Most people who know me know I’m not a fan of waiting. I am pathologically punctual and expect the rest of the world to be, too. Needless to say, the world often disappoints me on this front. So when I matter of factly mentioned that I joyfully waited in line for three hours to see HRH Ina Garten for an intimate 20 second exchange for her book signing of Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, a lot of my friends wondered if I had suffered a recent head injury.
My friend Amy and I arrived to stand in line at 9:30 for the book signing which begun at noon. An Ina book signing is like the Grateful Dead for suburban stay-at-home-moms. We gathered en masse, a line of Burberry and Tory Burch and Maclaren strollers as far as the eye could see, giddy with anticipation to see our mutual idol. We swapped stories of favorite recipes and little known Ina facts. We paid respect to Jeffrey. The general atmosphere was a strange mixture of reverence and exuberance.
When it was finally our turn, I could hardly breathe. Suddenly I understood how people could join a cult. If Ina had asked me to sell all my worldly possessions and move into her East Hampton compound as a dishwasher, I probably would have done so at that moment. She radiates goodness and light and is so beautiful in person. I don’t just love her, I looooovvvvvvveeeee her, and seeing her up close was almost like looking directly into the sun; I was a little dizzy.
Believe it or not, I don’t own any Ina cookbooks aside from her latest (ahem, autographed copy). This recipe was the first to catch my eye, and I couldn’t wait to have a moment to try it. I have been so busy this season, and I realize that I need to start getting my New Year’s Eve appetizers picked out since we are hosting again. (Click here for more info on how I spend my New Year’s Eve). I thought I would preview these before serving them to guests.
To be honest, they had mixed reviews. I think they are fabulous, but Ed didn’t really care for them. I know I will served them again at some point in the future, but probably for a more casual affair than New Year’s Eve. The sweet/spicy/crunchy/salty combo is a winner in my book.
Ina’s Caramelized Bacon adapted from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 pound thick cut bacon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In food processor, combine sugar, nuts, salt, pepper and cayenne until finely ground. Add maple syrup and pulse until moistened.
Ina suggests using a wire baking rack on top of a sheet pan lined with foil, but I used a slotted broiler pan lined with foil with good results. Whatever you use, be sure the fat has a place to drip to prevent sogginess. Cut bacon in half and spread evenly with sugar mixture. Bake 25 to 30 minutes and let cool to room temperature before serving.