Roasted & Fresh Brussel Sprouts & Bacon Salad with Parm & Mustard Vinaigrette

Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Salad with Parmesan and Mustard Vinaigrette

Make the Mustard Vinaigrette first – at least an hour before serving. This makes enough dressing for several salads.

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (to taste)

Stir mustard and vinegar together with a whisk, add oil slowly, whisking it int o emulsify. Add salt, pepper and crushed garlic. Let rest for at least an hour. Keep refrigerated.

Salad

Lay four strips of bacon on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 400° until browned. Remove when finished (about 8 minutes) and set on a paper towel to cool.

While the bacon roasts, cut 2 cups of brussels sprouts in half, pulling off some of the outer leaves. Set the leaves aside.

Turn the oven up to 450°, toss the brussels sprout halves with 1 TBSP of bacon grease, salt and pepper and lay on a baking sheet to roast. These will be just roasted until done, not charred, so about 10 minutes max.

Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Salad with Parmesan and Mustard Vinaigrette

See that the brussels sprouts are only lightly browned.

Slice small pieces of parmesan and chop a bit of parsley.

To assemble the salad, lay down the brussels sprouts, the bacon, the parm, the loose, fresh brussels sprout leaves, the parsley and then add the dressing. Toss lightly.

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Bacon, Egg, Pear, Parm Sandwich with Caramelized Onions & Apricot Cabbage Slaw

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I don’t know what got into me today, but I was about to make a roast pork and slaw sandwich and I thought about all the pears I need to eat and ended up making the most delicious sandwich ever.  It began with the Apricot Cabbage Slaw I was going to make for the sandwich.

I got ambitious and decided to make slow caramelized onions. To do that, I thinly sliced 1/2 an onion on a mandoline. I heated a cast iron skillet to medium high (7 of 10), added 1 TBSP of saved bacon drippings (but you could use olive oil or butter) and melted it. I added the onions and cooked quickly, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes until browned, then I lowered the heat to medium-low (3 of 10) and let cook slowly while I prepared the Apricot Cabbage Slaw. Be patient, the longer the onions cook, the more tender sweet they are, almost like a jam.

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Turn the broiler on before the onions are done to heat up.

When the onions were done, I removed them and set them in a small bowl. Any leftover onions can be used in a sauce or another sandwich.

I then cooked two slices of bacon in the same pan, rendering the fat and saving it for another day. I removed the bacon and set it aside.

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While the bacon was cooking I broiled 2 slices of bread on one side for about 2 to 3 minutes. Just to get some strength from drying, it did not get toasted. Between broiling on one side and then on the other, it was time to cook the egg.

I wiped the fry pan clean of any bacon, and put a dab of butter in the middle of medium hot pan and cooked one sunnyside up egg, adding some salt and pepper.

While the egg was cooking, I broiled the other side of the bread.  On one piece, I shaved parmesan cheese. On the other piece, I layered thin slices of pear to caramelize sightly. I put them back under the broiler for a few more minutes until the parm was melted.

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Assembly

On the side with the melted part, I stack the two slices of bacon, cut into 4 pieces. I added the sunny side up egg. On the side with the pears, I stacked caramelized onions, and the Apricot Cabbage Slaw. Then I put the two pieces together with a bit of hard push to break the egg yolk so it spread through the sandwich and sliced it in half.
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Believe me, this is worth spending 40 minutes to make. The pear and caramelized onions are dream. And of course, bacon, eggs, and parmesan are delicious. A good sweet/sour slaw is a perfect balance to the sweetness and the creamy egg marries everything together. This is the most delicious sandwich I have ever concocted. This made one sandwich, but I have some caramelized onions and slaw left over. I had thought to make a vinaigrette with the onions, but now I think I will be making this sandwich for supper.

Broccoli Frittata

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Turn oven on broil

Bring water to a boil in a small pan. As soon as it’s boiling, drop broccoli in for 90 seconds. Drain.

Chop up 4 slices of bacon. Toss in 2 sprigs of fresh thyme. Cook in medium cast iron skillet.

Dice one small onion (I used a red onion.) Add to skillet and sauté until transparent. Add parboiled broccoli.

Beat 4 eggs, add 1/2 cup milk and pour into the skillet. Stir slowly, pulling from the outside to the center. When the eggs are early cooked through remove from the heat.

Add a 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese across the top. Broil until toasty.

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This is delicious and makes four servings.

Scrambled Eggs with Bok Choy and Bacon

Eggs Bok Choy Leaves

Chop up two slices of bacon into small bits and fry in cast iron skillet on medium heat with about 2 TBSP of chopped red onion until onions are transparent.

