Tag Archives: bacon

Bar Stool Fridays – Bacon and Bourbon

Yay…more food gifts for the Cook in a Bar household!  Our friends Dave and Laura gifted us with some bacon flavored syrup and the suggestion we use it in a cocktail.

We thought that was an excellent idea and what better combination for bacon than bourbon?  And what better time to have both bacon and bourbon than at breakfast?

Bacon and Bourbon Milk Punch
Makes 1 drink

2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce creme de cacao
4 ounces whole milk
1/2 ounce bacon flavored syrup
dash of ground cinnamon
dash of ground nutmeg

Shake the liquid ingredients and cinnamon vigorously in an ice-filled shaker.  Strain into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass.  Sprinkle the top with nutmeg.

Kick off your weekend right and serve these up for brunch.  You won’t be sorry.

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Game Day Eats – Bavarian Potato Salad

At the suggestion of my brother, I’ve started a weekly entry of recipes for food and drinks to serve while watching sports.  This marks the second installment.  Stay tuned for more developments.

Most of our gang of friends are sports fans and we often gather together to watch sporting events, even if there are multiple TVs in multiple rooms.  Watching with my friends can make my team’s victory that much sweeter, or make their losses (of which there are too many) a little less sharp.  (Please do not comment on this, Hank.)

Our gatherings always include food and I’m glad to share my recipes.  I hope you’ll be inspired to host your own gameday gatherings whether they are on the couch or at a tailgate party.

Bavarian Potato Salad
Serves plenty

Modified from the Kansas City Barbeque Society Cookbook

5 lbs Russet potatoes
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup kosher salt
1 1/2 Tbsp coarse ground black pepper
1/2 Tbsp caraway seeds
4 – 5 slices bacon

Scrub the potatoes, place in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to boil over medium high heat.  Boil for about 30 minutes or until you see the skin of the potatoes start to crack.

Drain the potatoes and rinse with cold water.  To cool them faster, refill the pot with cold water and leave the potatoes to sit in it for about 5 minutes.

Now peel the potatoes.  The skin should remove easily with your fingers or a sharp knife.  Be careful, the potatoes may still be a bit hot.

Cut the potatoes in half, lengthwise.  The slice into 1/4-inch pieces, not chunks – slender slices.

Place the potatoes in a bowl.  Add the sliced onion.

Combine olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and caraway seeds.

Whisk well and pour over potatoes and onions.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Shortly before serving, fry the bacon until crisp.  Drain well on paper towels.  Once it cools, crumble into small pieces and add to potatoes.  Stir, taste, and add additional salt and pepper, if needed.

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Herbal Gifts Lead to Dinner

One of the nicest benefits of writing this blog (besides getting to electronically meet folks from all over the world) is that local friends often provide me with food gifts.  They give them to me because they know I will use them and I guess sometimes they are interested to see if I will write about what I do with them.

Recently, I was the lucky recipient of a large quantity of fresh herbs from my friend Karen’s garden.  Oh, boy, was I excited thinking about all I could do with this collection of flavors.

First up was a risotto with fresh sage and bacon.  I used to believe that I didn’t like sage.  I thought is was too strong and musty and it made me think of camphor.  But, then I realized that I only dislike dried sage.  Freshly picked sage is another story…it is lighter with a bit of lemony flavor.  Perfect paired with butternut squash or apple, or bacon…!

This recipe is the result of my experimentation with making risotto in the oven, instead of the stovetop with constant stirring.  It is great for an easy after-work meal.  This is inspired by a recipe from Delia Smith.  It is has a slightly less creamy texture than risotto prepared in the traditional way, but I think this is good in its own right.  I hope you do, too.

