"It's better with bacon" was the topic of one of my kids class last week, so of course, all the food we made had bacon in it. I try to come up with a variety of topics that the kids will be excited about in my classes while also practicing different cooking techniques. Cooking with bacon turned out to be a very popular topic, as it was my first class to fill up this session. I wanted the kids to see that an ingredient like bacon could be used in a variety of recipes and to help them to think out of the box a little regarding mixing flavors. So, we made bacon chocolate chip cookies, bacon corn muffins with an apple-bacon chutney, and bacon cheddar meatballs with a barbecue sauce glaze.
To start the class off, my son Tristen, who was my kitchen assistant, made chili bacon popcorn for a snack while I went over some of the directions for the class. We demonstrated making the caramelized bacon for the popcorn. We basically cooked the bacon in a skillet, and before it got very crispy, we added brown sugar to coat and caramelize it. We cooked the popcorn in bacon grease in a pot on top of the stove. When the popcorn was popped we added the crumbled caramel bacon to it along with a few teaspoons of chili powder and salt. The kids definitely enjoyed it and having that for a snack gave them a lot of motivation to cook their own recipes.
We had 3 teams of kids making the different recipes which worked out well. I reminded the kids about a French culinary term "mis en place" meaning "everything in it's place," which when translated to the kitchen means measuring out all the ingredients and organizing the kitchen items needed before starting to actually cook.
All in all it was a very successful class. The kids really seemed to like what we cooked and took great joy in eating almost all of it. There weren't many leftovers for parents to taste at pick up time. I'd say bacon class was an A+!
Bacon corn muffins with apple-bacon chutney
(adapted from a Quaker corn bread recipe)
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil from cooking bacon
1 cup cooked crumbled bacon (about 3-4 slices)
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat muffin pan with oil.
Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil, and eggs. Mix until combined. Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan. Bake about 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Serve with warm apple bacon chutney.
2 green apples peeled,cored, and chopped into small cubes
3-4 pieces of bacon cooked but not crispy
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple jelly
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Saute apples in bacon grease over medium heat in a saucepan. When they soften add in the chopped bacon and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes. Add in the rest of the ingredients and turn the heat to low. Cook for another 5-7 minutes until the apples are very soft and the liquid has reduced a bit to a syrup like consistency. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before eating.