Our 2011 was a busy year, and many of its outcomes were unexpected. Nick was diagnosed with late-onset Type 1 diabetes. I found myself pregnant and then had a baby. We needed a bigger apartment, and a two-bedroom opened up across the hall. Nick and I agreed on paint colours and the apartment got painted and nobody cried. I didn’t gain weight over Christmas. There were surprises at every turn, and we handled them surprisingly well – I’m impressed with us.
How was your year? I hear grumblings every now and then, and read them in blogs and on Facebook, about how 2011 was a hard year for a lot of people. It was a year of change and no money and tumult and bad weather, and the overwhelming sentiment last night and this morning seemed to be “Good grief, it’s finally over.” (We didn’t all go to Paris. We all deserved to, though.)
Maybe 2012 will be easier. My hope is that it’s a year of creativity and learning to do more with less – I hope this for me, and for all of us, because it doesn’t seem like life is going to get cheaper or easier for anyone anytime soon. I want to write more. I want to spend fewer dollars. I have to do both, but it’s becoming woefully apparent that I am unable to do either without serious focus and discipline. I want to find opportunities to write for money, which would solve both of my problems.
I want to fit into a smaller dress size without eating less cheese. I want to expand my repertoire of home-cured meats. I want the baby’s first word to be guanciale. These are lesser goals, perhaps, but smaller challenges make the bigger ones seem less daunting. Lara at Food. Soil. Thread. has a great take on resolution-making, and is in the process of achieving 101 of her own personal goals – I encourage you to check out what she’s doing and find your own inspiration.
And in the meantime, a goal that’s totally doable: eat more bacon. Let me help you with that.
If this seems weird, I promise you that it is but in the most worthwhile way. It’s sweet and salty and maple and bacon and bourbon all play so nicely together, and when I served it to my friend Tracy she said that the bacon was a pleasant surprise, because she didn’t know what the taste was at first, and she liked it. You can scrap the bacon if your guests aren’t daring, I suppose.
(Serves four to six.)
- 2 strips thick-sliced smoked bacon
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tsp. melted butter
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 tbsp. melted butter
- 2 tbsp. bourbon
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup hot water
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
In a pan over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towel, and then chop into bits.
In a 1 1/2 quart casserole or baking dish, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, pecans, bacon bits, and nutmeg. Stir in milk and butter until dry ingredients are just moistened.
In a separate bowl, mix butter, bourbon, maple syrup, and water. Pour over cake mixture. Do not stir.
Bake for one hour. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.
Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream.
Happy New Year. I hope 2012 is good to you.