I made a pledge on Facebook that I would concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas this year by only giving small heart-felt gifts this year. Why Facebook? I was using the theory on myself that if I announced it to everyone I know then I would keep myself accountable to my pledge and NOT wimp out and suddenly go on a huge shopping spree out of last-minute desperation. Believe me, my friends live to give me hell so they were/are still watching me, ready to pounce, and that's what I love about them!
True to my word, I have knitted and sewed and crafted and now I've started cooking. I decided to take some old recipes that my mom made when I was a kid for food gifts and update them. I also picked out a couple of new recipes that intrigued me. The first of those is this bacon jam from the Martha Stewart web site. The web site says to spread it on bread as an appetizer. In my mind I could also see it served over cream cheese with crackers, or as a meat chutney to go top of ham or beef, maybe even as a filling for phyllo appetizers or baked on top of brie. It's an intriguing recipe. The combination of ingredients looked to produce something sweet and savory and wonderful, a unique gift, as well as an appetizer for our family Christmas get-together. I still believe that, but in this case, either the bacon or the crockpot decided to go all Stephen King on me and produced this malevolent mess.
Speaking of giving me hell, I'm just waiting for Auntie Miranda to speak up. I'm known for not being a Martha Stewart fan. In reality, I love her ideas, but something about her bugs the crap out of me when I watch her show. Shudder. It's the same thing that makes me turn the channel when Sandra Lee comes on. In theory, I like them both and their ideas, for different reasons of course, but watching them sets my teeth on edge. I don't know why, it's just a personal thing.
The recipe is very straight forward and seemingly simple to prepare:
- 1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced small
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 3/4 cup brewed coffee
The only change I made was to add about a half dozen red chilies for a little heat to go with the sweet and savory. I don't know what went wrong unless I didn't cook everything long enough in the skillet before transferring to the crockpot. At the end of 4 hours the liquid was still very liquidy, not syrupy at all, so I turned the crockpot to low and went to bed. With the amount of liquid still left, and my experience with my handy dandy crockpot, it never occurred to me for a second that the jam would dry up and die before I woke up. I only slept 5 hours, but still, I awoke to the smell of burnt sugar and knew it was all over.
I will try again someday but I'll have to work up my courage next time considering that was $12.00 worth of wasted thick-cut yummy bacon. Sigh. Wasting bacon is a moral offense as far as I'm concerned.
However, not to be daunted, I will be trying more food gift recipes over the next few days and, of course, blogging them in nauseating detail!