International Bacon Day 2012

What!??! Bacon has it’s own holiday??? Of course it does! Every wonderful thing in the world that deserves to be celebrated has a holiday: the day we are born, weddings, historic events and people, days of religious significance…I could go on and on.  Some holidays are local or regional, like “Fair Day” in the county where I live.  Every country has special days, such as their own Independence Day.  Of course, there are the favorites of retail shops and advertisers everywhere: the “Hallmark Holidays” like Sweetest Day (as if single people needed yet another reminder of their status a mere 8 months after Valentine’s Day!).  Then there are the fun, wacky, sometimes serious, theme-based daily, weekly and monthly observances.  Among my favorites: National Gummy Bear Day (July 15), National Pickle Day (November 14), and Squirrel Appreciation Day (January 21).  I bet you are wondering about that last one!?! And, though I truly believe that bacon should be celebrated everyday, there is International Bacon Day (September 1).

So, how did I celebrate Bacon Day last weekend?? With everything bacon, of course! I started the morning filling the house with the amazing aroma of peppered bacon frying (see:  Later in the day, I made spicy, cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped grilled jalapenos to snack on.  Then, for dinner, zesty roasted cabbage drizzled with a maple-balsamic glaze and sprinkled with…you guessed it – bacon!

Grilled Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos

6-8 large Jalapenos
6-8 slices bacon
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
Optional: favorite cheeses (I used Colby-Jack and Bleu-Jack.  String cheese works well too!)
Small skewers

Wash the jalapenos and leave them whole.  Make a slice through one side from about a 1/4 in. below the stem to 1/4 in. from the tip.  Using a small metal vegetable peeler tip or the handle of a table spoon, scrape out the seeds and veins, being careful not to split the pepper.

Stuff the pepper with the cheese.  If using a block cheese in addition to the cream cheese, cut the cheese to size and tuck in the slit in the pepper.  Then fill the remainder of the space with the cream cheese.  Do not over-fill the pepper or you will have a mess when you cook it.  Wrap a slice of bacon around the pepper and secure with a skewer.  If you are using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them for about an hour prior to using them so they are less likely to burn.  Place the peppers on the grill (you can use a grill pan if necessary) and grill on medium-high.  Turn the peppers to evenly roast the peppers and keep the bacon from burning.  Cook until the peppers are roasted, the bacon is browned and the cheese is melted.

Roasted Cabbage with Maple Balsamic Glaze

1 head of cabbage
6 T Balsamic Vinegar (I get my favorite from a local Olive Oil and Vinegar shop:
4 T Maple Syrup
Kosher or Sea Salt
Cracked Peppercorn
Olive Oil
3 slices of bacon cooked and crumbled

Wash the Cabbage and peel of any wilted outer leaves.  Slice the cabbage in rounds about 1-1 1/2 in. thick.  Lay on a baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Mix the vinegar, maple syrup and a pinch of the salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until boiling.  Plate the roasted cabbage and drizzle with the glaze.  Top with the crumbled bacon.