Bourbon, Bacon, & Beignets – at ICE

For Valentines Day 2011, my girlfriend Fara took me to the Institute of Culinary Education http://www.iceculinary.com/ for a cooking class called Belly Up to Bacon. That is where I met Chef Daniel Stone http://rec.iceculinary.com/Chefs/Detail/277  a man whose passion for Bacon may even eclipse mine. After the class, Chef Daniel and I stayed in touch – comparing other bacon dishes we have had or created.

When I got home after the whole Big Brother experience, I had an email in my inbox from Chef Daniel. Little did I know other than our passions for Bacon we also share a passion for Big Brother. Since we only met in person 1 time, it was not surprising he did not recognize me at first on the show – but once he heard me say the word bacon (over and over) he remembered me from that class months before. He was doing another Belly Up to Bacon cooking class a few days after I got back from California. Unfortunately it was on the first night of Rosh Hashana. While I am not the most religious Jew on the planet, I felt it would be wrong to go to a Bacon cooking class at the start of the High Holy Days. I told him I was unable to make it to that class, but I would keep an eye on the class schedule http://rec.iceculinary.com/ to see when another class would fit my schedule better.

A few months later I saw they were offering a class called Bourbon, Bacon, Beignets. UMMMM – Hello!!!! Yes, I talked about Appletini’s all summer, but my #1 drink of choice is Bourbon, and before I started losing weight and watching what I ate, donuts were one of my go to quick snacks. This class screamed ADAM. I was happy to learn that Chef Daniel was also the Instructor for this class. So on the night of Sunday March 11th – Fara and I went back to ICE.

The menu was simple
Warm Bacon wrapped Gorgonzola stuffed Figs
Baked Potato Leek Soup with Cheddar & Bacon
Iceberg Lettuce Wedge with Sour Cream Dressing, Maytag Blue Cheese, and Crumbled Bacon
Slow Cooked Green Beans with Bacon
Bourbon Sweet Potato Puree with Buttered Pecans
Swiss Onion Tart with Speck
Wild Turkey Wild Turkey
Raspberry Beignets
Bittersweet Chocolate Hazelnut Tartlets with Jack Daniels Ice Cream
Old Fashioned Cocktail
Mint Julep Cocktail
(yeah, real simple menu – haha)

After a history lesson about Bacon, Bourbon, and Beignets, and a quick demo of some of some knife techniques. We were split into 3 teams. Each team was responsible for a couple of the dishes. Some of the dishes were split up among the teams (one team would make one part, and another team would make the other and then put them together at the end).

Our team was responsible for the Beignets, Lettuce Wedge, Onion Tart with Speck (for those of you that do not know what Speck is, its similar to prosciutto), and the Jack Daniel’s Ice Cream.

I am not a bad cook – but there is no way I would ever be able to compete on a show like Top Chef. This would be the closest I would ever get to a Quickfire Challenge. There were 17 people all running around the kitchen getting their ingredients, utensils, pots, mixing bowls etc… Our team broke everything down and agreed on what each person would do, and help whoever needed it. Over the next 2 hours we prepped, cut, mixed, diced, sliced, fried, blended & baked.

Just before 9pm Chef Daniel told us to clean up our stations, and join him at the bar where we would have some cocktails. He showed us how to muddle the ingredients to make each cocktail. Then we were free to make our own drinks. I have never been to the Kentucky Derby, but every year on that day, I have a Mint Julep or two (or three, or four, or…), but I have never made my own. After finishing my first one, I made another and went back to my station to start putting together the lettuce wedge salads to get ready for the feast we were about to have. One by one, the dishes were all being laid out on the tables, and all the hard work we had done was on display. We all grabbed our plates & bowls and loaded them up and sat down for a nice group dinner. Everything tasted soooo good! For a bunch of casual cooks, this was as good as any meal I have ever had.

Our team had to eat dinner quickly since we still had to make the beignets for dessert. Fara rolled out the dough and cut them into 2″ round pieces. I put them in the fryer and turned them until golden brown. Karen rolled them in the sugar. And Ron squeezed the raspberry filling into each one. I will admit, not everyone of them made it to the dish as we just HAD to sample them before letting others have them. Another team took our ice cream and put it on top of the tartlets. We then reassembled at the table and enjoyed the desserts.

