The Ultimate Recipe: Homemade Bacon


These days it’s almost cliché to rant about one’s love for bacon. What’s that t-shirt I’ve seen guys wearing? “I’m a vegetarian except for bacon” or “I put bacon on my bacon.” Yeah, yeah, we get it. Bacon is delicious. I love it, you love it, and the poor vegans are left out in the cold yet again, ignorance being bliss most likely. Of course I love bacon. It’s not a fad. It’s not like bacon is Hootie and the Blowfish and I’m in 5th grade trying to get my first kiss. Liking bacon is kind of like asking someone if they like music or sex or breathing air.

So how to take bacon mania to the next level? I decided to try my hand at making some porky heaven of my own. As usual, I grossly underestimated the amount of work that the process would require. It is a bit of a production so let me put the disclaimer out there that one needs about a month of empty fridge space, a smoking device of some sort, and of course, several pounds of fresh pork belly. Good luck finding a 5 lb slab at Whole Foods. I’ve tried more than once, so online is your best bet.

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Putting It All on the Line


We’ll it’s been far too long ES readers. I sure have missed the Endless Simmer gang and the requisite bacon-themed snarkiness!

Please forgive the absence, but in fairness, I’ve been kinda busy.  After all these years of tinkering around in my own kitchen, building the cookbook collection and even writing about the exploits on the Interwebs, I decided to put up or shut up. So I took a full-time cooking job working the line in a real restaurant (a good one), with real line cooks (that speak mostly in Spanish and just call me ‘gringo’), with real chefs screaming at me about how awful my shit looks (really awful. I still fuck up a lot). No culinary school, no previous experience, just trial by fire…very much literally.

But I knew most of that going in. What really surprised me while making the shift from my lazy 9-5 to my new, bone-crushing post was how many fellow aspiring chefs out there in Yuppieland admitted to having their own dreams about giving up their 401(k)s, social lives, mental stability, weekends and all major holidays so they can work a lot more and earn a lot less.

So I figured I’d offer a few observations about the last few months of my life and put a little unsolicited advice out there for anyone hoping to make an appearance on Top Chef 16. My own little Kitchen Confidential if you will…except without the heroin…at least for the moment anyway.

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Friday Fuck Ups: The Illusive Fried Shrimp Head


A funny thing happened a few weeks back. And I have to say I’m still a little shocked I’m actually saying this, but credit where credit is due.  A few Sundays back, Food Network actually did something that kinda blew my mind.

As much trash talk as I dish out on Food Network programming, this new show of theirs, The Best Thing I Ever Ate is pretty damn good. It probably also helped that the episode I caught just happened to be the Best Fried food tribute. I’m sure there are other lovely categories, but an entire show dedicated to the wondrous variety of fried foods is without question one of FN’s better attempts to win over viewers.

It was Duff’s obsession with the apparently abundant but never advertised part of an animal we rarely think about eating: shrimp heads. Fried shrimp heads. A whole basket of them! I knew immediately that I had to learn how to make these little delicacies.  And that’s pretty much when everything starts to go down hill…

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Top Chef Exit Interview: Episode 10


It’s kind of eerie how similar Top Chef episodes are becoming to my wildest fantasies. This season has been filled with some of the most interesting challenges, iconic guest chefs and talented contestants, but this week Bravo outdid themselves:

Natalie Portman making a guest appearance and Padma talking dirty. Tommy C, you are a lucky man my friend. Oh and I think there was some excellent, veggie-friendly food too.

Now for a SPOILER ALERT after the jump..

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The Top 10 College Football Tailgating Foods


With college football season finally upon us, perfect Saturdays are here again. We can return to making grand efforts to relocate couches and televisions outside, justifying midday beers with collegiate loyalties, and of course, the very best part of football…pre-game tailgating!  Without further ado, the Top Ten Tailgating Dishes any food or football fan can’t live without.

10. Wings


There’s just no substitute for a perfectly cooked, crispy wing drenched in hot sauce and dunked in ranch dressing. Sure, you can go for chicken fingers if you don’t like bones, but where’s the fun in that?

9. Vodka Soaked Fruit


I’d like to think our great, great, great, great ancestors figured this one out, but let’s be honest; this is pure drunk college ingenuity.

8. Dip


Salsa, guac, 7-layers, mango, hummus, etc, etc, etc. Those chips aren’t going to dip themselves people.

7. Fried Chicken


Hey, at least it’s not fried in transfats anymore. I mean I’d still eat it if it was.. but that’s gotta count for something, right?

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Top Chef Masters: Grand Finale


Wednesday was a good night for food fans. Two and a half hours of chefs killing themselves to put out the best of their abilities and a lot of really amazing food was cooked. Top Chef is back folks, and to open for the Top Chef Masters Finale I can’t think of a better way of giving the audience exactly what they want; dish after dish after dish of exceptional food porn!

If sitting through the Masters series got kinda stale at certain points, and it definitely had its lackluster moments, this finale completely made up for any previous lack of entertainment. Hubert Keller summed up the his final TCM elimination round as “the perfect challenge.” I couldn’t agree more. This is the type of event I tune in for every week. No weird restrictions, no dramatic twists; just cook from your soul, tell a story and put out the best meal of your life. I won’t lie. I took a deep breath and held back on tearing up a little when they announced the challenge.

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