Monday, April 23, 2012

be healthy

I'm on another one of my healthy kicks. I have to be - try as I might, everything has been so stressful and busy that I've only been averaging 2 days a week at the gym. I'm only basically able to eat what I want because I go to the gym every day, and now that I'm not, I have to fix the eating side of things.

For all of my good intentions, I still had two bags of kale nearing expiration this morning. (Silver lining is I did finish the two bags of spinach I bought at the same time). I was up early, and there was a slight break in the steady stream of emails, so I threw the contents of both bags into a Dutch oven and wilted everything with a touch of olive oil. I wanted to keep the flavor neutral so I could use the kale in anything I wanted later.

Matty was still asleep by the time this was all cooked, so I decided to take the time to make a frittata with a couple handfuls of kale. There's not usually time to dedicate an hour to making eggs - I mean, isn't the beauty of eggs that it's a fairly instantaneous meal? But hey, I was going to take advantage of this rare chunk of time.

Kale Frittata
Serves 4

2 T. olive oil
1 lb. potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large onion, diced
2 c. cooked kale
6 eggs, beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 c. shredded Gruyere

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch oven-proof skillet. When shimmering, add the potatoes and onion. Fry, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and golden-brown in spots, and onion is translucent, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Layer on the kale and half the cheese. Pour the beaten eggs evenly over the vegetables, and top with the remaining cheese.

4. Bake until the eggs are puffed up and set, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve.

Then, at the risk of going into kale overload, I incorporated it into a quinoa dish for dinner. What I love most about this dish is it's completely scale-able - the water-to-quinoa ratio is always 2:1, and you can add any variety of vegetables and meat (or not) to customize to your taste and what you have to get rid of in the refrigerator. It's also great warm or cold.

Quinoa with Kale + Crab
Serves 8

2 1/2 c. quinoa
5 c. water
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
16 oz. crab meat
2 c. cooked kale salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine the quinoa and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. When it has come to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until the water is all absorbed, and the quinoa is tender.

2. Meanwhile, toast the coconut flakes in a small skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until the flakes are mostly browned.

3. When the quinoa is done cooking, add the crab meat and kale and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, garnishing with toasted coconut.

Monday, April 16, 2012

i can make it better

So yesterday's just so-so Smothered Roast Pork? Turned into the greatest sandwich of my life.

There were plenty of leftovers - after all, a 5-lb. roast feeds much more than the two of us in one sitting. But it was already a bit dry yesterday, and I was afraid to make it worse by reheating for subsequent meals. That really left the only option as a cold-to-room-temperature sandwich filling. Banh mi sandwich filling to be exact.

There's nothing like a full Vietnamese deli banh mi sandwich. I mean, none of the fancy lemongrass chicken or whatever banh mi. Full on porky, head cheese-y goodness made luxurious with pate, but balanced out with fresh cilantro, tangy pickles and occasionally, a fiery slice of jalapeno. I mean, Subway has nothing on it. (I don't want to dwell on it, but I hate Subway. Hate. That smell. Why?)

This is by no means traditional (after all, I had a job to do - getting rid of leftovers), but it riffs on enough of the basic elements I love to make it a really grand sandwich. Here's how I built mine:

- big ol' baguette
- a generous swipe of Trader Joe's Truffle Mousse Pate goes down
- a generous swipe of mayo goes on the other side of the bread
- thick slices of roast pork go down
- top with an array of Italian meats - prosciutto and salami in our case - I wanted to mimic some of the peppery flavor of the various Vietnamese deli meats that I didn't have in my fridge, and Matty just likes prosciutto
- marinated mushrooms, sliced - too lazy to make Daikon + Carrot Pickles
- but I did want the freshness of some carrot, so I shaved one down with a vegetable peeler and stuffed it in
- Trader Joe's was out of cilantro, so I finished off the sandwich with a few mint leaves

I think it came out to about a foot-long each. We did not intend to eat the entire sandwich, but it was so. damn. good.

