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January 01, 2010

 

BBQ bacon and coleslaw sandwiches:
 
-3 or 4 slices of thick cut smoked bacon (peppercorn crusted and nitrite free variety preferred, if possible)
-2 slices of whole grain bread or one sliced Kaiser roll, toasted
-1 tablespoon spicy BBQ sauce
-a big heap of homemade coleslaw
 
Start the bacon cooking in a cast iron pan over a medium heat, turning it over every couple of minutes until it gets crispy. Once the bacon is cooked, fish it out of the fat and lay it on several layers of paper towel to drain.
 
Isaac’s perfect coleslaw:
 
-1/2 head of cabbage (red or green or a mix of the two), sliced into super thin ribbons
-1 small carrot, shredded
-1/2 red bell pepper, diced up tiny (this is optional, but sweet and flavorful)
-1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
-1 green onion, sliced up fine
 
       For the coleslaw dressing we will need:
-1 small clove of garlic, peeled
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-the juice of 1 lemon or lime
-1 teaspoon deli mustard
-1 tablespoon cider or rice wine vinegar
-2 teaspoons sugar
-2 tablespoons mayonnaise (you can substitute some or all of this for plain yogurt to cut down on fat)
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-a dash of celery seeds (about ½ teaspoon)
-fresh ground black pepper
 
       Pour the salt into the bottom of an unvarnished wooden salad bowl. Using the back of a wooden spoon, crush the garlic into the salt until it becomes a smooth paste. Now mix in all the lime juice, mustard, vinegar, sugar, and spices.
Now mix in the mayo and oil and adjust to taste. Stir in the cabbage and other veggies.
It is nice to let the coleslaw sit for a half hour or so in the fridge so all the flavors meld together, but it is fine to eat it right away.
To assemble these hangover BBQ bacon and coleslaw sandwiches, toast your bread and layer on the slices of crispy bacon. Slather the other piece of bread with the spicy BBQ sauce and top the bacon with a few hearty scoops of the coleslaw. Slice the sandwich in half, momentarily admire, then tuck in!
 
 
 
 
       Welcome back to the kitchen. It’s been a bit of a long night, so please keep you voice down and be gentle with me. Today we have a special hangover foods edition of Cooking Local. Let me grab a little hair of the dog and we’ll get started, slowly.
       Now, if you really went off the deep end last night and find yourself praying at the porcelain altar this morning, I pity you, and I’m sure food is furthest from your mind. But it is important to rehydrate and balance your electrolytes, particularly if you’ve succumbed to the Technicolor yawn or found yourself shouting at the floor (yes, I’m trying to euphemistically dance around using the word vomit too much in a cooking show).
       So if you were three sheets to the wind last night and find yourself in an extreme state of sickness today, don’t bother cooking. Just try to warm up some simple soup or broth and head back to bed with some herbal tea with honey and lemon. Keep hydrating and chant the mantra “this too shall pass”.
       But for the rest of us dealing with a more run of the mill hangover, today’s recipe might well help cure that dry mouth, fuzzy brain, incredible pounding headache, sore body, and deep seated regret (ok, no meal can erase last night’s shame, but it can make for a brighter day!).
       Since man first drank fermented fruit juice and realized it made him feel happy and funny, only to wake up the next day feeling like death, we have been searching for a magic bullet hangover cure. This means that there are different folk remedy cures from across the planet. Many of them revolve around food.
       The classic Mexican hangover cure is a spicy tripe stew called menudo. When cooked low and slow, this dish can be incredible. It is said it cures a hangover because the spiciness causes the eater to sweat out toxins. I would also guess it causes the eater to drink more water, and releases natural endorphins and pain killers as the brain tries to dull the burning. But I don’t think I can subject myself or the average American cook to dealing with raw cow stomach lining as a main ingredient this morning, never mind the cows feet and tendons that are sometimes included. We’ll save that more adventurous eating for a future show.
       But the spicy hangover cure theme is repeated in other Latin American countries. In Peru I hear they recommend the tangy, spicy broth from a batch of ceviche, called Tiger’s Milk. One website says “Only a true ceviche lover would dare try tiger’s milk (leche de tigre), which is the leftover ceviche marinade served in a small glass. Brightly colored from the spicy chili peppers, and sometimes mixed with vodka, tiger’s milk is considered a great cure for hangovers.” But again, it seems risky to subject us to the leftover juices of raw fish on a tender stomach morning. So let’s think of a more basic and palatable hangover recipe.
       Personally, I like a little science mixed in with my food cure folklore. So I was excited to come across research done in England that seems to support the restorative powers of the UK’s traditional hangover cure: the bacon sandwich. 
       An April 2009 article from The Telegraph states, “A bacon sandwich really does cure a hangover - by boosting the level of amines which clear the head, scientists have found. Researchers claim food also speeds up the metabolism helping the body get rid of the booze more quickly.
Elin Roberts, of Newcastle University's Centre for Life said: "Food doesn't soak up the alcohol but it does increase your metabolism helping you deal with the after-effects of over indulgence. So food will often help you feel better. "Bread is high in carbohydrates and bacon is full of protein, which breaks down into amino acids. Your body needs these amino acids, so eating them will make you feel good."
Ms Roberts told The Mirror: "Bingeing on alcohol depletes neurotransmitters too, but bacon contains a high level of aminos which tops these up, giving you a clearer head."
Researchers also found a complex chemical interaction in the cooking of bacon produces the winning combination of taste and smell which is almost irresistible.”
MMM, bacon! As if we needed another reason to eat this incredible master food. Smokey, crispy, fatty and awesome. And it can cure a hangover? Bring on the pig!
Bacon sandwiches have a long history of popularity in the UK, especially in pubs and greasy spoons. The simplest varieties are just crispy bacon between toasted bread, sometimes buttered, and often served with ketchup or gravy. Sometimes they include additions like eggs or cheese. It is a ubiquitous food, hence the now proven folk wisdom that it can help with a hangover.
       Our BLT sandwich is a direct descendent, a stateside version of the British bacon sandwich. I assume that everyone can muster their own version of a BLT, no matter how hung over. But I have a slightly different bacon sandwich in mind: a bbq bacon and coleslaw masterpiece!
       I chose this recipe because it is delicious; simple enough for a hangover mid-morning or afternoon, and it makes use of cabbage, which can be stored from the local harvest long after the last tomato has frosted off the vine.
 