Oven Risotto with Sage and Bacon
Serves 4

about 2 Tbsp olive oil
4 to 6 slices of bacon, sliced into lardons (small, thin strips)
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
1 cup arborio rice (specially made for risotto)
5 Tbsp white wine or lager beer (whichever you have on hand)
2 cups chicken broth
about 2 tsp fresh sage, chopped
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 to 4 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated

First, find a pan that can move from the stovetop to the oven.  If it has a lid, that makes it really perfect.  If it doesn’t, you can just use foil instead.  I used an enameled cast iron pan that my brother passed down to me.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Place your pan on the burner and heat about 1 Tbsp of olive oil.  Add the lardons or bacon strips and cook.

Once the bacon starts to brown, add the diced onion.  Depending on how much fat your bacon has, you may need to add more olive oil at this point.  Stir and cook until the onion is soft.

Add the rice and stir to coat the grains in the oil.

Now, add the wine or beer, chicken broth, sage, and black pepper.

Stir to blend and turn down heat to low.  Bring the mixture to a simmer.

Turn off burner, cover pan with lid or foil, and transfer to preheated oven.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Then, remove lid or foil cover, and add the grated Parmesan cheese.

Stir, recover, and put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.  The final texture should be thick with no liquid left.  If there is some remaining liquid, just stir, recover and place back in oven.  Check it every five minutes or so until it reaches the appropriate texture.

Serve warm and you may want to add a bit more grated Parmesan cheese to each helping.

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Barstool Fridays – New Belgium Beer and A Quiver of Bacon

Intrigued?  Hope so!

I was recently selected to be a part of the FoodBuzz Tastemaker Program for New Belgium Brewing Company.  FoodBuzz is encouraging its bloggers to create recipes using or to be matched with New Belgium Beer.  Well, I really enjoy New Belgium’s offerings so I couldn’t turn down this opportunity.  Unfortunately, it is not currently available in the mid-Atlantic region where I reside.  It is available in my home state of Texas, though, and with the kind assistance of my beer-loving parents I was able to secure some for my use.  Thanks to FoodBuzz, New Belgium and, of course, Mom and Dad!

New Belgium Brewing

In the mood for spring, I elected to focus on their spring seasonal, Mighty Arrow Pale Ale.  It is pleasantly hoppy with honey malt undertones.

And, here’s my favorite part…it is brewed as a tribute to the founder’s dog, Arrow, a Border Collie mix.  I love the idea that a beer is made to honor a dog.  My dog, Charley, does, too.  I’m pretty sure he hopes to be on a beer label someday.

I decided to experiment with creating a beer cocktail.  And, bacon has been on my mind a lot lately, so I thought why not combine the two?  In fact, my mom encouraged me to try to create a BLT beer cocktail.  Hence…

A Quiver of Bacon or the Mighty Arrow BLT Beer Cocktail
Makes 1 drink

2 slices bacon, for garnish
3 – 4 croutons, for garnish
1 oz bacon vodka (yeah, that’s right…I’ll give you directions, look at the end of the entry)
1/2 oz lettuce juice (don’t worry…I’ll tell you how to do that, too)
3 oz tomato juice
2 – 3 dashes hot sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz New Belgium Mighty Arrow beer

Fry bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels.

(As I started to fry the bacon, Charley moseyed into the kitchen to watch me carefully.  He is a pretty constant kitchen companion, and is a big fan of bacon.)

Cube slightly stale bread into croutons.

Lightly brown the bread cubes in bacon grease.  Drain on paper towels.

In an ice filled shaker, add bacon vodka, lettuce juice, tomato juice, hot sauce, and salt and pepper.  Shake well.  Pour into pint glass, and pour beer on top.  Garnish with bacon and croutons, and serve.

Charley hopes you’ll share your bacon with a furry friend…

Bacon Vodka

To make bacon-infused vodka, I used a technique known as fat-washing.  I poured bacon fat into vodka, stirred, and then put it in the freezer.

To recreate, fry bacon and save the grease.  I’ve found that I can get about 1/2 cup of bacon fat from frying about a dozen pieces of bacon.

