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Archive for Meat & Poultry

TIP OF THE DAY: Roast Your Roots

While we wait for spring vegetables to appear, we’ve been eating lots of root vegetables.

Root vegetables have sustained mankind through millennia of winters, because they last for long periods in cool temperatures.

Before the advent of modern refrigeration, root cellars provided vital cold storage that kept a family fed through the winter.

Growing underground (photo #1), the root are generally storage organs, enlarged to store energy in the form of carbohydrates. These large roots are eaten as vegetables.

WHAT ARE ROOT VEGETABLES?

Root vegetables are plant roots eaten as vegetables (photo #2).

Beet, carrot, parsnip, potato and sweet potato, radish, and turnip are widely consumed in the U.S.

Some roots, such as galangal, ginger, horseradish, turmeric and wasabi, are used for condiments or seasonings. Arrowroot is used as a thickener. Gingseng is used medicinally.

To give you a perspective on the category, here’s a categorization of the root vegetables more familiar in the U.S.

True Roots

  • Taproots: beetroot (beet), burdock, carrot, celeriac (celery root), daikon, dandelion, jicama, parsley root*, parsnip, radish, rutabaga, salsify and turnip, and others not well-known in the U.S.
  • Tuberous roots: cassava/yuca/manioc, Chinese/Korean yam, and sweet potato, among others.
  • Bulbs: fennel; garlic, green onion/scallion, leek, onion, shallot and the rest of the Allium family.
  • Corms: Chinese water chestnut, taro.
  • Rhizomes: arrowroot, galangal, ginger, ginseng, lotus root, turmeric
  • Tubers: Chinese artichoke/crosne, Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke), potato, ube, yam.
  •  
    Roasted taproots and tubers are popular roasted vegetables in American cuisine. Even people who fuss over eating vegetables enjoy the sweetness of the sugars that come out during roasting.
     
    TWO WAYS TO ENJOY ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES

    There are endless recipes, of course; but here are two recipes from Idaho Potatoes with some added glamour.

    RECIPE #1: ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES WITH CHICKEN

    We like the convenience of this recipe. Root vegetables are hardy, and can keep for a few weeks. It’s easy to pick up a rotisserie chicken if you don’t have time or inclination to roast one.

    You can use substitute other root vegetables, or create a grain bowl with a bottom layer of a favorite grain.

    Ingredients

  • 4 russet Idaho potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 turnip, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and then cut into wedges
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup butternut squash, chopped and peeled
  • 2 beets, rinsed, peeled, cut in half and then cut into wedges
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, removed from stem
  • 3 cups Swiss chard, removed from stem and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup cooked rotisserie chicken, chopped
  •  
    For The Maple Aïoli

  • 3 tablespoons fresh mayo
  • 1 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  

    Root Vegetables Illustration

    Root Vegetables

    Roast Chicken & Vegetables

    Whole Roast Chicken

    [1] An old illustration showing how root vegetables grow (photo courtesy Etsy). [2] Harvested root vegetables (photo courtesy DIY Naturals). [3] Recipe #1: roasted root vegetables with chicken (photo courtesy Idaho Potatoes). [4] Rotisserie chicken (photo courtesy McCormick).

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

    2. TOSS all of the vegetables in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with thyme. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden and fork tender, flipping once, halfway through. Meanwhile…

    3. HEAT the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium-heat. Sauté the Swiss chard with the chopped garlic, until wilted, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    4. MAKE the aïoli: Whisk the mayonnaise with the maple syrup and cinnamon until combined. Spoon into a serving dish.

    5. DIVIDE the chard evenly in serving bowls. Top with the roasted vegetables and chicken. Serve with the maple aïoli on the side for dipping.
     
    ________________
    *Parsley root is not related to parsley, the herb, but is a beige root vegetable that resembles a parsnip or turnip. The edible leaves that grow above the ground do resemble curly parsley leaves, but taste like celery. Parsley root is also called turnip-rooted parsley. In Germany it is known as Hamburg parsley, and is a popular winter vegetable in Germany, Holland and Poland.

     

    Scalloped Root Vegetables

    Purple Top Turnips

    Smithfield Honey Cured Spiral Ham

    [5] A three-potato gratin with turnips (photo courtesy Idaho Potatoes). [6] Turnips (photo courtesy Good Eggs). [7] We served the casserole with a beautiful Smithfield spiral-cut ham (photo courtesy Smithfield).

