Bacon

lunchbox life: chicken blt salad with homemade honey mustard dressing

image1(15)I know, I know–I’m getting a little too much into variations on the same theme. But people, I’m telling you: this salad in a jar business is going to change the way you think about meal prep and salad. If you haven’t tried it yet, here’s another take on this idea.

While I’m thrilled that we only have four weeks of school left, I’m taking a deep breath this evening before we descend into four weeks of testing. You read that correctly: four weeks. This is all over Georgia, not just at my school. State politics aside, let’s just say that I speak for many teachers when I say that education shouldn’t be this way. Without getting too far into a standardized testing rant, let’s just say that I’ll need lots of good energy for sustained patience this week…and the next three.

This salad is a total crowd pleaser; it has accessible ingredients for less-than-adventurous palates with honey mustard, grape tomatoes, chicken, and bacon. It also features several local ingredients: raw corn kernels, green peas, and beautiful salad greens.

I used my go-to shortcut for the chicken this week: skinning and picking the meat off of a Kroger rotisserie chicken. I had about 1/2 cup of chicken leftover that I may use for dinner later this week, but at $5.99 for a whole chicken that’s been recently cooked for you, it’s a steal! The only thing I actually cooked was the bacon, then I threw together the dressing in about 60 seconds.

Send good thoughts to public school teachers for the next month–testing season is upon us!

Chicken BLT Salad with Homemade Honey Mustard Dressing

1 whole rotisserie chicken, skinned and shredded

8 slices of bacon

1 cup fresh green peas

4 corn cobs, corn sliced off of the cob

1 pint cherry tomatoes

5 cups salad greens

For the dressing:

2 Tbsp. dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar

2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)

1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Cook the bacon, let cool, then crumble. Add the dressing ingredients to a small jar, shake vigorously, then divide evenly between five large jars. Next, add the green peas, then the corn, then the whole grape tomatoes, then the bacon, chicken, and salad greens.

tasty tuesday: bourbon infused meatloaf sandwiches

MEATLOAF SANDWICHES!!! AHHH!

MEATLOAF SANDWICHES!!! AHHH!

Man, it has been awhile since I’ve had time to make a proper meal in the Bungalow Kitchen. I’m sorry y’all, but February was full and the first week of March was manic. Here’s to hoping that we can fill the pages here in the next few weeks!

I’ve been dreaming about making things from Edward Lee’s Smoke and Pickles since we got it back around Christmas. I’ve attempted a couple of items previously, but this one sandwich stuck out to me as something that I just had to have. After all, it had Bourbon and Bacon and it was meatloaf and an egg and OMG ALL THE THINGS THAT ARE GOOD AND HOLY. It did not disappoint.

Eddy Lee

As is my practice, I encourage you to check out Lee’s book and since he has not shared the recipe online, I will not post it here. I amended his actual recipe to not include coca-cola, but I substituted soy sauce and molasses instead. I can’t imagine too much of a difference if the soda had been used, though. Just know that this recipe produced a very moist meatloaf that pulled apart easily. Add more breadcrumbs if you want a more substantial loaf. I would recommend adding a little more bourbon and garlic and adding some herbs to the loaf and the gravy.

The glaze that Lee recommends is perfect for any meatloaf (a simple mix of ketchup, soy sauce, and brown sugar) and provides a nice sweet layer to the dish. It crusts on the outside. The egg, as it often does, ties the dish together. Without the ripeness of summer, the tomato is optional, I hope to fire up this dish again with some in season tomatoes. I can only imagine right now.

I added arugula to the top to add a little peppery kick and because you should always have some green on your plate, even when making a meatloaf sandwich that is savory and sweet and amazing.

You should serve this with a glass of bourbon, because the dish has bourbon, and food tastes great with bourbon, and life is better with Bourbon. Bourbon.

Also, for those keeping count, this dish has beef, bourbon, and bacon. 3 Bs that are no problem at all.

 

tasty tuesday: chicken saltimbocca with country ham, succotash risotto, bacon garlic green beans

A well-balanced meal

A well-balanced meal

Whew. Tonight’s meal was rather involved. A solid hour and a half of on-my-feet cooking featuring a need to have five pans warming at one time (something I can’t do on our stove, so something had to give). But, it was rather worth it. After our week of Hugh, I decided to go with another of our favorite cooks, Virginia Willis and her book Bon Appetit, Y’all. Thumbing through the book I found a great recipe for chicken saltimbocca with country ham that looked too good to pass up.

