I'll have to remedy that...

At 4:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there anything can't do?

At 5:05 PM, Blogger alane said...

Mmmm bacon. Is Nueske bacon available in the northwest? I rely on friends in Wisconsin for my stash of that brand of porkyporky goodness.

At 6:11 PM, Blogger Cally said...

i love how you responded to the anon pork complainant. your blog is a special place, even for a dedicated veggie like me.

At 6:46 PM, Blogger Hannah S-Q said...

I heart you and your bacon obsession. :D

At 7:15 AM, Blogger MB said...

While I am sadly not a fan of bacon (but appreciate your enthusiasm and certainly grew up with bacon aficionados), I am a huge fan of Barbra-Jo!! You will love it! I had the Vancouver launch of my book Comfort Food for Breakups there last May. I ended up writing her a gushy 2-page thank you letter because it was the most generous and elegant book launch I have ever had. I live in Toronto now so cannot attend your reading but...enjoy....(Oh and don't forget to go to Granville Island Public Market, and particularly the Oyama booth where you will thrill to the sausages, pates and cheeses!)

At 9:47 AM, Blogger Pam said...

Have you ever tried bacon wrapped water chesnuts? You soak the water chesnuts in teryaki sauce (gluten free of course) and then wrap them in bacon, poke with a toothpick to hold in place and then bake. The sugar in the sauce soaks into the bacon as it cooks. You could eat a whole batch before you realized they were gone:)

At 4:26 PM, Blogger talida said...

Wonderfully delicious post. Now I must throw my own bacon party!

At 11:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is seriously the funniest response to a bacon-hater comment, ever. Yum!

(I'm a recent convert to meat eating after 15 years as a vegetarian... and I firmly believe that bacon is the candy of meats.)

At 12:25 AM, Blogger Linda said...

I love bacon and, since I live in France, rarely get that wonderful tasting stuff you can find in the States. They have a variety of it here but do nothing about spiffing it up with smoky or sweet tastes. I'm wondering if there is something I can do to it myself to bring back that great taste.

At 8:44 AM, Blogger Sheltie Girl said...

Bacon is one of my favorite food groups... I'd vote for either Niman's Ranch or Applegate Sunday Bacon, both are simply delicious. It's a pity the bacon baskets didn't get a photo, they sound awfully cute.

Sheltie Girl @ Gluten A Go Go

At 6:16 PM, Blogger sar said...

A friend of mine does the bacon wrapped dates with a balsamic shallot reduction poured over it before they're baked in the oven. The result is bacony-carmelized goodness that doesn't hang around for long! LONG LIVE PORK!

At 6:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, dearest. Your timing is almost spooky. This weekend, after a year of ogling the "seriously good bacon!" sign at the Greenmarket stand where I buy my guinea hens, I finally decided to take the leap and try the seriously good bacon. You're right: it really is a party unto itself, particularly when you cook the bacon to the perfect state of doneness, drain most of the fat from the pan, use the little bit you leave behind to make johnnycakes, and share it all with someone you adore. :)

Your party sounded absolutely spectacular. Thank you, as ever, for sharing.

At 6:46 PM, Blogger Sallie Tierney said...

Shauna, I am loving your blog! I've been gluten-free for ten years - my mom (93 years old) has been gluten-free twenty-five. When she was diagnosed it was all about deprivation mindset - can't have this, can't have that. Now we live together and I do the cooking (with help from you of course) and she is enjoying her meals these days, not just safely "fueling up". I linked to you on my own blog this week ( when I was talking about my celiac. Keep up the good work!

At 7:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In one of the "Sweet Potato Queens" books there's a recipe for thin (gluten-free?) bread sticks wrapped in bacon, then rolled in a combo of chili powder and brown sugar. Put on a rack on a cookie sheet (to keep the sticks out of the pooling grease) and bake at 400F until the bacon is crispy.

This is not a fancy bacon or fancy bread sticks recipe.

At 3:08 AM, Blogger Karen said...

I hope the good comments outweigh the mean-spirited anonymous ones. I thoroughly enjoy your writing and cooking. I like to keep an eye out for my friends that have celiac and you have such a grateful, joyful way of conveying your food adventures. I always come back for more. Best wishes!

At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Homer says... Pig is the magical animal. And bacon is the gateway meat! After 10+ years of no meat-eating.... it bacon that got me.

