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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Maple Bacon Shortbread Cookies

Bacon. Chocolate. I can’t think of anything more sinfully decadent than these things. I haven’t tried them together, but I hear you can find chocolate bars with bacon bits in them- that might be overkill. I intend to have a bacon party at some point, and I would like it to feature the following creative uses of bacon:
-Bacon cookies
-Bacon beer
-Bacon pot pie
-Bacon lasagna
-Bacon souffle
… and much much more!

Here’s the recipe for the first on the list. Yes it is tasty, if you enjoy things like... bacon, cookies, and maple syrup. I didn’t develop it, nor did I follow any specific directions. A friend made some maple-bacon cookies (for the sole intent of stuffing as many calories into a bite as possible) that I must say... were greasy and not very bacon-y. I decided I would allow myself to go low-fat by not adding the rendered fat, and doubling up on the bacon used.

To make candied bacon:
Lay one pound of bacon on parchment paper on a rimmed cookie sheet, sprinkle brown sugar on top, and bake at 350. Check every 5-10 minutes, draining fat off occasionally, flipping to the other side, and sprinkling with more brown sugar. Bake until crispy. It can go from “this is taking forever” to black very quickly, but it turns out the black stuff is still pretty good for this purpose. Don’t worry, the mess will come off if you soak it in soapy water overnight.

To make the cookies:
Chop half the remaining bacon (assuming you did eat some, right?) super finely for flavor, and the other half coarsely for texture. Mix the finely chopped stuff with one tablespoon maple syrup and set aside. Cream (or puree in your food processer) one cup room temperature butter. Add a little less than half a cup powdered sugar and cream some more. Mix in the maple/bacon mixture, and ¼ teaspoon salt if you feel like it and your butter is unsalted. Gently mix in two cups flour and coarsely chopped bacon just until incorporated. I hear you can replace some of the flour with corn starch for flakier cookies, but I have no experience with this.

Roll into a wax paper tube, or disk, or some other compressed shape, and chill. Slice into rounds, or roll out and cut with cookie cutters, or form cookies. Space (closely is ok) on parchment paper, and glaze liberally with more maple syrup. Bake 20 minutes at 350, and let cool. Enjoy!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Getting back in the habit... is blogging a good habit?

If I can cure my "diarrhea of the pen" so to speak, this is probably the best way to keep anybody curious about my adventures abreast of said adventures. My life isn't all that interesting, but to those who find it so, allow me to cut to the chase:

I am leaving for Seattle in 42 days. The Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off (ADZPCTKO) is in 50. What am I doing to prepare? Not as much as I should be.

I'm having fun trying to make beer-can stoves. Since Carmen and I will be sharing cooking appurati and responsibilities, we need a larger-than-usual beer-can stove. So therefore, I have begun drinking larger-than-usual cans of beer (Heineken 24 oz, the stuff is not my favorite, so if you drink it... please drink in bulk and give me the cans). The stoves themselves are really fun to make, cool to watch in the dark, and positively terrifying in the light. Alcohol burns with a completely blue flame, and in sunlight, you do not see it. You hear it, you see the heat waves, you feel the heat... but there is absolutely no visible flame.

I am running. Some. Occasionally. Long, ridiculously slow runs, yesterday was 2.5 hours and when I checked my heart rate, it was 130. I was going faster than a walk, but probably not as fast as those professional speed-walkers. They're kinda fast!

I am skiing. A bit. I'm skiing with ANR (Anchorage Nordic Racing) coaches and other untalented skate-ski disciples Mondays and Wednesdays. Though my balance is terrible and I am a proud snowplower on Lekisch, I'm actually pretty good for the group. One (particularly cute) guy asked me if I was one of the coaches! I've gotten such good technique pointers and had a lot of fun, the fee was entirely worth it.

When my more talented and dedicated friends are hit with particularly bad judgment and invite me along in the backcountry, I get a REALLY GOOD workout trying to keep up on the skin track, sucking wind the whole way up, and sucking on the way down too. It's definitely my favorite weekend activity, but I feel so bad because I always slow everybody down, even when we're not skiing. I try to make up for it with food, namely sourdough pancakes, but even that only goes so far.

Men's backsides, a common ski view for me. Tincan.

Today, I signed up for a month of CrossFit. I'm pretty excited! I have to go to three learner sessions before I get to roll with the big boys, but I don't mind, since I can't keep up with the learner military dudes either. I do mind that a 14 year old boy named Loren/Lauren is learning with me, and, to put it mildly, he sucks. He's young and inexperienced, and I don't hold that against him at all, but as we're being shown the ropes together and his first learning attempts are awful, I'm in the "good, you've got it" zone rather than, "actually, if you tweak this slight alignment problem, you'll be a whole lot better" zone. I like that the workouts are done in groups, and there's both competition and encouragement. I finished the workout of the day way after all the army studs, but I feel like if I set and achieved a goal like "jumping rope 50 times without tripping" that'd be just as good. I have to see about getting some shorts that will stay up for 50 continuous rope jumps though...

The trainer asked me, "So, what's your sport?" The answer was not immediate because I'm not actually good at anything that I do. I almost said, "I don't know," or, "none in particular," but I said, "skiing." The proper response would have been, "trying to keep up with skiers," but I am not that quickly clever. Can I say hiking is a sport?

I've also been using my dehydrator like I'll actually like the outcome. I've found that beans are beautiful, and mashed potatoes should be left to the pros.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Testing: Can I post photos?

My job until I leave on my Long Adventure: inventorying and reorganizing sea otter skulls. Did you know that male sea otters have penis bones? I didn't. I get to catalogue those too!

Here's just a random photo from my picasa account:

Testing for PCT

Hey, there's a blog app!
This may end up being the most streamlined way to keep y'all informed of my Mexico-to-Cananda wandering. So here I am, testing.

- Typoed on my iPhone

Location:Elmore Rd,Anchorage,United States