Chicken Saltimbocca

Boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded thin
Leaves of fresh sage
Paprika, Ground Red Pepper, Red pepper flake to taste
Country Ham to cover
Flour (with pepper) to dredge
Canola oil for frying

Start by seasoning with chicken with the spices, but do not salt (you’re going to cover it with country ham, so…). Place the chicken in a plastic freezer bag to protect it while pounding thin with a meat tenderizing mallet. Pound until 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Place enough fresh sage leaves  on the top of the chicken to cover and then place the county ham, to cover on top of that and press and refrigerate. The best ham I was able to find was still somewhat thick, thinner would be better. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

When ready to cook the chicken, dredge in the peppered flour. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Cook the chicken, ham side first for about three minutes.

It will be delicious. Look to Willis’s book for more tips on how to liven up this dish, including a nice sauce.

Succotash Risotto
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup arborio rice
1 Shallot
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tbls butter

2 ears corn
1 1/2 cups frozen lima beans
2 tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic
Fresh rosemary and thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbls butter
1 tbls canola oil

Of course, I had to go my own way at make a risotto to go with it.

I’ve talked about risotto in earlier blogs and the method is pretty straightforward. The only thing different here is I added a nice succotash to go in it.

Succotash, at its heart, is a dish made with corn and lima beans–the fresher the better. Since we are at the height of corn season in GA, that part wasn’t hard, but the limas had to be frozen. Sad

When cutting the corn, the easiest way to remove the kernels is with a large chef’s knife. Cut the corn flat on the cutting board and cut the one side straight down and turn to cut all sides. Once the kernels are removed, milk the cob by scraping the knife against down the cob lengthwise.

All the small things

All the small things

Begin cooking the beans by covering with water and heat over medium high heat to boil for about 15 minutes, drain. Add the butter and oil, to the pan and add the garlic, herbs, and spices. Stir in the corn and the beans and continue cooking for about 15 minutes, reduce the heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Add the tomato and stir before removing from heat.

Suffering Succotash!

Suffering Succotash!

Stir the succotash into the risotto (in which ever amount your desire) at the same stage as the parmesan cheese. It should be creamy, but have a nice bright summer flavor that will compliment the sage in the chicken saltimbocca.

Bacon Garlic Green Beans

3 strips bacon, chopped
1/2 sweet onion
1/2 pound green beans, tips snapped
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chicken broth.

Start by cooking the bacon over medium heat until the a sufficient amount of fat has rendered out. Add the onion and garlic and cooked until the onions sweat, about five minutes. Add the beans and saute for about three minutes before adding the broth. Once the broth boils, lower the heat to medium low, cover and cook for another 15-20 minutes.

Need we say more?

Need we say more?

The beans will still be crunchy, but will have a nice savory flavor. They worked great with the risotto flavors.

All told, this was a wonderful meal, but it took some time and work. Definitely a great distraction after a long day and a good way to be sure to get a good night’s sleep.

Hope you enjoy!

tasty tuesday: grilled romaine salad with pancetta and smoked provolone with crumbled pepper bacon and a honey hot bacon dressing

This is such a quick, delicious meal!

Marginally healthy?

Marginally healthy?

Grilled salads have been popping up on menus everywhere lately. I had one in Savannah at a place called Noble Fare that was truly great. This is an attempt to recreate and better by the addition of bacon!

So, how long does this supper take? About 10 minutes. If you have your whole romaine on your board, go ahead and heat a stove-top grill plate on high heat. In a bowl, mix 1 large, two smaller cloves of garlic with a teaspoon of kosher salt and enough olive oil to cover. Brush on the outside of the romaine.

In a separate pan, fry 3 pieces of pancetta until the color turns slightly and remove. Place two strips of pepper bacon in the pan and proceed to cook to render the fat and crisp the bacon.

Place the romaine on the hot grill pan and grill for about 1 minute per side (4) and turn off heat. Let rest on pan for another minute and place on plate. Remove the hard end with a knife.

Layer the pancetta and super thin slices of the provolone on the bottom end of the romaine.

Remove the bacon from the pan. In a bowl mix 1 teaspoon honey, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, and cracked pepper until the honey is fully integrated into the vinegar. Pour mixture into the hot pan with the bacon fat. Stir for 1 minute and remove from heat. Chop bacon and some extra cheese and sprinkle over the top of the lettuce. Drizzle the hot bacon dressing over the dish and add more to the side of the plate.

Eat. Nom the bacony, sweet, smokey goodness.

For Detail. You want good grill marks.

For Detail. You want good grill marks.

tasty tuesday: country fried wiener schnitzel vom schwein, bacon garlic rosemary spaetzle, wilted brined greens

A little bit of schnitzel fried

A little bit of schnitzel fried

Inspired by my last tasty tuesday adventure using A New Turn in the South, I wanted to literally do a new Southern turn on a dish I had not had in ages- Wiener Schnitzel. And then for sides, how could I not make a little spaetzle and a quick, Southern style kraut approximation? I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.

