Tag Archives: bacon

Leek and Bacon Butter

Welcome to your new obsession: trying to figure out the myriad things you can use to make compound butter

Welcome to your new obsession: trying to figure out the myriad things you can use to make compound butter.

We hope you came off your January detox as quickly as we did because we’ve got one more delicious ditty to add to the seemingly infinite lists of food trends for the year: compound butter. Yes folks, it is possible to actually make butter more delicious and it simply entails mixing things in with it. To absolutely no one’s surprise we chose bacon as our gateway compound. But wait, there’s more! We also caramelized some leeks to give it a sweet and slightly vegetal backbone. You can use this to make any dish more interesting (potatoes, roasted veggies and pasta come to mind) but we’re betting you’ll do what we did and just end up eating most of it on fresh bread. Resolutions be damned.

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, Spatula, Serving Spoon, Small Mixing Bowl, Medium Mixing Bowl, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Parchment Paper or Wax Paper, Plastic Wrap

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 8-10

Suggested Wine Pairing: whatever you’re drinking

Suggested Beer Pairing: whatever you’re drinking

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick and 3 TBSP unsalted butter (divided) ($4.99/lb)
  • 1 small leek (about $2.99/lb)
  • 1 clove garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon ($7.99/lb)

Preparation:

  • Do two things before you start to save yourself a lot of mess 1)Put a stick of butter in your medium mixing bowl. You want it room temperature when you’re ready to make things compound. 2) Lay out a 12 inch piece of parchment paper so you’re literally ready to roll once the leeks have melted down.
  • Cut the green woody end and the root end off of the leek. Halve it lengthwise and then cut each piece into thin half-moon slices. Put them in your small mixing bowl and pour cold water over everything. Swish them around to loosen the dirt and then drain and pat them dry.
Leeks have a knack for getting dirt in them so you may need to rinse twice.

Leeks have a knack for getting dirt in them so you may need to rinse twice.

  • Peel and mince your garlic clove. Set it aside until later in the leek melting process.
  • Slice the bacon strips crosswise into thin pieces, then chop those pieces into super tiny chunks so they incorporate easier. Place them in the frying pan over medium heat and crisp them up for about 5-8 minutes (you want them crunchy; this isn’t for debate). Remove the pieces and set them on a paper towel to drain, but leave the grease in the pan.
Chop the bacon into tiny pieces so it mixes, spreads and is easier to eat.

Chop the bacon into tiny pieces so it mixes, spreads and is easier to eat.

  • Add the sliced leeks to the pan along with 3 tablespoons of butter. Stir everything around so it’s well-coated and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Stir, let sit, and repeat for about 8-10 minutes then turn the heat to low, add the garlic and cook for another 10-12 minutes until the leeks are well caramelized.
  • Remove the frying pan from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Add the veggies and the bacon to your small mixing bowl with the softened butter. Using a spoon, slowly fold all that deliciousness evenly into the butter and plop it down on the parchment paper you laid out.
  • The next part is more art than science. Think like you’re rolling up a piece of paper or poster and roll the parchment paper around the compound butter.
Hold the ends of the paper and roll down to meld the butter together.

Hold the ends of the paper and roll down to meld the butter together.

  • Once you’re satisfied with the tubeness of your butter, put a piece of plastic wrap around the whole lot and twist the ends to seal everything up. Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour before you serve. It’ll last in the icebox for up to 5 days but that probably won’t be an issue.

Steakhouse Burger

Everything that is good and right in the world in the soft embrace of two buns.

This shining example of burger perfection has all the best qualities of an old school steak house meal. Bacon and blue cheese a la wedge salad? Check. Marbled beef seasoned and cooked to perfection? Check. Just enough vegetables to make you feel slightly healthy? Check. Shake up a dirty martini, grab a napkin and go to town.

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, Large Mixing Bowl, Small Mixing Bowl, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Wooden Spoon

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 4

Suggested Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Montepuciano D’Abruzzo

Suggested Beer Pairing: Brown Ales and Porters are our preference for this one, but you have to really try to make a bad beer pairing with a burger.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef (we recommend an 80/20 mix) ($3.99/lb)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 1 medium shallot ($2.99/lb)
  • 3 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 1 lb. crimini or bably bella mushrooms ($2.99/lb)
  • 8 strips thick cut applewood smoked bacon ($7.99/lb)
  • 8 oz blue cheese (we used an Italian blue, verde capra)($8.99/lb)
  • 2 TBSP Montreal steak seasoning ($about $3.99/3 oz jar)
  • 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil ($8.99/32 oz)
  • 3 TBSP balsamic vinegar ($8.99/32 oz)
  • 2 TBSP honey ($4.39/12 oz)
  • 4 hamburger buns ($3.19/8 pack)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Peel and mince the garlic; peel and quarter your onion, then cut into thin slices. Brush off the crimini mushrooms with a wet paper towel to remove any excess dirt. Slice those puppies into thin strips too and mix in with the onions and garlic.

