When I was a kid, I never understood when adults would say they’d rather give presents than receive presents.
What a foreign concept to a child! Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, they all seemed to be occasions specifically designed for us to get PRESENTS. The rush of excitement when you’d wake in the morning, waiting to see what Santa brought, or what scavenger hunt Mom had come up with for our Easter presents that year… it was all part of the excitement.
Well, at some point I grew up. I get just as excited for holidays, but now, I verge on giddy when it comes to giving presents. For Christmas, I start thinking as early as May or June. I don’t do much for birthdays; often, a card will have to do, as it’s difficult to get together for everyone’s birthday.
That said, this year when B’s birthday rolled around, I asked if he wanted the strawberry cheesecake I made him (pretty much) every year. He said no.
But I was determined to do something.
So I started thinking. What could he not possibly turn down? And then Martha Stewart came to my rescue, in the latest issue of Everyday Food.
There was a whole section on bacon. B has a love affair with bacon unlike anything I’ve ever seen. He’s so convinced that bacon goes with everything, he said if I ever made him a bacon cheesecake, he’d eat it.
Never fear, I did not do the bacon cheesecake. I did, however, have a recipe for bacon jam, which is in essence, spreadable bacon. So I gathered my ingredients, took out my slow cooker (yes!), and got to work.
So what do you do with bacon jam? Well, B said his favorite was simply toasted baguette slices with butter and bacon jam. It’s also good on sandwiches and burgers, and you could even pair it with waffles for breakfast.
If you have a bacon-lover in your life, consider this treat as an easy holiday gift.
Slow-Cooker Bacon Jam
adapted from Everyday Food, December 2010
2 pounds sliced bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 medium yellow onions, diced small
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup brewed coffee
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons molasses
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until bacon is lightly browned, 20-25 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper-towel covered plate to drain.
Pour off all but one tablespoon bacon fat (reserve for another use). Add onions, cook until translucent. Add garlic, cook until fragrant. Add coffee, vinegar, sugar, syrup, and molasses. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add bacon, stir to combine.
Transfer mixture to a large slow-cooker (5-6 quarts). Cook uncovered on high for 4 hours or until syrupy. Transfer to food processor and pulse to coarsely chop.
Cool, then refrigerate in airtight containers, up to 4 weeks. Also freezes well.
Makes about 3 cups.