Monday, December 19, 2011

The Advil Calendar 2011 DECEMBER 19: Maple Bourbon Bacon Sexpot Edition - Bring on the pornspam

OH HELL OH HELL OH HELL

You had this awesome idea.

You were driving home from work one Friday earlier this month with the weekend stretching ahead of you and the month stretching ahead of that. You stopped at the liquor store to pick up a bottle of Goslings rum (see: December 12) and had to bring it home in a plastic bag because you were in your husband's car and he doesn't keep re-usable grocery bags in it. He keeps other things in it, of course: old issues of The Urbanite; a box of business cards from two jobs ago; 5 coffee mugs that belong in your kitchen; 3 stanky gym towels draped across the seat; two broken cell phone chargers...

And now one more plastic bag.

One more bag for the rustly ball of crinkled bags that lives in the basement stairwell and quietly mocks you every time you go downstairs to bring up a can of black beans. "ONE MORE BAG," it whispers, chuckling. "You might as well be Michael Steele."

But that's when you had your idea. You have that friend, right, the one who is resourceful and crafty but not annoying about it? Doesn't she swear by those tote bags she crochets out of plastic grocery bags? She could teach you how to make those and you could give them to people for holiday gifts! and plus! and then! you'd have chopped that rustly ball of crinkled bags to bits!

None of those bags would end up choking a sea turtle or blowing across a Sahara dune, and never again would you doubt your sanity imagining that they were laughing at you while you laundered cloth napkins instead of buying paper ones!
 
It was beautiful. Visions of a handmade, recycled Christmas came and went before your eyes like a tacky special effects montage. The jar of broken crayons melted down and turned into new crayons. Placemats woven out of outdated road maps. Candles for the teachers! Plastic bags for plastic bags made out of old plastic bags!

And now it's December 23rd and not only have you not finished making a single crocheted plastic tote bag (and actually it turns out? that even though you thought you could do crochet because everybody says crochet is easier than knitting and you are a sucky sucky knitter? you are a sucky sucky crocheter too); but the placemats got only as far as a blizzard of uneven paper strips that are now in a drifting Snuffleupagus pile on the dining room table; and the candlemaking project never progressed past the part where you spent $83 on molds and wicking and ate way too many Pringles.

FUUUUUCK.

And you haven't come up with anything else for the people you were going to give crafts to.

So you know what time it is, don't you? Time to bake. BAKE. BAAAKE. (That's my Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart, by the way).

Oh now shut up with your whining. By "bake" I mean make...


MAPLE BOURBON BACON JAM

And all of a sudden FUUUUUCK turns into FUCK. YEAH.

This recipe is from a Colorado food blog called Creative Culinary. I'm going to tell you right now: double all the quantities in this recipe because it makes twelve ounces of bacon spread and I know you, chica - you could eat twelve ounces of bacon spread pretty much all by yourself in one of those fits of WHY THE HELL NOT that you seem to have this time of year.
Bacon Jam by Creative Culinary:

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours

1 pound good quality thick cut bacon; cut into 1 inch slices
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons brown sugar
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
2 teaspoons Ancho chile powder
1 cup espresso
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (I say cider vinegar)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup bourbon
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

In a large, heavy skillet cook the bacon over medium high heat until it’s lightly browned and just starting to crisp. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until soft and translucent and starting to caramelize; 20-25 minutes. Add the spices the last 5 minutes; mix thoroughly.

While the onion cooks, chop the bacon into smaller pieces; approximately 1/2″ square.

Return the bacon to the pan and add the brown sugar, coffee, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and bourbon. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Simmer over low heat stirring occasionally for approximately 2 hours, until the mixture is a thick, jam-like consistency and deep rich brown color.

Let cool for 20 minutes; check and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a food processor. Pulse about 20 times to get the desired consistency. Do not process until completely smooth; it should remain a bit chunky.

Spoon into jars or storage containers and refrigerate overnight.

When I made this - and did I make this? you bet your ass I made this. Made a double batch, halved the brown sugar, doubled the chili powder, used rye instead of bourbon, and added a teaspoon of ground ginger. Took me less than three hours. Then I spread it on the entire Dillon Panthers football team and had myself A NIGHT. I sang a little song:
Also not specified in the
recipe: you may want to
skim off about a cup of fat.
What you do with it then
is your own affair.

Bacon bacon bacon jam!
Bacon jam, jam I am!
Keep your cookies keep your SPAM,
I am making bacon jam!
You, I mean, you, being slightly less depraved than I am, could put it in sweet little 4-ounce Ball jars and tie a ribbon around them and look at that! You've got your teacher gifts, your babysitter gift, the gift for your pal who taught you how to crochet even though you SUCK AT IT.

My friend Paula is thinking of making Rugelach with this stuff, and when I passed that intel on to my boys, their eyes went wide. "I need to eat that cookie," said the one. "She's going to get rich," said the other.

Either way, you'll end up with a lovely vat of indescribably sweet-savory goo. Spread it on bread, put it on sandwiches, make your bagel make its O-face. Be a hero. Who looks out for you like I do?

That is why we both deserve to collapse onto the couch with a bag of Cheetos and a bourbon. You got it out for the bacon jam anyway, right?

Here's the simplest thing to do with the bourbon. Or the rye, if you're me.

2 parts Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
1 part bourbon
Swirl around a little. Sip straight up.

Here's the even simpler thing to do with your bourbon.

Drank it. Straight up. Stir it with a nice piece of bacon. Eat the bacon.
 
NEXT UP: You know the saying, "Jews don't drink?" Well it ain't true. Or, it won't be true once word of my EIGHT NIGHTS OF DRINKMAKKUH calendar hits the streets. I've got the dirtiest of dirty martinis, drinks inspired by the hot vengeful Jews of Inglourious Basterds, and excuse me did someone ask for old man drinks? Old man, you better hang on to your walker - I got shit that will iron your tallit.