Slice the mushrooms thinly so they cook down easier and caramelize nicely.

  • Place your frying pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Throw in your veggies, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and stir thoroughly to coat with the oil. Cook everything down for about 5 minutes then drizzle the balsamic vinegar and  honey over the whole lot and cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally (about 10 more minutes). Place in a bowl and set aside.

Add some bee juice to even things out and complement the sharpness of the blue cheese.

  • In a large mixing bowl add the beef, grate in the shallot, add the steak seasoning, a healthy pinch of salt and pepper and mix it together with your hands. Do it until the spices and shallot are well incorporated but don’t overwork the meat, it’ll get gummy and will give your burger a weird texture.

Either grate or mince the shallot so it incorporates easily with the beef.

  • Take the beef and divide into quarters. Form the patties in the palms of your hands; use your thumb to put a divot in the center so your burger doesn’t bulge when it’s cooked. Set the patties aside on a plate.
  • Place your veggie frying pan back over medium heat and add your bacon. Don’t overcrowd it, cook the bacon in batches until crisp and set it aside on paper towels to drain. Leave the bacon fat in the pan.
  • Keep your frying pan over medium heat. If the bottom isn’t evenly coated in bacon fat add a little olive oil and plunk down your hamburger patties. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side for medium; whatever your doneness preference, only flip the burgers once. When cooked to your liking remove from heat and let the patties sit for a couple minutes. Take this chance to toast the buns a bit in the frying pan to soak up all the remaining burgerness.

Like steak, you only want to flip your burgers once to avoid uneven, overcooking.

  • Pop the beef on top of the bun and add a thick layer of blue cheese. We like using an Italian blue, verde capra, for this one because it gets creamy and almost sauce-like when it melts. You can find it in most specialty grocery stores or cheese shops but regular blue cheese will work just as well.
  • Pile on a good amount of mushrooms and onions and top it with a couple of strips of bacon, broken in half to fit easier. If you’ve made it this long without stuffing your face, put the top bun on so the burger’s easier to hold and dig in.

Captain Jack’s Cheesy Toasts

Unquestionably the greatest party food of all time.

These delicious little cheese bombs hold a soft spot in our hearts; they’ve always been a part of our Christmas Eve celebration with our neighbors and were a favorite of our family friend, Jack. There’s no reason to limit yourself to special occasions for these puppies. The prep is quick, the ingredients are basic, and the results are consistently delicious. Think of it as an upgrade to your boring cheese and crackers.

Equipment Needed: 2 Baking Sheets, Mixing Bowl, Large Fork, Spatula, Aluminum Foil

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 8-10

Suggested Wine Pairing: Oaky whites or lighter reds

Suggested Beer Pairing: A cold Coors Light in honor of Captain Jack (or whatever you’re drinking)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cocktail loaf rye bread (about $3/loaf)
  • 1/2 small onion (you’ll need enough for 3 TBSP) ($0.99/lb)
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese ($4.49/8 oz bag)
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise ($3.99/15 oz jar)
  • 1 TBSP dijon mustard ($3.85/8 oz jar)
  • 2 TBSP grated horseradish ($1.99/6 oz jar)
  • 1/3 C bacon bits (this is the ONLY time you’ll ever see us recommend imitation bacon bits; staying true to the original recipe is a matter of principle on this one)(about $3/3 oz jar)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 °. Line your baking sheets with aluminum foil so you don’t spend the rest of the night scrubbing burnt cheese off of them.
  • Lay out the rye bread slices in an individual layer across the baking sheets. You don’t need to leave that much room between them but you’ll want to be able to get a spatula in there.
  • Pour your mozzarella into the mixing bowl. Mince up the equivalent of 3 tablespoons of onion and toss that in too. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish, bacon bits and a pinch of salt and pepper, and stir everything together. Give it a taste and adjust as necessary.

Separate the cheese so you don’t get huge clumps on your toast.

  • Spread a forkful of the mix onto each of the pieces of bread. Pop them in the oven until the cheese is baked to a golden brown. This should take about 8-10 minutes. If you value having sensation in the roof of your mouth, as well as the ability to taste your food, let them cool for at least 3 minutes before serving.

