Category Archives: Cheese

The Bacon Bar

Well, I must apologize to all three of you for not posting in a while. I had surgery 2 weeks ago for a deviated septum, and didn’t feel too much like doing anything except wishing I could start breathing and stop bleeding. Too much information? Well allow me to make it up to you by telling you all about the greatest thing on earth.

BACON FLAVORED CHOCOLATE.

That’s right. Go ahead, read it again. I’ll wait.

My friend informed me a while back that such a thing existed in the form of a candy bar. I was skeptical. She was kind enough to find locations near me that sold such a mystical treasure. I chose The Cheese Store of Silverlake, because I’ll take any excuse to go there. Personally, I would have called it The Silver Lake Cheese Shoppe. That way the quality of the wares would be obvious from the old world spelling of the word “shoppe.” I learned that from growing up in Kankakee, IL. There was a place there, called simply “The Shoppe.” You’d probably guess they plied their trade in ice cream floats or sensible hair cuts. You’d be wrong though. It was car stereos.

Anyway, The Cheese Store of Silverlake (or TCSS, as those in the know call it) rocks the friggin Casbah. I don’t care what kind of punk rock, anti-establishment, screw-the-man swearing off of corporate jobs you’ve done in the past, this place will make you wish you made more money. Within seconds of being inside, I am learning about myself. Namely that I will sell my soul to someday be able to walk in this place and plunk down a $95 bottle of Cabernet, half a pound of aged Gouda and a pile of the oldest, hardest, driest salami I’ve ever seen without batting an eye. For now all I could manage was this:

sadly, the $95 cabernet is currently represented by crackers.

sadly, the $95 cabernet is currently represented by crackers.

Just look how they wrap things:

the irresistable wrapping.  I feel European.

the irresistable wrapping. I feel European.

But I digress.

Not only does TCSS carry the bacon bar, they carry other exotic flavors by the same company, Vosges chocolates. There’s a curry bar. There’s a ginger wasabi bar. There’s a Tibetan Goji berry and pink Himalayan salt bar. There’s a kalamata olive and white chocolate bar. I’m digressing again.

the seemingly perfect bar.

the seemingly perfect bar.

Anyway, these are big bars, but they are by no means cheap. Vosges sells them for $7.99 and at the TCSS they were TEN BUCKS. EACH. But I bought one anyway. This is not something you’ll do every day, week, or even month. But for a new experience, I’d say it’s worth it.

Here’s the deal though. I can’t totally rave about this thing, because in my opinion there was one drawback. The bar has real bacon in it, but it’s in little tiny pieces. Remember Nerds candy? Well the pieces are smaller than those. They still manage to be crunchy and have a bacon flavor, but it’s just not what I imagined. I pictured a bar that tasted like chocolate AND bacon in every bite. This is a really good chocolate that occasionally tastes like bacon in miniscule bursts. I think they went to gourmet with it. In an effort not to offend, they interspersed the bacon in acceptable amounts.

can you see the bits?  they\'re tiny.

can you see the bits? they're tiny.


Here’s what I’d do: I would take whole pieces of bacon, fried to a crisp, and dip them in chocolate. Chocolate covered bacon is much closer to what I want than this bacon flavored bar. I would still recommend trying it though. I’m just more interested in some of the other flavors. I’m sure over time I’ll try them all. I’ll report back as I do so.

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Shhhh…I’m Hunting Rarebit

The phrase “A Bachelor Cooks” in this blog’s title is somewhat of a misnomer, because while I do cook, I also intend to just write about food, whether it’s a food item I saw in the store, a restaurant excursion, or even something someone else cooked. I also fully intend to start each post with an incredibly long run-on sentence. Check.

My friends Mike and Marcia invite me over for supper far more often than common courtesy would require. And yes, I say supper. My dad was from the East Coast, ok? Anyway, I suspect they may be entering that phase of their relationship where they are sick of each other’s faces and welcome any distraction. Or I suppose they could just be really nice people. But they like me, so that can’t be the case. It’s a paradox.

I love their kitchen dynamic. I’ve told them on several occasions that they should have a cooking show together. I suggest the following titles:

Cooking & Fighting With M & M

Let Me Show You Why You’re Doing That Wrong

Get The Hell Out Of My Way

Do You See The Mistake You Made?

No, Really, Don’t Get Up. I Think You Stopped The House From Burning Down Last Time.

Um…My Wine Glass Is Empty. Ahem.

Yes, Baby, You ARE DOING IT WRONG.

Um, Babe? That’s On Fire. BABE.

Do You Want To Do This? DO YOU WANT TO DO THIS? OK THEN.

I kid, I kid. It’s actually quite fun to watch them. It’s not serious fighting. Mostly. They have learned to take a barb and hurl it right back without batting an eye. It’s kind of what I want in a relationship, actually. Without the knives.

Right here I have to say that M & M are such good sports, they hopped right on board and took all the pictures for me since I hadn’t brought my camera. Mike even had to charge the thing in between shots. I guess they are good people.

Last night they had me over for Welsh Rarebit. Since you’re too lazy to read the Wikipedia article I worked so hard to link to for you just now, I’ll give you the rundown.

1. It’s widely accepted that the term Welsh “rarebit” comes from the term Welsh “rabbit.”
2. There is no rabbit in this dish whatsoever. Rarebit is a cheese sauce.

There are a couple theories on this. One is that the Welsh were too poor to eat rabbit, which was a dish reserved for nobles with money. Paupers had access to cheese, so they used that. Another theory is that the cheese dish was called Welsh rarebit because cheese was inferior to meat (debatable) and all things Welsh were considered inferior by the Brits. I hope this doesn’t come as a shock to my old roommate from Chicago, who’s name is actually Briton and who moved to Wales to marry a Welshman.

Now there are ways to make this key ingredient (the cheese sauce) from scratch. It sounds pretty damn good, actually. It involves mustard, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and beer. But that takes, you know, work. I may try it some day, but in the mean time, there’s an excellent option from the Stouffer’s brand line of food products.

It’s even mentioned in the Wikipedia article, so it must be true. While I’m maybe not the typical bachelor in that I mostly avoid frozen foods, this one is highly recommended. And if you REALLY want to go the bachelor route, you kick the convenience up a notch. How do I do that, you ask?

With READY TO SERVE BACON. That’s right, folks. We can put a man on the moon, we can give you microwaveable bacon. I can’t begin to tell you the skepticism with which I faced this. I was not a believer. But you know what? It ain’t bad! And you don’t have a big ass pan of grease to deal with afterward.

So, here’ the recipe. The traditional Welsh Rarebit is just cheese sauce on toast. Good, but boring. This much more interesting arrangement comes from Marcia’s late mother. I wish I could have met her to tell her it’s delicious.

First, prepare some trimmed, healthy asparagus stalks. I usually saute asparagus to keep it crispy, but M & M slowly blanch them in a pan of water. They’re still firm, but a bit less crispy than if sauteed. It actually works out better for this dish.

Microwave the bacon while the asparagus is in the Jacuzzi.

Now heat up yer rabbit. Mmmm….cheese rabbit…..

Next, cut up a baguette into slices and toast lightly. Arrange on sides of plate. Put the asparagus in the middle.

Cover the bread with bacon…

and sliced tomatoes.

If you’re asked to bring one or two medium-sized tomatoes over and you stop at the Asian market and the only fresh ripe ones they have are hobbit-sized, bring four of those and smile when Marcia mocks them.

Cover the whole thing with the piping hot cheesy goodness. Enjoy.

Thanks to M & M!