Last month I came up with this little recipe in order to participate in a Spaghetti Western fundraiser…you can’t do a pasta event without meatballs, right? Turns out, the meatballs were a hit and, since my husband missed that event, I decided to whip some more together yesterday. This time I had the foresight to take photos and share the recipe with you, the talented and wildly attractive interwebs.

Ingredients

1/2 pound each: bacon, ground beef, and ground turkey*
2 large eggs
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1 tsp. each: black pepper, cayenne, oregano, garlic powder

*Any ground meats will do…pork, lamb, veal. Just be sure to use equal parts of each.

Roughly chop bacon and place in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend until bacon is a paste-like consistency. Remove from processor and place in a large bowl with other ground meats. Add eggs, spices and bread crumbs and mix well with a silicone spatula. (Or use your hands…they’ll get plenty goopy once you start forming the meatballs anyway.)
Once ingredients are well-mixed, form a small portion of the mixture into a patty and fry it in a skillet until cooked through. Taste the patty; adjust seasonings to taste. I think the bacon gives the meat plenty of salt flavor, but you may wish to add salt or, if you prefer a spicier meatball, a little more cayenne.

Form meat mixture into 2 inch balls. Add to skillet in batches and brown on all sides. (Mine always go from balls to weird boxy shapes while browning…anyone know how to keep them round??) Once browned, you have two options for completing cooking:

1) place all meatballs in baking pan and bake in pre-heated oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or
2) add to a sauce pan with your favorite pasta sauce, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

This recipe makes 20-24 meatballs. I think that by using 1/3 bacon, you get the meaty consistency you want in a meatball, but the salty, smokey flavor still has a chance to shine through. Also, when using very lean meats like ground turkey, the bacon lends the fat content you need to make sure the meat stays tender and juicy throughout the cooking process.

The best news about this recipe is that it makes way too many meatballs for two people to eat in one sitting… meatball sandwich, anyone?

This weekend while the husband and I were biking around downtown, we decided to stop at Union Ale and grab a sandwich and a beer. Because, you know, casually rolling around in 75 degree weather is thirsty work. I meant to be good. I meant to get a salad or a wrap. Or maybe I’d go crazy and get a turkey club.
Instead I got this.

This is their pulled pork sandwich, which is decadent enough. But what takes this monster over the top are the three slices of thick-cut bacon. The pork was tender, the sauce was sweet and tangy and rich, the bacon was perfectly cooked to be slightly crisp yet still chewy. Topped with their green apple coleslaw, I definitely didn’t crave dessert. And yes, I did get the sweet potato fries instead of the salad. What are you insinuating?

When I took my first bite, I was sure I’d never be able to finish it; it was too rich, there was too much meat, too much everything! And yet, champion that I am, I powered through. Toward the end I reluctantly offered my husband a bite and it received his seal of approval as well.

If you go to Union Ale’s website link, you’ll see they’re about to launch the site and have added the title of Smokehouse to their name. I’m not sure what exactly this entails, but suddenly I’m very interested. You can count on me to do the hard work and research to bring you all the details in the coming weeks.

It’s that time of year again when RBS gets involved with a Genesis West fundraiser. This year, it’s a Spaghetti Western theme with a wide and weird variety of pastas, full-on barnyard atmosphere (live animals included), and a classic Western movie under the Santa Barbara stars. I’ll be on hand with my soon-to-be-famous bacon meatballs, and there’s a great raffle with lots of fun prizes.

Saturday, September 10 – 5 to 9 pm

Y’all come on down!

Santa Barbara has seen a rash of mobile food eateries pop up in the past year or so, as seen here in John Dickson’s Food Truck Guide. In my opinion, this is one of the greatest things that can happen to any city. I love street food vendors, and although we have city ordinances that keep them from remaining very stationary, at least we have twitter so we can find them on the move!

I bring this up today because John just clued us in to a new artisan ice cream truck called Sugar & Salt Creamery. I’ve been obsessed with ice cream lately; perhaps it’s this lovely summer heat. My local favorite, McConnell’s, generally has a line out the door, so I’m grateful to find a new alternative.

So what does this have to do with bacon? I’m glad you asked. While the flavors offered by Sugar & Salt will be ever-changing, their current list of offerings includes a Maple Brown Sugar Bacon ice cream. Maple, bacon’s most common sweet/salt partner, just isn’t my favorite. I’m sorry; you’d think it would have grown on a person like me, but it hasn’t. Fortunately, there are other sugary flavors that do work for my taste buds. Caramel is one, brown sugar is another. So maybe this will be the bacon ice cream that finally wins me over. I’ll certainly do my duty and give it a try.

I mentioned way back in October that Naseem and I were going to start doing some races under the moniker of Team Bacon. We started with 5K runs and…well, honestly that’s all I’ve really bothered to do over the past seven months. Until last weekend. On May 15 we officially took Team Bacon on the road to San Francisco and ran Bay to Breakers! And when I say we ran it, I mean we ran the entire 7.5+ miles. It took 81 minutes. Did everyone hear that? I ran for 81 minutes straight. Honestly, you could have knocked me over with a feather (for more reasons than one) when I crossed that finish line. I had said, not 12 hours earlier, that I would not be able to run the whole way, but with the support of Team Bacon I did just that.


So here we are, a small but powerful team of Bacon Girls, gearing up at 7 am for the big race. As you probably know, lots of people go all out with their costumes for the big day, often not even bothering to run or finish the race. What surprised me was how many actual runners were dressed to the nines. They outstripped us in originality by a mile. We didn’t get too elaborate with our costumes because we were afraid they would hinder our running ability, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of our fellow runners for the mighty pork belly. I can report that we heard the word “bacon” more than 100 times on the walk to the starting line, during the 81 minutes of run, and at the proceeding Footstock celebration. People were genuinely excited to see bacon on the course, and their three favorite lines were:

#3 – I love bacon!