***EDIT: Equally good on two slices of potato bread if you don't feel like going out to get a fresh baguette to continue getting rid of leftovers.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

just your average

I have to say - this pork roast wasn't terribly much to write home about. It's possible I didn't know what kind of cut I had to work with - I mean "pork roast" is a fairly general description. Would it have helped if I kept braising it until it did yield? Maybe. But it was late, and we were hungry, and it was fine, if dry in spots.

The gravy was gravy, though. So good. I'm not sure I cooked the roux quite long enough - it's hard to determine whether your roux has reached that well-toasted peanut butter-colored stage when I feel it immediately hits that color from picking up the porky bits from searing the meat. It just started smelling like well-done popcorn, and I figured I should stop before it started smelling like burnt popcorn. No one needs that.

The creamed spinach next to it, though? To die. Just 1 T. butter + 1 T. flour cooked to less than peanut butter-colored, 1 lb. wilted spinach and 1 c. cream. Cooked slowly until most of the liquid had evaporated. I could have made that whole thing dinner. Swoon.

Smothered Pork Roast
adapted slightly from The Amateur Gourmet

1 5-lb. boneless pork roast
salt and pepper
2 large onions, thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 T. fresh thyme leaves
1 T. fresh rosemary, chopped
2 T. olive oil
8 T. butter
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
4 c. chicken broth

1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

2. Season the pork very generously with salt and pepper, rubbing the seasonings into the fat and flesh of the meat. Set the roast aside for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour at room temperature.

3. Combine the onions, garlic, thyme and rosemary in a medium mixing bowl and toss to combine.

4. Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, sear the meat on all sides until deeply browned and crusty, 10 to 12 minutes total.

5. Transfer the meat to a plate, reduce the heat to medium, and then stir in the butter. When the butter has melted, stir in the flour to make a roux and continue to cook, stirring, until the roux turns a dark peanut butter color, about 10 minutes.

6. Add the onion mixture and cook, stirring, until all the ingredients are well-coated and the mixture is thick. Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Return the pork to the Dutch oven, spoon some of the onion mixture over the meat, cover, and roast for about 3 hours, turning and basting the pork every 30 minutes or so, until the meat will break apart when pressed gently with a fork. Serve sliced over the grain of your choice.

you're full of sugar, you're full of spice

I have become obsessed. With speculoos. And with saying, "speculoos."

It all started with Trader Joe's Cookie Butter. My Facebook feed lit up one day - apparently everyone had discovered it all at once. However, I could never find it when I went.

Then, there were Trader Joe's Chocolate Bars with Speculoos. But again - unrequited. I mean, which Trader Joe's are these people shopping at? I checked the "What's New" shelf twice a week every week. Nothing.

Then, this week happened. And it all came in a speculoos flood. First, dessert on Monday was from the Waffles de Liege Truck - a delicious waffle topped with crunchy speculoos spread and toffee ice cream. Absolute perfection.

Then, while grabbing snack supplies Friday night, I found the elusive Cookie Butter! Grabbed a jar, and a spoon as soon as I got home, and dug in. Swoon. And then yesterday, right in my Weakness Zone (aka, the displays at check-out), I found the chocolate bar. Score. Also, ThisIsWhyYoureFat. Dot. Com.

Overall, though, we think speculoos is a treat best enjoyed by itself (with Mr. Spoon). It was overwhelmed by our toffee ice cream and delicious waffle, and stood no chance against the great dark chocolate in the candy bar. But I still thought it deserved a chance to star in some nice lazy Sunday morning pancakes. And while I think I might add another 1/2 c. into the batter next time, I still thought this was a good vehicle for the spread. They are extremely fluffy, and the resulting pancakes are half gingerbread cookie, half cake. Might also try making a speculoos-maple syrup next time just to up the ante a bit.

