Sunday, January 20, 2013

Los Angeles Pizzanistas: Bacon Jam

Whenever I head back to Los Angeles, I fall into a near hibernatory state of eating and sleeping and playing with the world's most awesome dogs, Harry and Faye. It would take something special to get me to emerge from my puppy and Lifetime movie cocoon. Fortunately for my taste buds, a chance to make pizza with Courtney and Lars fit the necessary criteria. This past Labor Day weekend (yep, this post is that long in the making), Lars and I sat amazed in Courtney's kitchen as some of the world's most delicious round cheesy foods filled our bellies with glee.

Stand back, Los Angeles, we're going to try pizza!
When Courtney first discussed making pizza, my mouth began to water recalling the several times I was fortunate enough to gorge on it while we were at UCLA together, but then she said two words that would forever change my life: Bacon Jam.

Pizza Crust
From Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
Servings: 4-6 pizzas
Time: 2 hours

3 cups flour
1 tsp (1 packet) yeast
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
1 cup water

It also makes a fantastic face mask.
Can't remember if this is my hand or Courtney's...
  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and yeast.
  2. Add the water and oil and form a ball.
  3. Knead until smooth.
  4. Mix in additional flour if the dough is too sticky, or water (1/2 tsp at a time) if it's too dry.
  5. Knead your dough ball for a few minutes. Then place it in an oiled bowl, cover it and stick it in a warm place until it rises (1-2 hours). 
  6. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and wait 20 minutes or so before splitting it and rolling it out to your desired pizza sizes.
Don't mess around in Courtney's kitchen.
Sometimes less is more, and this fairy basic crust proves that. The barebones approach produces a wonderfully crisp crust that's quite flavorful and really helps compliment any toppings lucky enough to be placed on top of it.

Slow Cooker Bacon Jam
Servings: Enough to make you feel disgusting
Time: 4 1/2 hours
The secret is bacon fat.

1 1/2 lbs sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
2 medium yellow onions, diced
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

Must find a way to bottle the smell or make scratch and sniff pictures.
  1. Cook the bacon over medium-high in a large skillet, stirring occasionally until it is lightly browned and the fat is rendered (about 20 minutes).
  2. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel to drain, and pour off all but 1 tbsp of fat from the skillet.
  3. Add the onions and garlic to the bacon fat and cook until translucent (about 6 minutes).
  4. Mix in the vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup and coffee and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits from the skillet with a wooden spoon for about two minutes.
  5. Add the bacon back in and stir to combine.
  6. Transfer to a 6 quart slow cooker and cook uncovered on high until the liquid is syrupy (3 1/2 to 4 hours). Run it through a food processor if you want it less chunky and more jam like.
  7. Have everyone you know come smell how amazing your kitchen is right now.
I'm still curious how it goes with peanut butter.
Pizza sauce is so cliche. It was time for it to receive a modern day makeover courtesy of loads upon loads of bacon. The natural savory manly bacony awesomeness melds perfectly with the sweetness added to it by the brown sugar and maple syrup for a one of a kind pizza topping. Upon tasting this, I contemplated living a life where I spend my days sitting in a La-Z-Boy recliner eating bowlfuls of bacon jam in a heavily stained white t-shirt (I'm 75% sure you will agree upon tasting).

Bacon Jam Pizza

Bacon Jam (Recipe above)
White onion, thinly sliced
I'd still eat it raw. It was that glorious
  1. Take great pride in the fact you fought off the seduction of the bacon jam's aroma long enough to put it on your pizza.
  2. Top your rolled out dough with the ingredients and bake for 12-15 minutes on a pizza stone or oiled cookie sheet until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly
Slice 1 of 50 I would consume that day.
Every single aspect of this, the world's most magnificently fantastical pizza absolutely killed it. The crust was, as previously mentioned, awesomely golden, while the bacon jam brought the sauce possibilities to a dream world like level. As far as cheese is concerned, giant chunks of melted mozzarella wins out over shredded every single time. To round things out, the arugula added a nice pepperiness to each bite. I am now severely regretting waiting so long to write this up because I am now forced to relive the sheer incredibleness from months ago, knowing that there is no more readily available to devour.
My pizza making skills on display. Nailed it (although the bacon jam all but assured victory).

Like me, Courtney is never satisfied making just one thing, so stay tuned to learn about our delectable adventures in Margherita Pizza and Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream.

This Margherita Pizza was facing an uphill battle having to follow the bacon jam.  Stay tuned to find out how it held up.

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