Figure out how much vodka you want to flavor and then determine how much grease you need to add.  I think for each ounce of vodka that you want to infuse, you should add at least 1/2 tsp of bacon grease.  Just pour that fat on in there and you will see that it pretty quickly separates.
Stir it up, cover well, and put in the freezer for at least 12 hours.  It will separate again and the fat will solidify in the freezer making it pretty easy to remove.
So, scrape out what fat you can and then strain the rest.  I used a paper towel lined sieve to help catch all the fat residue.
Now you are ready to use the vodka to make your Mighty Arrow BLT beer cocktail.
Lettuce Juice
This is really easy, too.  I just blitzed a few lettuce leaves in a food processor with a splash of Mighty Arrow beer.
For me, 6 or 7 leaves of lettuce with a couple of splashes of beer made about 3 ounces of lettuce juice.

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Green Goodness

I love avocados.  I could eat them just about every day.  In fact, when I lived in Texas, I very nearly did.  They were a tasty part of any meal.  The avocado tree is native to Mexico and while they are easily trucked into Texas, they are also cultivated there, too.  So, the fruit was pretty widely available to me and pretty cheap, as well.  Not so much here in Washington, DC.

I saw some Dominican avocados in the store today, and they looked a bit worse for wear from their long journey…

We start to see domestic avocados here in the Spring,and I am anxiously awaiting their arrival…

Salad with Grilled Chicken, Bacon, and Avocado
Makes 4 servings 

For Salad:

2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
4 slices bacon
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 large avocado, or 2 small avocados
2 to 3 green onions
1 bell pepper (any color)
10 oz. salad greens (variety is your preference)

First, you need to marinate the chicken.  I always use gallon-sized zip-top plastic bags for my marinades, but a large bowl covered with plastic wrap will work, too.  Combine chicken, garlic, salt and pepper, lime juice, and olive oil in plastic zip-top bag.

After sealing, use hands to distribute liquids and spices over chicken.  Keep in refrigerator for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Heat grill to medium high.  Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade.  Grill chicken 6 to 8 minutes on each side.

Remove from grill and let rest a few minutes.  Slice into strips and set aside.

You have some options for cooking the bacon…You can pull out your cast-iron skillet and cook the bacon over medium heat for 20 or 30 minutes until crisp.  Or, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, and line a broiler pan with aluminum foil.

Arrange the bacon slices in a single layer and bake them for about 15 minutes or until crisp.

Cool and drain on paper towels.

Dice tomatoes, bell pepper, avocados, and green onions.

I like to prepare one large salad, but you may want to plate individual salads for each of your guests.

In a large serving bowl, add salad greens.  Toss with tomatoes, peppers, avocado, and onion.

Crumble cooked and cooled bacon on top.

Add grilled chicken.

Serve with dressing.

For Dressing:

1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 dried basil
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well blended, or pour all ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake until emulsified.

Tip for keeping your avocados green: Try rinsing or submerging the sliced fruit in cold water to prevent browning.  How does that work?  I’ve not seen a clear explanation, but some food scientists think that the cold water rinse removes phenolic compounds that cause browning.

Avocados are not just delicious…they are also beneficial to your health.

  1. Healthy Eyes – Avocados have more carotenoid lutein than any other fruit.  This antioxident protects against macular degeneration and cataracts.
  2. Lower Cholesterol – Avocados are high in beta-sitosterol, a natural substance that has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
  3. Lower Blood Pressure – Avocados are a great source of potassium, which contributes to lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of stroke.  Avocados contain even more potassium containing than bananas!
  4. Great Source of Vitamin E – Avocados are the greatest fruit source of Vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects against many diseases and helps maintain overall health.
  5. Skin Moisturizer – Avocado butter and oil, two deep-conditioning emollients, will soften skin, eliminate dry patches, and restore your skin’s elasticity.  High in vitamins A, C, and E, avocado oil conditions skin without leaving behind an oily residue.

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