     

    RECIPE #2: SCALLOPED ROOT VEGETABLE CASSEROLE

    This casserole reminds us of a tian, a beautiful way to serve summer vegetables.

    It is actually a gratin†.

    This recipe serves a trio of potatoes plus turnips under a cloak of melted cheese. They work together in this recipe because they can be sliced into roughly the same sizes, which cook evenly.
    Ingredients

  • 4 large russet Idaho potatoes, sliced thin, approximately 1/8″
  • 3 red Idaho potatoes, sliced thin, approximately 1/8″
  • 2 sweet potatoes, sliced thin, approximately 1/8″
  • 3 turnips, sliced thin, approximately 1/8″
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 packages of whipped chive cream cheese
  • 16 ounces heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoon of salt, more to taste
  • Garnish: grated Parmesan and diced chives for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Slice the potatoes and turnips and set aside in a large bowl.

    2. HEAT 1/2 tablespoon butter over medium heat in a medium, non-stick skillet. Add the onions and garlic; sauté until translucent.

    3. ADD the cream cheese, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and stir until smooth. Turn off the heat.

    4. SPRAY a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place half of the potatoes and turnips in a separate large bowl. Slowly add 1/3 of the cream mixture into the bowl with the potatoes and turnips and mix to coat well.

    5. PLACE the coated potato and turnip slices into the baking pan vertically, using your hands. Make sure the slices are close together (see photo #5). Add another 1/3 of the cream mixture to the remaining potatoes and turnips, coating well. Layer them into the baking dish. Once all the slices are in the baking pan…

    6. POUR the remainder of cream mixture into the baking pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the foil and bake for an additional 40 minutes.

    7. REMOVE from the oven, sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Garnish with the chives right before serving.

    We liked the recipe so much, we’re making it again today!

     
    †WHAT’S A GRATIN?

    Gratin (grah-TAN) is a method of food preparation in which a protein, vegetable or starch is served with a browned crust of grated cheese. The crust may also include breadcrumbs, egg and/or butter.

    Gratin originated in France and is usually made in a shallow baking dish. The main ingredient can be baked (roasted) in the oven or cooked on the stove top. In the latter case, the toppings are then added and the dish is finished in the oven or broiler.

    The baking dish is usually brought to the table piping hot. It’s a perennial favorite: Who doesn’t like their food topped with melted cheese?

      

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    RECIPE: Crispy Chicken Thighs Two Ways

    Skillet Chicken Thighs

    Chicken Thighs

    Tuscan Kale

    Castelvetrano Olives

    [1] Chicken with kale and olives, recipe below, made with [2] chicken thighs, [3] Tuscan kale and [4] castelvetrano olives (photos 1-3 courtesy Good Eggs, photo 4 courtesy Maiden Lane Restaurant | NYC).

     

    Every time we see chicken thighs on sale, we load up and make recipes like these, plus a big vat of chicken soup (Jewish-style and Mexican-style chicken soup recipes).

    Chicken thighs are economical, versatile and more flavorful than white meat (frankly, we can’t understand the premium placed on white meat chicken and turkey).

    We also love the ease of one-pan cooking in the recipes that follow. You can bring the entire pan to the table and serve from there (be sure to lay down a trivet ahead of time).

    These two recipes are from Good Eggs—a terrific purveyor of groceries in the San Francisco area.

    Serve them with a green salad and some crusty bread to sop up the pan sauce.

    RECIPE #1: CRISPY CHICKEN THIGHS WITH KALE & OLIVES

    Sweet from the tomatoes and salty from the olives, this recipe features the it green of the moment, kale. If you don’t like kale, substitute beet greens, broccoli rabe, chard, collards, spinach or other greens (we used mustard greens).

    Cook time is 35 minutes.

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, or 2 whole chicken legs with drumstick
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, de-stemmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 handful Castelvetrano† green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks—or—2 cups diced canned tomatoes, drained*
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed
  • Fresh thyme or oregano stems, leaves removed
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WARM a 9-inch cast iron pan inside an oven preheated to 425°F. Salt and pepper the chicken thighs on both sides. When the oven is hot, carefully (carefully!) remove the pan from the oven and add the thighs, skin side down. Place the pan back in the oven and cook the chicken until browned and the internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 30 minutes.