Resist the urge to put too much on each piece, it will spill over and be a waste of cheesy goodness.

Kale Caesar Salad

All kale Emperor Caesar!

Caesar salad; delicious classic that can run the risk of getting boring. Without bastardizing things too much we found some baby kale to add a little bitterness and texture, added bacon (surprise!), and used sourdough for the croutons. The result was a slightly heartier version that played well with our more traditional dressing (make your own and you’ll never go back to the store-bought stuff). Um…romaine who?

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, Blender or Food Processor, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Wooden Spoon, Paper Towels, Sieve or Salad Spinner, Small Mixing Bowl, Fork

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 4-6

Suggested Wine Pairing: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc 

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pale Ale, Black IPA, Dry Stouts

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz baby kale (you can use two bunches of normal kale if you can’t find the other stuff) ($4.49/5 oz package)
  • 6 slices sourdough bread (about $3.99/loaf)
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon ($7.99/lb)
  • 4 eggs ($12.99/lb
  • 2 lemons ($0.50/each)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 4-5 anchovy fillets ($1.99/12 oz tin)
  • 1/2 C Parmigianna Reggiano cheese ($12.99/lb)
  • 1 TSP capers ($2/3 oz jar)
  • 1/2 TSP ground mustard ($3.49/3 oz)
  • 1/2 TSP cayenne pepper ($2/3.5 oz jar)
  • 1/4 C & 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, separated ($8.99/32 oz)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Dressing Preparation:

  • Separate your eggs and pour the yolks into your blender (or food processor). Peel and crush the garlic cloves and toss them in as well.

Separate your eggs over a different bowl so you don’t run the risk of getting egg whites in the dressing,

  • Squeeze in the juice of 1 1/2 lemons and grate in about 1/2 a cup of Parmigianna Regianno. Throw in the anchovies, mustard, cayenne pepper, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a teaspoon’s worth of capers. Blend the whole lot together.

Start with the juice of one lemon and add more to taste. We ended up using 1 1/2.

The anchovies will provide the umami backbone for the dressing.

  • Once the solids have broken down slowly pour in 1/4 C of extra virgin olive oil. Be careful not to thin it out too much, though; the dressing should still be able to coat a spoon without running off that easily.
  • Taste, taste, taste. Caesar dressing is all about the right balance and is more art than science. The flavors will need a little time to meld, though, so stop when it’s at the brink of where you want it then pop the dressing in the fridge for an hour. You can always go back and readjust more later.

Salad Preparation:

  • Sift through your kale and throw out any overly wilted or rotten leaves. Rinse, dry and set aside.
  • Place the frying pan over medium heat and add your strips of bacon. While your piggie pieces are crisping up take the sourdough bread and cut it into 1/2-1 inch cubes and set aside.
  • When the bacon is nicely crisped up remove it from the pan and drain it on paper towels. Leave the fat in the frying pan, though, as this is going to help flavor your croutons. Yes, bacon fat croutons.
  • Thow in the bread cubes and stir so they get evenly coated with the remaining fat. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over everything to provide the extra lubrication required and salt and pepper liberally. Leave the bread to sit for about 4 minutes per side and once it’s crisped stir it up to fry the other sides.

Don’t stir the bread too much but make sure it doesn’t burn.

  • In a large mixing bowl add the kale and pour the dressing over the top. Toss the leaves thoroughly to ensure even coverage.
  • Cut the bacon into thin strips crosswise. Sprinkle over the greenery and add croutons until you’re satiated. Stir it up if you want to further incorporate the dressing or eat it as is to keep the flavors distinct. Grate some extra cheese on top if your heart desires and get to it.

Short Rib Chili

A bowl full of beefy awesomeness.

Short ribs are a favorite of ours because the only way to screw them up is to undercook them. Oh no, you let it go for 3 hours instead of 2? That just means you’ll be able to cut it with a spoon, lucky. Also, with the Super Bowl around the corner you’ve got the perfect excuse for some serious chili making, which also requires patience and the ability to drink beer while you’re waiting. Our work here is done.

