This cauliflower bacon gratin is studded with salty bacon bits in a creamy, cheesy sauce for an ultimate comfort food side dish.
Pork isn’t something I buy very often. In fact, outside of bacon, there’s the occasional pork chop or roast but it’s not on constant rotation like chicken or beef in this house. After spending a day with Jones Dairy Farm at the CIA learning all the ins and outs about pork and what most companies do to produce their pork products, I have to say I’m kinda glad about that. Chicken and steak are one thing, but anything like sausage or ham that gets put into a casing, smoked or made into a ham leaves a lot of room for interpretation and I’m betting the majority of us have no clue what that process looks like most of the time. I sure didn’t.
Did you know that a lot of “smoked” products (think bacon and ham) aren’t even actually smoked but instead put in machine made casings lined with coloring and “flavored” with liquid smoke to look and smell like they have been? Yep.
Did you know a lot of hams are filled with other parts of the pig and not just the actual ham meat? Yep.
Did you know mechanically separated turkey (basically all the leftover parts of the animal shoved through a machine to produce “slime”) is a common thing in a lot of turkey products? Yep again.
Basically, like most things in life, you get what you pay for. So when you see the ham that’s $5 and will feed your family of 4 on the shelf versus the one that might be closer to $12 or $15, you might want to think again before throwing the cheaper one in your cart.
As someone who reads labels pretty thoroughly, buys mostly organic meats and considers myself to be somewhat “educated” in food decisions, I was pretty shocked by a lot of the information I learned last weekend.
The good news is I now know a company that does it right and when I do buy pork, I can make a better decision about it in the grocery store.
Besides the science and history lessons on the company from Rick Lowry, Jones Dairy Farm’s Executive Vice President, we also got to put our kitchen skills to the test with a Chopped style throwdown among 4 teams with our mystery basket of ingredients and the challenge to use Jones Dairy Farm product(s) in each dish. Everything we cooked would end up being our lunch.
Let’s just say this, a lot of bacon and sausage was cooked and consumed that afternoon. So when I saw Bacon Nation (a 125 recipe bacon cookbook) in our swag bags as we left, I was pretty psyched. Ham might not be in my freezer often, but bacon is on the “top 5 must have in stock at all times (milk, eggs, orange juice and butter being the other 4) or the world will end list” around here.
I’ve already made 3 other side dishes, but just had to share this one with you guys today.
1. Who doesn’t love a gratin?
2. It’s cauliflower not potatoes so the cream, butter and cheese only half count.
3. BACON! (and bacon fat!)
*This isn’t a sponsored post I just wanted to share a fun, educational experience and a bit about a company I think is doing “it” right. Jones Dairy Farm did graciously host the event at the CIA for myself and other bloggers.