Tag Archives: Bacon

Bacon Cooking Methods: Microwave vs Stovetop vs Oven.

There are very few documented cases of people not liking bacon. I’ve witnessed it convert weak vegetarians and it features in a lot of people’s ideal breakfasts.

I’ve been arguing with a friend about the best way to make bacon for years. He maintains that microwave bacon is the best. On the other hand I’ve been trying to convince him that bacon cooked in a pan is much better. After years of back and forth I decided to take a closer look at the most popular ways bacon is cooked. Spoiler alert: we were both wrong.

Microwaved Bacon

Bacon in the Microwave

Pros

Because of the nature of how microwaves cook, your bacon will turn out less greasy than it would in a pan. This however might not be a good thing depending on how you look at it. The dehydration as it cooks in the microwave helps create a crispy texture throughout. This is most preferable as a garnish or in salads as opposed to just eating it on its own as we often do for breakfast.

Shredded Bacon

The most obvious benefit to cooking with a microwave is speed.

Cons

This speed however means that it is harder to time the cooking of your bacon. This problem of inaccuracy is exacerbated by the fact that it is hard to see into some microwaves. Although its impossible to not dehydrate the bacon at all, completely dehydrated bacon is too often the product of the microwave method.

This is probably because we’d rather dehydrated jerky bacon than soggy bacon. The problem is that one changes into the other in a very small window of time.

Undercooked Bacon

Another issue with microwaving bacon is the fact that you can’t add any flavours by way of a marinade or anything like that.  It simply will not take on any of the marinade flavour in the short time that it has to cook. The marinade will also be reduced far more than desired in a microwave. The same issues with timing apply to the marinade as well.

Stovetop Bacon

Bacon in the Pan

Pros

In my opinion, the benefit of speed that the microwave provides is not worth the inaccuracy. That is why the best thing about cooking bacon on a stovetop is the fact that it is the most accurate method.

The process happens slowly and in front of your eyes the entire time. It is very easy to get bacon to the exact doneness that you want with this method.

Cons

Although this was my preferred method for many years, I would always be annoyed by the fact that you could only cook so many pieces of bacon at a time.

More importantly, the fat curls when heated and makes it very difficult to get even cooking. Most of the time you have large portions of the bacon soggy from the steaming that occurred because of the curling while other parts would be burned if cooked any longer.

Curled Bacon

Turning down the heat on the stove for a much longer cook fixes the issues of curling a bit. This however further fuels the problem of not being able to cook that many pieces of bacon at a time.

Oven Bacon

Bacon in the Oven

Pros

Lets start off by addressing one of the weaknesses that the stovetop had. You can cook way more in the oven at a time.

More importantly, because of the fact that the oven provides heat from every direction as opposed to the stovetop, it allows for the bacon to be cooked evenly even if the fat curls.

It also does not take up space on the stovetop and only takes 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the perfect amount of time for you to make eggs, toast, and coffee. You just have to set a timer and forget about it.

Cons

Oven Cooked Bacon

It is hard to find a con for this method. If you really want to get nitpicky I guess it’s not as fast as the microwave.

Bottom Line

I thought microwaved bacon shined with regards to convenience and the stovetop was how you got the best results.

It turns out the oven is only marginally slower than the microwave and if you are cooking a big enough batch it can actually be faster than the microwave.

It also provides you with the best results. It is no wonder why oven cooked bacon is now my preferred method.

 

 

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Deviled Eggs Revisited (Recipe)

I did deviled eggs last fall but I didn’t include a recipe. While I was stuffing my face with these last week I decided that something I love enough to overeat every time I make should be shared. I often find that the simplest things to make taste the best.