At 8:54 AM, Blogger Adele said...

That crazy guy ranting about pork isn't worthy of reading your blog anyway! I am a vegetarian, but everybpdy does their own thing! So you have my vote

At 10:57 AM, Blogger sweetpea said...

Keep the pork coming! I have heard that Dates may be dusted with wheat flour or oat flour (which may or may not be a problem depending . . .) to keep them from sticking together. The photos in this post are great!

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, yes! The candied bacon! That was legendary in my circle of friends for some years after I made it for a brunch party. Haven't made it in ages, though . . . so many other delightful things to make with bacon! And now so many new things to try thanks to you and your inspired guests! Three cheers for bacon!

At 12:38 PM, Blogger Geekgrl64 said...

jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. Very yummy.

I love to entertain and have friends over. The idea of potluck is an awesome and makes less work for me! Definitely have to try it!

Love you site and have recommended it often to those who need to eat gluten free! Thanks!

At 12:43 PM, Blogger firefly said...

I lost my mind right around the bacon basket. Just how does one weave bacon strips? I would love to see a photo, if you ever make them.

Bacon, chocolate, avocadoes, nut butters, and mayonnaise are the really rich, decadent things I'm still allowed, and I never stint on any of them. My absolute favorite summer side dish is sliced fresh veg (like cukes, tomatoes, peppers) and a great big dollop of aioli for dipping.

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love bacon chocolate. It's the best. Who would have thought?

At 1:33 PM, Blogger Vittoria said...

Hooray bacon! ('nuf said)

At 3:24 PM, Blogger Alena said...

Your blog makes my mouth water! I am SO going to try this potluck idea (themed) with my friends! It will interesting, since I don't think most of them cook, but what the heck! I love this idea too much to care! :)

At 5:29 PM, Blogger hillary said...

dude! You have to be friends with "not martha!" if you aren't the two bacon themed parties on the the handfull of blogs I read is WAY too spooky!

At 5:39 PM, Blogger Jeanne said...

Honest to goodness, bacon is so good that it is the gateway food. Even friends who are vegetarians have made the exception for bacon...

At 9:40 PM, Blogger MasGrandeQueJesus said...

Bacon chocolate is the best thing ever.

At 7:53 AM, Blogger Celine said...

hey! i am writing in defense of bacon wrapped scallops. and people who like them. who cares if bacon wrapped scallops got played in restaurants for a while (and haven't been on the menu for years, actually--tho pork belly's everywhere and i'm not complaining about that)'s because they're delicious. do you think that bacon wrapped dates are new? some things are popular because they're good. like bacon itself.

for someone who touts the glory of simple blending of flavors, and claims to hate the word "foodie" because it's too snobby, that was a pretty striking crack. i'm not obsessed with internal consistency, but if you're going to be a woman of the food people....why hate?

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Alena said...

Wow, Porkchop... Wouldn't you all agree that the comment that "thankfully, our friends are more creative than that" regarding bacon wrapped scallops was less hate statement and more "they've been overdone" or "I don't care for them myself"? I mean, come on! :( Whatever happened to freedom of opinion?

At 2:38 PM, Blogger Kelly said...

Bacon-y bacon-y bacon. Chomp.

I'm really entertained about the anti-pork comment. I say, pork it up!

At 2:50 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

Okay, I just made bacon-wrapped dates with a balsamic reduction.

I'm in love.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Joanna Schmidt said...

If bacon didn't exist, I might just be able to be a vegetarian, but I can't give it up. Thanks for great photography and excellent gluten free yums!!

Vist me


At 3:09 PM, Blogger Julia said...

After reading this posting, i made my way to the farmer's market saturday morning, and I found myself coddling a whole 9 pound pork shoulder having the overwhelming urge to take it home with me. I, like so many out there, have my own love affair with bacon, and this time i decided to branch out to more varieties of pork products. Now, its a bit ludacris to excitedly carry home this beast without a recipe in mind, and no boyfriend or roommates to serve it to. I'll be having my own pork themed party this weekend. Thanks for the inspiration, not to mention the wealth of gluten free recipes i've been trying for years.

At 9:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Standing outside an orthodox synagogue a few years ago during a Purim festival, my gentile friends and I were speaking about a lovely breakfast had that very morning when one exclaimed (SHOUTING mind you): "Bacon is God's most perfect food!" It has been a mantra ever since.

