I’ve always been happy to be a member of my generation. Sure, we’re considered slackers and technology addicts, and many of us are terrible at geography and world affairs. But hey, the Internet? Reliable cars? The Pixies? The comforts of my life more than make up for the bad reputation. One of these small but incredibly convenient comforts is highly absorbent paper towels. I use them for everything from cleaning the bathroom mirror to substituting for a proper napkin at the dinner table. Apparently in 1964, this was some kind of impressive luxury, something new and improved. Yes, double-ply paper towels thick enough to handle bacon grease! And Kleenex is the brand to bring it to you! Will wonders never cease?

Do two-ply paper towels even exist anymore? I’ve never bought one. And aren’t paper towels now the quintessential partner of bacon? You can’t eat bacon without first draining it on paper towels. Was this where people first got the idea? Did Kleenex invent this concept? Did people just eat really greasy bacon before 1964?

Wow, that sounds gross. See? Chalk another one up for Generation X.

Over the past few years, I’ve been building my soup repetoire. I’ve got everything from mulligatawny to chicken & dumplings to albondigas in the line-up, and each fall I start seeking out new recipes to add to the list. Last year I took on seafood chowders at my husband’s request. The clam chowder was good, but the crab chowder was great! It’s now a regular in our winter rotation.

Over the weekend I was in the mood for chowder, but didn’t want to go to the store for the necessary clam juice and crab, so I just poked around in the fridge for some inspiration, and came up with Baked Potato Chowder. While this recipe probably isn’t original, it was a first for me and I really liked it.

I began with three slices of thick-cut bacon, diced and fried until well done. If you like onions (which I don’t) I’d suggest adding a fine dice of them to the bacon. I poured off about half of the bacon grease into a second, larger pan for use in a later step. Add one medium russett potato, diced with the skin on. The skin is optional, but I thought it would make the soup taste more like a baked potato. Fry for about 3 minutes before adding one can of chicken stock and one cup of water, and boil for 15 minutes. Set aside.

In the second pan, add one tablespoon of butter to the bacon grease and heat until melted and bubbly. Add one heaping tablespoon of flour to make a roux. Cook for about 5 minutes until roux begins to turn golden brown. Then add the bacon/potato/broth mixture. Simmer until the chowder begins to thicken, then add about 1/4 cup of heavy cream and continue cooking until desired thickness is reached. I also added about 1/3 cup of frozen corn at this point…not because it has anything to do with a baked potato, just because I like it. This recipe serves 2.

I served the chowder with a small handful of grated sharp cheddar, a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh bacon bits. You could also add chives, which would give it some nice color. This is a perfect hearty soup for the increasingly chilly weather. If you have any other soup ideas for my repetoire, especially those involving bacon, please send them my way!

I know you’ve heard a lot from me lately, but today I really HAD TO write. Last Friday was my 3-year Adoptiversary, and man did I score! I started the day by receiving a snazzy new collar that totally complements my caramel color. I came to work as usual, but I had a sneaking suspicion that something special was going on when Marianne got out the camera and started snapping pictures of me. Then I smelled something, an aroma both familiar and delightful.

It was bacon.

In honor of the occasion, Marianne made me a peanut butter carrot cake, topped with maple-bacon-cream cheese frosting. Yum! It wasn’t exactly a gourmet’s creation, but it made me feel pretty special. The whole office came out to watch me eat, which was a little embarrassing, but I managed to muddle through. Here you can see me, the new collar, the cake, and a bottle of Bowser Beer. No party would be complete without beer, right?

After the party ended, I got to my favorite part…tearing up the wrapping tissue. All this excitement was immediately followed by a serious food coma that lasted well into the afternoon. I can’t remember when I last felt so good.

Is it next year yet?

So simple, but so delicious. I’ve actually done this before and can highly recommend it.

Via Cafe Chocolada.

I know Bacon Man may be old news to many of you, but I finally wanted to put in my two cents. You know what I admire about Bacon Man? The way all dogs love him. And even more important, I love the consideration he shows for his canine friends. Cooling off so they don’t burn their little tongues. Exposing himself to the elements in order to attain the optimum crispiness. You have to appreciate a giant slice of bacon who’s willing to put a dog’s feelings before his own. I’m a seriously huge fan.

