Helloooo Fargo and a recipe for Slow Roasted Tomato Bacon Jam

Jake and I are slowly orienting ourselves to Fargo-Moorhead.

Moving absurdities
While our belongings lagged behind in Minneapolis, Jake and I spent our first evening in Fargo, exhausted.  Eating chicken wings and drinking boxed wine on a strange bedspread.

Our new home is filled with boxes of all sizes.  These boxes are stacked to the ceiling in every room and corner.  It seems that I spend the majority of my time frazzled.  In our dark, lampless rooms, I crash into randomly placed chairs, boxes, and unassembled tables.

Each box is filled with paper.  Lots of paper.  Each item, regardless of its size, is wrapped in giant sheets of paper.  I spend hours unwrapping giant wads of paper containing a single Tupperware lid or a nearly empty peanut jar.  We would give anything to locate our shower curtain and phone chargers.

We are without Internet until Monday, so I frantically drive around town searching for coffee shops with parking, food, and bandwidth fast enough to download pictures.  Any pictures.  Please, just one picture.  And I thank God for Atomic Coffee.

In the evening and early morning, I receive strange looks from my neighbors as I bundle up in layers and sit on our balcony, searching for random Internet signals.

My heart pangs each time I automatically punch the button on my car radio set for The Current.  The last time this happened, I scanned for the next available station and heard “All That She Wants” by Ace of Base.  My tears dried a little.

Not that I mean to complain.  Jake’s company generously relocated us to Fargo and we are trying to patiently tackle the absurdities and challenges that accompany the moving process.

Currently, at the High Plains Reader, I am attempting to make connections with local foodies, bring in new voices, schedule established voices, and foster diversity, acceptance, and knowledge of all food cultures.

If you live in the Fargo-Moorhead and love food or are a local producer that supplies food to the community, I want to connect with you.

On October 13th, 2011, the High Plains Reader published my recipe for Slow Roasted Tomato Bacon Jam as follows below (with more pictures of the cooking process):

Slow Roasted Tomato Bacon Jam

Tomatoes linger to the end of our growing season. Though tomatoes may be petering from your own garden, they are still readily available at the farmers markets. Now that it’s nearing the end of fall, you may be experiencing tomato fatigue. After all, how many variations of tomato soup, spaghetti sauce, and salsa do you really want to stomach? Tomatoes may be nearing their winter hiatus, but that doesn’t eliminate the supply you may have jarred.

One evening, I caught an episode of Eat Street, a series on the Cooking Channel that highlights the burgeoning street food explosion. Skillet, a food truck from Seattle, WA was featured slathering a thick “Bacon Jam” on juicy burgers. It seemed the whole city was crooning over this mysterious bacon jam, a concept I had never seen or tasted.
Weeks later, the words “bacon jam” still circled my mind and I set-off to create my own version. The recipes I found used similar ingredients so I adapted a version from “Not Quite Nigella,” to match my own tastes available at the following link: http://tiny.cc/notquitenigella
My recipe incorporates slowly roasted tomatoes. Ridiculously slow roasted at a low temperature for two-three hours. The slow roasting process creates an intense flavor and sticky, drippy texture, opposite of those sour, leathery strips that chefs are happy to throw into any and every pasta dish. The end product is a thick, sweet, bacon-essenced spread. You can make the jam as tangy or spicy as your heart desires.
Enjoy this spread on a burger or between a grilled cheese sandwich. I created a stunning grilled cheese sandwich with sourdough bread, bacon jam and cranberry cheddar. You could also mix the jam into cream cheese or sour cream for a simple dip and spread it atop meatloaf as it bakes in the oven, combine into corn bread, or melt into a sauce.
All of the ingredients will eventually be blended, so you can roughly chop them. Again, feel free to use canned tomatoes, other varieties and shapes, or a different proportion of tomatoes to bacon. Just simmer the mixture until unctuously reduced. 

11 Roma tomatoes, halved and mostly de-seeded.
Cracked black pepper
1 lb of smoked bacon, cut into small pieces
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/3 cup coffee (the stronger, the better)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/8-1/4 cup of honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar (I used a mixture of honey and maple syrup. I thought a ¼ cup made the mixture quite sweet, however my significant other disagreed.)
Hot sauce of your choice. (I used Tabasco brand Habenero)
Slow roasted tomatoes:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Place the tomato halves on the greased sheet pan, cut side up. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with pepper. Roast for approximately two hours. The tomatoes should be shriveled yet juicy.  You can easily remove the flesh from its skin, or leave as is.


In a pot, render the bacon pieces until brown and crispy, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan. Remove at least half of the grease leaving about a 1/2 cup. Use the extra bacon grease to brown meats, cook pancakes or French toast, etc.
In the pot, sauté the onion until translucent.  Add the chopped garlic and stir until fragrant but not brown.

Add the coffee, vinegar, sweetener, hot sauce, roasted tomatoes, and extra black pepper to taste.  Re-incorporate the rendered bacon and stir. Taste and adjust to your preferences.

Gently simmer the mixture for two hours or until most of the liquid is reduced. If the mixture dries-up too quickly, you may add water.

In small batches, pulse the mixture in a blender or food processor until you like the texture.  Place in a container and store in your refrigerator. This recipe makes about 12 oz. of jam.


  1. minneville

    It seems like you’re very proactive in adapting to the new local life! You’ll do well! The bacon jam looks great!

  2. Jen

    i’m trying! i still love keeping up with the mn food bloggers.

  3. Nicole M.

    I just stumbled across your article on the High Plains Reader and then wandered over here. I too just moved to Fargo recently and finally had time this week to start discovering the foodie side of Fargo. I had missed “The Lotus Blossom” on the list of ethnic markets, I will be sure to check that one out next time.

    I moved from a smaller city in MN that didn’t cater to foodies at all – so with all there is to discover in Fargo I’m so glad to be able to read your thoughts as you explore the cuisine of Fargo as well.

    Welcome to Fargo!

  4. wafflegirl

    I just made a double batch of this! It’s as amazing as it sounds… thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  5. Jen

    yay! that’s so fun to hear. i’m glad the recipe worked well for you. i love your name, too:)

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