Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bacon Jam

1 lb bacon, diced
1 lg onion, diced
2 Tbl brown sugar
2 Tbl maple syrup
¼ C apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp thyme
salt & pepper to taste

Crisp the bacon in a skillet; remove onto paper towel to drain, reserving as much as possible of the drippings in the skillet. Add onion to skillet and drippings (adding a little extra canola oil if needed); cook to soften and caramelize onions (approx. 15-20 minutes).

Return bacon to skillet along with brown sugar, maple syrup, vinegar and thyme. Cook over low heat to full dissolve brown sugar and thoroughly heat all ingredients.

Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. If desired, pulse in food processor to desired, spreadable consistency. Salt & pepper to taste.

Great on burgers (full bacon flavor in every bite without fighting strips of bacon sliding off your burger). Probably would be delicious on a BLT too. I'm curious to try it on my Peanut Butter Apple & Bacon Sandwich. :)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Lime & Sesame Vinaigrette

After the relatively recent miso-orange vinaigrette, I wanted to try for another (better) Asian-inspired vinaigrette...

1 lg shallot, finely chopped
1 C fresh lime juice
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
½ C toasted sesame oil
½ C vegetable oil
¼ C soy sauce
3 T honey or maple syrup

Combine shallot and lime juice in a bowl; season with salt and pepper. Let sit 10 minutes. Add sesame oil, vegetable oil, soy sauce and honey/syrup. Whisk to combine. Season with additional salt and/or pepper to taste.

This was good on a salad of fresh greens (cabbage, slivered scallions, and shredded carrots play nicely with the Asian flavors) along with mandarin orange wedges topped with crunchy chow mein noodles or peanuts -- sprinkled with sesame seeds, garnished with finely chopped fresh mint and/or cilantro leaves...  Some grilled, diced chicken or pork makes for a heartier salad. Add more or less of anything to suit your tastes.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Corn & Bacon Bucatini

Serves 4

2 lg ears corn on the cob
8 oz bucatini
½ C half-and-half
1 egg yolk
1 tsp each kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
4-5 oz bacon shredded parmesan, divided
1 T minced garlic
½ C shredded parmesan, divided

Cook corn in a large pot of lightly salted water -- about 5 min. Remove corn to cool slightly; add bucatini to water and cook to al dente. Drain, reserving a cup of pasta water.

Cut corn from cobs. Whisk together half and half, egg yolk, salt and pepper.

In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp; remove from skillet -- reserving bacon drippings. Chop or crumble bacon. Add garlic to hot skillet, cooking and stirring briefly (1 min). Reduce heat, then add cream mixture, corn, and crumbled bacon; bring to boiling. Add pasta and ¼ C parmesan. Bring pasta back to temperature, adding pasta water to desired consistency.

Serve topped with remaining shredded parmesan.

I didn't have bucatini and just used spaghetti, and if I was making this for company I'd go with yellow corn instead of white (which is what I had on hand) just for more colorful presentation...

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb crisp (or pie, or rhubarb anything) wasn't something I ever had growing up. My mom didn't make it, and I don't remember either of my grandmothers making it either -- though it sounds like something they would likely have made, especially my Grandma Margaret who was also an avid gardener. Anyway, my brother-in-law recently mentioned how much he liked rhubarb dishes (and rarely gets them -- likely because they're no more in my sister's baking repertoire than mine!), so I thought I'd give it a go...

Serves 8-10

Fruit Filling Ingredients
4 C rhubarb, large diced (1")
4 C strawberries, large diced
1 C sugar
zest and juice of one orange (about ½ C juice, and close to 2 tsp zest)
1 T cornstarch

Crumble Topping Ingredients
¾ C flour
1 C rolled oats
¼ C sugar
½ C brown sugar
½  tsp salt
¾ C butter, diced

Preheat oven to 350˚. In a large bowl, combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and zest. Dissolve cornstarch in orange juice; add to rhubarb-strawberry mixture and gently stir to combine. Spoon or pour mixture into 9x13 (or even slightly larger) baking dish.

In a large bowl, stir together first 5 ingredients of crumble topping to evenly distribute. Cut in butter and continue mixing until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spread evenly over fruit in baking dish. Bake 1 hour, until fruit is bubbling and crumble topping is golden brown.

Best served warm, with ice cream or whipped cream.

#1   I think this recipe makes a generous amount of crumble topping! I've never had complaints along those lines, but you could probably do with less, or save some for another recipe.

#2   Since the fruit may very well bubble over the edge of the dish, it's not a bad idea to put a large baking sheet under the 9x13 pan, or on the lower rack of the oven to catch any drips or spills. Line it with foil or parchment to make clean-up even easier.

Photo -- not exactly a 'glamour shot' as it's simply still in the baking dish...but it's going to my brother-in-law whole, tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Tomato Butter

½ C butter
2 plum tomatoes
2 t olive oil
1 t fresh thyme leaves
½ t salt
1 clove garlic

Seed and quarter tomatoes. Toss tomatoes and garlic with oil, thyme and salt. Spread on baking sheet and bake at 375˚ about 35-40 minutes -- until tomatoes are soft and garlic is golden. Let cool. Puree with butter. Serve on bread, corn on the cob, chicken, steak...

If you're short on time, you can make a similar compound butter using jarred, sun-dried tomatoes, which are typically already seasoned with garlic and herbs/spices.