Speculoos Pancakes
from Baketivities
Makes 9 pancakes using a 1/4-c. measure

1 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 egg
1 1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. Trader Joe's Cookie Butter
2 T. canola oil
butter to grease skillet

1. Preheat skillet over medium heat.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. In a separate microwave-proof mixing bowl, microwave the Cookie Butter for one minute to melt. Add milk, egg and oil, and whisk to combine.

4. Add wet ingredients to dry, and whisk batter until most lumps disappear.

5. Grease skillet with a light film of butter and, using a ¼ cup measure, drop batter into skillet. Cook pancake until bubbles appear, 3 to 5 minutes, then flip and continue to cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, until pancake is browned on both sides. Keep warm in a 200-degree oven while you make the rest of the pancakes. Serve immediately.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

lovely bunch of coconuts

I love macaroons. Even more than macarons. There's just something about that sweet, satisfying chewiness that I can't get enough of. And even as I was typing that from the comfort of my coffee table office, I leaned over to look through the doorway to the kitchen to see if there were any left on my plate of leftovers.

This was Easter brunch dessert - one of our guests was observing Passover, so I kept up with the dietary restrictions in as much as I was able to learn via Google.

After everyone had left Sunday, and we were cleaning up, Matty said, "Could I comment on the macaroons? I think they would be much better with coconut that's shredded a little smaller." I explained to him that that's the reason this recipe was so cool - that it departed from the original by using larger coconut flakes. However, that being, said, I couldn't disagree with him.

The larger flakes gave the macaroons extra chew, making it almost too much work to eat. But the bigger bombshell was after we had discussed and agreed his point, he casually mentioned that a family friend of his may have a secret recipe for macaroons that is more or less perfect. Apparently, macaroons are a big deal/obsession in Florida/The Keys. I mean, all this time, I could have been snooping for and trying to duplicate that recipe! And then on Tuesday, our Passover friend Julie sent me a photo of chocolate lavender macaroons from Interim Cafe which of course is going to consume me until we figure out that recipe as well. Better stock up on the angel flake!

Alice Medrich's Macaroons
from Food52
Makes 12 large macaroons

4 large egg whites
3 1/2 c. unsweetened dried flaked coconut
3/4 c. sugar
2 t. vanilla

1. Line a cookie sheet with Silpat.

2. Combine all of the ingredients in a large heatproof mixing bowl. Set the bowl directly in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir the mixture with a spatula, scraping the bottom to prevent burning, until the mixture is very hot to the touch and the egg whites have thickened slightly and turned from translucent to opaque, 5 to 7 minutes. Set the batter aside for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using about 2 T. of batter, make 12 macaroons.Bake for about 5 minutes, just until the coconut tips begin to color. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are a beautiful cream and gold with deeper brown edges. (Optional: add a little piece of chocolate in the middle of each macaroon just as they come out of the oven).

Monday, April 9, 2012

part two

Easter, continued...

This salad was mostly just to make myself feel better about all the pork being served up. (Yes, that was indeed bacon in the quiche). It was actually quite tasty, though, and I am now fully obsessed with shaving everything for salads. I really think I need to be upgrading my vegetable peeler, though.

Shaved Asparagus + Mint Salad
slightly adapted from Food52
Serves 4
(I doubled the asparagus and kept the dressing amount the same - thought that was the perfect balance for me)

2 bunches asparagus
2.5 oz. hazelnuts, crushed and toasted
1 T. chopped mint
3 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T. white wine vinegar
1 T. honey
3 T. olive oil
Parmesan shavings

1. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus lengthwise (stem to head) to create strips.

2. Whisk together the mint, lemon juice, vinegar, honey and olive oil. Pour over the asparagus, add the hazelnuts, and salt and pepper to taste. Shave Parmesan on top and keep chilled until ready to serve.