Tear the green tops off some bok chop and rinse clean. Roll up into a tight little cigarette shape and chop finely (usually called chiffonade) and sauté lightly.

Crack 3 eggs, stir together with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Pour into skillet, stir briefly before turning down the heat and keep stirring gently until done. You want to soft scramble the egg so it’s fluffy, moist and soft.

Add salt and pepper when you’re done. Salt added during cooking ruins scrambled eggs.

Makes one serving. It’s delicious, the bok choy leaves are a great blend with bacon and onions.

Bacon Jam

Bacon Jam

  • 1.5 pounds of bacon ends and pieces
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of cold-brew coffee (strong coffee)
  • 1/4 cup of molasses
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

Weigh out 1.5 pounds of bacon ends and pieces. You can use regular bacon, but it is more expensive. Cut into 1 inch chunks. Cook on low-medium (3 out of 10) heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon crisped. Remove the bacon and strain off the grease. I put it in a colander inside a bowl to rest while everything else cooked. Remove half the bacon grease from the frying pan.

In the remaining bacon grease, add yellow onions and cook until translucent. Then add brown sugar and cook for about 5 minutes until they onions get sticky.

Add the garlic, cayenne, cinnamon and nutmeg and the coffee and cook for a five minutes before adding the molasses. Bring to a boil, stirring while it heats up to a boil. Then lower the heat to medium and add the bacon, stir while cooking for about 35-40 minutes, so the bacon absorbs the flavors from the liquid and the moisture cooks away. Add the vinegar at the end. Then add salt and pepper to taste. I just added some pepper as the bacon provided plenty of saltiness.

Red Chard, Lentil and Feta Salad

Lentils, Red Chard, Feta & Bacon Salad

This was a fairly easy dish to make. It is more of a warm salad than a casserole, but you consider it whatever you like. Whatever it is, it is tasty.

I started by making some lovely red lentils. I used about 1 TBSP of reserved bacon fat that I had saved from another mea. I put it in a small kettle on medium heat with 1/2 cup of chopped onions and 2 cloves of minced garlic, salt and pepper. I cooked on medium heat until they were tender and the onions transparent. I then added 1 cup of red lentils and stirred a bit. Then I added 2 cups of water and brought to a slow boil. I kept it simmering, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes or so. Then I took it off the heat and put a lid on it, letting it rest until all the water was absorbed.

After I took the lentils off the heat, I heated a fry pan to medium high, adding 1 cup of chopped bacon pieces. After most of the fat was rendered, I added 1/2 cup of chopped onions. salt and pepper. I cleaned the red chard, separating the stems from the leaves. I chopped the stems into 1/4 inch pieces and tossed them into the bacon and onions. I cooked for about 3 minutes so the stems became tender. Then I added 2 cups of finely chopped red chard leaves. I stirred in lightly, adding some salt and pepper. I then added 2 TBSP of red wine vinegar. I added the lentils and mixed them in with the chard. If you have no red wine vinegar, use fresh lemon. This dish needs the acid.

Then I let it all rest for about 10 minutes so it was warm, not hot. I served it in a bowl with a sprinkling of feta on top. Makes 4 servings.

The lentils are wonderfully hearty and flavorful thanks to the onion, garlic and bacon. The richness of the bacon and feta are balanced by the red wine vinegar and the chard brings a wonderful earthiness to the dish

 

Ed & Zelda’s Pork Chop Express

Kale and Pork Chops

I play a war game called GoodGame Empire and have made some great friends there. Two of the best of the best of GGE are Ed and Zelda from the Dragon Rampant alliance. I recently changed alliances, leaving them behind when I moved. I will miss them a lot, they are good people and we will just have to IM each oner and stay in touch. Anyway, Ed loves nothing so much as a pork chop and talks about them the way poets talk about clouds. If there ever is an Ode to the Pork Chop, it’s author must be Ed. Zelda loves kale, something we bonded over . So my last night in the alliance I cooked up a meal in their honor.

I fried the pork chop in a bit of olive oil, turning it once. My mom always said repeated flipping of your chops or steaks will dry them out and so my main focus in cooking a chop is getting a good sear, flipping it over to sear the other side and then turning the heat down a bit to let it cook through enough.  I like them medium rare which reminds me to suggest you read The Complex Origins of Food Safety Rules — Yes, You Are Overcooking Your Food from Scientific American.

