Taste Florida’s Newest Food Festival: Donatella Arpaia’s Bacon Burger

11/15/2013 at 04:42 PM ET

Donatella Arpaia Burger Tastes St. Pete
Inset: D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

Celeb chefs including Duff Goldman and Curtis Stone will be hitting the beach Friday through Sunday at the first Enjoy Arts & Tastes St. Pete festival in St. Petersburg, Florida.

And if taking in a one-of-a-kind menu from Todd English or seeing Morimoto roll sushi in the flesh isn’t enough of a treat, all proceeds from the weekend events benefit ProStart, a 2-year program that provides high school students with hands-on experience and education about the culinary industry.

Even if you can’t jet down to sunny Florida for the festival, you can still whip up a treat from Iron Chef judge Donatella Arpaia: a burger topped with a savory bacon jam. She’ll be making the dish at Sunday’s poolside Battle of the ‘Burg, and will be critiquing local Tampa Bay-area top chefs on their meaty creations.

The recipe makes more bacon jam than you need, but you’ll be happy to have it in your fridge—it tastes great on toast in the morning!

Donatella Arpaia’s D Burger
Makes 1

6 oz. ground beef
1 bun
1 tbsp. bacon jam (recipe below)
12 pieces arugula
1½ oz. Stracciatella cheese
1 slice red onion, ¼-inch thick

1. On a grill or in an oiled skillet over high heat, cook burger to desired doneness (3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare).

2. Open the bun and spread the bacon jam on the top half. Place the arugula on the bottom half. Place the burger on top of the arugula, then top with cheese and thin slice of red onion.

Bacon Jam
Makes 2 cups

1 lb. thick bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
4 small onions, thinly sliced
½ cup water
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a skillet or medium saucepan over medium-high heat, cook bacon until it begins to brown and crisp. Do not drain off or discard any bacon fat.

3. Lower heat to medium. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cover pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven.

4. Cook jam for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until thickened and glossy.

5. Allow to cool slightly, then pulse in the food processor for a few seconds. When completely cool, store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

—Catherine Kast

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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