Sep 082012

Author: John Sheesley

Bacon, or its non-meat substitute for our vegan, vegetarian and non-pork loving friends, is a salty, sometimes crispy, treat craved by all bacon-lovers. It is incredibly versatile in the kitchen and can be added to almost any dish. From appetizer to dessert, here are a few dishes featuring bacon.

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates 4of4

Bacon-wrapped Stuffed Dates

Bacon-wrapped Dates
1 16-ounce package of bacon cut into thirds
1 8-ounce package of pitted dates
1 small brick of bleu cheese (or goat cheese)
1 bottle of balsamic vinaigrette
1 package toothpicks

A date is a soft, sweet fruit that grows on some species of palm trees, and they go wonderfully with bacon and cheese. First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. For the dates to cook evenly, place the rack in the center of the oven. Take your dates and stuff them (where the pit used to be) with cheese, then wrap a piece of bacon around the stuffed date and secure it with a toothpick. For easy cleanup, cover a cookie sheet with tinfoil before placing the the wrapped dates on the cookie sheet; position them far enough apart so they will not touch. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the bacon is crispy, then remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Place the dates on a plate and sprinkle cheese around them, then drizzle lightly with balsamic vinaigrette.

Kabobs with bacon wrapped zucchini, chicken, mushrooms, and onions. Photo by John Sheesley

Bacon Shish Kabobs
1 package of bamboo skewers
3 6-ounce chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 package mushrooms
1 zucchini, sliced into ½ inch wide pieces
1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 green bell pepper, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 package of bacon cut in half
Note: Any vegetables can be used for this recipe.

First, start soaking the skewers in water. They need to soak for about 30 minutes so they don’t catch fire on the grill. While they are soaking, cut up the veggies and meat. Once cut, slide each piece onto a skewer, alternating between veggies and meat. Try wrapping some of the veggies in bacon; make sure to skewer both sides of the bacon so it stays on. Leave an inch or two at either end of the skewers to allow for easy handling. Also, leave space between each item so they cook evenly. Grill the kabobs on a barbeque grill until the chicken and bacon are fully cooked. Allow time to cool, and enjoy.

Candying the bacon

Candying the bacon

Candied Bacon Ice Cream (not for the feint of heart)
8 strips thin cut bacon, preferably hickory smoked
1 package golden brown sugar
1 carton vanilla ice cream

We are going to bake the bacon first, so preheat your oven to  350° Fahrenheit with the rack in the middle. Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil. Lay the bacon on a cookie cooling rack and place it on the cookie sheet. Cover each slice of bacon with an even layer of brown sugar, thick enough so that you cannot see the bacon underneath. Bake for about ten minutes until the sugar is caramelized and the bacon is almost crispy. Flip the bacon over and coat the other side with brown sugar as well. Bake for another 4-6 minutes until the bacon is fully cooked. Let the bacon cool for 10-15 minutes to let the sugar harden. Then, cut or crumble the bacon into small pieces and sprinkle over vanilla ice cream with some more brown sugar. Enjoy!

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