Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sweet and Spicy Bacon

Today starts the first day of seven that I will be without my daughter. We have never been apart for more than two days, so seven is going to be a lot for me to handle. I am fully aware that I made decisions that put myself in this situation, but that doesn't make it any easier. When she is gone I feel like a piece of me is missing and I hate being at home... it's too quiet and lonely without her. I don't know if there is anything anyone could tell me when I am crying this week that will make me feel better. I'm not illogical... I know she will be okay and I will get through it, I know she needs to spend this time with her dad, I just know my life is better when she is around. My plan is to just stay busy and treat this week like a boot camp of excerise. It is rare I get to spend as much time as I want at the box so I am planning to go at least once a day so I can work on everything that has been on my to-do list. Exercise makes people happy naturally (yay endorphins!) and I really enjoy most of the people I workout with so I think that's where you will find me.

A Word on Nitrates

Since this is about bacon I thought I would take a second to explore the hot-button topic of "nitrate-free" bacon. I am a high school science teacher and when I saw the word "nitrate" my interest was peaked, because just like gluten, I am assuming a lot of people don't know what a nitrate is but know they want to avoid it. Nitrate is NO3 (1 nitrogen atom bonded to 3 oxygen ones.) Nitrates have uses in explosives, but for our purposes of discussing food the biggest sources of nitrates in our diet comes from all things vegetables, not bacon. Nitrates found in foods like arugula and celery are shown to reduce hypertension (high blood pressure.) There is no bacon product without nitrates... the hotdogs and bacon products labeled "nitrate free" just lack sodium nitrate, they all have a nitrate product in them, probably from celery or beets because it is needed in the curing and preserving process. Other gimmicks on bacon include saying the pigs were raised "hormone free." There are actually fairly strict laws on pigs in this country as far as hormones are concerned and they shouldn't be using them anyway. Your call on the nitrate vs. nitrate-free bacon... just know they all have nitrates in them, natural or not, and in the studies I looked up you would have to eat pounds of bacon a day to cause ill-effects from the nitrates in bacon... but then again eating pounds of bacon probably isn't good for you anyway. I would go with the so-called "nitrate-free" purely because I would like to eat the naturally occurring nitrates found in celery versus the more artificial sodium nitrate.
PS- Uncured bacon is also technically "cured"... this is the same information as above. "Uncured" bacon is bacon that has been preserved with naturally occurring nitrates (celery or sea salt) which draw out the water and preserve the meat. Cured bacon has chemicals that mimic those salts and do the same thing, usually this is sodium nitrate. Something truely "uncured" hasn't gone through the same process and wouldn't be bacon, more like ham. 

Sweet and Spicy Bacon

- 1 lb Bacon, your choice on the cut thickness
- 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

1. Mix the syrup and pepper in a bowl. Spread the bacon onto a rack over a baking sheet, this keeps the bacon from sitting in its own drippings and becoming saturated in fat, it also keeps the bacon flat so it doesn't shrivel. Brush the syrup onto the bacon.

2. Bake for 15-25 minutes depending on how thick your bacon is and how crispy you want it. Eat it immediately or store it for breakfast all week.

See the pretty cayenne speckles? My mouth is watering... too many years without bacon.

Other Bacon Flavor Options?

- Sriracha or Frank's Red Hot
- Cajun Seasoning
- Apple Chutney
- Cinnamon and Syrup
- Garlic Powder
- Almost any jelly or preserve

No comments:

Post a Comment