Posts tagged ‘bacon’

July 18, 2012

BFFs | Trout and Bacon

I understand the problem as well as anyone: we’re told to eat fish for its health benefits, but it’s a challenging ingredient that leaves us either nervous or unfulfilled.  We’re afraid to eat it, and when we do we’re hungry later.  Well I have the solution — trout paired with bacon.

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January 27, 2012

Why You Always Buy Beets with the Greens | Duck Fat Beet Greens

Growing up, this was just about the only way I would eat my greens.  I am more adventurous now, but I still love some good smothered greens.  This is an ultra-simple recipe, one my Grandma made frequently, making a quick gravy out of (usually) some rendered bacon fat, a little flour and some onions.  It is quintessential Great Depression cooking: making do with the leftovers.  Lowly ingredients that are greater than the sum of their parts.

This time I had some leftover duck fat from a spicy smoked duck breast to start the gravy.  If you don’t have it, use bacon fat.  It’s enough to turn a greens-phobic into a greens lover.

Beet Greens with Duck Fat and Onion Gravy, makes enough for two (but barely, if one of them is me)

Greens from one bunch of beets, stems removed, washed well and chopped

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December 5, 2011

Early Winter Heaven | Turbot with Chanterelles and Melted Parsnips

Turbot has become my new favorite fish.  At first blush, it’s light, mild, and delicate.  But a heartbeat later you realize its meaty, dense, and packed with beautiful flavor.  Pair it with this seasonal and politely assertive sauce and you’ll really get your loved one’s attention on a cold December night.  Most importantly, the ingredients are familiar and the techniques are pretty basic.  It’s a can’t miss weeknight meal that’s quick, healthy, satisfying and elegant.  I can hardly believe something so simple could make such an impact.  It’s a beautiful dish.

Turbot is popular on European plates, but lately it seems to be making its presence known in American eateries and grocery stores as well.  If you can’t find it, ask your fishmonger.  The success of this meal is directly related to the quality of the ingredients.  Find the best mushrooms you can.  These were from the Greener Grocer and perfection.  This is a modified version of a dish found in Rick Stein’s Complete Seafood.  You must own this book.

Early Winter Turbot with Chanterelles and Melted Parsnips, serves 2

2/3 to 3/4 of a pound Turbot fillet

3 strips of bacon, thickly sliced

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March 15, 2011

Irish Cooking | Pork Rib Stew

So much of Irish cooking was born from necessity.  But from Ireland’s extraordinary hardships came simple, delicious farmhouse dishes that rely on cheap, available ingredients.  In this case, there are a mere four ingredients – pork ribs, bacon, onions, and of course, potatoes.  Then, with a little heat and a little time, they transform themselves into a comforting, nourishing, almost healing stew that makes the house smell beautiful.  Plus, its inexpensive and bountiful – it easily makes enough to feed a sizable group.  So make the most of not very much and bring the family around your table.  And that’s a lot more Irish than green beer.

Irish Pork Rib Stew, Serves 6

2 lb pork ribs (not baby back), cut into six pieces

3 slices bacon, chopped

1 large onion, sliced

4 large potatoes, approximately 2 lbs, two peeled and sliced, two peeled and cubed

Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and add bacon.  Cook until lightly browned, then add ribs and cover with four inches of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Skim off any fat and foam that rises to the surface.  Add onions and potatoes and cook for another three hours.

Serve with brown bread and homemade butter.  (The easiest recipe which I’ll post tomorrow.)

Playlist included Only Shallow, by My Bloody Valentine.

January 31, 2011

Obsession with Breakfast Continues | Chicken and Waffles

It seems to me that I’m going through a breakfast phase.  Eggs at most meals, bacon at dinner.  This is good for the winter.  It’s cold, it’s comforting to have maple syrup on the table.  It reminds you that the sap will be rising again soon, tapped by our friends the farmers.  Rising sap means spring can’t be too far off.  Tell that to the ice storm that’s supposed to be coming through tonight, but I digress from my pretty story.

Saturday morning, Cherub wanted waffles.  Being the loving, indulgent mother I am – don’t snicker derisively, you – I set to doing it right after a large cup of coffee away.  Curses that we were out of butter.  No matter, it seems.  Mr. James Beard himself says waffles are just delicious with bacon fat.  Well, certainly!  Now before you go shaking your head and saying, “How can a loving mother feed her child bacon fat!?!”  It’s really very easy.  You just don’t do it every day.

So a good batch of waffles were sitting in the fridge, leftover, insisting that something to be done with them.  Chicken and waffles is the obvious choice.  But I wasn’t about to serve fried chicken with those bacon-y waffles, although that would have been divine.  I opted for a lighter version, a pan seared chicken breast.

I do go for the bone in, skin on version, as it makes for a tastier, moister breast.  It’s easily de-boned before serving, takes all of about 15 seconds, really.  You have fifteen seconds, don’t you?  And if you want really, good, fresh chicken, stop by North Market Poultry and Game.  They have the very best here in Columbus, bar none.

