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Mar 22, 2012
A few years ago, my brother the redneck suggested that my family start celebrating Lent by eating twice as much meat on Fridays as we normally do. The idea was to offset the springtime drop in meat consumption by Lenten traditionalists, but the joy of sauntering into the Volin Café and gently taunting his observant friends by ordering a double bacon hamburger may have been another deciding factor for him.
Now I don’t eat much meat as a rule, but Double Meat Fridays have turned out to be a useful concept. It’s a gentle reminder to work on my Christmas present from the redneck: 15 pounds of bacon. It was clearly a gift of love, but rather a daunting amount of pork belly for one person.
Our brother Luke was sensible with his Christmas bacon. He divided it amongst his foodie friends, who came up with some fantastic concoctions and brought the finished dishes to a bacon party/competition. There were bacon-wrapped scallops, maple-bacon cupcakes, bacon jam, cheesy bacon potatoes and who knows what all else. The day went by in a smoky, salty haze. Glorious.
It was a fine idea. If I’d been smart, I would have copied it. Sadly, when it comes to bacon, I am not smart. I don’t know how to share. So it’s become a challenge to figure out how to do justice to such an amazing present without overdosing on fried pork. My brothers and I did some brainstorming. Perhaps an apple pie would be enriched by a crispy bacon lattice top. Maybe we could construct bacon cages to encase other, lesser foods. How about bacon-wrapped bacon with crumbled bacon on top, plus melted bacon fat or butter on the side for dipping? Ok, that may be crossing the lines of good taste.
There’s no shortage of bacon cooking ideas on the internet, but I found I was most drawn to the idea of weaving uncooked bacon into mats or, even better, into bowl shapes, and baking until delicious. Think of the potential applications! You could put a salad in one of those little bacony nests! Fill them with Swedish pancakes and douse it all in syrup! You could even dip them in chocolate and serve ice cream inside. The possibilities are endless.
From The Not Martha Blog
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover the back of a large muffin pan or metal bowls with foil and weave bacon strips around the backs. Be generous with the bacon — it will shrink and leave gaps in your cups. Set the pan in a cookie sheet with a rim to catch the dripping fat. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until crispy, checking occasionally for oven fires. Carefully remove bacon cups to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve bacon fat for later use.