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Excelsior! As promised, I’ve finally got around to finishing up the first piece in a new series of cook-the-book style posts! First at-bat is Stan Lee Presents the Mighty Marvel Superheroes Cookbook. 

The book begins with a brief introduction and some basic tips on safety and kitchen cleanliness. Then, as any good morning would, delves into some breakfast.

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A wise man once said “There has never been a sadness that can’t be cured by breakfast food” and a trip to your local diner will prove that every time. While studies have more or less debunked the conventional wisdom that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, starting your morning with good food is a great way to set the tone for the rest of the day.

With Captain America’s Day Starters, we get a few different options for easy, healthy and delicious kick start.

‘Fresh fruit or fruit juice. Lots of vitamins C and A’

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I’ve wrote on here a few times about how great smoothies can be for breakfast. Blend up your favorite mix of fruits and veggies with some juice or milk (I also like to throw some type of sea vegetable in the mix) and you’re ready to go. Once you blend your mix, you can freeze it in an ice cube tray to make things even easier while you’re still groggy. This particular blend I threw together features banana, pineapple, orange, mango and sweet potato.

‘Milk is the best source of calcium. It’s need for strong bones and teeth. It also supplies protein – essential building blocks for our bodies’img_4825

Milk is certainly nutritious, if not a little bit weird as a concept, but yogurt has even more calcium and is loaded with beneficial bacteria. Mixed with granola and some fresh fruit, it makes for a hearty, protein-packed breakfast.

‘Bread or cereal, lots of variations in this department’

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For simplicity, flavor and customization, look no further than Avocado Toast, loaded with Omega 3 fats and complex carbohydrates. The only two things you need are in the name itself. Apart from avocado and toasted bread, the possibilities are near endless. The folks over that The Kitchn have a great piece to get your creative juices going; Here, I’ve got 12 grain bread with butter and sesame seeds, mashed avocado, and thinly sliced cucumber tossed with salt, pepper, chili flake and lime juice.

Now, for those looking for a more traditional American-style breakfast, look no further than Hulk’s Fried Potatoes with Bacon and Eggs

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This dish needs little explanation, if any at all. Bacon, eggs, toast, breakfast potatoes; Maybe some coffee, if you’re so inclined. I will give one little trick I recently picked  up while working mainly breakfast shifts: par-boil your potatoes with onions and garlic. This cooks them through, so when you fry ’em up they’ll be soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. It’s the same principle to making great French Fries.

In Our Next Exciting Issue…

The Thing’s Clobbered Omelet

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Pasta is one of the great equalizers of the culinary world. From diners to fine dining to home cooks and family recipes, everybody loves pasta.  Although we tend to think of pasta being iconic of countless Italian traditions, it was likely introduced in the 13th century by Marco Polo after having traveled through China. Origins aside, pasta is one of the most versatile vehicles for carrying dishes and flavors from across the globe. While it’s certainly easy enough to grab a box from the grocery store shelf, homemade pasta takes just a few ingredients and is a great technique to add to your arsenal. Niki Achitoff-Gray has a fantastic article on Serious Eats that breaks down everything you need to know before taking on the task for yourself. The devil is always in the details, so I strongly suggest giving it a read. In my experience, fresh pasta dough can be very temperamental and the way you make the dough can vary widely based on the environment in which you make it. For ease of adjustment-making and finding the groove that works for you, I’m just going to go into bullet points here.

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Three ingredients are all you need: Eggs, salt, and flour. Many recipes will call for “Double Zero” flour, a super finely ground variety that yields an incredibly smooth product. If you can or want to find it, it definitely won’t hurt, but All-Purpose will do the trick nicely. A lot of recipes will call for the addition of olive oil, but as the small, old Italian woman I learned from in Bologna told me, “Don’t waste your time”. The eggs and salt are beaten together before going into a well of flour. As for the mixing, feel free to do it by hand or use a stand mixer. I’ve done it both ways and the results are indistinguishable.

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After a few minutes of mixing, the dough should look like this. You’re going to think that you need to add water. Just keep mixing. Only add water if it literally will not come together as a dough after about 7 minutes of mixing, and at that add only a small amount of water very intermittently.

img_3782 Just when you think your arm is about to fall off, you should end up with something similar to this. At this point, you want to let the dough rest few a couple of hours. This lets the complex network of gluten relax a bit and makes rolling it out much easier.