The best way to cook a chicken breast (or two) is to season it generously with salt and pepper and sear it in a 10-inch pan that’s got some good (and hot) olive oil in it.  Let it brown very well, skin side down first, then flip it over and brown the other side as well.  Add in about a cup and a half of chicken stock, a sprig of thyme and a clove of crushed garlic, bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to cook fairly slowly, turning and basting the chicken until it’s done.  Twenty to thirty minutes or so should do the trick.  Also by this time, your stock should be just about reduced to nothing.  Snug up the curved sides of the breast to the sides of the pan to get a good last bit of browning on them then pull them out to rest a few moments while you toast the leftover waffles and heat up the syrup.

To serve, remove the bones from the chicken (and the skin if you must) and slice.  Place on top of the waffle.  Add a slice of bacon or two if you want some extra protein.  Drizzle generously with maple syrup and cross your fingers spring comes sooner rather than later.

Playlist included Radioactive by Kings of Leon.

January 16, 2011

Breakfast Tacos, San Antonio Style

I grew up eating breakfast tacos.  Notice I did not refer to these as breakfast “burritos.”  You won’t find vegetables in these.  They are not some sort of fancy omelet in a flour tortilla.  They are typically leftovers and eggs wrapped in a warm flour tortilla.  They usually consist of some combination of the following : Meat (carnitas, chorizo, bacon, brisket, carne guisada), beans (usually refried), cheese (usually grated cheddar), potatoes, and eggs (scrambled).

In San Antonio, where I spent my early years, breakfast tacos are more popular than donuts.  There are places you can pick up a dozen for work (you’ll always get brownie points for this).  My favorite little taco place (read: hole in the wall) has housemade flour tortillas and a seemingly endless variety of fillings for your taco.  My favorite: bean, egg and bacon.

Thousand Oaks Breakfast Tacos

Refried Beans (mine were pinto, that I pureed, then reheated in bacon drippings and seasoned with chili powder and ground cumin)

Scrambled Eggs (I used Holistic Acres)

Slices of meaty fried bacon (mine was Neuske’s)

Small (not burrito sized, y’all) flour tortillas (I heat mine directly over my gas burners on the stove. Use tongs if you must, but I’ve got asbestos fingers and do it by touch, flipping and rotating until they bubble).

Assemble your taco with a base of beans, a spoonful of egg and a slice of bacon.  Fold in half as you would a soft taco.  Nothing more complicated than that.  Serve with hot sauce or pico de gallo.  This morning I didn’t have salsa so I used Sriracha for the heat.

Playlist included Give Back the Key to My Heart, by San Antonio boy, Doug Sahm.

 

September 23, 2010

Thursday Night Turkey, via Slovenia

Poseidon is somewhat of a world traveler.  After spending some time in Slovenia, he brought back with him a delightful way to incorporate turkey into a weekly menu.  He first came across this dish at the restaurant Julija on Ljublijana’s Main Square.  It’s a very typical and traditional Slovene dish, but with Italian notes (after all, Venice is just a stone’s throw).  Turkey and game are more popular there than chicken.  Why not consider a turkey breast for your weeknight meal?  It’s not a lot of work (season the ingredients and toss them in the oven, make a quick sauce), but it’s a lot of flavor.

Julija’s Fennel Turkey with Gorgonzola Bechamel, Roasted Brussels and Potatoes

For the Turkey:

1.5 lb. boneless (skin on!) turkey breast

1 T fennel seeds

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 to 10 fresh sage leaves, chopped

Olive oil, salt, pepper

Combine the fennel, garlic and sage then stuff under the loosened skin on the turkey breast.  Drizzle breast with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place in a roasting pan and put in a 400˚ oven for approximately 50 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 165˚.

For the vegetables:

8 to 10 brussel sprouts, trimmed

2 medium red skinned potatoes, cubed

Salt and pepper

In a bowl, combine the Brussels and potatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Arrange on an oiled baking sheet, place in a 400˚ oven (along with the turkey) for approximately 30 minutes, or until vegetables are browned.  Shake the pan once or twice during roasting to evenly brown.

For the Gorgonzola sauce:

2 T butter

2 T flour

¼ c heavy cream

¾ c milk

 2 oz gorgonzola or blue cheese

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over low heat, then add in the flour, stirring to eliminate any lumps.  Cook for one or two minutes.  Whisk in the cream and milk.  Add the cheese and stir to melt.  If the sauce is too thick, add in a bit more milk.  This should only take 3-4 minutes.  Set aside, keeping warm until you are ready to serve.  (Or should you just pour the whole thing over some macaroni?  Perhaps another time…)

To finish the veg:

2 slices bacon, chopped

Apple cider vinegar

To finish the vegetables, cook the bacon in a large pan over low heat until crisp.  Add in the roasted brussels and potatoes, along with a splash of apple cider vinegar.  Stir to incorporate, cook over low heat for a minute or two.

Serve with Hedges C.M.S. White, from Washington State.  It is a shockingly good pairing.

PK tip: be careful, if you have leftover bread in your pantry, you may be tempted to eat the rest of the Gorgonzola sauce out of the pan as you’re cleaning up.  Well, that’s not really a tip.  It’s something to do.  And come to think of it, I recommend it.

Tonight we listened to Hang with Me, by Robyn, amongst other things.

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