- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bacon is everything you crave in a food: salty and sweet, nostalgic and comforting, says a leading food writer.

“We’re living in stressful times. Bacon is everything good. It’s mom. It’s flavor,” says Joanna Pruess, author with Bob Lape of the cookbook “Seduced by Bacon” (Lyons Press).

Although bacon may not be your everyday fare — more than half the calories in a strip of bacon come from fat — the pork product is a wonderful indulgence.

“[Bacon] makes everything sexy and seductive. You can get a lot of mileage out of bacon,” Miss Pruess says.

The author uses bacon in everything from pizza to ice cream. Imagine bacon, eggs and cream, which are the start of a very rich breakfast. Add brown sugar and pecans, and you get the idea.

Your taste buds may be a bit more conservative, but you can still enhance simple dishes with a bacon strip or two. In fact, bacon is an ideal ingredient in a Two’s Company kitchen. Use what you want and freeze the remainder.

Wrap leftover bacon in plastic wrap, including two or four strips to a package. Place the bundles in plastic bags with resealable tops. Freeze up to one month. To defrost bacon, Miss Pruess suggests submerging the plastic bags in cold water for 10 minutes.

Here’s an adaptation of one of the bacon recipes from the book.

Stir-fried Asian scallops with bell pepper and kale

3 slices thick-sliced, double-smoked bacon, finely chopped

1 tablespoon sesame oil

8 large sea scallops, pat dry and sliced in half widthwise if thick

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced

½ cup vegetable or chicken broth

1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

4 cups kale, coarse stems removed, and leaves cut crosswise into thin strips

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted or black sesame seeds

1 cup cooked rice, optional

Combine bacon and sesame oil in a wok. Cook over high heat until the bacon is separated into pieces. Add the scallops and sear on both sides, about 1 to 2 minutes per side, turning once. Remove the scallops with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onion and bell pepper to the wok, stirring until wilted. Stir in the broth, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and ginger, and bring to a boil. Return the scallops to the wok.

Add the kale and cook until wilted over medium heat. Taste and add remaining tablespoon soy sauce, if desired. Stir in the cilantro. Garnish with sesame seeds. Serve over rice. Makes 2 servings.


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