Equipment Needed: 5 QT Pot w/ lid, Frying Pan, Tongs, Wooden Spoon, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Paper Towels

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 10-12

Suggested Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon, Old Vine Zinfandel, Malbec, Shiraz, Barolo

Suggested Beer Pairing: Stout, Porter, Dopplebock, Winter Ales, Brown Ale

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs bone-in beef short ribs ($5.99/lb)
  • 22 oz dark beer (we used a Lagunitas Imperial Stout; price varies)
  • 3-4 C beef broth ($2.99/32 oz)
  • 2 15.5 oz cans black beans ($1.39/can)
  • 6 slices of thick cut bacon ($6.99/lb)
  • 1 large red onion ($1.29/lb)
  • 1 large green pepper ($1.99/lb)
  • 6 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes ($3.49/can)
  • 6 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce ($2.99/can)
  • 1 TBSP liquid smoke ($2.89/3 oz)
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar ($2.89/32/oz)
  • 1/2 C Grade A maple syrup (about $7/8 oz)
  • 1 TSP cayenne pepper ($2/3.5 oz jar)
  • 2 TSP chili powder ($1.50/4 oz jar)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • At the butcher (or meat counter) ask them to cut your ribs into 2 inch chunks. When you get them home, season each piece liberally with salt and pepper on all sides.
  • Dice your onion and pepper, and mince the garlic. While you’re at it, cut your bacon strips in to 1 inch chunks for later.
  • Put your pot over high heat and coat the bottom in olive oil. Taking a few pieces at a time so you don’t crowd the pot, sear the ribs on every side (you’ll need a plate or bowl to hold those that are finished). Once you’ve browned everything throw in the garlic and onion and scrape up the brown bits off the bottom. Let them sweat for a minute then put the ribs back in the pot.

Once the meat is down, don't move it. And don't you dare flip it more than once.

  • Pour in the beer and enough beef stock to cover everything. Stir in maple syrup, cayenne pepper, chili powder and liquid smoke. Reduce the heat to low, pop the lid on and let it simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • While your beef is braising (aka, cooking in liquid after being seared) put a frying pan over medium head and throw in your bacon pieces. Cook them until they’re crispy and then drain them on a paper towel and set aside for later.
  • When you can pull the beef apart with a fork, pull the pieces out of the juice and put it on a cutting board. Remove the bones and chop up the meat into bite-sized pieces. Toss them back in the liquid.

Chop that meat up into tiny little melt-in-your-mouth morsels.

  • Drain one of the cans of beans and add them to the pot. Pour in the second can, bean juice and all. Add the green peppers.
  • Chop up the chipotle peppers and toss them in the pot. We also like to spoon in a little of the adobo sauce that comes in the can.

Mince the peppers into a fine paste and stir them in.

  • Let things simmer for another 20 minutes and adjust your flavors to taste. Add the bacon bits just before serving to add some texture to the bowl. Spoon into big bowls and serve with cornbread, or just ladle from the pot into your mouth.

The Elvis Pie

No witty caption can do justice for how good this pie is.

This pie is inspired by The King’s infamous penchant for fried peanut butter, bacon and banana sandwiches. “Wait, they’re not gonna put bacon in a dessert are they? Will they bastardize a pie just as an excuse to use the most succulent of meat candies?” Yes, yes we will and the world will be a better place for it. This will become your signature dish to bring to parties, which you can thank us for later.

Equipment Needed: Roasting Pan with Rack, 4 Mixing Bowls (or you can wash and re-use as you go), Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Aluminum Foil, Rolling Pin, Gallon Freezer Bag, Small Bowl or Coffee Mug, Silicone Spatula

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 8

Suggested Wine Pairing: Port, Sweeter Rieslings, Ice Wine, Dessert Wines

Suggested Beer Pairing: Chocolate or Oatmeal Stouts, Dubbel or Trippel Belgian Ales, Barley Wine

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C dark chocolate chunks (about $6/lb)
  • 1 C & 2 TBSP heavy cream, divided ($2.99/pt)
  • 2 bananas ($0.79/lb)
  • 1 C & 1 TBSP confectioner’s sugar, divided ($1.39/lb)
  • 1 1/2 C graham crackers (this is about a sleeve of graham crackers)($4.99/14.4 oz box)
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese ($2.99/package)
  • 2/3 C smooth peanut butter ($3.59/16 oz jar)
  • 6 strips thick cut bacon ($6.99/lb)
  • 1/3 C & 2 TBSP (7 1/3 TBSP) unsalted butter, divided ($4.99/lb)
  • 1/3 C pure grade A maple syrup (about $7/8 oz)

Preparation:

  • You’ll want to start with the crust so it has time to firm up. Take one sleeve of graham crackers and, leaving them in the package, crush them with a rolling pin or heavy can. If you’re careful and methodical about your crushing you can do a majority of it without breaking the sleeve, but save yourself from a potential mess by popping them in a gallon storage bag before you go to work.
  • In a mixing bowl add the crushed grahams, and sugar. Pop the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and melt things down (this should take about 30 seconds or so). Pour the butter in with the rest of the mix and blend everything together with your hand mixer. Spoon the crust out into your pie dish and, using your hands, press it evenly across the bottom and up to the top of the rim. Pop this into the fridge for at least an hour to firm up; 2 hours or more is ideal.