The process is pretty straightforward, but it can be tricky if you’re not used to it. There’s also really no good way to explain it through text alone, but the video below is super thorough.

Once you have it rolled out to the appropriate thinness, you can use the sheets for lasagna, tagliatelle or ravioli and other filled pastas. Most rollers also come with an attachment for fettuccine-like noodles, and also a thin spaghetti.

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At this point, you can throw ’em right into boiling, salted water (again, don’t waste your time adding olive oil), or toss them in a little flour for longer storage.

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Now, homemade noodles are all well and good, but it’s what you do with them that makes them great.

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Above all else, what I learned from my time in Italy is that simplicity is key. Carbonara is a perfect example of what that really means. Fresh noodles, tossed with egg, Parmesan, black pepper, and cured pork (bacon, pancetta, prosciutto, etc.). The heat from the noodles cooks the eggs just enough to create a smooth, velvety sauce. A heavy dose of black pepper counteracts the salt from the Parmesan and pork.

Fresh Egg Pasta, from Serious Eats

Spaghetti alla Carbonara from Saveur

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As far as we know, you can’t create something from nothing. And while that’s pretty universally accepted, if you think about it a bit, why should we believe that? There’s never actually been an example of nothing to be studied, so who’s to say something couldn’t spontaneously spawn from it? Before I get off on a tangent (although, I really did just start out on a tangent), the point I’m trying to make is that generally speaking, everything has to start somewhere, at least everything we’ve ever known. It would go without saying that cooking follows suite. If you’ve seen the Cooked series from Michael Pollan on Netflix (or read the equally fantastic book), you’ll know that cooking is what began to separate human from other animals. And while humans have cooked as long as we’ve really been human, modern cookery has its major roots in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Two French chefs really defined a lot of the practices and techniques that are now second nature to cooks across the world. Marie Antoine Careme began to define French cuisine by classifying dishes into certain categories. Arguably the most important of these classification were his four foundational sauces, more commonly known as the Mother Sauces. The four sauces, bechamel, espagnole, veloute, and tomato, were the sauces used to create any number of dishes by adding various ingredients to each base. Later on, Auguste Escoffier, who became known as “The Chef of Kings and the King of Chefs”, continued classifying and solidifying the foundations of French cuisine. In his grand Le Guide Culinare, he added hollandaise as a fifth mother sauce. As a culinary student, the mother sauces are some of the very first recipes and methods that you learn, but outside of a direct educational setting, you may never actually learn the differences in these kind of sauces, or how they can be used. So for the 19th week (holy shit, we’re almost halfway!) of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge, we’re doing Mother Sauces!

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I was lucky enough to pick up an English printing of Le Guide at a yard sale once while I was in college, I think it ran maybe 25 cents. Printed in 1973 and once belonging to man by the name of Clemete Italo (the name is scrawled in large capital letters across the bottom), it’s full of notations and dog ears, with plenty of underlining and particular words circled when they appear. And it’s got that intoxicating smell of an old bookstore. Content aside, the actual physical book is pretty amazing. And whenever I start digging into it, there’s always something new and interesting that I hadn’t seen or read before. When you’ve cooked professionally for the better part of a decade, it’s a really great to have books like this to keep you excited.

I’m fairly familiar with most of the mother sauces, but the traditional tomato sauce isn’t one I’ve done or even seen done very often. Everyone and their grandma has a good recipe for tomato sauce, but sauce tomat is  substantially different than what you may think. Forget the thick, tomato-and-basil you throw on pizza and pasta alike, sauce tomat is actually quite a bit lighter, made with fresh tomatoes and white stock (the recipe calls for veal, but chicken is more readily available). The other major difference is that, much like the other mother sauces, it is thickened with roux. In Le Guide, all the recipes are numbered for easy reference, with the more important ones listed earlier on. Sauce Tomat is #29, and to put that in perspective there’s just shy of 3000 recipes in the book. Scaling back Escoffier’s recipe to about half, I was able to make a pretty decent version of the sauce.

While making the sauce is all well and good, by its very nature it’s what you do with it that makes it interesting in the first place. I knew I couldn’t just swap it out with the tomato sauce I would normally use for a pasta or meat dish, so I had to get a bit creative.

