Category Archives: bacon

Bacon, Golden Raisin and Pine Nut Quinoa

Quinoa is such a sexy grain right now. I like to add some middle eastern flavors but plus bacon to make a sweet and savory meal.

Bacon, Golden Raisin and Pine Nut Quinoa

6 slices bacon, chopped
½ large sweet onion, chopped
1 ½ cups quinoa, rinsed
3 cups chicken broth
¼ cup pine nuts
½ cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and pepper

In a large pot, cook the bacon until it is golden brown. Add the onions and continue cooking until the onions turn translucent. Add the quinoa, chicken broth, pine nuts, raisins and salt and pepper. Bring everything to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the husk separates from the grain. Add the parsley and check to see if more salt and pepper is needed.

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Cassolette

A hearty French Cassolette is the best food to get you through the winter. It requires a bit of work, but you can leave it in the over to finish on its own. This version has a bit extra vegetables with the addition of the baby squash. If you don’t want to use sausage you can use duck legs, chicken legs or thighs or any other meat that will hold up to a braze in the over.

Cassolette:
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 ½ lb pork sausage, cut into chunks
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 10oz packages of mushrooms
2-3 cups chicken broth
½ cup white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 lb baby squash, cut into bite size pieces
10 sprigs of thyme
2 – 15 oz cans of white beans
Salt and pepper

In a large cast iron Dutch oven, over medium high heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside. Add the sausage and let it brown on one side. Stir and let it brown on the other side. Remove the sausage and set aside with the bacon. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Add the onions and garlic to the oil in the pot. Sautee in the oil until clear and translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned. Add the chicken broth, wine and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Add the squash, thyme and beans and stir. Add back in the sausage and bacon. Mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper and taste the broth to make sure it is salty enough. Put the lid on the pot and cook in the over for 1 hour.

Bacon and Broccoli Mini Quiches

Mini quiches are a classic part food. They are quintessentially French and really easy to eat. They can be made ahead and reheated quickly on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees. Though it would be very easy to buy these in the freezer section, when you make them yourself they are truly exceptionally. These were a huge hit with the father to be.

Bacon and Broccoli Mini Quiches

Crust:
3 cups flour
2 sticks of butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup water

In a large metal bowl, mix all ingredients, except the water with a fork or pastry cutter. The goal is to incorporate the butter until it is the texture of course meal. Slowly sprinkle in the water and quickly mix. Making sure not to put in too much water, briefly kneed the pastry so that it forms a cohesive ball. Pull out about 1 tablespoon of dough and flatten into a round, place it into a mini-muffin pan to form a miniature pie shell.

Filling:
6 eggs
¾ cup milk
2 teaspoons mustard
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 8 oz package shredded cheddar cheese
½ lb thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
10 oz bag broccoli, defrosted, drained and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrease. Beat the eggs, milk, mustard and seasonings with a whisk until well combined.

Fill half of the pastry with broccoli and the other half with cheese. For the broccoli quiches, top them with a bit of the cheese. For the cheese quiches, top them with a bit of the bacon bits. Slowly fill the mini pies with the egg mixture until you can see the egg peaking out of the filling.

Place the molds on top of a baking sheet and bake the pans for 30 minutes or until the tops turn golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Bacon Truffles

I’ve always been a fan of salty sweet things. First it started with salty caramel then salt and chocolate. Last year something really interesting appeared at my local Vosges chocolate shop here in Soho: bacon and chocolate. It was good, but not amazing. I knew it could be better. So for this holiday season, instead of buying gifts, I decided to make a NYC delicacy and bring it back to DC for my family and friends, bacon truffles. It is important to get smoky bacon; it adds a much better depth of flavor. I choose a hickory smoked bacon but you could use apple wood smoked bacon as well. I also buy my chocolate in blocks from the specialty section of WholeFoods. High quality chocolate is what makes truffles so luxurious.

Bacon Truffles
2 12oz packages of hickory smoked bacon
2 ½ pounds great quality semi sweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound semi sweet chocolate

The first step is to render the fat off of the bacon and make it into bacon bits for the final garnish. Chop the bacon into very fine pieces and cook it in a heavy pan on medium high heat. Stir the bacon intermittently to make sure that it browns and crisps easily. Once the bacon starts to get close to a dark red color and looks crispy, remove it to a dish lined with several paper towels. The bacon will continue to cook once it is removed, so make sure you remove it early enough so that it doesn’t burn as it cools. Set aside 1/3 cup of the bacon fat, without any bacon bits.

Chop the chocolate into small chunks. Place it into a large metal bowl. Add the cream, fat and salt. Place the chocolate bowl over a pot filled with water on medium heat. Let the chocolate steam over the water for at least 10 minutes. Using a whisk, once the chocolate is melted, start in the center of the bowl and slowly whisk to combine into a silky ganache. Remove the chocolate from the heat and let to cool to room temperature.

