12 August 2014

The Founding Farmers Cookbook

You think you have trouble getting a consensus, just imagine if you owned a restaurant with 40,000 partners.  The Founding Fathers in Washington, DC is just such a restaurant.  It is owned by more than 42,000 American family farmers in the North Dakota Farmers Union.  

It seems that these North Dakota farmers wanted to get into the restaurant business. (Because they didn't think farming was hard enough?) Then, they decided to open this restaurant in the Nation's Capitol.  A wise move as not a lot of movers and shakers and members of the agriculture committee mill about Bismark.  

It wasn't enough to start a restaurant which if farm-owned-table, they wanted to spread the sustainability.  They were the first LEED Certified restaurant in the Nations Capitol and one of the first LEED Gold restaurants in the entire country.  They scoured the Library of Congress to find authentic recipes to highlight the farmer's bounty. 

After several years of operation, they decided to gather their vast knowledge into a cookbook.  The cookbook embodies a similar aesthetic as the restaurant.  The Founding Farmers features traditional American cuisine such as Yankee Pot Roast, Southern Chicken and Waffles, and a Seven-Cheese Mac and Cheese. They even offer a recipe so you can make your own ginger ale.

Now tell me, what could be more American than bacon?  Try these lollipops!

Bacon Lollis

1/2 pound extra thick-cut applewood-smoked slab bacon (ask your butcher to slice it to 1/4-inch thick)
5 tablespoons Cinnamon Brown Sugar.  (see below)

Cinnamon Brown Sugar

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Whisk all of the ingredients until well combined. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months.

You’ll need 10 to 15 (10-inch) bamboo or metal skewers. If using bamboo, soak them in water for 1 hour before using.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Cut the bacon slices into 2 1/2-inch pieces. Thread each piece of bacon on to the end of a skewer. Arrange the bacon skewers on a baking sheet lined with a metal roasting rack. Dust the bacon with half of the Cinnamon Brown Sugar and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until it appears that the bacon has rendered at least half of its fat. Remove the skewers from the oven. Flip the skewers over and dust the other side of the bacon with the remaining Cinnamon Brown Sugar. Return the bacon to the oven and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

It is a great find when both a restaurant and a cookbook come together to fulfill a goal of sustainability.  The Founding Farmers have done that -- as well as make a fine Raspberry-Lime Rickey.

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