Rare Treat

In general I try to minimize (to the extent that I can stand it) the amount of meat I consume, mostly poultry and fish (often duck and salmon, the other red meats!). However, from late December through late January, I let myself go. Dining out (well, back in the day; we have been doing takeout from, say, Clark Burger, Fortunato Brothers, or Villagio and we are trying out a weekly CSR, Larder) or cooking in.

I am an experienced enough cook that a recipe for something I’ve cooked already a few times is more a reminder of ingredients, proportions and temperatures, rather than an algorithm. I have adopted my own versions of various techniques that suit how I work and think. For example, if a recipe wants me to render some bacon for its fat, optionally leaving the meat in to flavor the sauce/stew/whatever, instead I slow-cook the bacon, separating the toothsome solid recreation sticks from the unctuous glycerine mouth liner. I then use some of the fat for the frying, and dice some of the bacon into tiny bits if I was supposed to leave it in along with the rendered grease. There is plenty of bacon and its grease left for other purposes, often involving pancakes, potatoes, and/or eggs. If you are concerned about heart disease at this point, please re-read the title of this post, and know that I also follow a somewhat strenuous workout regimen.

For further insight into how I work and think, let me tell you that I recently made an excellent lentil soup. If you were to ask me for the recipe I would tell you: First make a bunch of barbecued chicken, and have some bacon and bacon grease on hand (the remainder of the recipe is left as an exercise for the student).

Here is a slow-cooked bacon photoessay that I imagine speaks for itself (er, except note that temperature is in Liberian units).