This little piggy…

I don’t claim to be the best at fryin’ up bacon, but I am the best when it comes to chowin’ down on it. I LOVE bacon just as much as I love cake or even hot summer days. Though frying bacon on a hot summer day I do not love. Bacon in cake, yes please!

See, you must understand that our friend the swine is a good friend, a highly dependent friend, a little dirty, a little on the plump side, but they always clean up after themselves, despite their messiness. The pig and I have a lot in common. Our love of food, any food, really makes us the best of friends. Our relationship might be a little one sided, in that he has more to offer in our friendship than I do. I take and he gives. We’re working on that.

20130115-133511.jpg

Many of the other delectable parts of my swine friend deserve a blog post of their own, however, bacon is just well, the best thing since the discovery of, well, bacon.

We must really thank the English and their European counterparts for the animal and the word. Whether spelt bacoun or bacon the word and this particular cut of meat have been around since as early as the 11th century. Heck maybe it even predates the 11th century, but no one wanted to share their wondrous salty and crispy discovery. I don’t blame them.

20130115-133523.jpg

Our friend the little piggy, fell victim to the cogs of the Industrial Revolution. As with many other aspects of human life, the poor piggy had to leave the fresh air of the countryside where he could roam free and happily graze during the Summer and Fall months.  Come the Winter, our friend provided his life to sustain a family through those cold and harsh months. The life and death of our four footed friend was short, but sweet. He was local and sustainable. The city air did not make him free.

Unfortunately, everyone caught on to the benefits of our hog friend and he sold out. Yes, the pig went commercial and an industry was built around his assets.
20130115-133531.jpg

I guess I should talk about the cooking of this finely cured meat, but honestly, as long as it’s not burnt or raw, then it’s cooked perfectly. Baking bacon in the oven is less messy and super easy. Sometimes I like to sprinkle a little brown sugar on one side before I pop them in the oven. Oh yes, sweet, salty, crunchy, and chewy….

Frying bacon in a pan takes a little more focus. Make sure your pan isn’t TOO hot and that you’re not overcrowding your little piglets. You don’t need to add any oil to the pan, since the bacon will depart with its delicious fat rather quickly. I keep a mason jar next to my stove to store all the remaining fat. Yes, I cook with lard. Just make sure to strain the fat before pouring it into the jar. You don’t want to have all the little burnt bits ruining your perfect fat.

20130115-133545.jpg

Advertisements
This little piggy…

Eat Real. Eat Fast. Eat This.

This past weekend was the Real Eat Festival in Oakland‘s Jack London Square. You’re probably thinking to yourself, ‘another food festival?’ Why, yes foodie friends, who doesn’t love eating good, fast, cheap food under blue skies and a bright shining sun. Given my limited budget and fluctuating waistline (I’m the maid of honor for my best friend’s wedding next weekend), I only made it out to the Saturday festivities. This time I got to be an attendee rather than a worker bee. Working food festivals is hard work, but a rush of fun! I got to see some familiar faces from La Cocina and Off the Grid, all hustling their products to the masses with their beauty and grace!

There were a ton of vendors bustling out a variety of hot, cold, packaged, and speciality foods. Lots of good beer, mixed drinks, and agua frescas by the lovely Hella Vegan Eats ladies (a La Cocina incubator program member).

Pineapple infused with mint agua fresca
Hella Vegan Eats slanging their juice!

Aside from the amazing variety of food available, there were food and cooking demonstrations, life-style booths spreading the word on urban gardening and farming, and live music.

The first dish of the day was from Chac Mool (another La Cocina incubator program member). Two tacos of carnitas (stewed pork) and nopales (sauteed cactus) on two freshly made corn tortillas. Yummy!!!

Carnitas and Nopales Tacos

Next was on to Chop Bar and their whole roasted pig! I love me some pork, especially when it’s a whole roasted hog. Crunchy, succulent, and salty pig skin encasing a tender, juicy meat..mmm mmm oink oink… It was finger licking good!

Pork and Corn Bread
This little piggy went into my mouth!

Did someone say corn dog??? That’s right folks, next was Tante’s hand-dipped corn dog that was oh so delicious!

It was THAT good!
Delicious Corn Dog!

Finally, a little something sweet. A freshly made cookies n’ cream ice cream sandwich from Sift’s Cupcake and Dessert Bar.

Cookies n’ Cream Ice Cream Sandwich!
Who doesn’t love an ice cream sandwich!?

I even grabbed some Cheddar Apple Pie biscotti from Saint & Olive (a new comer to La Cocina as well!). I saved those special treats for my Sunday morning coffee.

The Biscotti Queen!
A Special Treat!
A beautiful handwritten note from Miss Olive!
Sweet, Salty, Spicy, and So GOOD!

All in all it was a fabulous day and I left with a full belly and a happy heart!

Eat Real. Eat Fast. Eat This.