Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Professionals in Culinary Arts - Hops and Hogs

Last night our program had the opportunity to participate in the Hops and Hogs event sponsored by the Professionals in Culinary Arts.  This event was the first annual Hops and Hogs event.  Proceeds from the event benefited culinary schools with scholarship monies.  This was the first Professionals in Culinary Arts event the Alvin Community College program has been able to participate in.  The event was held at St. Arnolds Brewery.

The theme for the event was Baconmania!  We prepared two dishes.  A savory dish and a sweet dish.
For the savory dish we served, Bacon Caviar (Bacon Jam) on a Bacon Flat Bread.  And for the sweet dish we served mini chocolate cupcakes made with St Arnolds Santo, frosted with marscapone cheese and topped with candied bacon.  Drippings from the candied bacon were used in place of the oil normally used in the cupcake batter.  Both dishes were basically bacon on bacon.

Here is a photo of the Bacon Caviar followed by a photo of the cupcakes on a four tier stand.

The recipe for the Bacon Caviar is as follows:

Yield:  approximately 6 cups
  • 3 pounds bacon
  • 4 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat side of a knife or a pan and peeled
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1½ cups very strong brewed black coffee
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Cut the bacon slices into one inch strips. Add the bacon to a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until the bacon is browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings into a heat-proof jar with a tight-fitting lid.*
  2. *Save the bacon drippings in the refrigerator. That’s too much flavor to trash!
  3. Place the Dutch oven back over the medium-high heat and add the onions and garlic. Stir well and reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook for about 8 minutes, or until the onions are mostly translucent. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, and drop heat again, this time to low.
  4. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and boil hard for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, stir the browned bacon into the onions and liquid.
  5. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally to make sure things aren’t sticking, adding ¼ cup of water if it seems to be drying out. When the onions are meltingly soft and the liquid is thick and syrupy, remove the dutch oven from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer the contents of the Dutch oven to the work bowl of a food processor that has been fitted with a blade. Fit the lid in place and pulse several times or until the Bacon Jam is a spreadable consistency. Scrape into a jar (or jars) or a container with a tight fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  7. Can be served cold, room temperature or warmed.
The bacon jam could take up to 3 hours to reduce to a syrupy consistency. Just stick with it! 
This recipe is adapted from Rebecca Lindamood, who adapted her recipe from Martha Stewart.

Bacon Flat bread:

Yield will vary according to size you cut the bread

16 oz. All purpose flour
½ oz. Baking powder
10 oz. Milk
.30 oz Salt
1 ½ oz. Shortening (may be replaced with butter)
7 oz fine bacon bits

Combine all ingredients and work gently to form a smooth dough.
Allow dough to rest at least 30 minutes.
Roll dough 1/8 inch thick.
Cut out to desired shape and bake at 375 degrees for up to 15 minutes.
The flat breads can also be pan fired or deep fried.
Remember to brush off excess flour before baking.

 As I go to close this entry, I realize I forgot to mention something important.
The ACC culinary arts program was the winner of the culinary school category for the competition.
We were awarded the Golden Hog trophy and some scholarship monies too!  The award was decided by peoples vote.
Thank you to the Professionals in Culinary Arts for the invitation to particpate in this event.  Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.  We are already looking forward to next year!
Thank you Chef Mary Bass and Tyler Henderson for your efforts and work.

Until next time.
Happy Cooking and Eating.
Chef Leslie Bartosh