When we walked in to the class we were 17 strangers – but our love for bacon & cooking brought us together on this night. We then packed up what leftovers we had (not much at all!) and went our separate ways. We left with full stomachs of Bacon, Bourbon, Beignets, and most important, a recipe packet for us to share these dishes with our family and friends for years to come.

I apologize for not having pictures of all the dishes, once they started coming out, my camera went away and my fork, knife, and spoon came out!

Link

The official logo of Beer Bourbon & BBQ

Hello everyone – sorry I have not posted in a while – its been a really hectic couple of weeks. I did a guest blog on http://www.mrbaconpants.com for the annual Beer Bourbon BBQ festival in NYC. Click the link below and read it.

http://www.mrbaconpants.com/recap-of-the-beer-bourbon-bbq-festival-in-nyc/

The only bad part of the day was when I lost a bacon eating contest! To make it even worse – the guy I lost to weighed 80lbs less than me! But don’t worry – I will be back next year and I WILL take that title!!!

This is a traveling event – so check out their website and see where it will be next. If you live in the NYC area – mark your calender for the last weekend in January 2013.

http://www.beerandbourbon.com/ & follow them on twitter at @DrinkEatRelax

Holidays are coming – GET YER BACON HERE!!!!

As you all know I am a Bacon freak! Ok some may say just a freak who loves bacon – but., whatever! I am sure you all know someone who loves bacon as much as I do – and with the holiday season upon us, who wants to run all over looking for the perfect gift? Well I will help you by giving you the perfect gift for your bacon lover family member or friend. The good people at Thrillist have teamed up with Bacon Freak (yes that is a real website – www.baconfreak.com ) to bring you a gift pack. There are 2 options and both are 50% off the normal price.

How do you do it? It’s simple – click on this link – http://rewards.thrillist.com/deal/3818/bacon-freak-gift-bundles/nation – and just do a couple clicks and key punches and BAM! Your holiday shopping is done! Whatever holiday you celebrate – it just got so much yummier!

While you are at it – why don’t you pick up some bacon for yourself!!! You will enjoy this reward!

Bakin with BACON at the Baconery

While I was inside the Big Brother house this past summer – a new Bakery opened in NYC. They do not have a storefront yet – just doing mail order & delivery. The difference between this bakery and the 1000’s of other ones out there – is all their products are made with BACON! Bacon Cookies, Bacon Rice Krispy Treats, Bacon Brownies, Bacon Bacon Bacon Bacon.

My girlfriend Fara contacted them before my Welcome Home / Birthday party and purchased some treats and a T-shirt. When the people at Baconery found out who it was for – they knew I was the Bacon Ambassador and threw in some extra treats. I had a box deliciousness and wore the “You’re BACON Me Crazy” t-shirt to the party. Since then – I have stayed in touch with Wesley the owner of http://www.baconery.com – so when he asked me to come down to their kitchen and watch them cook, how could I say no? I mean to be in a kitchen smelling all sorts of bacon goodies – duh – that’s a no brainer.

Wesley had mentioned they wanted to do a video called Bakin’ With Bacon and wanted me to be their first guest. Since I am not camera shy, I agreed and headed into NYC to film it one night after work. Carisa, the head baker and I made some Bacon Banana Bread (say that 5 times fast). I was amazed by how much bacon they put in each batch. While that was baking, we also made some strips of thick cut bacon to turn into Chocolate Covered Bacon. When I tried to coat the strips of bacon with chocolate – I got scolded by Amita, another Baconery employee for not putting enough chocolate on them. She had to come over and show me how to do it.

For a company so new – they are already getting a lot of great press coverage and their fan base and sales are growing very quickly. Below you can see the video of my adventure as well as some pics of you guessed it – BACON! You can go to their website and order some treats so you can see what all the fuss is about. And until the end of November – you can use coupon code: adambb13 to save 20% on your order.  www.baconery.com

Check me out on the first episode of Bakin with Bacon at @Baconery http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smFBVNjzKH8
 

THANKS to WAWA for GIVING me the GOBBLER

I am known for my love of all things bacon – yes, that’s true – but every Autumn, the greatest convenience store on the planet Wawa, brings back the best sandwich ever – “The Gobbler.” I know you are asking, ‘Hey Adam, what the hell is a Gobbler?’ The answer would be – it’s Thanksgiving on a bun. Turkey in gravy with stuffing, on a roll with cranberry sauce. Yes you can add bacon if you want, and normally I would suggest that, but this sandwich is so amazing by itself you do not need to.

