Tuesday, September 21, 2010
That's right, we had a bacon party.
My last shindig before leaving the Albany area was a bacon party. I got the idea one day when Natasha and I were texting each other about bacon. Yes, we periodically text each other about our love for bacon. That's just how how we roll.
So we were texting, and then it hit me--we need to have a bacon party. Of course Natasha agreed. What better way to say goodbye to Albany than with bacon?
The first thing that came to mind was my famous plate of bacon. As usual I opted for my favorite yet affordable bacon--Coleman's natural, nitrate-free, thick-cut, hickory-smoked bacon. I took a serving platter I'd been given as a graduation present and filled it up with the crispy and salty cured meat. Tara made sweet and savory dipping sauces, just in case we needed to add a little flavor to the bacon.
I was inspired to make bacon sushi. I hadn't made sushi in several years, but I've always been pretty skilled at rolling things up, so I thought I'd at least give it a shot. Inside the roll was cooked bacon, raw ahi tuna, and avocado. It was all wrapped up in sushi rice and seaweed paper. I drizzled a spicy mayonnaise sauce on top since I figured the sushi would already be salty enough with the bacon and that soy sauce might be over the top with saltiness. My only regret? I didn't pick up any wasabi or pickled ginger, which would have made a nice accompaniment.
Next up on the menu was bacon and beef dumplings. Dumplings are one of my signature dishes, and I would make them a lot more if they weren't so time consuming. I basically made them the same way as always except I added little pieces of bacon into the filling. I started with a mixture of raw beef, cooked bacon, mushrooms, scallions, ginger, and garlic. Then I placed little spoonfuls inside of wonton wrappers and brought the corners up, pinching them in the center to form little packets of gloriousness. I steamed them in the bamboo steamer until the beef cooked through and served them with a mixture of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, scallions, ginger, and garlic.
Originally I just planned on making two dishes in addition to the plate of bacon, but sometimes when my food imagination gets going it just can't stop. As I was planning out the recipes for the sushi and dumplings I got another great idea. Sticking with the Asian theme I also decided to make bacon and shrimp egg rolls. For the egg rolls I grilled some shrimp, took a couple pieces of bacon, added some pre-made broccoli slaw and wrapped it all up in an egg-roll wrapper. I fried them up, nice and golden crispy, and served them with a sauce I made that was somewhere in between the standard sweet duck sauce served at restaurants and the more biting Vietnamese nuoc mam sauce.
Dishes from other guests included bacon-wrapped drumsticks (remove the skin, wrap in bacon, and bake), bacon-wrapped peppers, bacon muffins, and a broccoli salad with bacon. Well, we had to have a vegetable in there somewhere. I also set out a platter of veggies and ranch dipping sauce and some potato chips, but since these were not bacon related, they were relegated to a table far away from the bacon table.
We also attempted to play a game of Mr. Bacon's Big Adventure where you have to navigate your piece through Sausage Sea and Meatball Meadows while trying to avoid the dreaded Vegan Alley. But then we got too distracted eating bacon and the game fell by the wayside.
Overall the bacon party was a success, but just as a warning to other bacon partiers--it can be very dehydrating to consume that much bacon, especially when drinking alcohol as well. So be sure to drink plenty of water otherwise you might have a baconover the next day and wake up very, very thirsty.
After cooking so much bacon in my old apartment I'm pretty sure that to this day it's still got to have a little bacon scent lingering to welcome the next tenants. Hopefully they're not vegetarians!