Each Thursday, Emily Vikre (a.k.a fiveandspice) will be sharing a new way to love breakfast -- because breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day. It's also the most awesome.
Today: Bacon was once thought to be perfect, impossible to improve -- until now.
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Flashback to this past January: We had a three-month-old who didn’t sleep more than one to two hours at a time. Ever. But we decided it would be a good idea to invite our friends over for a New Year’s brunch so we could see everyone.
This was an entirely selfish move on our part: At that point, we still hadn’t really developed the necessary skills for getting out of the house with a baby -- so why not make the people come to us? And bring us food as well? My culinary contribution to brunch was making my husband go out and get one of those cardboard containers of to-go coffee. Our friends, happily, stepped up and provided the food.
Perhaps because of my sleep-deprived fog, I don’t remember a thing that we ate -- except the bacon. Our friend Ryan brought a plateful of thick-cut, crispy bacon -- brilliant in its own right -- which he had cooked with a bit of sugar and spice so that each bite hit every one of the most addictive flavor notes: salty, smoky, sweet, spicy, and bacon-y. We went at the plate like a pack of hungry wolves, and when the dust settled we all asked, “What was that?!”
Ryan looked both slightly smug and slightly abashed when he told us that his bacon is embarrassingly easy to make. It’s the perfect brunch dish to make you very popular while requiring almost no work on your part. Just rub or brush thick-cut bacon with a combination of sugar and spice, then bake until it's crispy. I’ve played with a couple of variations since then, and this is my favorite, with maple syrup for sweetness and Sriracha for spice.
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.