So, what is Wiener Schnitzel? Officially, now, it is any thin breaded, fried steak, but traditionally it is a fried veal steak breaded in a breadcrumb and flour mixture and served with lemon juice. The alternative, thin pounded pork chops, was called von schwein to differentiate, but such nomenclature has largely disappeared (and much that you will find in the states is pork).

So, what makes it southern? Why, I used Alton Brown’s recipe for country fried steak, of course. I purchased a whole loin and cut some thick chops and trimmed the fat. The rest of the loin is safely tucked away in the freezer.

I also dressed them up with a little left-over BBQ rub.

I also dressed them up with a little left-over BBQ rub.

Using the tenderizing mallet, I pounded them until the were a little less than half as thick as they started. Roughly 1/2 and inch.

Having rub around is a wonderful thing.

Having rub around is a wonderful thing.

Next, they were dredged in flour with ample salt and pepper, dipped in egg, and back in the spiced flour. Let them sit for about 10-15 minutes while you heat some oil in large skillet. You want to cover the bottom of the pan with oil and heat over medium high until a water droplet pops immediately. About 4-5 mins each side, until golden brown will do.

After the schnitzel is done, its time to double down on the South and make a pan gravy. Add 3 tbsp of flour to the pan and whisk until mixed and add a can of chicken broth to deglaze the pan. Continue whisking as you add 1/2 cup of milk and some herbs (I used fresh time from the garden). Top the schnitzel with the gravy, of course.

But before you do any of that, you should make your spaetzle dough. Spaetzle is a German dumpling made of flour, milk, eggs, and spices. Any recipe you choose should be good, varying only on amount, Today I used 1 1/2 cup flour, 3 eggs, and 1/2 cup milk. Blend just like pasta, slowly working in the wet ingredients. This dough, however, will be sticky and runny, not like regular pasta.

Spaetzle

Then, boil a pot of water and use a spaetzle maker/cheese grater/large-holed colander (check) to “cut” the dough into small dumplings over the water. They only need to boil for about 5 mins and drain immediately.

All the while, you should have some bacon rendering in a pan. About three strips will do to thoroughly flavor the spaetzle, along with two cloves of minced garlic and two sprigs of chopped rosemary. Put the dumplings right into the hot bacon grease that you’ve now flavored with garlic and rosemary and fry for about 4 minutes. To top it off with some charm, I added chopped bacon back into mix. MMMM, Bacon.

Even earlier, I made a stab at some southern flash kraut. I chopped some mustard and turnip greens and blanched them with some about 1/2 cup each cider and white wine vinegar, salt, pickling spices, and garlic (with water to cover the greens in a large bowl) and refrigerated for about an hour. After draining, I wilted them over low heat in a pan for a few minutes. I would recommend collards or chard for yours, though.

The plate came together with a lovely Southern tomato:

Weiner-Schnitzel

And, of course, a nice German dunkel:

Dunkel

It was all quite good. The meat had a sweetness and overall great flavor profile and the spaetzle was like little bacony pillows. The greens we ok, and certainly complemented the dish. With the dunkel and the gravy to boot, this was like Helen, GA on a plate.

tasty tuesday: okra and country ham risotto, blackened chicken cutlets, fried egg, bacon garlic oil

Yeah...

Yeah…

Sometimes you are just inspired. Sometimes the right ideas come along and force you into a dish that you might say is the best thing you’ve ever made, and among the best things you’ve ever had. Sometimes the right advice hits you at the right time.

I have to thank Hugh Acheson, 29 South, and esquire for their recipes tips and inspiration for tonight’s food.

Since the first time I made risotto, I wanted to make it better. Since I had a wonderful carbonara with a duck egg, I wanted a similar taste, ever since I read I had been frying eggs wrong, I had to prove myself. Wins all around.

I also wanted to feed my dear friends Tim and Amanda before they left my beloved Macon.

So, I made this lovely risotto and chicken meal that knocked my socks off.

I started with cutting everything our for my Hugh inspired risotto:

Take a taste or two, you've earned it.

Take a taste or two, you’ve earned it.

I tweaked his recipe for country ham, okra and boiled peanut risotto to include rosemary and, sadly, remove the peanuts. Other than that, I followed his recipe to the letter so, out of deference, I will not post it here.

But I will show you that it started out like this:

Like butta

Like butta

While that was cooking I started my personal invention, bacon garlic oil. Taking three strips of thick sliced bacon, start rendering the fat:

It makes everything better...