And just as a bonus - the other day, while I was practicing shaving the asparagus, I made myself a near-perfect salad of shaved asparagus, carrot and fennel tossed with arugula, truffle oil and red wine vinegar.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

beginner's luck

I think I just had one of the best days in life today. Easter brunch was about 6 hours long, and maybe an hour after our last guest left, we started on dinner - grilled cheese with the leftover ham. We are now catching up on American Pickers while a ham stock is simmering away on the stove and making the house smell, for lack of a better term (because, really, there isn't a better term), freaking delicious.

Because I know this will be a busy week filled with less cooking that I would like, I'm going to start tonight off with just the ham recipe. More to come!

This ham was my crowning achievement. I'm almost completely certain it's beginner's luck - I've never made a ham before, not even the store-bought, cured, spiral-cut kind that requires nothing more than reheating. This was a fresh ham from a Berkshire hog, lovingly cared for and organically fed, of which we got a quarter of when Matty's friend David needed someone to share his half.

I had quite a time finding recipes until I realized that what I had was a "fresh ham." After that, it was just a matter of finding which brine and rub to use to roast the pork leg. A lot of recipes I found called for massive hams - 16-18 pounders. Ours was but a tidy little 3.5 lbs. I found one recipe for an 8-lb. ham and successfully halved everything - the amount of brine (and brine time), the amount of rub, the amount of glaze. Frankly, I couldn't tell you if the 8 lb. ham would be just as good with a full 24 hours of brining, but I can certainly tell you that this brine got all the way through this ham. Boy, did it. So moist and flavorful, but without that crazy saltiness that is always the first impression of cured hams.

Mario Batali's Fresh Ham, Italian Style
via The Chew

8 c. cold water, divided
1/2 c. + 1 1/2 T. kosher salt
3 1/4 c. packed light brown sugar, divided
6 T. fennel seeds, divided
3/8 c. black peppercorns
1 3.5-lb. bone-in leg of pork
1/2 c. fresh sage leaves
6 garlic cloves
2 T. olive oil
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. apricot jam
1 T. Colman's dry mustard

1. Combine 3 c. water, 1/2 c. salt and 3 c. brown sugar in a large saucepan and heat over high heat, stirring, until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from the heat and pour into a pot or other large container that is large enough to hold the pork and the brine. Add 3 T. fennel seeds and 3/8 c. peppercorns, and set aside to cool while you prepare the roast.

2. Using a very sharp serrated knife, score a series of parallel lines 1 inch apart in the skin of the ham, making them 1/2 inch deep. Then score another series of parallel lines diagonally across the first cuts to make a diamond pattern.

3. Add 5 c. water to the brine mixture. Make sure the brine is completely cold before you add the ham. Submerge the ham in the brine, cover the container, and refrigerate for 24 hours.

4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

5. Combine sage, 1 1/2 T. salt, 2 T. fennel seeds, garlic and olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Rub this mixture into the nooks and crannies in the surface of the ham.

6. Place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan, and bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees.

7. Combine 1/4 c. brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, apricot jam, mustard and 1 T. fennel seeds in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced to 3/4 c. and syrupy. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

8. When the pork has reached 150 degrees, brush on a thin layer of the glaze. Continue cooking, brushing with the glaze once more, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Transfer the pork to a carving board and allow it to rest.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

they were all yellow

My saffron is giving me a complex. It used to impart such a lovely hue, but lately, it's making albino sauces out of what should be beautiful golden broth.

Luckily, the broth was still perfect for dipping most of a sourdough baguette into, and the salmon was cooked to absolute perfection. The fennel mellows out to an almost celery-like flavor, but that extra kick of anise from the tarragon leaves rounds everything out nicely. God, I love tarragon.

The original recipe calls for mussels, but the mussels at the grocery store looked even more tired than I do, so I skipped and went the Manila clams route. While delicious, I would definitely hold out for mussels next time for a more substantial meal.

