Apparently, I'm still stuck on this yucky yaki thing from last night...
I really have a weakness for grilled food． Grilling brings out the best from almost any ingredient with flavors and scents maximized beyond anything my poor excuse of a electric range can produce. I like the smoky flavor imparted on the meat, although I recently read that for the best grilling experience, it's best to heat the meat at an angle from the heat source, thereby allowing the heat to penetrate the meat without the smoky coating.
One of my favorite things to eat when I was a kid in Japan was flame-grilled Amago. Amago, not to be confused with anago the eel, is a fresh water fish that lives in the rivers near the hot spring town of Gero. And yes, for those of you who speak Japanese, the town really is called Gero - which interestingly is a homonym for Puke. The fish were skewered with the skewer running parallel to its backbone and the skewers were staked by a pile of glowing hot coal. We would sit around the fire pit, anxiously waiting for the fish to sizzle and gobble them up piping hot. Lightly salted, the sweetness of the flesh and the distinctive fresh water bitterness of the innards were pure joy.
Ever since those childhood days, I've always had a weakness for skewered savory treats. My current favorite is this:
Yup, my anonymous commenter from last night guessed it right on! That's bacon wrapped shrimp! I get Niman Ranch's bacon, which is pretty decent, although I bet this bacon-wrapped shrimp skewer would be phenomenal with my dear friend, Leigh's bacon. Leigh introduced me to the world of hormone and antibiotic meats during my 4 yrs in NC, and I never went back to the grocery store to buy any kind of meat again. Both in terms of health, taste, and environmental concerns, I couldn't justify mass produced meats anymore. And boy, Leigh's bacon was the first time I ever thought bacon was good. Since I only knew grocery-store bacon (yup, those strangely colored, stringy looking things) before Leigh's bacon, I didn't know that bacon could be so good!
The world has not been the same for me since I discovered the beauty of bacon.
I'm heading out to NC this weekend, but unfortunately, I'll be at the beach in the East. But maybe - just maybe - I'll get lucky and be able to bring home the bacon, literally!