This great little BBQ joint opened on Chincoteague a couple of years ago. They have numerous  wonderful specialty sandwiches, but if I was hard pressed I would have to say my favorite was “The Clipper”. It’s pulled pork, with a fresh fried boneless chicken breast on top, smothered in (get this), bacon jam. It was love at first bite. The sandwich is so large, it feeds you for about 3 days. Sadly, the place is seasonal, so you aren’t able to get this wonderous sandwich in the fall and winter months. I’d been thinking about recreating the bacon jam at home for over a year now. Well last week I finally broke down and took a swing at it, and it turned out wonderfully!

Seemed like the general consensus of the internet pointed to Not Quite Nigella’s recipe. It seemed like a winner to me. I knew the version I had at Woody’s contained bacon, brown sugar, and lots of caramelized onions. The coffee seemed like an interesting addition. Coffee is one of the main ingredients in Red Eye Gravy, which I love. Just like with chocolate, adding coffee doesn’t make it taste like coffee. It just  melds with and intensifies the porkiness. I was a little skeptical of the addition of  maple syrup, but went ahead and went with it anyways.

It is kind of time consuming. It took around 2 hours to cook down to the consistency I wanted. But, once I tasted it, I knew it was well worth the effort. The finished product is not greasy at all. I had expected a ton of fat to settle at the top when I had refrigerated it, but in the morning I was pleasantly surprised to find there was none! Draining most of the bacon grease before cooking the onions takes care of that issue. Since it’s cooked down so much, then pulsed in the food processor, it spreads on toast like a dream. With an over easy or poached egg, and a glass of orange juice it’s an ideal breakfast for the bacon lover without all the mess of frying bacon. It’s also wonderful spread on a crostinis for a quick appetizer.

Isn’t it amazing that salsa is the #1 condiment in the United States? We love salsa in our house. Whether it’s a chunky pico de gallo, or a smoky salsa verde – we have yet to meet one we diddn’t like. This recipe is no exception. When I came across it on my friend Josie’s site, I knew it was going to be a winner. First of all, it’s Rick Bayless. The man moved to Mexico for 6 years to better learn the cuisine. He knows his salsa, folks.

I also loved the addition of fire-roasted tomatoes as the base. I like using good quality canned tomatoes for the restaurant style salsas that I’ve made in the past, so I knew the flavor could only be amplified by using the fire-roasted variety. The store only had fire-roasted tomatoes with garlic on shopping day, so I adjusted my recipe by reducing the amount of fresh garlic in the recipe by a couple of cloves. My changes are reflected below. The tomatoes lended a smokey sweetness, and the cilantro and lime juice just made it so bright and fresh. Made a nice sized batch that stored in the refrigerator wonderfully for a few days!

potstickers

Who doesn’t love potstickers? I’ve always loved them. I’d always order them from the local chinese restaurant. But, they’re usually flabby and greasy. Neither of which I find to be an appealing trait. So, a few years ago I decided to try to make them at home. My first few attempts I found to be very frustrating, and more or less fruitless. I used the packaged round wontons, and they just wouldn’t cooperate for me. I ended up throwing them all away in disgust.

So, when this dish came up in cooking class last fall, I must admit that I was a bit nervous. Visions of balled up dough and bits of ground pork all over the kitchen came flooding back to me. Thankfully, these were a breeze to make. The homemade gyoza wrappers were so much easier to work with than the store-bought variety. ‘Round these parts we like pan-fried dumplings, but feel free to steam, or (Heaven forbid!) deep fry them as well.  If you think this batch will make too many for your needs, no worries. They freeze beautifully! Just quick-freeze them on a baking sheet, then place them in a Ziploc bag for storage. Good for up to 3 months. Cook as directed, but add about 7  minutes of cooking time when covered.