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Sauce Tomat starts with rendered salt pork, so my mind immediately went to something with bacon to bring out that flavor a little more; Bacon? Tomato? BLT? But, a hot, sauce-y BLT? Maybe it could work. I cooked up some bacon until crispy, then began cooking some mixed greens (kale, spinach and chard, I think) in the bacon fat. I added the tomato sauce like you would stock or vinegar to braise the greens, and cooked everything down until it was nice and tender. Incredibly tasty, but a BLT it definitely wasn’t. I still have about two quarts of sauce, and I’m thinking that it could be made into a pretty great soup, which might be a project for later today, considering the temperature has dropped again outside.

Sauce Tomat

makes 2.5 quarts

  • Salt pork, diced, 3 ounces
  • Water, about 1/ cup
  • Butter, unsalted, 2 ounces,
  • Carrots, roughly chopped, 3 ounces
  • Onion, roughly chopped, 3 ounces
  • All-Purpose Flour, 2.5 ounces
  • Roma Tomato, quartered, 5 pounds
  • Chicken Stock, 1 quart (32 ounces, one of the bigger boxes)
  • Garlic, crushed, 1 clove
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • Sugar, to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. In a heavy-bottomed oven-safe pot, combine salt pork and water. Bring to medium heat, and cook until water is evaporated and fat is rendered from pork. Bring to medium-high heat, add butter, carrots and onion. Continue cooking until vegetables begin to soften. Sprinkle flour over the fat and stir vigorously to form a roux. Add tomato and cook until tomatoes begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add stock and garlic and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook covered for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Optional: Pass sauce through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth before serving.

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It’s no secret that slow-cooked meats are a wonder of the culinary world. Not only does the longer, gentler cooking creating juicy, tender meat, but it relieves much of the hassle of trying to cook a meal quickly or at the last minute; Just get everything together in the morning or the night before, throw it in the oven, kick back and relax. Like the Beastie Boys said “Slow and low, that is the tempo” (I know I’ve probably used that joke a thousand times, but it will never stop being funny to me).

The 10th week of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge is braising; a technique used by chefs and cooks for centuries, I don’t think I need to expound too much about the process itself. As with everything, however, the fundamentals are key: well seasoned meat and/or vegetables, flavorful cooking liquid, and time. If you can nail those down, you’ll be pretty well in the clear.

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In the grand German tradition of making normal words sound terrifying, this dish is called Schweineschmorbraten, which roughly translates as braised pork or pork pot roast. The process is incredibly similar to making any other kind of braised or slow-roasted whole-muscle, but the key is in the spices and vegetables. Pork loin (or shoulder, whichever you prefer) gets butterflied open and rubbed down with caraway, juniper, garlic and salt before getting wrapped in bacon for a nice bit of fat and smoke. For the vegetables (rübengemüse), I used a blend of carrots, parsnips, potato, celery root and onion. The pork gets nestled in a roasting pan with the veggies, and covered with chicken stock and red wine, then slow-cooked to perfection. Like most braised dishes, the cooking liquid can easily be turned into a delicious gravy to top the whole dish.

Schweineschmorbraten (German Braised Pork Roast)

Serves 5-6

  • Pork Loin or Shoulder, about 4-5lbs
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
  • Juniper Berries, 2 tablespoons, ground
  • Caraway Seed, 1 tablespoon, ground
  • Garlic, minced, 2 tablespoons
  • Maple Bacon*, about 8 strips
  • Red Wine, 2 cups
  • Chicken Stock, 3 cups
  • Bay Leaf, 1 each
  • Thyme, 2 sprigs
  • Carrot, peeled, diced, 2 each
  • Parsnip, peeled, diced, 2 each
  • Yukon Gold Potato, diced, 2 each
  • Celery Root (Celeriac), peeled, diced, 1 each
  • Sherry Vinegar, 3 tablespoons
  • Cornstarch, 3 tablespoons

Preheat oven to 275F. Butterfly the pork so it lays flat. Rub pork on all sides with salt, pepper, juniper, caraway, and garlic, then roll closed. Lay out strips of bacon, overlapping the long side, to form a sheet. Place pork on one end of bacon, then carefully roll pork to wrap in bacon**.In a heavy-bottomed pan, sear pork until bacon is browned and crisp, about 6 minutes on each side. While pork is searing, combine red wine, stock, bay leaf and thyme in a pot and bring to a simmer. Place vegetables into a medium to large roasting pan. When the pork is well seared, transfer into the pan with the vegetables, nestling the pork down to the bottom. Add stock and wine mixture. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil, and cook at 275F until tender and a thermometer registers 145F-150F in the center. Remove pork from roasting pan and allow to rest before carving. While the pork is resting, strain liquid from vegetables into a sauce pot, and bring to a boil. Combine sherry vinegar and cornstarch to form a slurry. While braising liquid is boiling, add slurry while whisking vigorously. Reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Serve pork and vegetables topped with gravy.

