May 30, 2014

America Loves BACON!

This slice of Bacon, "L'o pua'a uahi" in Hawaiian,
is similar in shape to the island of Moloka'i
Bacon, "L'o pua'a uahi" in Hawaiian, is alive and well all over the U.S., including in the 50th state. From food trucks to the ohana kitchen, the people of Hawaii love bacon. 

One of my favorites is "Bacon and egg SPAM musubi", built with a chunk of sticky rice, a slice of grilled Spam, a rectangle of scrambled egg cake, topped with a slice of crispy bacon, all wrapped up with a strip of nori (seaweed), like a symphony of flavors all complementing each other for the perfect handheld breakfast. Price $2.48 at Iyasume Musubi - Waikiki, Honolulu, phone # 921-0168. 

Another one of my favorite sandwiches is toasted wheat bread with spicy mustard, roast turkey slices topped with watercress, tomato slices, avocado, and crispy bacon. Great for those Thanksgiving leftovers. Here are a few more of my favorite bacon recipes:

Baked Eggs and Spinach with Bacon
6 slices bacon
1 5-ounce bag baby spinach
2 whole wheat or sourdough English muffins, split horizontally, well toasted
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
Special equipment: 4 1-cup ramekins

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp; transfer to paper towels. Pour off drippings from skillet; reserve drippings. Add spinach to pan, sprinkle with pepper, and toss over medium heat, 1 minute. Transfer to strainer set over bowl to drain. Brush four 1-cup ramekins with drippings. Crumble bacon.

Place 1 toasted English muffin half, split side up, in each ramekin. Divide spinach among ramekins, then sprinkle bacon over, dividing equally. With back of spoon, shape well in center of each ramekin. Gently crack 1 egg into well in each ramekin, keeping yolk intact. Drizzle 1 tablespoon cream over each egg. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake eggs until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, 14 to 16 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Bacon & Egg Foo Yung
6 slices bacon, fried and chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
4 large fresh button mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon instant beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon molasses
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
5 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 large cooked shrimp, chopped
1 cup bean sprouts
canola oil for frying

In a large skillet or wok, fry bacon until crisp, then set aside to cool on paper towel. Using 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease, sauté the chopped onion, mushrooms, and garlic for 2 or 3 minutes, then chop up the bacon and add it to the onion and garlic mixture. Set aside.

To prepare sauce, in a small saucepan combine the oyster sauce, beef bouillon granules, molasses, soy sauce, sugar, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Blend 2 tablespoons of cold water with the cornstarch, stir into hot sauce mixture. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Turn to low heat and keep warm.

To make bacon & egg foo yung, beat together eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and the vegetable/bacon mixture. Stir in the chopped shrimp, and bean sprouts, mix well. In a skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil till hot. Using about 1/4 cup of the mixture for each patty, fry patties in hot oil about 1 minute per side or till golden. (Spread the meat mixture to cover egg as the egg spreads slightly.) Keep warm. Repeat till all the mixture is used, stirring each time; add more oil as needed. Serve sauce with bacon & egg foo yung. Serve with Asian vegetables, like snow peas or bok choy (see recipe index for recipes.) Makes 4 servings.

Bacon Fried Rice
4 cups cooked jasmine rice
6 slices bacon, diced
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 green onions, thinly sliced plus more for topping
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger (from about a 1-inch piece)
1 cup frozen peas
4 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
1 carrot, thinly sliced or ribboned using a vegetable peeler, for topping

In a large non-stick skillet or wok over medium-high heat, cook diced bacon until it is browned and fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Drain any excess fat from pan (you still want a thin layer coating the bottom) and push bacon pieces to sides of pan. In the center of the pan, add onions and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in green onions, garlic, and ginger and cook for 3 minutes, taking care not to let the garlic brown. Stir in peas and cook for 2 minutes, or until warm. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.

Lower heat to medium, add eggs and scramble for 2-3 minutes or until fully cooked. Add eggs to bacon mixture. Wipe out skillet (careful as it may be hot), add canola oil, and return to medium-high heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add cooked rice and spread in an even layer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until rice is heated through and slightly crispy. Stir in bacon-egg mixture. Season to taste with soy sauce and sesame oil. Top with green onions and carrots and serve hot. Makes 4-6 servings.

Note: Pre-cooked jasmine rice for this recipe a day in advance. It’s always best to make fried rice with leftover rice because fresh rice gets gummy & sticky. Two cups of uncooked rice yields about 4-4 1/2 cups cooked rice.

Chicken Livers with Bacon & Mushrooms
4 slices of fried bacon
2 cups chicken livers
2 cups mushrooms
1/2 cup thinly sliced medium sized onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup tomato sauce
sprinkle of chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and set aside. Once the bacon is cooled, break apart into small pieces. Meanwhile over high heat, sauté in bacon grease: 2 cups chicken livers with 2 cups of sliced mushrooms, half of a thinly sliced, medium-sized onion, and 1 tablespoon minced garlic. When the chopped livers are cooked halfway (about 5 minutes), add 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup chicken broth, and 1/3 cup of tomato sauce. Reduce the liquid, sprinkle with bacon pieces and parsley. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a side of white rice. Makes 1 serving.

