Bacon Jam

by Anne Maxfield on June 23, 2016

Accidental Locavore Bacon JamWhile we all know that everything * is better with bacon, some things just make you beg for more – bacon jam is one of those things. The Accidental Locavore isn’t sure where she first had it, but it was really, really good.

And versatile.

And easy to make.

And I had a whole bunch of lardons from recent batches of bacon.

This, from Ottolenghi, makes about a pint jar. You’ll run everything through a blender or food processor so don’t worry about being too neat with the pieces.

  • 10 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2” strips
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (if needed)
  • 2 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup bourbon (or scotch)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

Accidental Locavore Bacon Jam PrepCook the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, until golden brown and starting to crisp, about 12 minutes.

Transfer to a small bowl, keeping a tablespoon of fat in the pan (if there’s not enough fat, add some olive oil). Fry the shallots, garlic and spices for a minute, then add the bourbon, maple syrup and mustard.

Leave to reduce for a minute, turn the heat to low and add the vinegar, sugar and bacon. Cook, stirring for a minute, until the liquid is thick and coating the bacon.

Put all the contents of the pan into a small food processor or blender (better) and process to a rough paste. Store in a glass jar in the fridge or serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Bacon Jam ProcessedMy verdict: What’s not to like? Try it on a grilled cheese sandwich, hamburger, scrambled eggs, crackers with goat cheese, etc.

Comment and let me know what you use it on.


*except for bacon swizzle sticks plunged into cold Bloody Marys and bacon/chocolate bars.



Hot Caramelized Onion and Bacon Dip

by Anne Maxfield on March 17, 2016

Accidental Locavore Onion Dip CookedHow could you resist a dip that has caramelized onions, bacon and crème fraîche? The Accidental Locavore couldn’t and an invitation to friend’s for dinner gave me the perfect opportunity. From Vermont Creamery, it served 6:

  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Pinch of flakey sea salt (like Maldon)
  • 1 tablespoon sherry (optional)
  • Dash of hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Pepper to taste
  • fresh thyme for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°. In a cast iron skillet, or other heavy sauté pan, cook bacon until nice and crispy. With a slotted spoon, transfer it to a paper towel to drain and cool.

In the same skillet, in the bacon fat, cook your onions, sugar and salt slowly over medium heat until the onions are nicely caramelized. This usually takes about 20 minutes depending on how thinly sliced the onions are (don’t rush it!).

Remove from heat, splash in the sherry and hot sauce if you’re using them, stir to combine.

Crumble the bacon into the skillet, add in the Gruyère, crème fraîche, mayonnaise, pepper and mix everything well.

Bake the skillet of dip for 10 to 20 minutes, until it’s golden and bubbly. Remove from oven, allow to cool and set for about 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh thyme, serve with pita chips or nice crusty bread and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Bacon Cheese DipEveryone’s verdict: Well, it was polished off in 5 minutes…We served it with some local flatbreads, but any sort of sturdy cracker or chip would work well. Even though our liquor cabinet is crammed with booze, surprisingly there was no sherry. I tossed in a bit of bourbon along with the hot sauce and it was fine. Using homemade mayo is always better than the jarred stuff and if I’d had time, ditto the crème fraiche, but the bacon was also mine. Sautéing some mushrooms would be a nice if unneeded addition. Next time, I’m going to chop up a little more thyme and add it in with the onions – they work well together and I wanted a little more thyme in the dip. While I cooked everything in my cast iron pan, I baked it in an oven-proof soufflé dish, as the pan was too big for the volume of dip.

Save this recipe for your next football (or anything else) party, but you might want to double it…





