Valentine’s Day is kinda bullshit ♡. My most memorable Valentine’s Day remains that time that my friend Ava and I (all da single ladies) decided to make ourselves a special dinner. We were 2Ls at Cornell lawyer school. I had an airy, cute country kitchen in a bright two bedroom on one of the many hills of Ithaca. My roommate Amanda had a fat kitty named Philip, who mostly kept to himself but lingered in the kitchen on occasions.
Our VDay menu was perfect: pan-fried lamb and a green veg. Outside was February-in-Ithaca cold, but the kitchen was toasty and the wine was flowing. Clearly, we had to start a small oil fire to make the night complete. Fast forward to a kitchen brimming with lamby smoke and a robot-voice smoke alarm announcing: Fire, fire. Fire, fire. Philip was rattled, but we threw open the door, tea-towel whacked the firm alarm until it quit shouting at us and managed to salvage dinner. Then we laughed pretty much through every bite of it. Also, lamb happens to be one of the only meats that’s difficult to overcook — it tends to maintain its fatty juiciness. To this day, Ava and I occasionally chant to each other in robot voices “Fire, fire,” and instantly know what that means.
Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on Valentine’s Day. You can use it as a good excuse to celebrate love with anyone — be it friend, fat kitty or honey.
I wanna celebrate my love for granola. You guys know my sweet AM proclivities. But my honey, G, likes it salty. I was reading this amazing recipe for bacon granola last week and a couple days later a recipe in 1080 Recipes (basically a Spanish food bible) for fried bacon with dates (a popular Catalan appetizer) and inspiration struck: bacon with dates granola (tears streaming down my cheek). And so it was. So we did, for a sweet brunch meal last weekend. And if you like it sweet and your honey likes it salty, maybe you should try this recipe too. (Full disclosure: G and I enjoyed our delicious granola spread, then he proceeded to make himself a massive bacon, avocado, egg + cheese sandwich¯\_(ツ)_/¯ …. I tried.) Happy VDay cariños. Scroll down for the recipe. Xx
P.S. Speaking of fried pork, read this: Chicharones. It’s a raw, sorta’ misty short piece by my friend Herve Comeau, another fellow Cornellian who’s now a writer and poet.
- 4 strips of bacon, cut in half width-wise
- 2 cup rolled oats
- 2 cups coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup cashews, chopped
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- a couple of pinches of crunchy salt
- 1 /4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 tbsp cup peanut oil (or olive oil) + 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Optional: 8 toothpicks
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. While oil is heating, wrap each date in a half-strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick if it makes you feel safer about life. When oil is hot, carefully place the bacon-wrapped dates into the pan. (Watch for oil spatter!) Turn dates every minute or so to golden-brown on each side. Do not make them totally crisp because you will be baking the bacon again later and don’t want to render them rock-solid bacon bits. If you overcook any of them, just eat those guys immediately 🙂 When finished, remove to a paper-towel covered plate. Once dates are cool, use kitchen scissors to cut each date into 2-3 pieces.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, mix oats, coconut flakes, walnuts, cashews, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add honey and oil and keep mixing until mixture is evenly coated with sweet, oily goodness.
- Spread granola on a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring around halfway so the ‘nola gets crunchy on all sides. Note: it probably won’t be totally crunchy when you remove it from oven – the granola firms up as it cools.
- Let the granola cool then serve with more honey and yogurt or (nutty!) milk, plus bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches if your brunch date’s stomach is a bottomless pit.
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