Balsamic Bacon Fig Jam

Balsamic Bacon Fig Jam

I attended a grand, Southern wedding this fall with a buffet selection to make a bacon lover weak in the knees. There were four rooms of buffet tables and every single dish involved bacon. Candied bacon, peppered bacon, bacon wrapped potatoes, bacon mac & cheese, bacon shrimp and grits, and even the vegetable dishes were cooked in bacon grease. I think I even heard some guests squeal. All that food posed a predicament though. So much deliciousness and not enough stomach space.

My husband and I must have eaten a pound of bacon each that night. I don’t recommend this. We felt less than optimal the next day and we didn’t have one sip of alcohol. How do you say no to bacon though?! It’s nearly impossible.

I believe in real bacon. None of that sorry imitation turkey stuff. Thick, juicy pork fat. Bacon from happy hogs is preferable too, pastured pigs raised humanely in a natural environment.

The bacon feast inspired me to take the fatty meat to a new level. Balsamic Bacon Fig Jam was born.

Balsamic Bacon Fig Jam
Balsamic Bacon Fig Jam
Makes 2, 12 ounce jars.

4 pieces thick bacon
4 cups of onions – chopped
1 tsp salt
7 fresh figs – chopped
1 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp black pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
½ tsp fresh rosemary or 1 large sprig
¼ cup water
1 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar

►Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat and cook bacon until crispy, about 10 minutes. Move bacon to a cooling rack and let the grease drip off into a bowl. Pour ¾ of the bacon grease from pan and leave the rest. Reserve the extra grease for other cooking.
 the onions in bacon grease over medium heat. Sprinkle in the salt, cooking until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in figs, maple syrup, black pepper, cayenne and rosemary.
►Once bacon has cooled, chop into small pieces. Add to the pot with water and stir together. Cook for 10-15 minutes until a thick, jam consistency forms.
►Remove from heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar.
►Keep refrigerated in a glass mason jar. Serve as an appetizer with fresh chopped veggies or as an accompaniment to pork, chicken or eggs.

*Recipe loosely based on Chef John’s Bacon Jam.

Strawberry Coconut Butter

Strawberry Coconut Butter

It’s strawberry season! Summer came a bit late to the northeast this year so we are just now enjoying the first crop of sweet strawberries. It is impossible to pass by this fruit without snatching up at least two cartons so I end up with more than my stomach can handle. I raided my kitchen last night to what I could possibly create. And since it was 10pm, I wanted to make something quick. I grabbed the food processor, some coconut flakes, strawberries and sea salt. Five minutes later I had this incredible fruit butter! Sometimes the recipes that take the least amount of time have the greatest reward.

Strawberry Coconut Butter

Makes 1 cup

1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

1/2 cup fresh strawberries

dash of pink Himalayan sea salt

►Pour coconut in a food processor and pulse for five to ten minutes. If you have a Vitamix or other high-powered blender you will only need to process for a minute. The consistency should be creamy.

►Add the strawberries and sea salt then pulse until well combined.

►Voila! Store in a glass jar in the fridge. Use as topping for grain-free pancakes or just enjoy with a spoon right from the jar.