Ingredients:

  • 12 – Eggs.
  • 1/2 cup – Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp – Dijon Mustard
  • 1 stick – Minced Celery
  • 12 Slices – Double Smoked Bacon
  • 24 – Cherry Tomatoes
  • Salt, Pepper, and Smoked Paprika to taste
  • Chopped Chives for garnish

 

Deviled Eggs

Click for full size

 

Method:

  1. Hard boil the eggs and take off the shell.
  2. Cut the eggs, in half, lengthwise and remove the yolk into a bowl.
  3. Use a fork to mash up the egg yolks and combine with the mayonnaise, dijon mustard, celery, salt, and pepper until smooth.
  4. Fill each egg white with the egg mixture.
  5. Fry off the bacon and use the smokey bacon fat to cook the cherry tomatoes in on medium heat until they just burst a little.
  6. Garnish with more minced celery and chopped chives.

Tips:

  • The egg mix can also be used in an egg salad sandwich (egg salad sandwiches with smoked bacon is in my top 10 all time best sandwiches).
  • They can be made in advance and stored in the fridge until you are ready to serve them.
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Reflecting with Marinated Mushrooms

A while ago I had a conversation with a friend about deleting old content. This is a natural temptation I used to face almost daily. With practice, we all better our skills and after about half a year of blogging I grew embarrassed  of my old stuff. The most obvious thing is how much better my photos look now in comparison. Also, my views on food, cooking, and eating have changed enormously which is perhaps the most embarrassing thing about reading my old posts. I think it is for this very reason however, that it is important not to take down my old stuff.

Before I started publishing anything on Mai Food I talked to another friend and her most memorable advice was to make sure my blog had something to offer people that would make them want to come back. I’m not sure I was successful in this regard despite my best efforts. A few months ago I started posting recipes. If I made anything clear when I started blogging it was that I did not believe in recipes and that I would never put them up despite moans from friends and family.

I feel like my maturing philosophy towards food makes it difficult to commit to one set of ideals when it comes to blogging. As I continue to learn, the nature of my posts are likely to continue to change. I’ve become very interested in this idea which is why I think it is important that I keep all my old stuff up. To me, the process of maturing is more compelling than any one thing I could ever write about.

With that in mind, one of the first things I ever blogged about was marinated mushrooms. I’ve never written anything that has got as much attention as these marinated mushrooms. I’ve got no idea why because everything that I find embarrassing is evident in this post and yet nothing I write now can even grab a tenth of the attention these marinated mushrooms got. I’m not hugely popular or anything but the fact that what I’m most known for is something I find extremely unpolished was becoming annoying. I decided I’d give marinated mushrooms another go in hopes of besting my previous work:

Marinated Mushrooms

Click for Full Size

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium red onion – julienned.
  • 4tbsp – red wine vinegar.
  • 3/4 cup – water.
  • 1tbsp – salt.
  • 1tbsp – sugar.
  • 1 handfull – enoki mushrooms.
  • 25 cremini mushrooms – cut however you want (I even had some whole)
  • 5 sprigs – fresh thyme (separate the leaves from the stems)
  • 4 slices thick cut smoked bacon – cut into matchsticks.
  • 1/2 cup – butter

Method:

  1. Mix 3tbsp of the red wine vinegar in with the salt, sugar, and water and bring to a boil.
  2. As soon as it boils, pour the pickling liquid into a jar containing the red onions and reserve.
  3. Cook the bacon in the pan until crispy and reserve.
  4. In the same pan, cook the mushrooms in the bacon fat on very high heat in order to ensure that the mushrooms gain colour instead of boiling
  5. Throw in the thyme stems and the butter.
  6. Wait until the butter becomes brown butter and then add in the remaining 1tbsp of red wine vinegar and toss.
  7. Remove the stems and reserve.
Marinated Mushrooms

Click for full size close up

Plating:

I like to put the cremini mushrooms down first and then drape the pickled red onion over top. Then, I like to fill in all of the crevices with bacon bits and enoki mushrooms before I finish the dish with the brown butter, bacon fat, and red wine vinegar vinaigrette and fresh thyme leaves.

Hopefully people like this one more than the first one. I know I do.

Thank you Kasley and Rosalyn for our conversations.

