Bacon

Bacon. Bacun. Rasher. Backe. All words used from around the world, throughout time to describe salted pork belly. Delicious, would describe how it tastes.

I’m not alone in this love affair for bacon. I bet you enjoy bacon too. That crisp salty slice of pork right next to your eggs and toast. On top of those beautiful garden-fresh sliced tomatoes kissed by the sun, piled on some nice romaine lettuce with mayo and fresh bread. It makes me want to go bake some bacon in the oven RIGHT NOW. Sigh.

Bacon’s beginnings

According to Peggy Trowbridge Filippone of The Spruce Eats, in her article
“The Short History of Bacon”, salted pork belly made it debut thousands of years ago in China.

From there bacon spread over into the Roman Empire and then to the Anglo Saxon peasants who cooked with bacon fat. If the Romans liked it, it wasn’t too long and the whole rest of the world would like bacon too.

A prehistoric “smoke cave” was found in the mountains of Siberia. Cave drawings nearby depicted cavemen smoking pork belly, complete with instructions on how to place your small fire breathing dragon in the smoking cave and what wood to use for smoking. There, you should be paying attention now! Hopefully “small fire breathing dragon” caught your attention and you knew I was fibbing.

Cuts and Cures

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

You can take several different muscle areas of the pig and make bacon. Your region and culture dictate what part of the pig the bacon is cut and the process you use to cure it. Here are a few “cuts” of bacon:

  • Side bacon– comes from the pork belly, has streaks of muscle and fat running parallel- this is popular in the USA. Italians use this cut as well to make their pancetta.
  • Back bacon– comes from the back of the pig, leaner. The UK and Ireland like this cut.
  • Collar bacon– comes from the back of the pig near the head, neck area
  • Cottage bacon– comes from the pig shoulder area, leaner, very meaty
  • Jowl bacon– comes the cheek area of the pig, Italians call it Guanciale

I have only had side bacon and cottage bacon. Cottage bacon makes an excellent morning breakfast side of protein. Cottage bacon has more meat than side bacon, but it is not as flavourful as side bacon due to less fat.

The curing of bacon is generally done as a wet cure (soaking it in a solution with the popular potassium nitrate and sodium nitrate) or a dry cure (using plain crystal salt). According to the cookbook The Virginian Housewife, circa 1824, you always smoked bacon. To have done anything else was sacrilege. Smoking bacon was considered a job for both genders- not just the “guys”.

Flavor town

Image by Aga_Ba from Pixabay

Bacon just doesn’t come plain. Many folks like to add “flavors” to their bacon! I can’t write this article without mentioning two great places to stop and get some homemade cured bacon. These places are Edgerton Food Center and V&M. Two very great places to get some GREAT bacon.

First up we have Edgerton Food Center. Bill Sandbulte does a great job making their cottage bacon, side bacon, and pepper bacon. I remember the first time I found out there was “cottage bacon. EFC was out of regular side bacon so they asked me if I had ever tried cottage bacon. I had never heard of cottage bacon but wanted to try some. I ordered two pounds of the cottage bacon and was very glad I did.

Next, we have V&M. They have a variety of flavored bacon: regular, pepper, Hungarian (has garlic and onion flavors), apple cinnamon, and Raspberry Chipotle. They make cottage bacon as well.

I have tried their apple cinnamon and it is very delicious. The apple cinnamon has just the right amount of apple and not overpowered by the cinnamon. The other flavors I have been a little shy about trying when it comes to the pepper, Hungarian, and raspberry chipotle.

Stay tuned to next week’s bacon recipes and different ways to cook bacon. Till then friends, here is good food, good friends and a GREAT LIFE! Thank you Founding Fathers for our Constitution and our Veterans for fighting for freedom here and abroad.

Michele

Design Your Breakfast Big!

If there is one meal I think most about in a day, it would be breakfast. Breakfast is the best, especially on weekends. For me, I like to make my breakfasts big. Pancakes, sausage or bacon, scrambled eggs, coffee, juice- ah!

Perhaps I like the feelings that go with it. A relaxed state a mind, sipping coffee, enjoying conversation, and hopefully watching the sun come up. It really sets the day off right.

The best way to start the day

There are lots of sayings for breakfast. My favorite is “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”.

Pancakes

Breakfast Pancakes ready to eat
Image by Tabeajaichhalt from Pixabay

By far, pancakes are tops for a big breakfast. I like my homemade recipe. It makes delicious pancakes and the recipe is easy to double or triple.

Pancakes- Michele Bruxvoort

Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk 1% or better
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
Directions

Add the vinegar to the one cup of milk and let sit for 15 minutes, this will give the vinegar enough time to sour the milk. Soured milk will look clotty, clumpy- you want that!