       So for each of these BBQ bacon and coleslaw sandwiches we will need:
 
-3 or 4 slices of thick cut smoked bacon (peppercorn and nitrite free variety preferred, if possible)
-2 slices of whole grain bread or one sliced Kaiser roll, toasted
-1 tablespoon spicy BBQ sauce
-a big heap of homemade coleslaw
 
Start the bacon cooking in a cast iron pan over a medium heat, turning it over every couple of minutes until it gets crispy. Remember that the bacon will get a big crispier as it cools and the fat drains off, so don’t burn or overdo it (although crispy bacon is a must for me). Once the bacon is cooked, fish it out of the fat and lay it on several layers of paper towel to drain. Cooking the bacon should take 10 minutes or so, so I recommend you pound water while it is cooking to further stave off the hangover.
 
       For the coleslaw we will need:
-1/2 head of cabbage (red or green or a mix of the two), sliced into super thin ribbons
-1 small carrot, shredded
-1/2 red bell pepper, diced up tiny (this is optional, but sweet and flavorful)
-1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
-1 green onion, sliced up fine
 
       For the coleslaw dressing we will need:
-1 small clove of garlic, peeled
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-the juice of 1 lemon or lime
-1 teaspoon deli mustard
-1 tablespoon cider or rice wine vinegar
-2 teaspoons sugar
-2 tablespoons mayonnaise (you can substitute some or all of this for plain yogurt to cut down on fat)
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-a dash of celery seeds (about ½ teaspoon)
-fresh ground black pepper
 
       This coleslaw will make well more than one sandwich’s worth, but it will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days and it is hard to make it on a tiny scale. So you might as well make up a big batch and enjoy as much of it as you can.
       So to start the slaw, pour the salt into the bottom of an unvarnished wooden salad bowl. Using the back of a wooden spoon, crush the garlic into the salt until it becomes a smooth paste. Now mix in all the lime juice, mustard, vinegar, sugar, and spices. You need to mix all the non-oil ingredients together before adding the fat.
Now mix in the mayo and oil and taste. The dressing should be sweet and tangy at the same time, with a nice creamy note. Balance the flavors to your liking before stirring in all the veggies.
Sometimes you will need to add a little more mayo, yogurt, or olive oil so that all the veggies are well-coated. Other times you may need to add a little extra splash of vinegar to brighten up the flavors. Honestly, every coleslaw I make is a little different, and I love them all. So trust your tongue here.
It is nice to let the coleslaw sit for a half hour or so in the fridge so all the flavors meld together, but it is fine to eat it right away. So to assemble these hangover BBQ bacon and coleslaw sandwiches, toast your bread and layer on the slices of crispy bacon. Slather the other piece of bread with the spicy BBQ sauce and top the bacon with a few hearty scoops of the coleslaw. Slice the sandwich in half, momentarily admire, then tuck in!
Hopefully the irresistible smell of sizzling bacon has chased away your nausea and you are ready to enjoy this simple, masterful sandwich. If not, head back to bed with some Tylenol and sleep it off, this recipe is lost on you.
But for the rest of you trying to recover from a night on the town, I hope this awesome morning after meal can chase away those double demons of alcohol and sleep deprivation. Hey, it’s scientifically supported! I know I start to feel better as soon as the bacon hits the pan.
I’d love to hear what recipes you use to chase away the blues and stay healthy. What is your best hangover cure? Send me an email to isaac@kohoradio.com. Cooking Local in the KOHO Kitchen, I’m Isaac Kaplan-Woolner.

 

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