    While the chicken cooks…

    2. HEAT 2 tablespoons of olive oil (more as needed) in a second skillet (you can serve from this skillet). When the oil is hot, add the garlic cloves and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. When the cloves are lightly browned…

    3. ADD the tomatoes, thyme and olives and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook until the tomatoes have released their juices and the sauce has a nice consistency, about 15 minutes.

     
    4. ADD the kale to the tomatoes and combine with a pair of tongs. Cover the pan for a few minutes to let the greens wilt, then uncover and stir again with the tongs. Cook the kale and tomatoes together over low heat until the chicken is ready.

    5. PLACE the cooked chicken on top of the greens and serve in the skillet.
    ________________

    *We use canned San Marzano tomatoes when fresh tomatoes are out of season.

    †Castelvetrano olives from Sicily are the “greenest” green olives. Not only does the color look great, but these meaty olives have a unique flavor that makes them our favorite. Here’s more about Castelvetrano olives.

     

    RECIPE #2: CHICKEN THIGHS WITH CHERRY TOMATOES

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 2-4 chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 475°F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper; let it rest until it reaches room temperature.

    2. HEAT 2 tablespoons of olive oil (more as needed) in a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add the chicken thighs skin side down. After 3 minutes, decrease the heat to medium high and cook the chicken for another 12 minutes. After another 5 minutes…

     

    Skillet Chicken With Cherry Tomatoes

    Here’s the recipe from the New York Times, which adds shallots and Dijon mustard to the recipe.

     
    3. ADD enough cherry tomatoes to fill in the gaps between the thighs and rearrange the chicken as needed to make sure all the tomatoes are getting equal heat. Add a few sprigs of thyme and the garlic. When the 12 minutes is up…

    4. USE a spoon to roll the tomatoes around in the chicken drippings, flip the thighs skin side up and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook for another 13 minutes.

    5. REMOVE from the oven and check the chicken for doneness by making sure internal temperature is 165°F (or the juices run clear). Remove from the heat and let the chicken rest for a few minutes for the juices to settle.

    THE DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE CHICKEN

    Bet you can’t name them all! Check out our Chicken Glossary.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Chicken Salad Without The Sandwich

    Like chicken salad, but trying to cut back on bread?

    If you want to avoid the bread, croissants and wraps, there’s always a scoop of chicken salad on greens, in lettuce cups, or stuffed into a bell pepper, tomato, or avocado half.

    But we thought these ideas from Willow Tree Farm add allure to a long-time favorite.

    Whether a filling for celery or fennel stalks, or a base for mini “cucumber sandwiches,” these make fun appetizers or snacks.

    Use your own chicken salad, or one from Willow Tree Farm.

    cucumber sandwiches. Serve #Sriracha Chicken Salad between two cucumbers for a crunchy, cool and spicy bite.

     
    RECIPE: CHICKEN SALAD STACKS

    For snacks, with beer, or as an amuse bouche before dinner. For something sweeter, you can use apple slices.

    Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 container of Willow Tree Farm Sriracha Chicken Salad (or your recipe)
  • Garnish: cilantro or other herb
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SLICE the cucumber into 1/2″ slices

    2. PLACE the chicken salad on half of the cucumber slices. Top with a cucumber slice.

    3. ROUND the edges with a spatula. Garnish with cilantro and secure with a toothpick.

    THE HISTORY OF CHICKEN SALAD

    It may come as a surprise—because modern mayonnaise was invented around 1800——but the Chinese were the first to serve variations of “chicken salad” (see below).

    The ingredients were not the same as what we call Chinese chicken salad*, but included pieces of chicken mixed with a variety of spices and oils and another binder, such as rice.

    The American form of chicken salad was first served in 1863 by Town Meats, a meat market in Wakefield, Rhode Island. The owner, Liam Gray, mixed leftover chicken with mayonnaise, tarragon, and grapes. It became such a popular item that the meat market was converted to a delicatessen.

    Modern Chicken Salad

    In the U.S., chicken salad is a cold salad with chicken as the main ingredient, and typically bound with mayonnaise with optional mustard. Other ingredients can include bell pepper, celery, hard-boiled egg, onion, pickles or pickle relish, plus herbs, such as dill, rosemary or tarragon.

    It can also include diced apples, grapes or dried fruit, such as cherries, cranberries or raisins. Diced mango is another popular addition as are nuts, such as almonds, pecans and walnuts.

    In some areas of the U.S., especially the South, chicken salad may be a garden salad topped with fried, grilled, or roasted chicken, sliced.