*I like to use maple bacon in most things that I cook, but if you prefer a bacon that’s more smokey or less sweet, feel free to substitute.

**At this point, I actually sealed mine in a FoodSaver Bag and let it sit overnight. This could be easily done with plastic wrap or a ziploc bag, but is also entirely optional.

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Growing up in Northern Vermont, about 20 minutes from the border with Quebec, I’m quite familiar with our neighbors in the Great White North. However, Vermont’s relationship with the people of Quebec has always been somewhat strained. It’s a love/hate thing. We love their cultures, the museums, the food, and all the great things they have to offer, but in the experience of nearly everyone I know, while visiting our state the Quebecois have a tendency to be rude, inhospitable, and downright mean. There’s not much worse feeling than working in a steakhouse with 10 craft beers on draught and having to listen to somebody sneer out I would like a steak and two beers three times in an accent as thick as syrup, then get mad at their server when asked for clarification. I’m ranting, but you get my point. I actually don’t hate Quebec, or any of Canada for that matter. We’re here to talk about food, right? Canadian cuisine can be as regionally varied as it is here in the states, but certain dishes work out to be iconically theirs, and for the 50th week of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge that’s just what we’re talking about.

While it may not be traditional Canadian fare, the first thing that comes to mind when I think “Canadian” are the heart-stopping, coma-inducing, mountainous meals concocted by the guys from Epic Meal Time. For those unfamiliar, I suggest you go watch a few videos to see what I mean. Massive creations ranging in the tens of thousands of calories, and filled with bacon, fast food, and plenty of liquor. And bacon. Lots and lots of bacon strips. While I was in college I discovered their channel and was immediately enthralled. In a world filled with pretentious foodies, farm-to-table restaurants and people giving a shit about what their eating, it’s really refreshing to see  people just making giant, sloppy food for no other reason than “Why not?”. They aren’t concerned with how healthy their dishes are or how cheap the ingredients. Their only concern is creating an epic meal. Epic Meal Time is the culinary equivalent of GWAR: They actually know what they’re doing and how to do it well, and choose to embrace novelty for novelty’s sake, a level of pure enjoyment and honesty that’s rarely seen in today’s society. To pay homage to the Sauce Boss and company, I recreated their most perfectly Canadian dish: The Angry French Canadian Sandwich.

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Maple Bacon, hot dogs, and poutine (fries with cheese curds and gravy), piled high on a french-toasted baguette and doused with maple syrup.  I don’t really know what else to say. Sweet, savory, and carb-tastic. While it was actually pretty tasty, I felt like eating this sandwich took a few years off my life. But that’s kind of the intention, right?

The only real recipe that I used was the classic Poutine Gravy recipe featured on Saveur.com

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Root vegetables are a staple in countless cuisines across the world. As the underground portion of any plant, they provide a great source of nutrients, and store really well over the cold winter months. Now that we’re out of summer and getting into the fall season, it’s a great time to start utilizing root vegetables! Root vegetables are incredibly versatile, able to be used both as a starch and as a vegetable in a wide variety of dishes. I feel like there isn’t much to say about root vegetables in general, so lets get right into the food itself!

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite roots. You can mash them, fry them, make them into chips and pretty much anything else that you could do with a regular potato. However, unlike their paler cousins, sweet potatoes have a great orange color and a nice sweetness to them. To me, that makes them perfectly suited for another standard potato application: gnocchi. I’m going to through this out there right now: it’s pronounced NYoh-kee. Not nOCKY, not No-kee, not Guh-no-chee. I can’t tell you how many people, cooks included, fail to learn how to pronounce this word properly. Maybe it’s just me that it bothers, who knows. Where was I again? Oh right, gnocchi. While normally associated as such, gnocchi are more akin to a dumpling than a pasta.  Potatoes are cooked until tender, mashed, and mixed with eggs and flour to form a dough. The dough is then formed into small chunks and blanched in boiling water. Traditionally, gnocchi are rolled on a specially made board or fork to groove the dumpling so that it holds sauce better. After a quick blanch, the gnocchi can be satueed until they begin to crisp, or tossed in sauce immediately. Either way, they’re a tasty, versatile alternative in nearly any pasta dish.