Roasted Potato Peels

by Anne Maxfield on November 23, 2015

Accidental Locavore Potato PeelsIf you read any of the foodie publications, you know there’s a big push towards reducing our food waste. From April Bloomfield’s carrot top pesto, to Dan Barber’s dumpster diving experiment, we’ve gone from nose-to-tail to root-to-stalk. In the spirit of using the whole potato, the Accidental Locavore did an experiment last night on some dinner guests. It’s not much of a recipe, but with the holidays on the horizon it’s a fun treat! While you’re (or whoever you’ve palmed off the chore to) peeling potatoes to mash, toss the peels in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment (or a Silpat, but it’s one more thing to wash) and pop them in a 400° degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until browned and crispy. Check for salt, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Roasted Potato PeelsMy verdict: They were great! These were a version of Yukon Golds, but any variety will work. Would have been better if I didn’t use really good olive oil from my Istria trip, which made them spicy but not in a great way. So don’t waste the good olive oil on them. A friend sent me some great bacon salt from San Francisco and that worked, but didn’t give it a lot of bacon flavor (could have been the sharpness of the oil, just drowning it out). Cooking up a couple of slices of bacon and crumbling it in would probably be a fine idea and you might be able to just roast the bacon with the potato peels. I had thought about using some truffle salt but these guests were only brave enough for some of my experiments. If you’re home alone (well, you’re probably not making mashed potatoes), or with a bunch of truffle lovers, some truffle salt (also a gift from my SF friends) would turn them into a luxurious treat! Another idea would be to chop up some rosemary or sage and add that to the oil.

Accidental Locavore Bacon SaltI did grab a bunch of the roasted peels and tossed them with malt vinegar, which pleased me and one of my guests (she’s originally from the UK) so they were a big hit with us, but her husband was not a fan! If you’re into sweet potatoes, this might work well (tossed in brown sugar?), but since I’m not, you’ll have to tell me how it works.



Toklarija: The Best Lunch in Croatia

by Anne Maxfield on April 30, 2015

Accidental Locavore Toklarija ExteriorAlthough the Accidental Locavore didn’t eat a single meal in Croatia that wasn’t wonderful, our lunch at Toklarija was easily my favorite. The restaurant is in a very old stone building that once was an olive oil mill. To the left, as you walk in, is a tiny room with a fireplace and a table for two. If you ever want the perfect setting for a romantic meal, this is it!

Accidental Locavore View From Toklarija TerraceThere’s also a terrace with a spectacular view, but it was a little chilly so we went down to another room a few steps away from the kitchen.

Accidental Locavore Toklarija ChefThe whole operation is run by a father and son. The son rules the front of house, leaving his father to run the kitchen. Everything, including the wine, is locally sourced or grown in their garden and the menu is dependent on the whims of Mother Nature and Dad.

Accidental Locavore Toklarija Fresh CheeseOur lunch started with two small slabs of fresh cow cheese and local sausage speared with a rosemary branch. Topping it were what looked like capers but turned out to be dandelion buds. They pick them before the plants flower, salt them for two days and then pickle them. Delicious, and a tasty way of keeping your lawn in shape! If it’s not too late, I’m going to try to make some of my own.

Accidental Locavore Toklarija Asparagus SaladIf you’re in Croatia and it’s April, it won’t be long before wild asparagus makes an appearance. Ours was served as a salad over baby lettuce with shaved Parmesan, garnished with bacon sticking out of what turned out to be a hardboiled egg. A great combination!

Accidental Locavore Toklarija Suckling PigThe main course was a roast suckling pig that had been slowly cooking all morning. Keeping up with the pig theme were two homemade raviolis stuffed with prosciutto and cheese, resting on a bed of braised herbs. Heaven! The pig was moist and tender and perfectly seasoned. We each got a piece of meat and a couple of ribs so you could enjoy two slightly different versions of this great dish. The ravioli gave a nicely salty note to it and the herbs offered a nice contrast to the richness of the pork.

Accidental Locavore Toklarija Serving DessertFinally, we had a chocolate soufflé resting on a sauce that resembled crème Anglais, but tasted so much more sophisticated. It was made by beating local egg yolks with red wine, adding some sugar and cooking it over a double boiler. It was the perfect accompaniment to the chocolate soufflé cake and I ate every bite.

Accidental Locavore Toklarija Plating DessertToklarija is way off the beaten path, but it’s a beautiful drive and well worth it. Since it’s quite small, reservations are a must and probably need to be made well in advance. A meal there will run you between $50-70 depending on courses. Wines are additional and from a local vineyard, Roxanich. We started out with a sparkling rosé, moved to a Malvazija for the first two courses and ended up with a red, appropriately named Porco Rosso, all very good and well matched to the food.Accidental Locavore Toklarija Souffle





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