Tag Archive for 'bacon'

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits and Gravy 2 Ways

bacon gravy plated

I am trying to find comfort these days. Trying really, really hard to self-soothe and heal. When sick, or tired, or far from home, everyone seems to yearn for the gastronomic equivalent of a warm sweater, a kiss on the forehead, a favorite blanket. Cutting-edge cuisine has its place, but sometimes you just want a hearty meal with your favorite comfort foods.

Don’t judge. We all have them – “comfort” foods that feel like more than just food. Far beyond the random edibles of our day, these are instilled with the likes of positive memories, celebratory identities, nurturing associations. Continue reading ‘Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits and Gravy 2 Ways’

Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon & Peas

I am only 38 days into 2012 and already it feels like I am caught in the middle of a tornado. What to do when life feels chaotic — cook, bake and look for comfort in food (or is it comfort food?). This week, a little spaghetti carbonara snuck onto the menu. Although I try my best to avoid indulging in carb excess, some treats are worth the splurge.

Ingredients

8 oz (8 slices) thick-cut bacon, cut 1-inch thick crosswise

salt and freshly ground pepper

3 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated plus more for serving

1/4 cup half-and-half

1 pound spaghetti

1 1/2 cups peas, either fresh or frozen

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup parsley, chopped (optional)

Directions

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp (approximately 8-12 minutes). Transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain off excess fat.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together eggs, Parmesan cheese and half-and-half. Set aside.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions, adding in peas to cook along with the spaghetti for 3-5 minutes. Drain spaghetti and peas, leaving some water clinging to the spaghetti and return to pot. In a pan, add butter, stirring until it is melted. Add bacon and cheese mixture and toss gently until mixed. Working quickly, add hot spaghetti and peas to egg mixture. Add bacon; season with salt and pepper, and toss all to combine (heat from pasta will cook eggs). Serve immediately in a warmed bowl so that spaghetti does not cool too quickly. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese and parsley.

A Frightful Combination


Darkness falls across the land
The midnite hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’awl’s neighborhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse’s shell
The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller
(Excerpted from Michael Jackson’s song ‘Thriller‘, performed by Vincent Price)

With Halloween about to turn the corner, I felt it was time to concoct a scary food combination. So I ask you: trick or treat? Pumpkin often tops the recipe charts, but with so much foodie competition for that cheerful colored squash I thought I’d take another tact. I’ll keep this brief, as I know most of you will be too fainthearted to dare try this bizarre combo.

This seemingly frightful combination is one I have managed to repeat three times this week, as it is sweet and savory perfection; even if it sounds a bit bizarre. Ghouls and Goblins, please meet ‘Figgy Piggy Sandwich’.

Figgy Piggy Sandwich

Ingredients

2 large slices bacon, thick cut
2 pieces honey sunflower bread, thin slices (or other crusty bread)
1/4 tsp butter
2 slices of brie, thick sliced
2 figs, washed and sliced into four

Directions

Take bacon slices and cut in half. Place bacon in a small pan on medium-high heat, turning occasionally. Cook until crispy. Remove from pan and place on plate with paper town to drain off fat. Set aside.

Butter two slices of bread and place brie on top. Top with warm bacon slices and then figs. Cover with second piece of bread. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 1 sandwich.

And for those of you that felt this post was a bit of a trick, well, stay tuned, and I’ll treat you to a second post this week IF YOU DARE to come back to this house of food experimentation.

Going Dark & Getting Competitive

Once upon a choc’late time
A long long choc’late time ago,
The Golden Age of Choc’late began.
I know, ‘cos I was there….

…………… choc’late ripples or choc’late tipples,
Choc’late ruffles or choc’late truffles,
Choc’late kisses for sweet young misses,
Soft and creamy, completely dreamy………
(excerpted from the ‘The Golden Age of Chocolate’ – Willy Wonka)


And so it began, a SWEET invitation from the folks at Scharffen Berger® to participate in their Chocolate Adventure Contest. As part of the contest this year, daring cooks – professional and amateur- were invited to develop original and creative recipes with Scharffen Berger products and to incorporate one or more of 16 enticing ‘adventure ingredients’. Adventure ingredients were: fresh mint, fresh or crystallized ginger, pandan leaf, banana leaf, sumac, raw honey, cacao nibs, fresh or whole dried chili pepper, malbe, peanut butter, back-eyed peas, rice flour, papaya, cumin, paprika, smoked sea salt. The key personality behind the competition – Chef Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake and Orson.

Never having done this type of competition before, I spent a great deal of time developing a list of eligible recipe ideas. I submitted two recipes for consideration in the ‘sweet’ category, and one of those two submissions made it into the top 16 out of over 1,000 entries.