    While today chicken salad is mostly served in a sandwich or wrap, it has a history as a ladies’ luncheon staple, served on a bed of greens with sliced tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, bell pepper rings, and olives or other garnish, served with crackers.

    Variations were inevitable, using ingredients specific to regional and international cuisines.

  • Chinese chicken salad is made with celery, sliced almonds, fruit (diced apples, mandarin orange segments or pineapple chunks) and mayonnaise, and topped with fried Chinese noodles.
  • Southwestern chicken salad includes avocado, black beans, cilantro, corn kernels, diced tomatoes, onion, shredded cheddar cheese and a garnish of crushed tortilla chips (recipe).
  •  
    Modern recipes expand the concept of chicken salad to pasta salad or Caesar salad with chunks of chicken; add wing sauce and blue cheese for buffalo chicken salad.

    Binders can include anything you like: blue cheese dressing, hummus, pesto, remoulade sauce, Russian dressing, Thai peanut sauce, and on and on.

    In other countries, chicken salad can be made with any number of dressings, along with couscous, pasta, rice and vegetables.

    So don’t be wary: Experiment!

    Fancy presentations serve it in a lettuce-lined coupe; molded into a ring; or scooped into a toast cup, avocado half or pineapple half.

    As with any recipe, add whatever you like; from bacon to capers to pickled jalapeño.

    ABOUT WILLOW TREE FARMS

    Willow Tree Farms makes pot pies and chicken salad from premium white meat.

    In addition to original chicken salad, there’s a flavorful selection of:

  • Avocado Chicken Salad
  • Buffalo Chicken Salad
  • Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
  • Sriracha Chicken Salad
  •  
    The products are sold at major retailers, including BJ’s, Stop & Shop and Whole Foods in New England and the East Coast. Here’s a store locator.

     

    Chicken Salad Celery Sticks

    Chicken Salad Cucumber Stacks

    Chicken Salad In Wonton Cups

    Mango Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocado

    Southwestern Chicken Salad

    Avocado Chicken Salad

    [1] Filled celery sticks and [2] cucumber stacks from Willow Tree Farm. [3] Chicken salad in wonton wrappers (here’s the recipe from Shared). [4] Mango chicken salad in an avocado (here’s the recipe from The Real Food Dieticians). [5] Southwestern chicken salad recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. [6] Avocado chicken salad (here’s the recipe from Whole And Heavenly Oven).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Poach Your Proteins

    Poaching Salmon

    Poached Tenderloin

    Poached Chicken

    Poached Salmon

    [1] Poaching salmon is the easiest way to enjoy moist, tender fish, without cooking fish aromas. Here’s a recipe from Cooking Light. [2] Our favorite way to make beef tenderloin is to poach it. Here’s a recipe from Martha Stewart. [3] If you make chicken in a pot, or chicken soup with pieces of chicken, you’ve poached a bird. Here’s a recipe from Enki Village. [4] Our first poaching attempt was inspired by classic French dish (here’s the recipe from Buck Cooks).

     

    Poaching food is a topic that doesn’t come up much these days.

    The age-old moist-heat cooking technique simply submerges raw food in a liquid. The technique cooks the food without pulling the moisture from it: The protein is moist, never dry.

    The food cooks at a relatively low temperature (about 160°–180°F), which is especially good for delicate foods (eggs, fish) that might fall apart or dry out with other cooking methods.

    Heartier foods—an entire beef tenderloin or chicken—work equally well.

    Decades ago, when we tried to master the art of French cooking, we purchased a large, oblong fish poacher, a pan created to poach a whole fish.

    Cold poached salmon was a mainstay of French cuisine, served with dill sauce and marinated cucumbers. We loved it and ate it regularly, at the numerous classic French restaurants that graced New York City back then. It looked easy to make, and it was.

    But we subsequently discovered that serving it nicely takes a bit of training. The captains at the French restaurants new how to cut neat slices, avoiding the bones. Our salmon looked like it had been hacked by starving hordes. Sigh.

    We stuck the poacher in the cupboard (until, 10 years later, we learned to poach an entire beef tenderloin, a cinch tot slice), and stuck to poaching fillets. They require zero skill to serve.

    START POACHING TODAY

    Just about any food can be poached, poaches up moist and flavorful, and can be served warm or cold.