Poached Salmon with Saffron Sauce
slightly adapted from Saveur

1/8 t. crushed saffron threads (about 12 threads)
8 T. butter, divided
1/2 medium fennel bulb, minced (about 1/2 c.)
1 large shallot, minced
1 lb. salmon cut into 2-3 fillets
salt and pepper to taste
15 Manila clams
1 c. dry vermouth
1 T. minced fresh chives
1 T. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 T. minced fresh tarragon leaves

1. Heat oven to 225 degrees. Combine saffron and 1 1/2 c. warm water in a small bowl; set aside.

2. Melt 1 T. butter in a 10" saucepan. Add fennel and shallots, stir to coat with butter and then arrange in an even layer. Season salmon with salt and pepper; arrange in skillet. Scatter clams around fillets; pour the reserved saffron liquid and the wine around the salmon. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until the clams open, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat; set aside, covered, to let steam until salmon is cooked through, about 3 more minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer fish and mussels to a baking sheet, and transfer baking sheet to oven.

3. Return skillet to high heat, and bring to a boil. Whisk in remaining butter 1 T. at a time. Remove pan from heat and stir in chives, parsley, and tarragon. Season broth with salt. Divide fish and mussels between 2-3 bowls and spoon broth over top. Serve immediately

Monday, April 2, 2012

be like you

I have found a new favorite restaurant in Los Angeles, and it is all based on one dish. The restaurant: Sotto. The dish: Casarecce, a pasta simply described as being served with "lamb ragu, egg and Pecorino." Recommended by our dinner dates, Kathryn and Grant, because every time they go, they get their own order of it because it's too good to share.

I assumed it would be served with a fried egg on top, which I would have been thrilled with. When it arrived, there was no egg to be found. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that the egg. was. part of. the sauce. Like, carbonara-style. And the lamb - perfect, melt-in-your-mouth, non-gamey perfection. I nearly died. I nearly didn't switch plates halfway through to share with Matty the other pasta dish we had ordered. I considered ordering another casarecce in lieu of dessert. I mean, I've known Kathryn since college. Surely she'd understand.

As it was, I refrained, but I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since, and I will not stop until I can recreate it. Now, I didn't expect this adaptation of Veal Abruzzese to be it, but I wanted to experiment with the egg sauce idea in a meat-centric pasta dish. I was going to swap out ground lamb for the ground veal - which I'll be in the future anyway since I didn't feel the subtleties between beef and veal are accentuated in a ground meat application. I think a better replication would be a braise (maybe there's a Molly Stevens recipe to use) or even smoke some lamb a la the flipping fantastic pulled pork Matty made this weekend.

Veal Abruzzese
adapted from Mario Batali's Molto Batali via Serious Eats
Serves 6-8

8 oz. cremini mushrooms, diced
1/4 c. olive oil
1 lb. ground veal
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. double-concentrated tomato paste
1 c. dry vermouth
1 lb. farfalle pasta
6 oz. baby spinach, chopped
4 eggs
1/2 c. grated Parmesan

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. When shimmering, add the mushrooms and saute over medium heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the veal and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until the meat is well browned, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add the tomato paste. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until the paste turns a rust color, 5 minutes. Then add the vermouth, and cook for 5 minutes, until the liquid has almost completely evaporated.

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and cook the farfalle according to package instructions. Just before the pasta is done, carefully ladle 1/4 c. of the cooking water into the veal mixture. Stir the baby spinach into the veal mixture. Drain the pasta and add it to the veal mixture. Toss over medium heat for about 30 seconds, until the pasta is nicely coated.

4. In a medium bowl, beat 4 eggs with the Parmesan. Pour over the pasta and stir furiously to coat. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

getting better

Well, he's done it. Gotten sick. About two weeks after I had the same miserable cold.

While it took me a couple Claritin-D to feel even slightly normal, Matty chose a more natural route to healing: Wellness Formula, Emergen-C and Chicken Noodle Soup with Ginger + Shiitake Mushrooms.

I figured the ginger would help with the cold, and added some garlic to kick up the healing powers a bit. And even if it didn't work, it was pretty delicious, and if Matty could tell that, I know he's on the road to recovery!

