Tag Archives: bacon

Tarragon Chicken Salad

I got a package of tarragon for some inspired recipes so this will be one a of a few upcoming tarragon features.

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Pig Roast!

Warning!  Some of the following post may be graphic and upsetting to some readers!

As a going away gift, our friends graciously sponsored our going away party as we were about to depart Maryland.  Roasting a whole pig was decided upon, as the idea has been floating around for a few years and this seemed like the opportunity.  They were able to find good deals on a pig and renting an electric spit.  We cook, eat, and talk about a lot of different cuts of meat on this site, but being in the whole form does seem to change things a bit.  So proceed with caution, and I did omit many pics that could have made it far worse.

The first questions is, what kind of person desires so strongly to roast a whole pig?

This guy does!

The pig weighed about 49 pounds and came pre gutted and basically all prepped for us.  We added some seasoning and filled the cavity with onions, garlic and leeks.  Then the pig had to be skewered and sewn up to keep the filling in.

Coming together

Filled and ready to be closed up

He makes an excellent seamstress

The rented spit was well experienced but did a great job once we messed around with it, formed it into shape, and got the right tension on the chain to the motor.

We ended up using about 50 lbs of charcoal total

Once the pig was stabilized on the skewer and the coals had ashed over, it was time for the final assembly and a lot of waiting.

The pig ended up cooking for about 8 hours and could have used a little more time and a little hotter charcoal throughout.  It was our first time though and everyone seemed pleased with the final product.  There was plenty of time to hang out while the pig roasted and it was over 100 degrees this day so…

What up dawg? Ya know staying cool in the pool.

This is the last picture we have of the pig, which is about halfway through.  It turned out great though and we will do even better next time!

Grilled Skewered Scallops

With some siracha garnish

Scallops were on a great sale at Giant, $7.99 a pound for sea scallops down from the usual $10-$11 or even more so I got some but did not have a vision of what I was going to do with them.  As you will notice we are big grillers, and being that it has been so hot recently I have been trying to keep most of the cooking to outside which led to grilling.  I have tried to grill scallops right on the grill grate before, but that was a wasteful disaster.  I have also grilled them in the grill basket, but it was not great.  The only other grilling possibility seemed to be skewering, which I had never tried with scallops but was hopeful.

The sale item

I decided to use a standard array of skewer vegetables, but also decided to fall upon the cliche garnish of bacon wrapping some of the scallops.

Raw ingredients, spice, and the soap that cleaned it all afterwards

I skewered everything in a somewhat random order on the bamboo skewers which were soaked in water to try to dissuade their burning which still occurs a bit.  I cut the bacon in half and did not wrap every scallop as I wanted it to be an accessory and not a main ingredient.  I didn’t want them to be bacon wrapped scallops, but to have bacon be an ingredient in the mix.

I cut the jalapenos into rings and incorporated them into the skewers because I love spice.  If you were to do this, you should warn others and even be cautious yourself because as much as I love the heat it definitely got a bit hot at times!  Despite that, I will always persevere with the spice!

To season them, I used a storemade tequila lime seasoning from Whole Foods, which we got during our shopping trip for sushi, which was so graciously provided by Whole Foods.

Ready to go

I grilled as you normally would and kept a close eye in order to rotate them well and try to cook them evenly, while not overcooking the scallops.

Remeber to wash the dish before putting the cooked product back in

I also threw a single cup of brown rice in the rice maker to supplement the skewers and for some substance.  We often try to eat low to no carbs, but I knew with these skewers that they needed something with them or you would be full after eating, but then be pretty hungry in an hour or so.  Just a bit of rice did a great job as a component to the dish and to fulfill the role that I wanted it to.

Grilled scallop skewers

And the completed dish with brown rice and some siracha on the side.  We pulled everything off of the skewers and placed it upon the rice.  As mentioned, with the jalapenos the siracha was not called upon much, though I use it on many dishes.  Overall, this dish was great and I recommend it as a good way to grill scallops, keep the summer cooking to the outside heat, and bring some summery grilled veggies into the mix.

Moules Fromage Bleu

You know that show on the food network called The Best Thing I Ever Ate where famous chefs tell you where they had the best whatever the theme happens to be that day? Well, if I were ever asked what the best mussels dish I ever ate was it would hands down be the moules fromage bleu from Granville Moore’s in DC. In fact, these mussels beat Bobby Flay’s in his mussels throw down episode! Yeah, I love the food network 🙂

I have recreated them several times at home, and it’s actually quite simple. The ingredients are the same, but just not of the same quality as GM’s. (Sorry Giant, but you lack gourmet ingredients). But that’s how it goes sometimes and that’s OK! This dish still tastes amazing, particularly if you are a fan of bacon and blue cheese (an unbeatable combo in my book).

The ingredients:

From top left to bottom left: Blue cheese, mussels, lemon juice, shallots, spinach, and bacon. MIA- the white wine and oil.