    Poaching proteins are an easy and healthy preparation; all your healthcare providers and trainers approve. Poaching has:

  • No added fat.
  • No unwanted aromas drifting through the house.
  • No “watching the pot” (or the grill).
  • Clean-up is easy: nothing sticks to the pan.
  •  
    Bonus:

    You end up with an extra dish, or part thereof.

    The poaching liquid becomes a delicious broth that can be served later, thickened into a sauce, or used in other recipes.

    WHAT’S IN THE POACHING LIQUID?

    The poaching liquid can include whatever flavors you want, from the base to the add-ins.

    Our wine editor, Kris Prasad, who taught us to poach a tenderloin, advised: “Toss in whatever you have: leftover wine, herbs, soy sauce instead of salt, a splash of balsamic, citrus juice or vinegar for tartness. Anything works.”

    The poaching liquid can be:

  • Water or stock/broth
  • Milk, as appropriate
  • Plain or blended with wine (including leftover sparkling wine), beer, dry vermouth, fruit juice
  • In terms of add-ins: Add in whatever flavors you like, from classic mirepoix—carrots, celery, onions—and fresh herbs, to the less obvious—cardamom, cinnamon sticks, star anise, whole nutmeg, etc.

     
    There are recipes galore online, and plenty of videos on YouTube, for anything you might want to poach.

    Don’t wait to try them: You may discover that poaching proteins is your favorite food discovery of the year.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Celebrate With A Bacon Bar + 21 More Food Bars

    Bacon Bloody Mary

    Bourbon Bacon

    Pancetta

    Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

    [1] Start with a bacon Bloody Mary (photo and a recipe courtesy Bacon Bourbon USA). [2] Bourbon bacon with bacon-cheddar biscuits and bacon jam (photo courtesy Smithfield). You can serve the different types of bacon on a plate or in a jar or glass. [3] You can include European styles of bacon, like pancetta. Check out the different types of bacon (photo courtesy Fra Mani).[4] Bacon-cheddar biscuits (photo courtesy Food Network).

     

    For entertaining, we like DIY food bars. Guests help themselves, and you only need to get involved when a plate or bowl needs to be refilled.

    Cocktails, Hors D’Oeuvre & Appetizers

  • Antipasto Bar
  • Apple Cider Party Bar
  • Bloody Mary Bar
  • Bruschetta Bar
  • Flavored Shots Party Bar
  • Gazpacho Bar
  • Guacamole Bar
  • Shandy Bar
  • Stuffed Avocado Bar
  •  
    Main Meals

  • Breakfast Or Brunch Bar
  • Coconut Bowl Bar
  • Lunch Or Dinner Bar
  • Tapas Bar
  • Temaki Bar (Sushi Hand Rolls)
  •  
    Desserts & Snacks

  • Assorted Desserts Bar
  • Brownie Bar
  • Frozen Yogurt Bar
  • Ice Cream Bar
  • Pudding Party Bar
  • S’mores Bar
  • Popcorn Bar
  •  
    Today, inspired by Smithfield, we’re adding to the list with a bacon bar.

    Whether for a casual New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, you can create a memorable experience for bacon lovers.

    RECIPE #1: BACON BLOODY MARY

    The easiest route to a Bacon Bloody Mary is to garnish a regular Bloody Mary with a strip of bacon. (You can do this with any savory cocktail, from bourbon on the rocks to a Martini.)

    Or, you could go whole hog with bacon vodka, bacon Bloody Bary mix and a bacon salt rim, as they do at Bacon Bourbon USA.

    We also have recipe for a BLT Bloody Mary, courtesy of the Hotel Jerome in Aspen.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: CARAMELIZED BOURBON BACON

    You can serve plain bacon, and showcase the difference between applewood- and hickory-smoked varieties.

    You can also enhance bacon with herbs, spices and sweeteners, not to mention chocolate. The next two recipes are from Smithfield.

    Smithfield even has ready-to-print labels to distinguish what you’re serving.

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 sixteen-ounce packages thick-cut bacon
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking pans with parchment paper. Remove the bacon from the package and space evenly on the pan, without overlapping slices.

    2. PLACE the pans in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, rotating them halfway through. While the bacon is cooking, combine the honey, bourbon and maple syrup.

    3. REMOVE the pans from the oven and carefully drain off the grease (you may wish to reserve it in a jar for cooking greens, eggs, etc.).

    4. BRUSH the bacon with the bourbon/maple syrup/honey mixture. Return the pans to the oven and bake for 3-5 minutes. Let the bacon cool slightly and then serve immediately.
     

