Hey, friends! It's been a while.

We've got a little catching up to do... Obe and I are pleased to announce that The Preservery is officially a registered business. No longer just a blog and a concept that lives inside our heads, The Preservery is on it's way to being your new favorite fast casual dining spot in Denver for great local food and music. We're about to blow this shit up!

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, read on. If you're like, "Stop talking and get to the Bacon Jam!" you may scroll to the bottom for the recipe. I won't mind (I really love Bacon Jam, too).

Obe and I have been married for almost twelve years and we've known each other for fifteen. And for all that time and all those years, we have always known that some day we wanted to start our own business. In the beginning, we weren't entirely sure what it would be. Obe dreamed of a bar and music club, I dreamed of cafes and quaint little bistros. It was always some far-off goal that we would figure out eventually.

Then, a little over a year ago, we got serious. I read a really inspiring presentation on entrepreneurship by Ryan Allis of hive.org that talked, in part, about writing down your goals. This was a practice I had never attempted before, so Obe and I did it together. We found it really challenging to actually sit down and write out exactly what we hoped to accomplish with our lives over the next few years, but it was also incredibly enlightening and ultimately super motivating. 

We wrote down the types of things I imagine lots of people would: travel to new places, take dance lessons (Obe's exact words were "Learn to dance like a pimp"), lose weight, and spend more time with family and friends. But once we started looking at those goals with purpose, we started figuring out how to make them happen. And it worked! Obe found an inspiring trainer and a new fitness home at Bodies By Perseverence and over a year he lost an astounding 65lbs. I jumped on the BBP bandwagon later and managed to lose 20lbs (and counting). We started a "knittingslashchess" club (some knitted, some played chess, most drank whiskey) with my parents and sent an open invitation out to all our friends, so that every other week we had that time set aside to spend with both friends and family. We even booked an anniversary trip on New Year's Eve to New Orleans, a city that neither of us had ever visited and with which both of us were utterly fascinated.

We be up in the mountains just working on our fitness

We be up in the mountains just working on our fitness

Of course the biggest, scariest, most daunting goal that we both had in common was starting a business together.

It was clear that we were ready to finally make it happen, but we had no idea how, or even where to begin. 

Luckily, after our trip to New Orleans we came home brimming with enthusiasm for the fine art of combining great music with great food. Being in the birthplace of both jazz and gumbo, we dove into the experience face-first, visiting all the best restaurants, cafes, and music clubs we could find and discovering inspiration at every turn. We came back to Denver knowing that we wanted to recreate some of that magic and we set out to write a business plan.

Our business plan even won second place!

Our business plan even won second place!

Several months later we had a sad little outline and the beginnings of a vision, but not much else! So we finally reached out for help. We met with other entrepreneurs and business owners, we got some really solid advice, and we went to the Small Business Development Center here in Denver and signed up for their Leading Edge program which catapulted us forward and helped us complete our business plan over the course of the summer. Right now we are on the hunt for our brick & mortar space and are working on securing all the necessary financing to get us started. Our aim is to serve our first meal at The Preservery by the summer of 2015.

So that's how we got here! And we've still got a long way to go! And I still haven't even told you what The Preservery is yet, have I? 

In a nutshell, Obe and I are combining our two mutual passions, food and music, into a community-minded and locally-focused fast casual eatery and marketplace with live music performances. We're calling it The Preservery.

We will have a seasonally developed menu of scratch-made sandwiches, soups, baked goods and salads along with marketplace items such as artisan and market-made cheeses, charcuterie, & condiments like preserves, jams and mustards. We'll seek out acoustic performers to provide live entertainment on the weekends and we'll host educational events like cooking classes on a regular basis. A portion of the sales from our marketplace wares will get donated to local food and arts causes and we will fill some of our production positions in the restaurant through local job placement programs for those in need. We think it's going to be really awesome and we hope to see you all there on opening day!

To give you all a little taste of what's to come, of course I want to share a recipe. With bacon.

At The Preservery, we plan to make all sorts of preserved goods based on seasonal abundances. For instance, in high summer we'll buy tons of Colorado peaches and preserve them into jams, butters, mostarda, chutney and even dried peach slices, plus we'll incorporate fresh peaches into the menu all over the place (SPOILER ALERT: there will be hand pies). In early winter, Colorado's growing season really winds down, but there is still local produce to be had! Right now you can find local shallots, onions, potatoes and plenty of greenhouse items like tomatoes, lettuce and herbs. This is the time of year when you'll find lots of Bacon Jam made with Colorado Shallots at The Preservery.

If you have never made Bacon Jam, or perhaps never even tried it, I'm just going to tell you right now that you should probably prepare to have your mind blown. Bacon is always awesome, that much we know, but when you combine it with savory, pungent shallots and a sweet, syrupy glaze made with sugar and booze, well... it becomes something else entirely. Something magical. And since the season of gift-giving is right around the corner, may I humbly suggest that you quadruple this recipe and make jars of Bacon Jam for all your friends and family? Because homemade presents are the best. AMIRIGHT?

Annie, waiting for me to be done with my photo shoot so she can lick the spoon.

Annie, waiting for me to be done with my photo shoot so she can lick the spoon.

This stuff just begs to be spread on some sourdough toast and made into a luxurious BLT (or Grilled Cheese, or any other sandwich that goes well with bacon, for that matter). I also love pairing it with cheese, particularly dry, crumbly aged cheddars. Just know that it's really, really delicious and it goes fast. We may or may not have eaten the first batch we made straight out of the jar with a spoon while it was still warm. No bread. Just bacon jam right into our faces. I regret nothing!

Bacon Jam
adapted from Martha Stewart
makes about 2 cups

1 1/2 pounds bacon
2 cups sliced shallots (about 8-10)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1.  Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange bacon slices on baking sheets and cook until bacon is browned and crisp, about 14-18 minutes depending on the thickness of your bacon. Remove bacon from oven and place slices on a paper towel to drain. Allow to cool, slightly, then roughly chop the slices into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside. Drain the melted fat from the pans, reserving 1 1/2 tablespoons to cook your shallots. (Pour the remaining fat in a jar and reserve for future use)
2.  Add reserved bacon fat to a large skillet or shallow pan and heat over medium. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add chile powder, ginger and mustard and cook another minute. Increase heat to high and add bourbon and maple syrup. Bring liquid to a boil, add vinegar and brown sugar, and return to a boil. Add chopped bacon and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces to a thick, syrupy glaze, about 12 minutes.
3. Allow mixture to cool, then transfer into four small (4-oz) jars. Serve Warm. Keep refrigerated for up to 4 weeks.