 

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Eggs & Bacon

This is the ultimate classic breakfast. There isn’t really much to say about bacon and eggs that hasn’t been said before. It is a combination that just works. Throw in a piece of toast and you have such a tasty breakfast for so little work.

Eggs & Bacon

 

I did take the time to go and get smoked bacon though. Also I had the bacon sliced about twice as thick as you would find in any Schneider’s package.

My tip for cooking bacon is to start the bacon in the pan cold, which goes against the golden rule of cooking on a stovetop. This is for two reasons. First, bacon is made up of a lot of fat. When the fat of the bacon hits intense direct heat of the pan if you wait for the pan to get hot first, it will curl. This makes cooking your bacon evenly pretty much impossible. Second, bacon has a lot of fat and if you throw it in a hot pan the fat will be sealed in which is not nice. Starting the bacon in a cold pan and then turning on the heat allows for the inedible fat to be rendered out so your bacon can end up crispy all over. The last thing you want is chewy bacon.

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Eggs on Croissant

I’m going to be straight with you; this is the best breakfast I can make. It comes as no surprise to me since the first thing I ever learned to cook was scrambled eggs. My mother taught me how to make scrambled eggs as a child and in the first few weeks of living without a meal plan I abused this knowledge. As I learned how to cook I continued to make scrambled eggs for breakfast. Over the years I have refined it again and again. This is where I’m at right now:

Eggs on Croissant w/ roasted tomato ketchup

I sit the parmesan scrambled eggs on smoked salmon in a croissant-which. The parmesan eggs are REALLY rich so I balance that with a smoked garlic tomato ketchup. I garnish with bacon, mushrooms, and chives.

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Eggplant Dip

Today, I have to work on an assignment that is due tomorrow. If we’re honest, we all like a good study snack. After half an hour of fighting off the temptation to go get french fries I opted for a more healthy alternative: eggplant dip. Sadly, my good intentions might mean little because at some point, if you eat enough eggplant dip it ends up being less healthy than a plate of a fries. I think I passed that point about half a bowl ago.

Eggplant Dip

The actual dip is easy enough to make. First, slice the eggplant in half. Second, season the inside of the eggplant with salt and pepper. I like to also rub in some garlic and some fresh thyme although other herbs like rosemary would work brilliantly as well. Third, put the two halves back together and wrap in tin foil. Now just pop it into the oven at 375 for a good 40 minutes. Next, unwrap the eggplant and scoop out the flesh and put it into a hot pan for 15 seconds or so just to release some water content. By doing this you intensify the flavour of the eggplant as now it is less watered down. I finish with some lemon juice for the acidic component to wake up the dish as well as some sour cream to add some richness although if you want to be healthy be careful with this.

I served the dip on top of asiago crackers. I’ve chosen to finish them a lot of different ways. Plain eggplant dip made it onto the plate as well as lardons, thai chili, onion sprouts, parsley, parmesan, and cherry tomato. The only downside to this was that every bite was just different enough that the dish held more of my attention than my assignment did. Best mid-day study snack I’ve ever had.

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Scallops

Scallops have long been amongst my favourite ways to treat myself nicely. Unfortunately in Kingston it is hard to find fresh scallops. The most expensive seafood like scallops, halibut and shrimp are usually previously frozen. So… when I got my hands on these fresh babies I knew I had to take my best shot at them because it would be a while before I would see anything like them again.

Scallops

As I said earlier, scallops are one of my favourites so I really just wanted to let them shine with a few accents. I sat them around a light hari chutney and garnished with bacon and onion sprouts.

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Omelette

I almost can’t believe the fact that I used to make omelettes everyday in my sophomore year at Queen’s University. Since that year passed I can’t remember making an omelette once. I have no idea why. So this morning I decided I reignite my closest ever relationship with a breakfast food.

Cheddar Onion Omelette w/ Bacon and MushroomsI’m going to have to make one again soon. It is hard to tell how much you actually like something when bacon and mushrooms are involved.

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