     
    RECIPE #3: SEA SALT CARMEL BACON OR SALTED CHOCOLATE BACON

    Like chocolate-covered bacon, this recipe from Smithfield qualifies as dessert!

    You can substitute chocolate sauce to make a chocolate bacon variation.

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • 1 teaspoon flaked sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons caramel topping (or chocolate topping)
  • 2 twelve-ounce packages thick-cut bacon
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking pans with nonstick foil. Remove bacon from package and space evenly without overlapping slices.

    2. PLACE the pans in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway and continue baking until crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven. Using tongs, place the strips on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Let cool slightly.

    3. HEAT the caramel in the microwave for 10 seconds. Drizzle the bacon with the caramel and sprinkle with sea salt. Return to the oven and bake 2 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes. Using tongs, remove to cooling rack. Cool 5 minutes before serving.
     
     
    RECIPE #4: BACON-CHEDDAR BISCUITS

    Ingredients For 12 Biscuits

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (scallions)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (we substituted gruyère, which we prefer)
  • 1/2 cup diced cooked standard-sliced bacon
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. In a small bowl, toss together the cheese, green onions and bacon with 1 tablespoon of flour. Set aside.

    2. WHISK together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut in the butter. Add the milk, stirring in just enough to bring the ingredients together and make a soft dough. Gently fold in the cheese mixture.

    3. TURN the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 1 minute. Pat or roll out the dough to a thickness of ½ or ¾ inch. Cut into rounds with a 2 ½ inch round biscuit cutter.

    4. PLACE the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Ideally serve warm, although they’re delicious at room temperature, too.
     
     
    RECIPE #5: CHERRY BACON JAM WITH THYME & CLOVES

    This sweet-and-savory jam from Smithfield is delicious on biscuits, and also scores as a condiment on sandwiches, with eggs, and with grilled meats, poultry and fish/seafood.

    Ingredients For 9 Servings

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 large onions, finely diced (about 1½ cups)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1.5 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds thick-cut bacon
  • 3 jars (10 ounces each) cherry preserves
  • 1.5 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COOK the bacon in large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat until just crisp, turning as needed. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels until cooled.

    2. DRAIN all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the pan. Increase the heat to medium and cook the onions for 8-10 minutes or until soft and translucent.

    3. ADD the preserves and sugar to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot and the sugar has dissolved. Add in the vinegar, cloves, salt and pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes or until thickened and syrupy, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile finely chop bacon while jam is reducing. Add bacon and thyme to pan and stir to combine, cooking until to your desired consistency. Let the jam cool. You can store in airtight jars for up to two weeks.

    TIP: For a smoother, less chunky jam, pulse the cooled bacon jam in a food processor until it is the desired smoothness.
     
     
    RECIPE #6: BACON APPLE PIE

    This pie crust top from Smithfield may be the best-tasting lattice ever.

    Ingredients

  • 8 slices applewood-smoked bacon
  • 3-1/2 pints sliced cooking apples (such as Granny Smith,
    Rome or Gala)
  • 1.5 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 9-inch single pie crust
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  •  
    Preparation

     

    Bacon Apple Pie

    Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Bacon Ice Cream

    Bacon Clothesline

    [5] Bacon apple pie (photo courtesy Smithfield). [6] Bacon chocolate chip cookies from David Venable | QVC. Here’s the recipe. [7] Maple bacon bourbon ice cream. Here’s the recipe from from Cherry Tea Cakes. [8] And then there’s the Bacon Clothesline (photo courtesy David Burke | Fabrick Restaurant).

     
    1. HEAT the oven to 425°F. Place the pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate and crimp the edges.

    2. TOSS together the apples and orange juice in a large bowl. Add the cranberries, walnuts and fresh ginger and mix well.

    3. STIR together the flour, ½ cup brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in small bowl. Add to the apples and toss until the slices are evenly coated. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust.

    4. WEAVE the bacon slices together over top of pie, leaving 1-inch spaces between the slices (4 slices by 4 slices); tuck the ends of the strips under the apples as needed. Sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons of brown sugar over the top of the bacon slices.

    5. BAKE the pie in a 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for approximately 50 minutes, until the bacon is browned and crisp. Cover the edges of the crust with foil if it starts to get too dark.

    6. LET the pie stand for 15 minutes before slicing. This pie is best served warm because of the bacon. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

     
    HOW ABOUT BACON CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES?
     
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BACON.

      

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