Edible Origami, or the Mandolin’s Telos

Thalia and I recently hunted for origami patterns of flowers, or similar objects, which would be manageable for someone who is not a paper-folding ninja, ie, us.  In the process, I found some projects which were not paper-based on this site.  The administrator makes all manner of foods, including a bunch of different garnishes.

Annnnd somehow the process of looking at a bunch of roses made out of very thin slices of vegetables necessitated a trip to Meijer for to obtain an odd selection of produce.  Once I knew I could make food roses with something besides bacon, how could you expect me to do anything else?
MandolinRolling a rose Potato rosesIce bathUnpickedHalved roses

More or less any thinly-sliced food can be rolled into a rose shape.  More or less any food CAN be sliced thinly if you have a mandolin handy, because that is, after all, the mandolin’s telos (which, of course, would be a Good Name For A Rock Band).  I tried it with a knife at first, but my slices were too thick as I have not trained at Le Courdon Bleu.  Fortunately, I’d acquired a mandolin in December for ratatouille purposes, and so gleefully spent an evening slicing away and rolling garnishes for a dinner I hadn’t made.

Radish rosesRadish rose

Strawberry petalsStrawberry roses
PSA: Mandolins (of the bladed variety, not the stringed lute derivative) can and will destroy your fingertips given the chance.  They will give you delicately thin slices of food but will endeavor to take your blood in so doing.  Please exercise caution (and/or these gloves) lest the tip of your thumb come off; you’ll need that thumb if you ever want to start a rock band.

Nectarine rose

Chocolate-Covered Bacon Roses Redux

Round about this time last year, I reacted to all the Valentine’s Day marketing and an empty apartment by chucking bacon in a pan, attempting to shape it into a rose once cooked, winding it about a piece of asparagus, and covering the lot with melted chocolate.  This proved to be an entertaining, if messy, decision, and kept me from writing mediocre and lachrymose poetry for, let’s see…a whopping 9 days, according to the archives.

So it stands to reason that I could prevent myself from writing any woebegone verses all through the coming week by making them again.

Not only so, but given the magic of WordPress statistics on readers’ search terms, it has become clear to me of late that a passel of people are interested in the reality of a chocolate-covered bacon rose; some, in fact, desire that the thing be delivered to them, or their respective beloveds.

So.  Rest assured, readers, there are plots and schemes in motion to see if this might be made reality next year.  At present, however, there is too much going on in the coming fortnight for me to be of much use to you, except as your virtual Virgil.  If you wish for your favorite person to have chocolate-bacon roses (whether or not your favorite person is yourself), well, do this labor of love for him.  Or her.

Gather your bacon, your broiler pan, your huddled flower petals yearning to breathe free…
Raw bacon rosesMelted chocolateDismembered flora
…and have your chocolate, your floral wire, a new paintbrush for chocolate detail, and a really rather tall vase on hand.

Baked bacon roses

Last year’s efforts, and this website, taught me that making the bacon into a rose shape before cooking it is far more stable than coaxing cooked bacon into a flowery form; the bacon that bakes together stays together.  I am all about stability in my foodstuffs, so I rolled thick and thin strips into a variety of rosebuds (go here for a good idea of how to make a more rose-looking bud) and set them on my broiler pan.

This allows the grease to drain off and allows for better cooking (the mini muffin tin isn’t necessary unless you need guidelines to keep your blooms on the small side).  They stayed in the 375 degree oven for 30 or 35 minutes (more wouldn’t have hurt, but the hissing of the bacon grease made me nervous).
Ruining the bacon

There were faux flower stems on hand this year, though I found that some of my bacon blossoms were a bit too ponderous for them; they bent under the weight of the rosebud in an unbecoming fashion.  Be that as it may, I carried on, reinforcing the stems with floral wire before topping them with the roses and painting chocolate on the petals.  This made for a less-chocolatey flower, overall, but that also made them easier to eat, so hey.  You win some, you lose some.

Best of all, there were more roses than last year!  So I could share them with my brother and my boss, who was intrigued by such foodcraft.
Unpainted rose Stop and smell the rosesChocolate Bacon roses
Feast of Saint Valentine, I urge you once again: Bring it.


Anticipating Valentine’s Day: Chocolate-Bacon Roses

Sometimes odd occurrences intersect.  Today I was slightly hungry, rather tired, still kind of crafty, and a tad lonely, with a dash of that devil-may-care attitude that can come upon a person when her flatmate’s out and she has no Friday evening plans.  And all that converged with the fact that it’s February, obnoxious red and pink displays are out in full force no matter what store you enter, and dratted Desire is rearing her detestable, cupiditous head.

Which somehow brought these to mind:

I would say “Boom.  Full speed ahead to makin’ bacon roses!” but for the fact that I have long pondered the concept of bacon covered in chocolate.  Perhaps it’s Peachy’s fault, or Zingerman’s, or those crazy dissipated folk down on Lowell Street.  At any rate, seeing as there was bacon in the fridge and chocolate in the cupboard, I was not about to leave either one of them to fend for themselves.  In fact, I wasn’t even going to pause and consult the Internet for its wisdom regarding bacon shapes, because there were roses to make.

Into the pan went the bacon.  Into the pot went the 2-cup measure of makeshift double-boiler goodness.  Out came the asparagus, which was the nearest thing I could find to a stem on short notice.

This is the sort of situation that makes you wonder what you’re doing with your life:  when you walk around your apartment for five minutes holding bacon wrapped around a stalk of asparagus, hoping the chocolate will set enough in its travels away from the stove that it can be set in the freezer without shifting.  Or when you take a spatula to approximate a chocolate sepal and have fingers so chocolatey that it’s actually difficult to lick them off (because, let’s get real here, washing one’s hands only happens after the licking progress.  It’s like being a cat for a bit, except for the chocolate-being-poisonous-to-felines aspect).  Or when you are waiting for things to set in the freezer and dip banana in the melted chocolate and remember when Hillsdale’s catering folk sprang for a chocolate fountain.  Then you wonder why you didn’t fail your CCA on purpose so you could stay there.  Then you remember the cost of tuition.  Then you think that you’ve wandered from the topic a fair bit and check the freezer.  You add another coat for added stability and wonder how vexed that one friend in Ypsi will be when she learns that you made chocolate-bacon roses and didn’t bring them to her immediately.  You nibble a piece that simply refused to stay in place and look like a series of petals, then wonder if you have just used too much chocolate.  And then wonder if you have lost all concept of proportion and propriety with respect to chocolate.  Gradually your prose dissolves into sentence fragments.

…erm, anyway, here’s the end product.  They’re not the most beautiful food I have ever prepared, but I’m pretty sure the ingredients involved compensate somehow.  Also, it turns out that I may as well have consulted the Internet, because some cleverer person has already determined that wrapping raw bacon into a rose shape and baking it in a perforated muffin tin enables it to keep its structural integrity – and anyone who knows me very well at all knows that I am all about structural integrity in my food (protip: asparagus that comes in and out of the freezer is not structurally sound material).  This nonsense of frying bacon and then wrapping it up with chocolate for glue and cursing the skinnier bits for having gotten too crispy is simply…nonsense.            On the other hand, if there were ever a project I were willing to learn by trial and error, I’m pretty sure making chocolate-covered bacon roses is it.  Dear Feast of St. Valentine: bring it on.