Good February Morn, Jammers…Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s been a while, I know, but we are eagerly awaiting the spring harvest season so we can get back to finding some decent produce around here. How about you…have you been keeping toasty and busy this winter? Let me know what you have been into…I have missed you all! I envisioned myself canning right through the winter but alas the lack of decent produce put a damper on any good recipes so I am patiently waiting on spring and the bounties that will follow the return of the warm weather.
I mentioned to my son, the other day, how much I missed canning and writing about it and we were discussing the weather and crop cycles. We are both ready to hit the Farmers Market for some sweet succulent goodies. We went down to our plot at the community organic garden on Saturday and harvested some of our lettuces (tonight is salad night) and a head of our cabbage. When we were finished we walked over to the Green Market and picked up some beautiful tri-color carrots and broccoli and dinner last night was super fresh and oh-so-yummy. We used our homemade garlic butter on the cabbage and added a super thick baked pork chop to round out the menu. We have really loved making our own butter lately and up next will be a honey butter (which would have been mouthwatering on those steamed carrots tonight). We have our first spring crop seedlings already coming up in my starter trays. We will have 2 tomato and 2 cucumber varieties, zinnias, zucchini, crookneck squash, green onions, bibb lettuce and some lima beans. Today at lunch we turned a boneless chicken breast into some yummy seasoned shredded chicken and topped it with a bit of ranch dressing and shredded cheddar as lettuce wraps with the leaves from one of our young iceburg heads that we harvested. They were the best I have ever had!
The last month or so I have seen several postings and articles about a jam and I was not sure how I felt about it. I mean, it’s not your typical sweet jam, heck…it’s not even a typical fruit jam. It is considered a refrigerator jam so you don’t actually can it to eat later. It should be eaten within a week of making it. Ball makes a special jar for using in freezer and refrigerator jams but I didn’t have any and figured that since it had to be eaten so quickly any of my airtight containers would work…that is IF I decided to make it. I mentioned it to my son and he about gagged and was (and still is) pretty geeked out by the thought of it. I mean, bacon jam, really now??? When I mentioned it to my honey and said how our son had reacted I was not prepared for the reaction I got….”oh-my-gosh can you make it NOW”. A list was made of the ingredients I found on the recipe I got from a Facebook page I follow and within 5 days what was needed was purchased. Then it began…”are you going to make it today”, “is today the day”, “oh honeyyyy”. Well, yesterday was, finally, the day. When I got up I decided to check email before heading to the kitchen and found two other postings from different sources for bacon type jams. I thought it was kind of ironic so I clicked on them and noticed that they were not all the same recipe! I had purchased bacon based on the first recipe I saw (which called for 1 1/2 lbs. of thin sliced store brand plain bacon) and here this new recipe called for 1 lb. of thick sliced fruitwood smoked bacon. The first one did not call for any spices but this one did. It sounded so much better but I did not have the right bacon and onion type. So, doing what I do best, I made it my own. I combined what I liked from 3 of the different recipes and instead of calling mine Burbon Bacon Jam (we did not have any burbon in the house only an unopened 40+ year old bottle of scotch) I renamed it Drunken Bacon Jam. Talk about the perfect breakfast spread, check this out…
Drunken Bacon Jam
1 1/2 lbs. thin sliced, plain bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
2 medium sweet onions, cut into 1/4″ thick pieces
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch fresh grated nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon dry chipotle pepper powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup premium quality Scotch
1/4 cup maple praline syrup
1 tablespoon hot sauce
In a large skillet over medium high heat cook the bacon pieces until the begin to crisp at the edges but are still soft in the center (in batches), about 1 – 1 1/2 minutes per side. Set aside to drain. Pour all but one tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the pan.
Lower the heat to medium-low and add the onion and brown sugar. Cook until the onions are well caramelized, about twenty minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook an additional five minutes.
Add the liquid ingredients and the bacon to the pan. Increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about two hours. Check the mixture every 30 minutes. If it becomes too dry, add a few tablespoons of water. You will want the final mixture to be moist and very sticky.
Let the mixture cool, then, put it into the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 20 - 25 times, or until it reaches your desired consistency. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Makes approximately 1 scant pint.
Oh my…you have never tasted heaven until you have tasted this! We love spicy and this sure fits the bill for us. It has quite a bit of heat that lingers in the back of your throat but not enough to actually burn. It looks like mince meat but tastes wonderful in comparison. Last night it was used as a topping for a baked pork chop and we can’t wait to smear some on a crusty piece of toasted baguette. I’ve heard a lot of talk about bacon doughnuts so maybe as a filling?!?! I think a dab in the middle of a bowl of hot buttered grits would be delectable (is that a real word?). This is a perfect Valentine’s delicacy, a little naughty but a whole lot nice…sinfully delicious! This is a new hit and one I would consider marketing it is so divine and unique.
We are supposed to be 80 degrees by next week and are hoping it will last. I need to get out and find some strawberries here in the next week or so. We have crops just starting to come in from our organic farmers at the market and I need to figure out what I want to try this time with them…any ideas or suggestions? Let me hear from you.
Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope each one of you has a wonderful day today spending the day doing what you love to be passionate about…whatever it may be, enjoy doing it. Really love something today, whether it be something yummy or someone yummy, your heart will thank you.
Join me in counting the days until our spring bounty arrives and know that I will be back full swing sharing what I do. Till then, Be Blessed and Be Sweet!