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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Frank About...Cherry Tomato Bacon Jam with Carol Parker and at the Webb City Farmers Market

I was fortunate enough to be Carol Parker's guest, again, on her "Cooking With Carol" segment on Living Well on KSN 16, Tuesday afternoon. It was a little preview of what I will be doing Saturday at the Webb City Farmers Market. 

At the moment, tomatoes are ruling the market tables! I have been eyeing some gorgeous, dark red cherry tomatoes, recently. I wanted to do something that would incorporate them and really take them on a different journey. I decided to make a cherry tomato bacon jam. This can be used sooooo many different ways: a sandwich condiment, mixed with cream cheese to make a dip, or even as I did, serve over a crostini, smeared with a nice chevre. And since Terrell Creek Farm just took home their second consecutive Best Overall Dairy product at the Missouri State Fair, last week, it was a no brainer that I should work that in. Add in Redings Mill Bread Co. baguette and you have a locally sourced appetizer that is perfect in every way! 

Cherry Tomato Bacon Jam

1 lb bacon
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 lb cherry tomatoes
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground mustard
1 Tblsp apple cider vinegar

1.  Fry the bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain, reserving the bacon drippings in        the pan. When cool, crumble the bacon. 

2.  Add 2-3 Tblsp of the bacon drippings to a heavy bottomed pan, such as an enameled Dutch      oven. Heat the pan to medium, and cook the onion and garlic until onion is translucent,     
     about 6-8 minutes. 

3.  Add the crumbled bacon and remaining ingredients to the onion & garlic. Increase heat to 
     high, and bring to a gentle boil. Then, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, 
     stirring occasionally. Once thickened, remove from heat. 

4.  Serve warm or chilled. Use as any condiment or topping. I recommend toasting some                  crostini, smear with a spot of goat cheese, and top with the jam! The jam should last for 
     about week or two in the refrigerator, or 2-3 months in the freezer. 

Frank's Notes:
1.  You can use any type of tomato for this recipe. I highly recommend nice, dark, ripe cherry or        Roma tomatoes. You can also use a mixture of tomatoes.
2.  You could caramelize the onions over medium low heat for approximately 30-45 minutes. If         you go the caramelization route, you may omit most of the sugar from the recipe. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Frank About... "Right to Farm"

Firstly, I will say that I do NOT "get" politics. I don't do well playing the politics game at work, with acquaintances, nor understanding the politics of society. Secondly, I don't ever discuss politics; I was taught early in life not to discuss politics or religion in most situations. Any political leanings I possess, I typically just keep to myself. 

However, as a blogger, cook, and eater that appreciates locally produced food products, it would be remiss of me not to speak about the proposed "Right to Farm" Missouri Amendment 1, that Missouri citizens will be voting on, this Tuesday, August 5. 

I honestly have not read much detail about this amendment. What I do know of it, involves opening doors for foreign and corporate interests in Missouri farms. Everything about this amendment is suspect; it does not seem to aid any small, independent family farmers. 

Most importantly, how do I know that I should vote against this amendment? 

The very people I trust to feed my family, the people that I go to at least once a week to purchase the food that I prepare, knowing it was raised without chemicals, without genetic modification, in a humane, environmentally responsible manner... the local farmers in my area... all agree that this amendment is wrong, and should be defeated. If I trust them with my family's well-being, why would I not listen to them? 

If you read this blog regularly, I will assume you take a great interest in the food you consume. And I will assume you are concerned about where your food comes from, and how it is produced. 

I will be voting NO on Tuesday, will you join me in protecting local, independent farming in Missouri?