By Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC, PC-3
What is this thing that people call “sleep?” I remember when I would get it in my youth; restful slumber. And although I was never one to sleep for 12 hours at a clip, I fondly remember getting about six to eight hours and waking up refreshed.
I guess as we get older, our sleep patterns change, sinuses get clogged which encourages snoring and other lovely bedtime maladies, and we wake up groggy and disoriented. And while this does not happen all the time, I notice that it is at least more frequent as I quickly – a little too quickly – approach my 50th birthday.
Fifty years? How did that happen? And I mean, how in the hell did I make it this long? I’m certainly not going to complain, but it amazes me that I’m in relatively good condition for the number of stupid things I’ve done over the last five decades. And reflecting on growing up in the 70s and 80s, it becomes quite obvious that I am lucky to be here.
It was nothing to ride in cars with no seat belts, bicycling helmet-less, raising hell in the Marines and restaurant industry, and in general enjoying frivolities along the way. The 80s, especially, were wild times, and as an aside all I have to say is that I thank my lucky stars that cellphones did not exist back then. There is very little, if any, evidence of our misdeeds. Today’s youth has my true sympathy. We got away with murder back then.
I made the joke to a friend last night that on my 50th birthday, I will somehow be more responsible, as this trait comes with age. She laughed out loud, which in turn made me laugh out loud. It just doesn’t work that way. Oh well, at least I can cook.
A few days ago, I made this baked brie for said friend, a baked brie wheel that is one of my favorite things to make. I learned how to do this (sans bacon jam) from my late uncle; my surrogate father after my dad passed in 1995. Uncle Tom was a serious cook, and while this is a simple dish, it is a fantastic addition to an afternoon luncheon, late night snack or as a starter for a meal. And since it is wrapped in bread (that fatty, delicious puff pastry), there’s no need to serve crustini with it. Merely cut a chunk, grab a schmear of bacon jam, and eat with a nice slice of tart apple.
And ending on a glorious note, the food coma you can get from this rich little dish just could be enough to put you into a magnificent slumber. Hey, it’s worth a shot.
Baked Brie, Bacon Jam
1 small wheel brie
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2 Tbsp. Raspberry preserves
1 cup Bacon jam (recipe follows)
1 egg, whisked
1 Tart apple (Galas are great)
2 Tbsp. Balsamic glaze (recipe follows)
2 Tbsp. Local honey
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Fold out the puff pastry and roll slightly. As is stands, puff pastry can be a little too thick out of the package
- Place the brie on the puff pastry and cut the latter into a big circle, going out about 2-3 inches from the cheese
- Remove the brie and coat with the raspberry preserves, placing the jelly-side down on the center of your dough circle
- Brush some egg around the perimeter of the dough and stretch the dough over the brie, sealing it as you go
- Turn the brie wheel over and press to even it out
- Place on sprayed baking pan and brush top with egg
- Bake until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is reminiscent of molten lava
- Remove and allow to sit for a few minutes
- Serve with a generous helping of bacon jam, sliced apple, the glaze and some local honey
makes about 3 cups
8 ounces Bacon, cut into lardons
1 red onion, julienne
1/4 cup Red wine or champagne vinegar
3/4 cup Honey or brown sugar, or as needed
salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook the bacon lardons on a medium heat until crispy and drain fat
- Add the onion and cook until translucent
- Add the vinegar, scraping the pan to get all of that gooey goodness mixed into the jam
- Add the honey (or sugar) and cook until the jam has thickened slightly
- Season and set aside until ready to use. This is typically served warm, but can also be a cold condiment for hot dogs, burgers, brie (obviously) and many other things
makes about 1 cup
2 cups Balsamic vinegar
2 cups Apple juice
- Make sure that you plan ahead on this one. This will last indefinitely in the icebox so make it ahead of time
- Place the ingredients in a saucepan and set on the stove on a low heat. Low and slow; that’s how you do it
- You can bring it to a simmer at first but if you keep it at a simmer or a boil, you stand the chance of making this glaze quite bitter
- Reduce it down to a cup. It will thicken as it cools. Cool and set aside until ready to use