While my ranking was not a prize holding spot, it was truly an honor to be among the likes of this group of contestants. It was a blast to cook under the guise of a new purpose- not just for dinner or a party, but to compete and create a recipe with a competitive directive. The end result — two recipes I am thrilled with ….and the near winner will be shared with you today. It is a seemingly wacky combo of ingredients but one well worth trying if you are willing to move away from those traditional desserts and put forward an eye-popping treat.

Spicy Chacon (Chocolate Bacon) Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle Ingredients

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 cup butter
2 -3/4 cup lightly salted, dry roasted peanuts
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla

Peanut Brittle Directions

Prepare 2 baking sheets with cooking spray or butter. Set aside

In small bowl, dissolve baking soda in water and vanilla. Set aside.

In a 4 quart saucepan, heat together sugar, corn syrup and water, stirring until sugar dissolves.

When syrup boils, blend in butter. Stir frequently.

When temperature reaches 280 degrees add peanuts. Stir constantly to hard crack stage (305 degrees). Remove from heat; quickly stir in soda, mixing well.

Pour onto baking sheets.

Spicy Chocolate Glaze Ingredients

½ lb bacon, cooked
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate (4 oz Scharffen Berger 62% dark chocolate and 2 oz milk chocolate)
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp Hungarian paprika
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp sumac

Spicy Chocolate Glaze Directions

Prepare bacon, cooking on medium-low heat until dry and crispy but not blackened. Set aside on towel to drain and cool. Once cool crumble into medium size pieces.

Melt chocolate and mix in all other ingredients until well blended.

Spread on brittle and then sprinkle with bacon.

Loosen from pan when candy hardens. Break into pieces.
Makes 2 1/2 pounds.

Thank you to the group at TuttiFoodie and Scharffen Berger for the opportunity to compete. I look forward to the next competition!

The video of the final competition judging can be seen at The Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest.

Whet Your Appetite…it’s about to get GOOD

This weekend started out a bit differently then the last five weeks – it was work free and friend and family-focused. The pace finally drew to a screeching halt after a seemingly endless series of projects and life came back into focus. On the menu: breathing, laughter, food and fun (plus a few great new recipes – I couldn’t tease you further, as you have so patiently awaited this next post amidst my hefty work load. TY).

This post in itself was fun-filled. Conceptualized with my dear friend Sue Zumout @justforlicks, the concept was to create a shared post with a common element and put our own touches on it….enter stage right, Petite Parmesan Baskets, the adorable appetizer with numerous possibilities. We’ve developed six ideas, three you can find in this post and the remaining three can be easily found on her blog site (details to follow). Trust me, it will be well worth the click over as her creations were wonderful too!
Please note that to help keep the various recipes organized each filing as well as the basket recipe has its own ingredients and direction list.

Petite Parmesan Baskets

Petite Parmesan Basket Ingredients

6 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, shredded
1/2 tsp of either paprika, or cayenne (optional)

Note: to make the necessary basket form you will need mini-cup cake pans or another small item on which to form the basket.

Petite Parmesan Basket Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with either a silpat or parchment paper.

Pour 1 TBS increments of Parmesan cheese onto lined cookie sheet and flatten into a circular shape. If desired add optional seasoning.

Bake on middle rack of oven until golden brown, approximately 7 – 10 minutes. Immediately after removing from the oven, carefully transfer cheese discs with a spatula and place onto an upside down mini-cup cake pan. It is important to work quickly to form the basket shape around the outside of the mini-cup cake pan before the cheese begins to harden.

Baskets may be made two days in advance and placed on parchment paper in an airtight container at room temperature.

Pear, Manchego & Bacon Filling Ingredients

1 Red D’Anjou pear, cubed with skin on
3/4 portion 1 medium size red apple (like Lady Alice), grated with skin on
2 TBS lemon juice
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
3 slices bacon, cooked until firm and chopped
1/2 cup Manchego cheese, finely cubed (can substitute Asiago cheese)
1 TBS orange juice
1 TBS champagne vinegar
pepper, to taste

Pear, Manchego & Bacon Filling Directions

In medium-size bowl, add pear and apple and mix well with lemon juice. Add in celery, bell pepper, bacon, cheese, orange juice, vinegar and pepper. Mix well and chill until time to assemble in baskets.


Panzanella Filling Ingredients

1/2 cup Kalamata Olives, pitted and finely chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp capers
1/8 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
pepper, to taste

Panzanella Filling Directions

In small size bowl, mix together olives, tomatoes, capers and bread crumbs. Add olive oil, vinegar and pepper. Mix well and chill until time to assemble in baskets.

Prosciutto and Orange Marmalade Filling

6 slices Prosciutto, fat removed
1/2 cup orange marmalade

Prosciutto and Orange Marmalade Directions

Take a nice piece of Prosciutto that fits well into the basket and top with a dollop of orange marmalade.

For three other great basket appetizer fillings – Caprese (tomato, basil, mozzarella cheese), Crab Ceviche, Steak & Potato visit my friend Sue Zumout at Just For Licks.