Some things are just meant to be.  The stars line up, you find yourself in the right place at the right time, and you’re handed something you didn’t even know you were looking for.  It can be a job opportunity, or a romantic connection, or something even deeper than those.

For us, it was bacon.

On January 26th, Mike read Bonnie Benwick’s profile of Mrs. Wheelbarrow and the Yummy Mummy’s tandem charcuterial endeavor and everything just fell into place.  We were just gearing up to start another one of our Cookbook Challenges – an attempt to winnow our ever-growing collection of cookbooks by attempting a new recipe from each one to make sure we still found the books helpful.  In fact, one of the first books Elizabeth reached for was Mike’s copy of Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn’s “Charcuterie: the Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing.”  Although he had received it a little over a year earlier, he had yet to attempt any feats of cured meat.

Enter “Charcutepalooza.”  The article made it sound tasty and fun all at the same time, and anyone who has read at least a few of our posts knows our love of all things brined, cured or smoked.  So we reached out to Mrs. Wheelbarrow through her website and decided to throw ourselves into the challenge along with the hundreds of other bloggers who have signed on.  A contest with some killer prizes has no doubt piqued the interest of some, but most seem genuinely motivated by the spirit that inspired the ladies to begin with.

The process seemed easy enough.  Each month a new pair of challenges is announced, with one for novices and one for those seeking a more intense assignment.  We all agree to work on the challenges ourselves and blog about our results on the 15th of each month.  We’ll continue like this throughout 2011, having cooked our way through a dozen recipes (more if you try both challenges in any given month) by the time we’re through.

So why am I up at 11:30 on a Monday night (Valentine’s Day, no less) waiting for my homemade bacon to reach an internal 150 degrees Fahrenheit?  My delicious, unintentional procrastination after the jump. (more…)

goatsdoroamTop Chef winner Stephanie Izzard creates a moveable feast… complete with bacon.  Dear Chef Izzard, we will come to Chicago for the next one if you invite us. For realsies. 
 
What are the best fast food chains DC is missing?  
 
Did you know Dairy Queens have a happy hour?  
 
Which apples are best for baking?  
 
USA TODAY advises Stephen Colbert to time his visit to the offices to coincide with a popular salad in the cafeteria. (Although in fairness I have had that salad and it is pretty tasty.) 
 
Veritas is hosting a wine tasting feature the red wines of Italy.  
 
Jeremy Piven claims soy milk gave him man-boobs.  
 
What are the predicted dining trends of 2010
 
Restaurants and vendors are already preparing homemade sauerkraut, a Baltimore table staple, for Thanksgiving.

Justin Guthrie is rolling out warming winter cocktails at POV and Metrocurean has a first look.

The Internet Food Association talked with Top Chef’s casting director as the show came looking for talent in our area this past week.

The Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show is back in town again this weekend – you can still get there to check out Paula Deen, Tyler Florence, and DC’s own Capital Cooking Show tomorrow.

Restaurant 3 is holding a Southern Thanksgiving – complete with Turducken!

Pork producers lobby to relabel Swine Flu. The H1N1 virus does sound scarier. I also like it’s-just-the-flu-people-why-is-everyone-freaking-out-lets-get-a-grip-already virus (IJTFPWIEFOLGAGA virus, for short).  Rest assured, the swine flu does not impact the safety of consuming pork

Not convinced? Check out this recipe for seafood sausage with red pepper mayonnaise.

DealingInSubterfuge gives us an ode to bacon jelly beans.

Alex of Brightest Young Things was on hand at Rock N Roll Hotel’s chicken wing eating and judging contest
 
Prepare for summer with a kaffir lime cordial by the Traveler’s Lunchbox. 
 
Ladies and gentlemen: DC’s most exclusive dinner. Take that, Minibar.
 
IHOP may be coming to Columbia Heights.  
 
Eater.com suggests Zaytinya chef Mike Isabella will be on the next season of Top Chef.  
 
Get a taste of authentic foods at the Embassy open houses this weekend. 

Getting on Subway’s $5 bandwagon, TGI Fridays will offer full sized meals for $5 in May.  The chain hasn’t had prices this low on the menu since it opened in 1965. 
 
Modern Domestic wonders what Julia Child would tweet?  WWJCT?
 
Looking for a twist on the original mint julep? Take your drink further South with the Creole Julep, made with Cruzan Single Barrel Estate Rum, Captain Morgan 100, Clement Creole Shrubb, peach bitters and fresh mint.   
 
Prosecco is rising in popularity, despite Paris Hilton’s best efforts
 
Thinking ahead to brunch with mom for Mother’s Day? Washingtonian has a cheat sheet
 
Ed Hardy, the tattoo-themed clothing brand, has launched a line of wine.

Want to take advantage of the farmers market bounty? Foodie Tots shares a great looking recipe for ramp crepes while Pithy and Cleaver share a recipe for asparagus soup
 
If you’re feeling especially ambitious this weekend, Desert Candy has the scoop on homemade hamburger buns  
 
Chef Jose Andres cooks up a  simple, cheap meal of chickpea and spinach stew in DC Central Kitchen.   
 
Travel and Leisure’s 50 Best New Restaurants including DC’s Founding Famers.  Jose Andres’ Bazaar in LA gets a shout out, too.    
 
What would Ruth Reichl eat?

High end concept restaurants in Manhattan are forging ahead, economy be damned
 
Heading to LA soon? Here are some notable restaurants
 
Ogle a scanned sandwich and get make-at-home sandwich tips from Tom Colicchio here.  
 
A new study hypothesizes that a menu featuring healthy options like salads often encourages diners to ultimately order the least healthy item on the menu. 

 

*Hat tip to Gawker for the Aporkalypse nickname.

img_6669Whether you’re a Steelers fan, a Cardinals follower or just part of the 95% of all Americans who find the matchup for Super Bowl XLIII severely underwhelming, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be watching the big game this Sunday.  And while you wait for the next Pets.com spot or <insert favorite Super Bowl ad here>, you’re probably going to be munching on something.  Forget mom and apple pie – I can’t think of a combination more American than snack foods and football.

So what better way to bring back Foodie Magazine Day than with a twist on a junk food classic that’s sure to get attention at your Super Bowl feast?

In the January/February issue of Everyday Food, we came across a recipe for loaded sweet potato skins that we just couldn’t pass up.  Eager to see if they lived up to the glory that is even your most average ‘tater skin, we decided to give them a try.

Check out the recipe and the results after the jump. (more…)