Press firmly and aim for a consistent thickness for your crust.

  • While your crust is setting, preheat the oven to 415°F.
  • Put your bacon in a large bowl and cover it with the maple syrup. You can add a little cayenne pepper here if you want to spice things up.
  • Peel the bananas, cut them in half and put them in your other mixing bowl. Put 2 tablespoons of butter in a mug or small bowl and microwave it until it’s melted (about 20 seconds). Stir in the bourbon and one tablespoon of the confectioner’s sugar with the butter and pour it over the bananas. For both your bananas and bacon, let them soak for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 to make sure everything stays evenly coated.

Get those 'naners good and tipsy before you pop 'em in the oven.

  • Line your roasting pan with tinfoil for easier cleanup and lay the bacon and bananas evenly on the rack. Put everything in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp. Once finished, put the results in one of the mixing bowls and pop them in the fridge as well to cool. They should be cold by the time the crust is ready.

Everything about this recipe is gratuitous, even the bacon shots.

  • As your other elements are chilling out you can get to work on the cream filling. In a mixing bowl add the cream cheese, peanut butter and confectioner’s sugar. With your hand mixer blend everything together until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, pour in the heavy cream and, using your hand mixer here too, whip the cream until it’s fluffy and has firm peaks. Scoop this into the peanut butter cream and mix it together until it’s fully incorporated. If you’re not ready to fill the pie yet, cover the bowl with some plastic wrap and put it in the fridge until go time.

Whip that cream 'til it's good and stiff.

  • When you’re ready to assemble this cardiologists’ dream take the bananas and bacon out of the fridge and cut them into 1/8th inch pieces. Spread them evenly across the pie crust. Take your peanut butter cream and using your spatula proceed to fill in the gaps and cover everything in velvety goodness. You can quit here but why stop now?

Spread that goodness evenly and quickly before you start eating it straight from the bowl.

  • In a mug or small bowl add 2 tablespoons of heavy cream or half and half and 1/2 a cup of dark chocolate chunks. Pop that in the microwave and nuke it in 20 second increments, stirring every time and repeating until it becomes smooth and fully melted. Pour it over the top of the pie and pop everything back in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving, if you can control yourself that long.

The Brothers’ BLT

Summer between two slices of bread.

Nothing says summer like a BLT with the thickest, juiciest tomatoes you can find. There’s really no reason to alter this classic combo but obviously we couldn’t help ourselves. Use plain mayo if you’re a purist (not that there’s anything wrong with that) or give it a little somethin’ somethin’ with our chipotle lime version.

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, Fork, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Butter Knife, Bowl or Large Cup, Paper Towels

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 4

Suggested Wine Pairing: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pilsner, Wheat Beer

Ingredients:

  • 12 strips of thick cut applewood smoked bacon ($6.99/lb)
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes (about $3/lb)
  • 8 slices of bread (we used ciabatta rolls) (about $3/loaf)
  • 1 lime (about $0.30/each)
  • 1 1/4 C of mayonnaise ($3.99/15 oz jar)
  • 1-2 TSP ground chipotle powder (about $5/4 oz)
  • 2-3 C mixed greens ($3.89/5 oz package)

Preparation:

  • Before you start anything, scoop your mayo into a large cup or bowl, add a teaspoon of chipotle powder and squeeze in the juice of half a lime. Stir thoroughly and give it a taste. Add more lime juice and chipotle powder to your liking and pop the mix in the fridge to let the flavors meld a bit.

Lime juice brightens things up and cuts the fat of the bacon...if you're into that kind of thing.

  • Put your frying pan over medium heat and add your bacon so there’s space between the strips; you’ll most likely have to do a couple batches. Drain the cooked pieces on paper towels until you’ve finished them all.

By now you know if there's bacon in the recipe there's a picture of bacon in the post.

  • While your bacon is sizzling wash off the tomatoes and remove the stems. Cut each flavor grenade into 1/4 inch slices and set aside. Rinse your lettuce while you’re at it.

Heirloom tomatoes turn things up to 11.

  • Toast your bread of choice. We used a soft ciabatta roll but thick cut whole wheat or a Pullman loaf are also highly recommended. Once toasted, spread the mayo generously on each piece and layer on tomatoes, three strips of bacon (or more if you prefer) and lettuce. Smile and try not to get tomato juice all over yourself as you devour.

We used mixed greens just to keep it interesting but feel free to use the classic iceberg.