At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I don't eat pork, it is awfully hard to resist bacon, especially hot off the BBQ grill where my honey always cooks it. (You can cook up the whole pound at once with a minimum of mess to clean up.)
BUT, not eating pork is certainly no excuse for being rude to those who do...

At 7:26 PM, Blogger Shauna said...

My goodness, it seems that most of you love bacon as much as we do! This astounds me. Thanks for all the comments.

Just to answer a few questions in particular:

April, that dish sounds tremendous. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to eat queso fresco right now, but in about five months I could play with it!

Tallmisto, chocolate chip, cherry, and bacon cookies? if they were gluten-free I would run right to them.


Is bacon always gluten-free? That's such a good question. And the answer, as far as I know it, is the same as with everything else: check the label. Almost every bacon I love is gluten-free, but I have seen ones that say "Processed in a facility that processes wheat." (That's not a good bacon, actually.) Everyone -- please double check!


I have to say, I've never eaten soy bacon. So I don't know. But it's worth a try!


Nueske's is available in the NW, apparently. Matthew said it's available sometimes at the Metropolitan Market Uptown. Give it a try!


I've never had bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, but if you made some for me, I would certainly eat some!

Sheltie Girl,

There is a photo of the bacon baskets! Take a look at the link to Not Martha. Rather than showing my photo, I wanted to point people her way. She deserves it.

And Hillary, I am friends with Not Martha. She's so cool!


Oh heavens, I haven't heard that dates could be dusted with flour. I have to say that I eat my fair share, and I have never been sick. But we should all certainly ask.


Oh heavens, I really think you took that sassy little sentence too seriously! I love bacon-wrapped scallops. There's a reason they are so popular. We were just joking that everyone might bring some, and that's all we would eat. That's what the creative comment meant. So really.

and as far as consistency goes, oh just quote Walt Whitman on this one.

Julia, Good woman! That's a fabulous image. And you're going to be pork happy for awhile.

At 7:54 PM, Blogger alane said...

Thanks for the info Shauna. It's good to know that Nueske's is available to you folks on the other coast. And may I say congrats!

At 5:27 AM, Blogger Wanta Baby said...

OMG wow. we have a tradition, me and my hubby. the bacon fairy. I don't know how it started, but I make a little talky face with my hand and say in a squeaky voice "the bacon fairy approves" when we eat a meal with bacon... or "the bacon fairy is sad" when we have something that should have bacon and doesn't.

well, "the bacon fairy is impressed!"

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Have you seen the Bacon Flowchart yet?

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I can't believe it. 77 posts about bacon and not one of them mention the vegetarian's dream seasoning?

Bacon Salt!!

A Zero Calorie, Vegetarian, Kosher-Certified seasoning salt that makes everything taste like real bacon.

ew...I haven't checked for gluten, though.

At 5:18 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

The bacon flowchart is too funny... and the bacon fairy? Hahahah! That just the kind of goofy thing we love!

At 7:08 AM, Blogger CatherineMarie said...

Just so you know, regular (whole) dates are fine, its when they've been chopped up into pieces that they are dusted with oat or regular flour (most are done with oat, from what I recall)

And now I'm craving yummy salty bacon....

At 2:14 AM, Blogger Chefspiration said...

oh wow...I love bacon...LOVE IT! I'm sure you all enjoyed should check out david lebovitz's blog...he does a candied bacon ice cream :

I bet it would be wonderful...drool :P

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Atypical California Girl said...

Beautiful photos as usual.
Do you do those yourself?

I wanted to add my bacon recipe to the mix. Actually it belongs to a distant relative, but I have co-opted it.

The name is a bit politically incorrect:

White-trash rumaki

Take bacon slices and cut them in half

In the center of each half slice, place a pecan half and then a piece of candied watermelon rind (found in the pickle section). The pieces in the jar are too big, so cut them down to a size that will fit nicely with the pecan.

Roll them up and secure with a heavy tooth pick.

Bake at 375 until bacon is as crispy as you like it.

They are like sweet-salty candy.

Be warned.

At 9:59 AM, Blogger wiseblood said...

Just linked your post on Thought you may enjoy this link:

At 12:54 AM, Anonymous Dazy said...

I'm making tomorrow. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!

At 8:09 PM, Blogger Miss G said...

We had a bacon party tonight! It was great! Thanks for the idea! Kelly


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