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For my gnocchi, I baked the sweet potatoes until tender, then removed the flesh. After mashing and allowing them to cool, I mixed in an egg, some salt, and some cinnamon. At this step in the process, things got a little tricky. The recipe I was working off of said only to add about a cup and a half of flour to form a dough. After adding the cup and a half, I was still left with a goopy orange mass in the bowl. I continued to add flour until it came together  like a dough and pulled away from the sides of the bowl. After everything was said and done, it was about three cups of flour total. After removing from the bowl to a floured work surface, I began to kneed the dough and realized that I still needed more flour. Once workable, the dough was divided into four pieces and then divided into individual gnocchi. As I worked with the dough more, it got stickier and stickier. Each gnocchi had to be rolled in flour to keep from sticking to each other on the table. I don’t  know if this was something I had done wrong, but it seemed like and excessive amount of flour.  But with that process over with, I blanched the gnocchi and held them off to be cooked again. The sauce gave me much fewer problems . Shallots, sauteed in butter and sage, deglazed with white wine, and finished with cream. Simple and delicious. Since the gnocchi came out a little doughier that I had intended, I crisped up some fresh bacon lardons to put on top and add a little bit of fattiness.  Once the sauce and bacon were ready, I sauteed the gnocchi in butter until they got browned and crispy on a few sides. The sauce complimented the sweetness of the gnocchi perfectly, and the bacon provided a nice contrast. I think I could have gone a little heavier on the spices in the dough itself, but the little bit I added definitely came through the way I expected it to. The best part about this recipe? It makes enough for two people, with an extra three servings of gnocchi leftover to freeze for another time. Woo!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

makes about 5 portions

  • Sweet Potato, 2 pounds or about 3 medium potatoes
  • Egg, 1 each
  • Kosher Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon
  • All-Purpose Flour, 3 cups, plus more for dusting

Preheat oven to 400F. Bake sweet potatoes for 1 hour, or until tender. Remove from oven, wrap in a dish towel and allow to cool. From sweet potato flesh from skin and place in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Mash potatoes, then add egg, salt and cinnamon, mixing to combine. Add flour gradually, mixing to incorporate. Once dough comes together and pulls from bowl, transfer to a floured work surface. Kneed dough about 5 minutes, adding flour as needed. Divide dough into four. Working in batched, form dough into small balls, about 1 teaspoon each, rolling to coat in flour. Blanch gnocchi in salted boiling water. Gnocchi will begin to float when cooked. Transfer to baking sheet and allow to cool*. To serve, saute gnocchi in butter until crisp and browned. Serve with your choice of sauce.

Sage Cream Sauce

makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • Butter, 2 tablespoons
  • Shallot, minced, 1 each
  • Sage, minced, 1/2 cup, separated
  • White Wine, 1/2 cup
  • Heavy Cream, 2 cups

Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute shallot and 1/4 cup sage in butter until shallot is tender. Deglaze pan with white wine, cooking wine until almost dry. Add cream and bring to a simmer. Simmer until cream is reduced and thickened. Finish sauce with fresh sage.

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BACON

Smoking has been used for centuries as a way of preserving meats for longer storage. Smoking imparts to foods a flavor that is really unlike anything else. Woody, deep, rich… smokey. There’s really no other way to describe it. If you’ve never had smoked meat or fish before, you are truly missing out. Smoking the best way to make perfect ribs and pulled pork, as well as classic deli pastrami. Smoking is the theme for week 27 of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge, and I decided to make the one thing that the internet loves more than anything (well, except cats). BACON.

In case you live under a rock and don’t know what bacon is, it is pork belly that has been cured, either with a dry salt cure or a brine, then smoked. Thinly sliced and cooked until crispy, bacon has a signature flavor that is loved throughout the world. Typically, bacon is made from pork belly, but using the same method, other cuts can be used to yield equally delicious results.  You can buy some pretty great bacon in the store, but nothing can hold a candle to homemade bacon. It’s pretty time consuming, but the end result is more than worth the effort.