So last Saturday night I was down in Sayreville, NJ at Starland Ballroom for the Anthrax / Testament / Death Angel show. My friends Don & Nick who are usual concert buddies of mine knew everytime we go to Starland, we always stop at Wawa on the way home. In fact we even joke that we are going to Wawa but stop at a concert first. This night would be no different – so a few minutes after Anthrax finished shredding – we were in the car and on our way to heaven.

As soon we walked in – I went right to the deli kiosk and punched in my order for not 1, not 2, but 3 Gobblers. Even though I wanted to eat all 3 right then and there, only 1 was going to be consumption that night, 1 I was bringing home for my girlfriend, and the other was going to be for lunch on Monday. While waiting for the sandwiches to be made, I went to pick up the perfect compliment to wash it down, Wawa’s store brand Iced Tea. I swear, they must put crack in the Iced Tea – because it is so addicting. You will not find a better Iced Tea anywhere. I paid for my purchases and went back to the deli to pick up the delicious goodness that was waiting for me.

Since I just picked up my new car that morning, I was not going to eat in the car – so the three of us stood outside of Wawa and started eating our sandwiches. Don & Nick do not share my love for the Gobbler – so as they ate their lesser sandwiches, I opened up the wrapper and took a look at what was in front of me, and started to drool. Now it was finally the time to sink my teeth into it. I made sure to open wide and get my mouth around it so I could taste all 3 of the key ingredients at once. The sweetness of the cranberry sauce compliments the hot turkey. And the stuffing, oh the stuffing! Wow!!!! I savored every bite even though I wanted to shove it all in my mouth at once. As soon as I was done, it took all of my energy not to rip open the other 2. I packed them in the back of my Chevy Equinox, far enough away so I would not be tempted to grab on on the ride home.

The only bad thing about the Gobbler is it is not available year round – so make sure you get to the closest Wawa and grab one before it is too late.

for locations – go to http://www.wawa.com

Pumpkins & Bacon!

Even before I was on Big Brother – I was a celebrity at my girlfriend Fara’s school. I went in one day this past spring and sat in on a class. One of the little girls drew a picture of me and Fara, and by the end of the class – I had the whole group of kids jumping up and down screaming BACON (much to the chagrin of Fara and the other teacher.) So when they asked me to be a “celebrity” judge of their annual pumpkin contest – how could I say no?

Mind you – these kids are all pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st grade, so I was not expecting much. But it was obvious as soon as I walked into the courtyard these kids were really creative (and got a lot of help from their parents).

I was one of 3 judges and we really had a hard time trying to decide on a winner from each class. On top of that we also had to pick a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for the entire school. They had to be different from each class winner. So the 3 of us walked around making notes and after about 40 minutes, we sat in a room and debated which ones we liked the best. It was pretty obvious to all 3 of us – 1st place was “The Dentist,” it was by far the most creative and well done pumpkin of the bunch. I also loved the “Zombie School”, it incorporated the actual school into the design so for that it took 2nd place overall. Third place was a tough choice – but we ended up agreeing on “Angry Birds.” Honorable mention went to the “Dia de Muertos” (Day of the Dead). While very creative – the pumpkin was not a feature player of the decoration – but they had mini bottles of Rum & Tequila. I think the parents were trying to bribe the judges. It almost worked!

The kids were very well behaved and everyone got a trophy just for participating. I would complain about that – but these are young children so I will let it slide.

After the contest – Fara and I took a walk to a local restaurant well known for its bacon appetizer. She did not have to ask me twice if I wanted to go to the world famous Peter Luger Steakhouse! I have been hearing about this bacon appetizer for SOOOOO long – and finally got to sink my teeth in this monstrous slab of pork heaven. Adding Peter Luger’s famous sauce only made this hunk o pig even tastier. I could talk about the burger I had after – but why? The bacon was the appetizer but stole the show. If you have never tried it – RUN dont walk to either the Brooklyn location 178 Broadway Brooklyn, N.Y. 11211 or Long Island location 255 Northern Blvd. Great Neck, N.Y. 11021. I hear the steaks are pretty good too – but make sure you GET THE BACON!