The kale was easy. I took two slices of bacon and cut into small pieces and friend them with 1/2 of a small yellow onion. I cleaned three pieces of kale, cutting them off the stem and chopping them up. I added 2 TBSP of the Wild Plum Sauce I made (the recipe just before this one) when the kale was nearly done, covered for about a minute and served with the chop. I added a bit of Wild Plum Sauce on top of the pork chop, too. Delish.

The wild plum sauce is sour enough – like a vinaigrette that it complemented the kale beautifully. As to the pork chop, I could never do it the justice in words that Ed can.

 

Pea Shoots & Bacon Soup

Pea Shoots & Bacon Soup

Pea shoots are the essence of spring time and I have been enjoying several salads with pea shoots, but I wanted to figure out a way to use the bottom half of the shoots, those tougher, larger, fibrous stalks. I decided to make a pea shoos pureed soup.

In my 2 quart pan, I melted 1 TBSP of butter on medium low. I chopped up half of a medium yellow onion and sautéed them in the butter. I crushed and chopped up two cloves of garlic and added them and let them cook. Then I chopped up 3 slices of bacon into small pieces and let them cook with the onions and garlic.

While they sautéed, I chopped up 4 red potatoes into 2 inch cubes. Once the bacon was done,, I added 1 quart of chicken broth (from the roast chicken I made last week) and the chunks of red potatoes. I put a lid on the pan and let them cook until fork tender. You can use a potato masher to mash them up a bit.

While the potatoes cooked, I rinsed the pea shoots in cold water and chopped up all but the tender top shoots into 2 inch long pieces or so. Add to the soup and let cook.

Remove from heat and let cool. Then puree until smooth. Because the pea shoots can be fibrous, after the soup was pureed, I poured it through a strainer so the resultant soup was smooth with no bits of pea shoot fibers or stalks remaining. I cut a lemon in half, and juiced it into the soup. Adding a bit of salt and pepper to taste and it was done, just needing a bit of reheating before serving – garnished with some tendrils of pea shoots.

This makes 8 servings. The soup is bright and delicious. The lemon juice is absolutely what makes the soup so delicious – hot or cold.

Kale, Red Peppers and Onions with Bacon and Cream Cheese on an Everything Bagel

Kale, Bacon and Red Pepper with Cream Cheese on a Bagel

For a fulfilling, but easy, breakfast bagel, I fried one slice of bacon. When it was nicely crisped, I removed it and let it rest. While it cooked, I chopped 2 tbsp of yellow onion, 2 tbsp of fresh red pepper and 2 stalks of fresh kale. I chopped everything to about 1.4 inch size. After I removed the bacon slice, I tossed the onions in the bacon fat along with a pinch of anise seed. I let the onions get tender and added the red pepper. When the red peppers softened just a bit, I tossed in the kale.

As soon as I added the kale, I put an Everything bagel in the toaster to toast. When it popped up, I spread some cream cheese on each half. I then spread the kale and red peppers on top of the cream cheese. I sliced the bacon into 4 pieces and put two pieces on bagel half. This made two servings, or two half bagels.

You could make a vegetarian version without the bacon because the kale was delicious with the cream cheese and bagel on its own.

Bushi’s Bacon, Brussels Sprouts & Red Pepper Omelet

Bacon, Brussels Sprouts & Red Pepper Omelet

I was DJ’ing at The Velvet this morning and wondering what to fix for breakfast. I asked for ideas and Bushido Fretwork suggested caramelizing onions and brussels sprouts with some bacon. Well, everything goes better with bacon, so I decided to try it.

I fried two slices of bacon, removed from the pan to a paper towel. While the bacon was cooking, I chopped up 2 TBSP of yellow onion, 2 TBSP of red pepper and 5 brussels sprouts. I added 1/2 tsp of dry oregano and the onions and let them start to caramelize before adding the red peppers and brussels sprouts.

While the veggies cooked, I mixed 3 eggs with 1 TBSP of flour, salt, pepper and 2 tBSP of water. I spread thinly on a large griddle set to 250° F. I then cut the bacon into long strips and chopped them into pieces about 1/4 inch or so, the same size as the onions and red pepper. I mixed with the vegetables and set aside.

I also mixed 2 TBSP of sour cream with 1 tsp of dry dill weed, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder and some salt and pepper.

I let the omelet cook until the top was close to done, then spread the sour cream across the inner circle of it and then I spread the bacon and veggie mixture and turned the four sides over, enveloping the veggies, before rolling the omelet.

It was delicious and the freshness of the sour cream was a perfect accompaniment.