Sunday, July 20, 2014

Knife Care

We've discussed the need for having a good set of knives in your kitchen. Now, let's discuss how to properly take care of them.

1. DON'T PUT THEM IN THE DISHWASHER! Wash your knives by hand, making sure that the blade is away from you at all times. And, please don't toss them in the dish water so that you then have to root around in soapy water to find them, all the while cutting yourself in the process.

2. Wash and dry your knives immediately after use. It will maybe take you 2 minutes to clean and dry your knives right away. First of all, you don't want anything to get stuck to them. The likelihood of you cutting yourself goes up with the amount of stuck on food. Also, don't leave your knives in a dish drainer to dry. Dry them with a towel and put them away. You have less chance of accidentally cutting yourself.

3. Sharpen them! Before you start your chopping, swipe the knife a couple times over the sharpener. You want to make sure your blade is up to the task. Be sure to always sharpen with the blade away from you. Our block has a sharpener built into the block, so there's no chance of cutting yourself. You don't look as cool when you're using it as you would with a traditional sharpener though. 

We also just purchased the Wusthof Precision Edge 2-Stage Knife sharpener and have been pleased with it. We just run the knives through it a couple of times before we get started and things are much easier!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bacon Jam

We know when you think jam, you mind doesn't automatically jump to bacon. Well, it should. Our quest to make bacon jam started with an amazing charcuterie plate we had at a local restaurant that featured bacon jam. Of course we had to find a recipe, so Zack scoured the internet until he found this one. This savory jam went perfect on crusty bread at our holiday parties last year. Or, if you want to deliver edible treats as presents, this is the perfect gift for your foodie friends.

This one is going to be a long one, so get comfortable. We're going to be here a while.

Here's what you need:
3 lbs bacon
3 large onions, thinly sliced
10 cloves garlic, minced
9 Tbsp brown sugar
3 cups coffee, brewed
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup maple syrup
fresh cracked black pepper
3/4 tsp smoked paprika
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Special Equipment:
Pressure Cooker
6 1/2 pint canning jars

Here's what you do:
Cook the bacon until it just gets crispy. You'll need to do this in batches. Lots of batches. Drain the excess bacon fat off in between batches.

When the bacon is finally all finished, slice it into 1/2" pieces. Set that aside for now.

Reserve a few tablespoons of the bacon fat and add to a large heavy bottom pot.

Add the onion and garlic over medium high heat. Toss to coat everything in the bacon fat.

Cook for 10-12 minutes until the onions become soft and translucent.

Add the chopped bacon to the pot.

Next add the brown sugar.

Next comes the apple cider vinegar.

Maple syrup joins the party next.

And, then add the coffee.

Bring that whole mixture to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.

Let that simmer for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Your mixture will look like this when it's ready to move on. Beautiful, isn't it?

We put the jam in the fridge over night to let the fat come to the top. The picture above is actually after we pulled it from the refrigerator. Scoop the fat off the top and discard.

Transfer the mixture to the blender or food processor and pulse to chop the large chunks of bacon and onion up to a finer consistency.

Return to the pot and place on the stove over low heat. Add the pepper to taste and red wine vinegar.

Let that cook for another 45 minutes or so until all of the red wine vinegar has evaporated.

Meanwhile, let's get started with our canning procedure. Sanitizing time!

Put your jars in a tall dutch oven so that the jars are submerged by about an inch.

Take some of the boiling water and pour over the top of the of the lids.

Now, scoop your jam evenly into the 6 jars.

Place inside the pressure cooker with about an inch of water.

Seal the cover of the pressure cooker and put over medium-low heat. Each pressure cooker is different, so read the directions carefully. You're going to cook it at 10 pounds of pressure for about an hour.

Now you're finally done. We warned you it was a long one!