Life + Bacon Jam

I feel as though I'm retracing lines in a book, over and over again, watching the pen marks deepen and widen. But this is life: some sort of motion that looks like a sine wave but feels more like a circle. Every transition—the wishing, the getting, the releasing—is different and yet the same. And yet, that doesn't make each one any less hard. So I'm here, still gripping on to the bits of myself that have stayed the same while staying open to what newness might develop. 

A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything.
— East of Eden

After a morning of antiquing, we stopped to have lunch at Preservation Bread and Wine in downtown Geneva. Why we had yet to dine there, I do not know. Small plates are our favorite way to eat and their charcuterie and cheese options are amazing. It's tucked into a narrow building with exposed brick and close tables, and filled with the smell of grilled dough.  The wine list is eclectic and fun with a good mix quality, affordable wines. But it was the slab of slate hosting large crostinis topped with a savory and sweet bacon jam, peppery arugula, and tangy blue cheese that gripped me.

The following morning I set out to find a recipe that I could replicate and share for an upcoming dinner party. Thankfully, my neighbor Katie shared her version with me. I made only a slight modification from her original: cooking the bacon first so that the onions can cook down and caramelize in the drippings, adding a little more depth and flavor. There are a handful of other recipes I'd still like to try, but this one is a simple one to begin with. 

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BACON JAM CROSTINI

  •  1/2 lb of thick cut hardwood smoked bacon cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup dried pitted dates
  • Black pepper to taste
  • French baguette
  • Butter
  • Arugula, washed and dried
  • A good blue cheese of your liking 
  1. Using a cast iron skillet, cook bacon on medium-high heat until done but not crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan. 
  2. Toss in your onions. Stir constantly to keep your onions cooking, but not burning, until they turn deep in color.
  3. Add your caramelized onions (plus any remaining drippings), bacon, dates, and pepper into a food processor and pulse until smooth. 
  4. Slice your baguette into 1/2-slices, spread a thin layer of butter on both sides, then add to a heated pan. Toast both sides until golden brown.
  5. Remove your grilled bread from the pan, top with the bacon jam, a layer of arugula, and a few sprinkles of blue cheese.