Using two teaspoons, spoon out balls of ganache onto baking trays lined with parchment paper. Roll the balls into globes with your hands. If your hands are super warm like mine are, or if your ganache is still too soft, place the trays in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up the confections.

Chop the last block of chocolate and place it into a medium size metal bowl. Place it over a pot of water on medium high heat, stirring with a rubber spatula intermittently. Let the chocolate melt completely. Pick up some of the melted chocolate with the spatula; drop it back into the pool of chocolate. If the falling chocolate sinks into the rest of the melted chocolate the temper is broken. If it still piled up on top of the surface, continue to heat the chocolate. Once the chocolate is fully melted, move the medium size bowl into a larger metal bowl that is a quarter full of ice and cold water. Continue to mix the chocolate, paying special attention to mix in the hardening chocolate that is sticking to the sides of the bowl. Test the chocolate to see if the temper has returned, life some of the melted chocolate out of the bowl and drizzle it back into the pool of melted chocolate. Once the temper has returned, the chocolate will stack up on itself as opposed to sinking back into the bowl.

Drop the ganache balls into the melted chocolate. Roll them to coat and extract them using two small spoons. Place the coated truffles onto the parchment paper and sprinkle with a healthy amount of the bacon pits. If you really love bacon, roll the chocolates into the bacon to coat completely. Cool the finished truffles in the refrigerator. Store the truffles in an air tight container until ready to serve.

Squidy Goodness

Squid is one of my favorite foods. However, I try to order it for takeout in my hood and it is always sub par. I ordered this once from the Italian takeout joint around the corner and it was so lack luster that I had to make it better myself.

Sautéed Calamari

5 slices of thick cut bacon, chopped
½ onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped
½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
1 pound squid, cut into rings
10 black olives, chopped
½ lemon

Heat the bacon in a large skillet on medium high eat. Sautee until its crispy and golden brown. Drain off most of the fat and add the onions and garlic. Keep stirring and cooking until the onions are translucent and soft. Add the tomatoes, seasoning and salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes turn into a sauce. Add the squid and olives and keep cooking, for about 5 minutes, until the squid looks done. Squeeze the lemon over the squid and serve.

The Incredible, Envious Egg

WholeFoods has installed an exotic egg bar at the Bowrey location. I’m obsessed with the ostrich eggs. They are beautiful orbs that unfortunately sell for $39.99. They look like they would hold about a ½ dozen regular eggs. I want to buy one and turn it into a beautiful chocolate mousse, served in the shell. I can’t justify the expense, so I used my own half a dozen eggs ($2.00) and made a quiche out of the leftover broccoli gratin.

Broccoli and Bacon Quiche

Crust:
1 ½ cups flour
1 stick of butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
¼ cup water

2 cups broccoli florets, cooked
1 pound bacon, chopped
1/2 pound shredded cheddar
6 eggs
½ cup cream
2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
salt and pepper

Mix the flour, butter, salt and sugar in a mental bowl with a fork. Mash in the butter until it forms course meal. Gradually add in the water, you may not need all of it. Mix the dough together till it forms a ball. Divide the mixture in half, save one half for another project. Roll out the other half of the dough and place it in a pie pan. Crimp the edges and trim any excess.

Cook the bacon in a pan until crisp, drain and discard the fat. Pre heat the over to 350 degrees. Fill the pastry with a layer of broccoli, then a layer of bacon and top it with the cheese. Beat the eggs, cream herbs and salt and pepper in a bowl. Slowly pour it over the quiche. The eggs should come to the top of the cheese, but not over flow. If necessary, beat another egg with more cream, or milk, the herbs and salt and pepper and pour into the quiche.

Bake the quiche, uncovered for 1 hour until the top is golden brown.

Jet Lagged

It is really hard to get your appetite on board when you are jet lagged. It isn’t just about a sleep problem. I made this quick and easy dish, which reheats really well. Get some protein and the combo of salty sweet to match all of your cravings.

Shrimp, Bacon and Peas
1 package bacon, regular or turkey
Olive Oil
1 lb shrimp
1 tablespoon parsley
½ teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 package of frozen sweet peas, thawed
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 can of drained chickpeas
or
1 lb fettuccini pasta, cooked according to directions

Cut the bacon into chunks and heat on medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until crispy and brown. If you are using turnkey bacon, you may need to add a tiny bit of olive oil to the pan. If you are using regular bacon, drain the pan of most of the oil. Add the shrimp and seasonings. Stir until the shrimp is almost cooked. Add the peas and toss to heat. Add the cheese and either the chickpeas or pasta. Toss to heat and evenly coat.