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You can find more Bacon Man here and here. A big thanks to Rebecca for reminding me of Bacon Man’s awesomeness. (And good luck on your Sarah Palin Halloween costume!)

You’ve no doubt noticed the banner ad for Foodbuzz to the right of our daily postings. They’re a foodie/food blogger community that has sponsored nearly every worthwhile food site in the blogiverse. They recently made their official launch, and we at RBS want to congratulate them! They’ve done great work promoting their featured publishers, and have virtually-hosted some amazing international events. Recently they invited 24 bloggers from around the world to host a meal on the same day and post about it. Each entrant had to come up with a truly unique idea, and they all did a great job. If you’re interested in getting just a snippet of the meals that resulted from this event, go here. If you want more information, you can check out the individual blog entries here.

Anyhow, we’ve had fun being part of this foodie community, and have fallen in love with a lot of bloggers we’ve “met” there. Here are just a few of my favorite bacon ideas from the Foodbuzz gang.

SpiCes Crisp Bacon Muffins. OMG, don’t you want to eat these all day long?

Apple, bacon & brie sandwich from Bodacious Girl. Making bacon look downright healthy!

Cornish game hens with apples and bacon? Yes please, Hungry Mouse!

If you have time for a video, This Man’s Kitchen shows you how to make a deep-fried bacon and cream cheese appetizer that looks so freaking delicious, it will single-handedly make you the most-invited person on the planet come holiday party time. And I can’t forget our good friend Dave, the first acquaintance I made at Foodbuzz and a Zen master in the realm of bacon.

I could go on for hours, but I’ll end here with a salute to the entire Foodbuzz community of bloggers. Thanks for the ideas and the inspiration, and keep ‘em coming!

It’s that time of year when the weather is crisp and so are the apples. My neighbors brought me a big bag of them last week and I’ve been enjoying them to no end. You just can’t get apples this sweet at the grocery store. And while I’ve been just eating them raw, I’ve had this nagging urge to make an apple pie. Well, this picture has just pushed that urge over the top. This is a must-try recipe.

I wrote once before about bacon apple pie, but this bacon lattice work really takes the cake…er, pie. You can find the full recipe, more photos and a great backstory over at EliCooks. I’ve been toying around with adding apple pie to my Thanksgiving menu, since for some odd reason not everyone I know LOVES pumpkin pie the way I do. But I don’t know…is it too much to have bacon cinnamon rolls for breakfast, bacon in the green beans AND bacon in the pie?

I gave a brief review of Daily’s thick-cut, hardwood smoked peppered bacon after the big Bacon Day Bash, but I decided to give this great bacon some more attention. Naseem, Cameron and I attended a beer festival this weekend, and decided to fill our bellies with greasy goodness prior to imbibing all those brewskies. Since the festival started at noon, a late breakfast seemed like the best idea.

Because this bacon comes in big, thick slices, we decided it would be more efficient to bake them rather than try to fry them in batches. I just don’t have a large enough skillet for that kind of work. We set the oven at 400 degrees, but put the bacon in while the oven was warming so it wouldn’t immediately shrivel up. That was a huge success if you like flat, evenly cooked bacon. And I do. About half way through cooking we poured off some of the grease to fry our eggs and hash browns. Yum, it’s making my hungry just remembering it. It took about 30 minutes to cook the bacon, but obviously would have been quicker if the oven had been pre-heated beforehand.

I loved this bacon. It’s nice and chewy due to the thick cut, and once cooked is more lean meat than fat. There’s a pretty solid layer of pepper on one edge, and since pepper happens to be one of the few bacon flavorings that I find acceptable, it was just perfect for me. The flavor of smoke was not overwhelming, perhaps because pepper is such a strong spice, but that didn’t concern me at all. I gave it an A+, I will definitely buy this bacon again. Cameron was a little less enthused, preferring his bacon maple-sweet, but still seemed to enjoy it. Naseem loves bacon even more than I do…she was too busy eating to give me her insights. I took that as a thumbs-up.

On a side note, we tried Cal Poly Brew Crew’s Smoked Smasher Stout at the beer fest. It definitely had the essence of bacon about it, as well as a chocolatey undertone. I’m a fan of stouts generally, but I don’t think I could stomach too much of this smokey variety. I think I’ll stick to bacon bourbon if I want meat in my drink.