Bacon & Potato Frittata
8 large eggs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, parsley, or tarragon
3 tablespoons grated parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, or more to taste, chopped
2 garlic cloves, or more to taste, chopped
2 to 3 cups spinach or arugula, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers, or to taste
3 ounces sliced Provolone (5 to 6 slices), optional
Special equipment: 10-inch heavy ovenproof skillet, preferably nonstick or cast-iron; heat-proof rubber spatula

Preheat broiler. Whisk together eggs, basil, parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

Cook bacon in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until crisp. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to a large bowl then pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat.

Add potatoes and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to skillet, and sauté over medium-high heat until golden, about 3 minutes. Cover skillet and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring a few times, until potatoes are just tender, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the potatoes with a slotted spoon to bowl containing the bacon.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and sauté onion and garlic over medium-high heat until pale golden, about 4 minutes, then add spinach and sauté until just wilted.

Gently add the potatoes and bacon, the roasted peppers, and remaining tablespoon oil into onion mixture, spreading it evenly.

Pour egg mixture evenly over vegetables and cook over medium-high heat, lifting up cooked egg around edges with a heat-proof rubber spatula to let uncooked egg flow underneath, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, until it appears mostly set, with a moist top and center, 3 to 5 minutes more.

Remove lid. If using Provolone, broil frittata 5 to 7 inches from heat until set, but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes, then top with an even layer of cheese and continue to broil until browned and bubbling, 1 to 3 minutes (watch carefully).

If skipping the cheese, broil frittata until the top is lightly browned, 1 to 3 minutes (making sure it doesn't burn).

If using a nonstick skillet, slide the frittata onto a serving plate. If using a cast-iron skillet, cut and serve wedges directly from the skillet. Makes 4 servings.

Bacon-Cornbread Stuffing
1/2 cup pecan halves
4 ounces bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
4 green onions, chopped
Cornbread, crumbled (about 6 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 375°.

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes. (Do not crisp.) Remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in Dutch oven. Sauté diced onion and next 2 ingredients in hot drippings 8 minutes or until tender. Stir in green onions; sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Add bacon, cornbread, and next 3 ingredients. Stir together melted butter and broth, and stir into cornbread mixture. Add salt and pepper. Fold in pecans. Spoon dressing into a buttered, shallow 2-qt. baking dish; cover with aluminum foil.

Bake, covered, at 375°F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and uncover. Transfer oven rack to highest position. Bake dressing, uncovered, 12 minutes or until top is crusty. Makes 8 servings.

Bacon Potato Salad
8 medium potatoes (about 3 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
10 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
5 hard cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
6 green onions, chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons yellow mustard

Garnishes: parsley, chopped, plus a sprinkle of paprika on top

Cook potatoes in boiling water to cover in a large pot over medium heat 15 to 18 minutes or until tender. Drain and let cool slightly.

Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add bacon, eggs, chopped green onions, and next 4 ingredients. Stir together mayonnaise, sour cream and mustard until blended. Pour over potato mixture, tossing gently to coat. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Garnish, if desired.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

OMG Bacon Cheddar Biscuits!
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
10 tablespoons whole milk
4 tablespoons canola oil
1 whole egg
10 slices thick cut bacon, fried and crumbled
1 cup finely diced onion
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in shortening until all combined.

Combine milk, oil, and egg in a separate bowl. Whisk together.

Combine flour mixture, milk mixture, bacon, onions, and cheddar cheese in a large bowl. Stir gently until all combined.

Spoon batter into heavily greased muffin tins. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes on 375˚F until golden. Remove from pan and serve warm. Makes 12 biscuits.

Mango Spinach Salad 
with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
4 thick bacon slices, diced
1/2 medium-size red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 (9-oz.) package fresh spinach
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/3 cup crumbled feta or blue cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet.

Sauté onion in hot drippings 2 to 3 minutes or until soft. Add vinegar, lime juice, and honey; cook 2 minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet.

Place spinach in a serving bowl. Add warm vinaigrette, and toss to coat. Top with mango, crumbled cheese, and bacon; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Peanut Butter Cookies...with Bacon!
1 cup all-natural chunky or smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
about 6 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and diced
1/4 cup white sugar

parchment paper
large cookie sheet

In a skillet over medium high heat, fry up bacon until cooked through and let cool on paper towels until cool enough to dice. Dice up and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment & set aside. In a mixer combine peanut butter and sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add egg and baking soda and mix for another 2 minutes. Fold in cooked bacon. Roll into large walnut sized balls and roll in granulated sugar, then create a criss-cross pattern on top of each cookie with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Makes 24 cookies.

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