Pork Belly

The raw belly. As you can see, it already kind of looks like bacon which is about as good as any food can look. I brined the belly for 3 days in a solution of sugar, salt, water, apple cider, and molasses.

Cured and Dried

After curing, I let the belly dry in front of a fan for two and a half hours. This forms what’s called a pellicle, a sticky layer on the outside of the meat that lets the smoked stick to it better.

Smoking

I smoked the pork for 45 minutes at about 150 degrees. A lot of people are very specific about the type of wood that they use for smoking, but I’ve never noticed too much of a difference in various varieties. For mine, I used mesquite lump charcoal and a combination of apple and maple wood chips.

Smoked

Definitely starting to look more like bacon. There are various ways that you can finish your bacon. You want to get the belly to an internal temperature of 150 degrees. Traditionally it’s just smoked all the way, about 4-6 hours.  You can also cook it in the oven for about the same amount of time. I chose to sous vide mine at 150 for 6 hours.

Sous Vide

After circulating the belly, the let it cool with weights on it overnight. At the end, the bacon with super tender and easy to slice. It had a nice even texture and color all the way through and.. well.. looked like bacon. Mission accomplished?

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Of course, it all comes down to taste. As I said before, nothing can hold a candle to homemade bacon and this proves it. There’s no real way to describe it, since bacon is delicious 90% of the time anyway, but this was some of the best bacon I’ve had.

While bacon is all well and good, the best quality of  bacon is it’s ability to make other foods amazing. Pretty much any food you can think of, bacon will make it better. This has kind of gotten out of hand in recent years, but with a subtle hand, bacon can add a delicious, smokey, meaty flavor and any dish.

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When I think bacon, I think breakfast. Bacon and eggs is a classic breakfast combination, and I knew that would be a great way to showcase my bacon. Rather than just a plate of eggs and bacon, I made a delicious breakfast pizza topped with ricotta, mozzarella, a few eggs and crispy chunks of bacon. Without even trying to, this ended up just like the mini breakfast pizzas I used to have as a kid; a welcome surprise.

While the whole process of making the bacon was a little time intensive, everything came out way better than I expected. Once I find a good place to get pork belly, this may become a regular for me.

Bacon, adapted  from Good Eats Season 5 Episode 5: Scrap Iron Chef

  • Pork Belly, 4 lbs
  • Water, 1/2 gallon, divided in half
  • Apple Cider, 1/2 gallon
  • Sugar, 1 cup
  • Kosher Salt, 1 cup
  • Molasses, 8 fluid ounces
  • Cracked Black Pepper, as needed

In a large stock pot, add half the water and bring to a boil. Add sugar, salt, and molasses, stirring to dissolve. Combine salt mixture with remaining water and cider. Coat pork belly with black pepper, rubbing it into the meat. Place pork belly into brine and allow to sit for 3 days. Remove from brine and pat dry to remove excess moisture. Allow to sit, uncovered in the fridge overnight, or in front of a fan for 2 and a half hours. When belly is dry and surface is sticky, allow to come to room temperature. Heat a charcoal smoker to about 150 degrees. Add two handfuls of soaked woodchips to hot coals. Place the pork belly on the grate of the smoker, cover, and let smoke 45 minutes. Remove from smoker and allow to cool. Vacuum seal and circulate in a 150 degree water bath for 6 hours. Remove from water bath and shock in ice water for 5 minutes. Allow bacon to cool overnight, pressing with weights. Slice thinly or dice, and cook until crispy.

Breakfast Pizza

  • Pizza dough, 1 each
  • Ricotta, about 1 cup
  • Bacon, diced, crispy, about 1 cup
  • Mozzarella, about 1.5 cups
  • Eggs, whole, 6 each

Preheat oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone*. On a lightly floured surface or pizza pan, roll out pizza dough to desired size. Lightly brush dough with oil. Top with ricotta, bacon, and mozzarella. Remove heated pizza stone from oven and transfer dough to stone. Crack eggs onto dough, evenly dispersed. Bake at 500 for 15-17 minutes or until crust is brown, cheese is melted and eggs are cooked.

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