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THE LITTLE FOODIE


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Will it be bacon or chilies? Don't choose: Have both

By Mariko Jackson

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 09:24 p.m. HST, Dec 18, 2013

Mariko Jackson / special to the star-advertiser

Today my 3-year-old son took 20 minutes trying to decide which blue straw to pick out of the bag of blue straws. This might be genetic.

I wouldn't call it so much an indecision problem as an "alternative ending" problem. After my decisions are made, I spend much too long wondering what life would have been like had I chosen the other path. Even worse is that the options I hem and haw over are quite similar. I will be drinking a cookies-and-cream shake while worrying that I should have gotten the chocolate caramel waffle cone. What I should be fretting over are the 800 calories I'm drinking in one sitting.

My solution: Have it all. Instead of trying to decide which appetizer is best, I figure I might as well get both. And dessert? Let's get one of each.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked myself, bacon or jalapeno? (Luckily, there wasn't a chocolate option.) While bacon is over-paired these days, I refuse to believe that bacon and jalapeno could go out of style.

After putting this in a jar, it's likely I will never go back to raspberry jam for breakfast again. And while we're at it, I could use this on pizza, sandwiches and sliced apples.

JALAPENO BACON JAM

7 slices bacon (about 1/2 pound)
3 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 onion
1/2 green bell pepper
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup strong coffee or coffee substitute (brewed, not grounds)

Over medium, heat cast-iron skillet and fry bacon until cooked but not too dark or crispy.

While bacon is cooking, put jalapeno, onion and bell pepper in food processor and pulse until minced, about 10 1-second pulses.

Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat and saute jalapeno and onion mixture until onions are golden. Set pan aside.

Dice bacon into 1/4-inch pieces.

To pan, add bacon, sugar, brown sugar, vinegar, syrup and salt. Over medium heat, stir constantly until mixture begins to bubble. Add coffee and stir again.

Simmer jam until it thickens and has syrupy consistency, about 20 minutes. It will stiffen more as it cools, and even more in the refrigerator.

Let cool about 20 minutes and transfer to food processor. Pulse until bacon pieces are smaller and jam is smoother and melds together, about 5 1-second pulses. It should be spreadable.

Use immediately or store in fridge. (If jam is too thick to spread, heat in microwave.) If your jar makes it past three days, let me know and I'll come finish it for you. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

Approximate nutritional information, per tablespoon: 80 calories, 2 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, no fiber, 15 g sugar, 1 g protein.

———

Mariko Jackson blogs about family and food at www.thelittlefoodie.com.






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