It makes everything better…

And cook it for about 5 minutes, until most of the fat is gone. Once the pan has a a good layer of grease you are ready for the next step. Peal three cloves of garlic and then fry the garlic in the bacon grease. This will take about 10 mins, until brown on all sides:

You heard me.

You heard me.

Once the garlic is soft, strain the grease into a food processor with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the garlic and pulse until it is smooth and set aside in a microwavable bowl.

Now that is done, it is time the sauté the chicken cutlets. The key to the cutlet is the cut. Using a boneless breast, start at the fatter neck end and cut from the top corner toward the middle on the diagonal. One breast should net four good cutlets following this course. Pound the cutlets to tenderize and coat them in olive oil. I used a pre-made blackening seasoning packet as a short cut, but it is essentially a spicy rub with salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, and chili powder. Cook over medium high heat for about 2 mins per side, until cooked throughout, but still tender. It should squish a little bit.

Now that you have your chicken, it’s time for an egg!

I fried one egg per plate in butter in a non-stick pan. Over medium low heat, slowly crack the egg so it doesn’t spread all over the pan. Once all three are down, cover for about 4 mins so the tops cook, but the yolks stay runny. If you keep the heat low, the egg will cook perfectly, but not burn or even brown on the bottom.

Since you have been stirring and watching your risotto, it is now time to finish it off and plate. Add the risotto to a pasta bowl, then top with two of your cutlets. Place the egg and drizzle with the bacon garlic oil. I topped it with some parsley from Bungalow garden and shared with my dear friends.

This meal was divine. I highly recommend.

Bacon garlic oil:

3 strips thick sliced bacon, fat rendered
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil

Meal was served with Honeycrisp Apple Wheat Shock Top and finished with Sandeman Tawny Port. Cheers.

tasty tuesday: smoked turkey, pimiento cheese, and sriracha bacon sandwiches, fried okra, mashed sweet potatoes- JAM

It's not a Whopper, but I can see why you might be confused.

It’s not a Whopper, but I can see why you might be confused.

When I heard tale of sriracha bacon, I dreamed of this sandwich. A nice smoked turkey, pimiento cheese, and bacon, mmmm. There is a lot of flavor here, as the bacon spoke for itself and the rub of on the turkey provided some great notes against the creamy spice of the cheese. A thick slice of heirloom tomato rounded out the dish. I would have preferred ciabatta instead of the onion roll I used, but sometimes you are beholden to the whims of the grocer.

This is something that I definitely need to tweak some more, but this version is certainly good enough for repeat visits. It was my first adventure into homemade pimiento cheese or candied bacon, so honing the craft is necessary. What tweaks would you make to a sandwich like this?

Some notes on the Turkey:

I smoked the turkey on the egg the night before. I used a standard rub of sugar, salt, paprika, cayenne, garlic, and ground mustard.

whole turk

The tenderloins and thighs were one for about an hour at 200. They got a nice helping of Jack Daniels barrel chips and applewood for their trouble. The flavor and texture came out perfect, see:

sliced turk

The sweet potatoes were a nice compliment to the spice going on in the sandwich. I roasted medallions of the beautiful tuber that had been tossed in olive oil, salt, and cinnamon and then mashed them with just a dab of milk. Creamy and good.

The okra was also a first attempt for me. I think it was quite the success, with whole okra breaded in cornmeal, flour, and salt, pepper, and garlic. As someone who never ate okra as a kid, its clear I have some catching up to do!

All told it was a great meal, but I know I can make it better on repeat visits. I encourage you to make something similar on your own and let me know what you come up with!

Sandwich:

1/2 cup sliced smoked turkey, white and dark meat

2 spoonfulls of pimiento cheese of your choosing (I used a Palmetto Cheese approximation)

1 strip of sriracha candied back

1 slice of heirloom tomato

1 bun of choice

Grill sandwich until warm throughout.

Pimiento Cheese:

8 oz extra sharp cheddar

8 oz cream cheese

1/4 cup mayo

salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, curry powder, to taste

1 medium jalapeno, minced

4 oz jar of pimientos, drained.

Combine ingredients in a mixer with a paddle attachment.

Bacon:

For each strip of bacon, brush a healthy dose of sriracha on one side with pastry brush, sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake in over at 350 for about 20-25 mins.

Okra:

Dredge okra in a spiced flour mixture. Wash dredged okra in beaten egg and roll in the a cornmeal flour breading. Fry in canola oil over medium heat until golden brown. All of the spices are to taste. The cornmeal, flour ratio should be 1/1.

Mashed sweet potatoes:

3 whole sweet potatoes

2 tbls olive oil

salt and cinnamon to taste.

1/4 cup milk.

Cut the potatoes into discs and toss in oil and spices. Roast for 30 minutes or until soft. Mash with the milk until creamy.