Next take the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, salt, and mix them together in a bowl. Add to it the soured milk and one egg. Mix well. Once you see bubbles develop on top of your mix, pour onto a well-greased, hot griddle and cook till they rise and are bubbly, flip and cook the other side. Serve with your choice of syrup, berries, chocolate chips, and fresh whipping cream.

French toast

french toast with syrup... big breakfast!
Image by Samantha Alegre from Pixabay

Another breakfast great is Baked French Toast. I got this recipe from one of Brad’s cousin’s wife. We had stayed overnight in Boyden, IA on our way out west in 2007, and this is what they served us for breakfast.

Baked French Toast- Denise Blankers

Ingredients
  • 1 loaf of bread- you will use approximately 12 slices
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine- BUTTER IS BETTER!
  • 2 tbsp. corn syrup
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Melt brown sugar, butter, and syrup together. Pour into a 9×13 pan. Lay together two slices of bread on top of the melted sugar mixture, filling in the pan. It should give you 6 double stacked baked French toast pieces.

Beat together your eggs, milk, and cinnamon, pour this mixture over top the bread slices in the 9×13 pan. Cover and refrigerate for 2- 24 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, UNCOVERED. Cool 10 minutes before serving. This makes an excellent breakfast item! Very filling. Great to serve with scrambled eggs. Wonderful cold as well.

Sweet Rolls

cinnamon rol and coffee; yummy big breakfast by design
Image by Ernesto Pasini from Pixabay

I don’t think I can write an article about breakfast without mentioning sweet rolls. Cinnamon sweet rolls or caramel sweet rolls- either one is a hit! Searching for quite some time for a good sweet roll dough recipe, I finally came across a great recipe from Becky Van Hulzen. This recipe is a winner. You can use the dough for bread, tea rolls, buns, or cinnamon roll dough. Enjoy this one! It does make a large amount of dough.

White Bread/Buns/Rolls Recipe- Becky Van Hulzen

white bread for breakfast
Image by congerdesign from Pixabay
Ingredients
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp. yeast (2 envelopes)
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup lard or Crisco- GO WITH LARD
  • 6 cups flour- separate into 2 cups and 4 cups
  • 3 cups warm water- 110 degrees
Directions

Take 2 cups flour, salt, yeast, sugar, oil, and lard or shortening and place them in a large mixing bowl (I, Michele, like to use a Tupperware That’s a Bowl – affiliate link). Add to the contents in the mixing bowl 3 cups of warm water and mix together till it begins to bubbles.

Continue and add the remaining 4 cups flour, stirring it by hand until sticky; then knead the dough well on a floured surface for 5 minutes, you may need to add more flour as you knead.

Once kneaded, place your dough into a grease your bowl, cover, and let rise. I usually try 20 minutes for each rising and keep the air moist and warm. Punching down twice before forming loaves, tea rolls, buns or cinnamon/caramel rolls. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

If you are making these into cinnamon or caramel rolls, you will roll out your dough into a rectangle on a well-floured surface, spread butter on the dough followed by a mixture of sugar and cinnamon:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon

Sprinkle this on top of the butter, roll up your dough starting with the long side. Cut log into 12/24 pieces (depending on if you’re using all the dough for cinnamon/caramel rolls) * If you’re making caramel rolls you will need to make the caramel sauce (recipe below) and pour it into the 9×13 and then place the cinnamon roll dough slices on top, letting it rise once before baking at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. * If you’re making cinnamon rolls, after slicing up the cinnamon roll dough, spray your 9×13 and place the dough slices in the bottom of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Caramel Sauce for Cinnamon Rolls

This is the BEST recipe for caramel. It will only make enough sauce for one 9×13 pan, so if your planning on making all the dough for caramel rolls then you must DOUBLE this recipe.

Ingredients and Directions

Put into a microwave safe bowl:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup vanilla ice cream

Bring all the ingredients to a boil in the microwave- about 3-4 minutes. Stir well and then pour into 9×13, placing dough slices on top, raise and then bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Well, at least that’s a start to breakfast. Tune in next week when I devote a whole article to bacon! Till next time, here is to good food, good friends and a good life!

Michele

Need more Recipes to Design your Next Big Breakfast click here


This post was prompted by the gang at Five Minute Friday Each Friday we take five minutes to write on the same prompt. It’s a lot of fun to see what others are inspired to write from the same prompt. Give it a try or click and do a bit of fun reading.

Hostess Honey Bun Saved The Day

My mother had had enough. She was sick of me and my brother fighting, and not getting ready for school. So without delay, she launched down the hallway to our rooms. The determined pounding of her feet let us know her last nerve had been frayed and we were on her “list”.