Once you get cooking here, the process is very quick. However, first, it’s a good idea to put the mussels in a bowl and fill it with water. This allows any sand in the mussels to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Just remember to not drain them by pouring them out as this will just dump all the sand back onto them. I used a plastic strainer/spatula to remove the mussels from the bowl.

Next, it’s bacon cooking time! The recipe calls for cooking the bacon IN oil. I was very hesitant to do this, but I went with it. It forms the basis of the broth, but I find it very understandable if you wish to omit cooking your BACON in OIL.

Once the fat was rendered, I added the sliced shallots.

Doesn’t that look divine? And you can imagine how great it smelled. How can a dish go wrong from here?

[The next sequence of events is done rather quickly. My sous chef/photographer was feeling a little under the weather, so I was on my own. I tried my best to capture each step!]

At this point you want to add the mussels, wine and lemon juice and stir ’em up.

bacon shallots mussels

Once they are about half way open you want to add half of the blue cheese. You want the blue cheese to melt into the broth. I tried to move the mussels to one side of the pan to achieve this.

Just keep stirring and incorporating everything together.

Once they are fully open, you want to add the spinach.

That’s pretty much it. Once you spoon them into the bowls, top with the remaining blue cheese.

SO GOOD!

Recipe for Teddy Folkman’s Moules Fromage Bleu

Breakfast BLTs

Ahh nothing like a weekend morning…. this morning I made, yes I made something! I made a breakfast BLT- which was an open-faced sandwich with spinach, tomato, bacon, avocado and a fried egg. I had fun with this one.

I don’t eat bread very often, not because I don’t like it but because I LOVE it. If I’m gonna eat it though, I want to eat this delicious onion roll (from Giant) every time!

I figured why not put some wilted spinach underneath the tomato… it’s healthy and for this purpose it has a better texture than lettuce.

One last thing- the egg!

Well this was one of those meals that tasted as good as it looked. I was very pleased with the BLTs!

Recipe for Breakfast BLT

After breakfast, I needed a pick me up and decided to make myself a latte.

I still have not quite mastered the milk steamer and it wasn’t as hot as I wanted it, but it looked pretty and tasted good and more importantly, soothed my caffeine addiction for the day.

Recipe for Non-fat latte

Weekend breakfast

I wanted to share a typical weekend breakfast for us. This weekend we enjoyed bacon and eggs due to a surplus of both in our fridge.

Cooking eggs...notice all those spices!

bacon aka "meat candy"

Maybe the most fun thing about making such a good breakfast at home is the ample time I have to play with the espresso maker! Here is my version of espresso breve:

check out the "crema"!

Recipe for Espresso Breve

Chicken Carbonara Casserole

It’s Thursday night and we have made some really good meals this week. Energy and motivation are slightly down for me, but not for Greg. He was the creator of this dish, which utilized some of the leftovers we had in the fridge. He ended up making what he dubbed, “chicken carbonara casserole”. Once you read the recipe you will see that it is a perfect title- except if you are expecting to see fettuccine noodles or some other pasta derivative. We aim to eat low-carb for most of the week, but this could have easily and quite tastily been served over said carbs. Honestly though, I didn’t even miss them. This was that good.

He started out the casserole by chopping up the leftover broccoli we had from the broccoli cheese soup, blanching it, and placing it on the bottom of the casserole dish.

Then added some chopped mushrooms, which he sauteed first with some oil, salt, and pepper.

Then he re-heated a leftover bacon and onion mixture and placed it in the casserole.

bacon makes everything better

He then chopped up some leftover chicken from last night and added that.

Now on to the good stuff: the carbonara sauce. For this he made a basic roux with some roasted garlic, added half and half and skim milk, “Italian” mix cheese and some grated Parmesan, and generous amounts of ground black pepper.

He then poured the gooey cheese sauce over the casserole and added another layer of the Parmesan.

Lastly, he baked it for about ten minutes, and broiled it for an additional 5 to get the top nice and brown.

After a garnish of fresh chopped tomato and basil, dinner was served!

After dinner we continued to work on the honeymoon planning. I think we have narrowed it down to the Domican Republic, but we still have some details to figure out, like which resort to go to. It’s hard to tell from the websites what they are really like, but at some point we are just going to have to pick one and trust our instincts. My only criteria is that I would like the resort to have a swim-up bar (priorities people!).  Oh, and also that it’s clean, has decent food, and has some sort of nightlife 🙂 Hopefully, we will find just what we are looking for very soon and then we can really start to get excited for it! Below is the recipe for tonight’s dinner. I have to admit we did not measure out everything so these are my best guesses.  We used the half and half and milk mixture to cut some fat but you can use 3 cups of any dairy that you like.  There should at least be some fat in the dairy though as skim only may be too thin.

Recipe for Chicken Carbonara Casserole

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