Bacon Jam

I made this on a whim after looking for appetizer ideas for our family Easter lunch. I decided to make Bacon Jam and Brie Phyllo Cups however their bacon jam was nothing more than bacon added to apricot jam. I knew I could make something better.

This has a bit of a kick to it; adjust the sriracha to your taste. Heck, leave it out if spicy isn’t your thing.

I’m already picturing some of this jam on a slice of toast with some apple slices and cheddar cheese.

Bacon Jam
Servings: about 2 cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound smoked bacon
  • 1 cup caramelized onions
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 cup coffee
  • 3 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. sriracha
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup grade B (now called Grade A Dark/Robust) maple syrup

Directions:

  1. In a glass 2-cup measuring cup combine the coffee, brown sugar, sriracha, vinegar and maple syrup. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Chop bacon into 1″ pieces. Place a large, heavy-bottomed pot, such as a dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until the bacon is lightly browned and starting to crisp. Move the bacon to a paper-towel-lined bowl and pour off the rendered bacon fat.
  3. Return 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat to the pan and add the caramelized onions and garlic. Stir into the bacon fat and cook until you start to smell the garlic. Add the liquid ingredients and combine. Scrap the bottom of the pan to release any bacon fond that may have been created at the beginning.
  4. Bring the mixture to a simmer and return the bacon to the pan. Simmer over low heat for about 2 hours, stirring periodically.
  5. Allow the mixture to cool, in the pan, for 20-30 minutes. Reserve about a 1/2 cup and set it aside. Transfer the rest into a food processor and process until smooth. Add the reserved bacon mixture and give it 1 or 2 pulses just to combine.
  6. Taste and season with salt, pepper, sriracha or vinegar to your own taste.
  7. Store in an air-tight container and enjoy.

Notes:
I use caramelized onions because I had them on hand. You could also thinly slice enough yellow or sweet onions so you have about 3 cups and cook them in step 3 with a generous pinch of salt for 10-15 minutes over low heat. Then add the garlic and continue from there.

This recipe is heavily influenced by this one I found on Pop Sugar along with 4 or 5 others I looked over that had similar combinations.

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Saturday night – 04/23/2016

[Butter Stewed Radishes with Dill]Most of this menu came from ideas out of the New York Times recipe archive, specifically “The Passover Table” section. While not a Passover meal I was intrigued by some of the combinations. Plus the weather was (just barely) warm enough for me to grill for the first time this year.

I was a bit worried that the meal would come out too sweet so I made a couple of recipe modifications in the haroseth and casserole that seemed to help moderate the sweetness.

The radishes (see photo) were a revelation. In the dish they look almost like baby red potatoes. The taste is a very mild turnip flavor. They don’t come across as overly buttery.

Menu
Grilled Chicken Breasts
Pear Haroseth With Pecans and Figs
Sweet Potato and Couscous Casserole
Butter Stewed Radishes with Dill
Green Beans and Grape Tomatoes
Ted’s Homemade Bread

Old Fashioned Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

Notes under the cut

Bull (Anise Sweet Bread)

This recipe is based on one my great-grandmother made regularly and which my siblings adore. While it seems to be a sort of Portuguese sweet bread has always been called bull in my family. It is a slightly sweet, anise flavored bread. It is assembled and kneaded the night before, left to rise overnight and then formed into small round loaves.


Servings: 5 8″ round loaves
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 12 hours

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups flour plus a bit more for kneading
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons anise seed
  • 2 pkgs. yeast (about 4 1/2 tsp.)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 3/4 cups milk

Directions:

  1. Add the butter to the milk in a saucepan. Place over low heat until the butter melts. Do not let the milk boil. Allow the mixture to drop below 100°F before continuing.)
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, anise seeds and yeast in a large bowl; set aside.
  3. Scramble the eggs. Continue mixing the eggs and slowly add a ladle of lukewarm butter/milk mixture. Repeat two more times to temper the eggs. Add the eggs to the remaining butter/milk mixture; stir to combine.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a sturdy spoon until just combined into a dough. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Knead the dough until smooth, about 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place overnight.
  6. Divide into 5 equal portions. Round each portion into loves and place in a greased 8″ cake pan.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F. When bread has completed doubled in size bake for 40 minutes, rotating pans half way through cooking.
  8. Remove from pans and allow to cool fully before cutting (if you can resist temptation).

Notes:
This bread also makes phenomenal toast.

Saturday night – 04/09/2016

Dinner tonight is brought to you by a random click on an ad on Facebook that brought me to a New York Times recipe that wasn’t as interesting as it looked. That said I liked the concept of chicken with mustard so I thought I’d figure something else out which worked out really well.

This meal turned out to be very colorful on the plate. I’m very happy with how it came out.

Menu
Chicken with Mustard Sauce
Warm Farro with Cranberries, Pecans, and Herbs
Honey-glazed Rutabaga
Roasted Asparagus

Notes under the cut

Soft M&M Cookies

I made these for a pot-luck event I attended recently. I had a partial bag of M&Ms that I wanted to use up (so I wouldn’t keep eating them by the handful). I decided I wanted a soft cookie rather than a crisp one. There are multiple ways of doing that, though I’ve had varying degrees of success with them. More brown sugar than white seems to work best for me. The rest in the fridge helps as well.

These stayed fairly soft for the first couple of days after I made them. After that they started to get a bit stale. 5 seconds in the microwave did a far job in reviving them.

Soft M&M Cookies
Servings: 3 dozen
Prep time: 10 minutes plus minimum 2 hour rest
Total time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups M&Ms

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, cornstarch, soda and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  2. Combine the egg and vanilla in a small bowl; scramble until combined. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand-mixer, combine the butter and sugars. Beat on medium high until well-creamed and butter has lightened in color. Add the egg/vanilla mixture. Beat until combined with the creamed butter and sugar.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture and mix until just combined. Add the M&M and fold in until well distributed.
  5. Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Using a #40 disher to scoop out cookie balls. Fill the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You can actually keep them in the fridge for a day or more in this state. See the notes at the end for longer storage options.
  6. When the dough has rested for at least 2 hours preheat your oven to 350°F. Line another baking sheet with parchment and place 12 cookie dough balls on the sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking. The cookies are done when the edges have just set. The tops will appear slightly underdone.
  7. Allow the cookies to rest on the baking rack for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Repeat baking process until all your cookies are baked.
  8. Cookies should be cooled completely before storing in an air-tight container for up to a week.

Notes:
Unbaked cookie dough balls can be stored in an air-tight container, in the fridge, for up to 5 days. Bake them up all at once or enjoy freshly baked, warm cookies, for a week.

This recipe borrows heavily from one by Averie Cooks.

Saturday night – 04/02/2016

My husband asked if I would make Milk Can Supper earlier this week. What’s interesting to me is that this simple recipe blew up (at least for me) on this blog over the last month. I went from maybe a dozen hits per week to 80+ hits in a single day. It happened several weeks in a row. I can only guess that Cook’s Country reran the episode that included the dish and Google led folks to this blog.

Menu
Milk Can Supper
Beer Bread

Peanut Butter and Jelly Squares

Notes under the cut