Photo Credit Free-Photos

A quick side note. I had a very active imagination as a child. I loved to read books late into the night. In fact, I positioned my bed right up against the door to my room. This way I could lean out of my bed and catch the nightlight from the hallway! HA! And, I could hear if anyone approached from either way. If I did hear someone, then I could stealthily slide my book under the top cover and feign sleep. The next paragraphs are dedicated to my childhood imagination, groomed by years of the late night reading.

Today there was no hiding! We did not have Mary Poppins making her way up the hall, no sir! This was a Momster (mom and monster)! A sleep-deprived infant toting toddler dragging mother, who was about to channel her inner ugly mother and my brother and I were public enemy number one.

If I Have To Tell You One More Time

Photo Credit Free-Photos

She stood between our rooms, her eyes darting back and forth between me and my brother, me and my brother. With teeth gritted, eyebrows raise she said “GET. DRESSED.” “GET. YOUR. SCHOOL BOOKS.” “PUT. ON. YOUR. COATS. AND GET. TO THE BUS!” The “get’s” had their g’s and t’s emphasized, and the s’s had serpentine tones. This exchange assertively delivered while burping my infant sister and assuring my toddler brother that his breakfast was coming.

If smoke could have rolled up from underneath mom it would have. As well as the gates of Hades open wide to receive the world’s most bickering brother-sister duo.

As quickly as she appeared, she had gone back down the hallway. Cooing to my infant sister with my little brother scurrying alongside. I glanced again to see the gate of Hades close and the smoke retreat back with it.  Phew!

I thought of asking if a breakfast invitation was included before our departure, but thought better of it.  Frantically I grabbed my clothes and put them on, tied my shoes and began fretting that I was going to miss breakfast.  I NEVER missed breakfast.  This was a first for breakfast withholding punishment.

This is the part where you leave

My brother finished dressing and met me in the hall.  I whispered that we should not worry about the ceremony of brushing teeth.  He was in total agreement, he hated brushing teeth.  So we walked together to the kitchen where mom was busy with breakfast for my younger brother.

A quick glance from her told us she was not budging.  There was no invite to the breakfast table.  With a sweep of her hand, she told us to get out and get to the bus.  We hesitated knowing it was Wednesday.  On Wednesdays, she always gave us 50 cents before leaving the house so we could buy a treat at the store on the way home after school.

Mom made no further eye contact.  So with slumped shoulders and lowered heads, we walked into the foyer and grabbed our coats.  As I reached for the doorknob and glanced at the ledge by the door I spied our money for treats.  OH JOY!  Wait… how was this possible?  She must have left us money before our rivalry ruckus.  A little light of heaven shown upon us at that moment.

We greedily grabbed our money and made our way out the door, down the street, and to the store.  Walking up to the goodie shelf we scanned them for something breakfast like, and there it was.  The Hostess Honey Bun.  A taste of Hostess baked delight.  This was a small, cinnamon type roll with a good coating of frosting immortalized on top.  We knew we struck gold.

Glancing at the clock in the store we knew we had about two minutes to skedaddle or we would miss the bus. We paid the clerk and quickly made our way out the door.  A short stop at the trash can to remove the cellophane wrapper was all that stood between us and breakfast. We bit into the Honey Bun and relished every bite.  Between bites, my brother and I discussed our luck in having our treat money waiting by the door.

Lesson learned

The ride on the bus to school went fairly well.  The delicious, but sugary Honey Bun left us thirsty.  By the time we arrived at school we both made a bee-line for the bubbler (that’s Wisconsin talk for water fountain we can discuss this regional term some other time) and drank like camels.  We parted company and headed for our classrooms.

The ride home on the bus was uneventful, perhaps more reflective than anything.   I started feeling really guilty about ruining her day with our bickering.  My mom was a busy mom.  She basically had two families.  My brother and I were born in 1971 and 1972.  Then she took a 9-year hiatus.  Second thought… I would say she had a TOTAL lapse of memory and found herself right back at square one with additions in 1979 and 1980.  After that, she made sure the production line was shut down permanently.

Hopping off the bus we made the trek back home.  My brother and I walked into the house somewhat cautiously but were greeted by our mom with a warm smile.  We even got a hug.  When she asked how our morning went I stated ( I was the reporter/informer) that because she had left us money on the ledge by the door, for an after-school treat, we simply did the reverse and treated ourselves to a Honey Bun breakfast instead.  To which she raised her eyebrows and just said “Mmm.”  I was never really sure what her “Mmm” meant.  I’d like to think the “Momster” got a guilty conscious about sending her children off with no food.  A Friesland Hansel and Gretel, if you would.  So she left us the money to ease her conscious.

Just in case all this talk of Honey Bun has you hungry, they still make them!  I have yet to find a local store who has them, but you can ask your local grocer if they are able to order them or  Amazon.com has them available also.

 

Michele