#2 – Are you guys bacon?

#1 – BACON! (shouted; most often using the voice of the dog from the “Beggin’ Strips” commercial)

Sometimes it was just a single-worded utterance of surprise (bacon!) and we were glad when someone mixed it up, like the happy runner who asked us, “are you ladies bringing home the bacon?” Some super heroes thought it was worth their while to draft off the bacon (they totally beat us) and there was the occasional suggestion that we get in someone’s belly. But seriously, I never would have guessed how much joy a panful of bacon could bring to an already super fun event. Lots of people wanted their photo taken with bacon, and we can’t wait to find the links to all of their blogs or Flickr accounts so we can share them with you. (Like this one here. And the costume contest we really shouldn’t have entered!)

I cannot emphasize enough how fun Bay to Breakers was, all the more so because I didn’t die on the Hayes Street Hill. I’m already making plans for 2012. I have to thank my teammates, Naseem and Paige, for being the best bacon ever and crossing the finish line with me. I literally could not have done it without you. And for anyone interested in joining Team Bacon, either for runs in Santa Barbara or for next year’s B2B, please email us! Bacon is a total celebrity; this is your chance to get a piece of the action!

Leave it to Conan, THE MAN, to share with us yet another bacon bebida. Sweet Conan, I’m so on your team.

Lots of interesting looking stuff, but the bacon talk starts around 6:10. Wait for it… “Wait, so this is just bacon, syrup and tequila??” Yes Andy. That’s how the bacon nation rolls. Welcome.

We recently entered a contest hosted by our sponsor, Foodbuzz. It was a BACON recipe contest, and we felt it would be an embarrassment not to enter. Because, you know, we’re a bacon blog. We were not victorious (an outrage!) but I have to say I’m pretty impressed with the entry that won (drat! justification!) The winning entry came from San Diego food blog, Kirbie’s Cravings, and reading it made me super hungry. If you like bacon and eggs, you really should go check out this fun, creative recipe.

Kirbie’s Fried Bacon Eggs were a twist on a recipe she had eaten at a restaurant and then found on another blog. But I’ll tell you what they really remind me of: Scotch Eggs. Scotch eggs are boiled eggs, wrapped in bulk breakfast sausage, and then deep-fried. My parents used to get them in English pubs in the early 70s, although I couldn’t locate a single one when I was in London in 2009. Anyhow, we moved to California in 1975, and my dad would occasionally get nostalgic for pub grub and make a big batch of Scotch eggs for dinner. (Yes, you see where I got my healthy eating habits from.) I never really liked them, but that’s because I don’t like sausage. And now I have a solution. I’m thrilled that Kirbie has found a way for me to embrace this little bit of my childhood, but in a much more delicious way.

Kirbie, I’m giving it up to you. The better recipe won!

If you’re a bacon lover, then you probably have your own special recipe for the perfect BLT. (Incidentally, if you’re not a bacon lover, you may have steered yourself to the wrong site.) I’ve always loved a simple sandwich on whole wheat, a little mayo, tons of bacon and tomato, and take or leave the lettuce. But sometimes, you know, when I’m feeling fancy, I like to throw a little pizzazz into it. And that’s exactly what Naseem and I (and Felty and Bends) did last week.

First we went shopping. Felty and Bends haven’t been out of the house in a while so they were…enthusiastic.

Once we had gathered the essentials, we were ready to start creating. We began, of course, with lots of bacon.

Not you guys, REAL bacon!

16 slices, I believe, although some of them got “lost” in Brutus’ mouth. (If Naseem wasn’t such a great bacon chef, he wouldn’t be pushed to such extremes.) For our base we chose a nice, soft rosemary focaccia. From there, we added pesto aioli, the bacon, ripe tomatoes, a handful of arugula, (just like the President eats!) and a couple slices of buttery Havarti cheese. We wanted Fontina, but the grocery store thwarted us. We are easily thwarted.

 

You can’t really have a fancy sandwich these days, especially one with buttery Havarti, unless you panini it. And that’s just what we did. First, we brushed the bread with, yes, you guessed it, BACON GREASE! My favorite frying agent. Then a couple minutes per side on the grill pan, using a nice, heavy press to ensure…um…cohesive assemblage? Uniform melting? Now I’m just making stuff up. Let’s just say it gives the sandwich better lines. George Foreman would be proud.

I told Naseem we probably should have garnished the plate with a salad we could have at least pretended to eat. But we were both starving by this point, so it didn’t seem like such a tragedy. The sandwich was totally worth the time, effort and extra ingredients. Crispy and melty with a more complex flavor than a traditional BLT, but none that overpowered the delicious bacon. And there’s the beauty of the BLT: no matter what you do to it, it’s going to be good. As long as the bacon shines through, honestly, what can go wrong? So the next time you’re making the old standard, poke around in your fridge! See what you’ve got and throw it on there. Bacon lives to experiment!

Ingredients for one sandwich:

  • One focaccia roll
  • 4 Tbsp. pesto aioli (mix 2 Tbsp. pesto and 2 Tbsp. mayo)
  • 4-5 slices bacon, cooked to desired crispness
  • 1 ripe tomato, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Small handful of arugula
  • 2 slices Havarti cheese

 

This post was created as part of the Foodbuzz BACONALIA challenge and is an entry for a chance to win.