Chicken Noodle Soup with Ginger + Shiitake Mushrooms
adapted slightly from Simply Recipes

1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
3 c. boiling water
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs, cut into chunks
a 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced very thin
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced very thin
2 T. soy sauce
2 t. sugar
a pinch of salt
1 t. corn starch
8 oz. rice noodles

1. Soak the mushrooms in the hot water for 20 minutes. Use a bowl or a smaller pot to keep the mushrooms submerged in the water.

2. While the mushrooms are soaking, whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, salt and corn starch in a large bowl. Make sure there are no corn starch lumps. Add the chicken and ginger to the bowl, toss to coat with the marinade, and set aside.

3. When the mushrooms have softened, remove from the water (saving the soaking liquid) and slice thin. Add the mushrooms into the bowl with the chicken. If the soaking water has grit in it, pour the soaking water though a fine-meshed sieve lined with a paper towel into another bowl.

4. Put the chicken mushroom mixture, and the mushroom soaking liquid into a pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a bare simmer, cover the pot and cook gently for 25 minutes. Cook the noodles according to package directions and when done, drain and add to the soup mixture. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot.

all that you can't leave behind

It's honestly a marvel that I made it out to a work function yesterday morning. I left behind 16 lbs. of pulled pork that Matty smoked for 12 hours Friday. Well, okay, to be fair, it started out as 16 lbs. of bone-in pork shoulder. Then when we pulled it Friday night, we probably ate at least a pound on its own. We didn't weigh it.

I also left behind The Best Baked Beans Ever (made even better with the addition of bourbon), and Boozy Bacon Jam. I must really love my job.

But when I got back, Brandon's Bourbon Birthday BBQ was still going on, and Matty had been kind enough to save me enough to make a plate - pulled pork sliders with bacon jam, bourbon beans, Bourbon Creamed Corn courtesy of Julie, and our friend Chet's famous jambalaya. And then inhaled a piece of chocolate bourbon cake. All before remembering to take a photo, so what you see above is what I made for breakfast this morning - leftover pulled pork hash with fried eggs.

The beans were indeed the best ever if the texts I received while I was gone were any indication. I'd halve the sugar next time - they were a little too sweet for me. The bacon jam was a little sweeter than I expected as well (and I'd call it Spicy Bacon Jam over Boozy Bacon Jam, but that's me) - I think I'd only leave in the brown sugar or the maple syrup next time, not both.

Recipes below, if not photos. Although to spare you, there's not really a great way to take photos of baked beans.

The Best Baked Beans Ever
barely adapted from The PIoneer Woman

8 slices bacon, halved
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
6 16-oz. cans pork and beans
3/4 c. barbecue sauce
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
2 t. dry mustard
1/2 c. Maker's Mark

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Fry bacon in large Dutch oven until bacon has partially cooked and released about 1/4 cup drippings. Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels. Add onions and peppers to drippings in pan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Add beans and remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Top with bacon, then bake until beans are bubbly and sauce is the consistency of pancake syrup, about 2 hours. Let stand to thicken slightly and serve.

Bacon Jam
from Spoon Fork Bacon
Makes 2 cups

1 lb. bacon
1 large onion, diced
3 T. brown sugar
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 t. smoked paprika
1 t. chili powder
2 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 c. Maker's Mark
2/3 c. strong brewed coffee
2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. tarragon vinegar (Heinz brand, at any regular grocery store)
3 T. maple syrup
1 1/2 T. Sriracha
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook bacon on medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.

2. Drain all but 2 T. bacon fat from the pot. Add onion, brown sugar and a pinch of salt and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Add shallot, garlic and spices and saute for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Season with pepper.

4. Return the bacon to the pot and stir until well combined.

5. Pour the Maker's Mark into the bacon mixture and cook the liquid down for about 3 to 4 minutes.

6. Add the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

7. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes.

8. Skim off any fat that has formed at the top and discard.

9. Pour the mixture into a food processor and process until desired consistency is achieved. Serve or warm or at room temperature.