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The Best Mac & Cheese You Have Ever Eaten?

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Control yourselves.

Look, I’m sure you have your favorite mac & cheese. Maybe you are a kraft purist and don’t even consider something cheese if it isn’t powdered. Maybe some homemade or restaurant version blew your mind and you call it the best ever. Previous to perfecting this recipe, mine was from Slows BBQ in Detroit. This is better. Much better. In my opinion. I am going to take the Glenn Beck approach to this statement. I am not saying definitively that this is the best mac & cheese in the world, but it might be.  I didn’t say it was better than any other cheese and pasta concoction you ever put in your mouth, but shouldn’t we ask ourselves if there’s a possibility that it is? Shouldn’t we? I take no responsibility for this comments if they prove to be untrue. After all, this is just an opinion blog. A delicious, delicious opinion blog.

Chives and cheese about to do battle

That’s it.  Don’t let anyone tell you it’s unhealthy to just eat mac & cheese for dinner. Also pictured is some cheddar herb beer bread, which I may post a recipe for at a later date, but you don’t really need anything else.  Eat until you feel somewhere between guilty and uncomfortable.

Bacon Burger That Will Blow Your Mind.

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Any schmuck can make a hamburger and slap some bacon on top. We are putting a twist ending on this bad boy. I consider this the Inception of burgers. The bacon, you see, is inside the burger. I know, I know, you are confused and overly excited at the same time. Sit back, relax and let me show you the way. Here we have the bacon-infused, caramelized vidalia onion, roasted red pepper, smoked blue cheese burger. On a pretzel roll.

Supplies (all Trader Joes):

*1 pound quality ground sirloin

*4 strips awesome bacon

*1 tomato

*2 pretzel rolls

*1 red pepper

*1 Vidalia onion

*2 shallots

*1/3 poundish blue cheese (moody bleu smoked blue cheese used here)

*Mustard

*Salt ‘n Peppa

*NO KETCHUP ALLOWED!

Shall We?

Start by roasting your red pepper. If you have never done this, it is not difficult. Put it in a heavy baking pan and put on highest rack in oven, under broiler. when one side is charred, rotate. Once done, take out and cover with a towel while it cools. The skin will come off super easy.

Fry your bacon, not crispy. You want it cooked maybe 2/3 of the way, as it will cook more why you cook your burger.

Thinly slice the onion and toss in a pan with a tablespoon of butter and sautee on medium until they are good and caramelized

Mince the shallots and chop the bacon, then mix in with your meat. Form into two patties.  (Yeah this recipe is just for two burgers, you have a problem with that?)

Grill up your burgers. This is the point where I wish we had a grill and patio at our current domicile, but alas we do not, so I am confined to the griddle. If you do have a grill, grill on.

Thinly slice your tomaters.

Cut the cheese.

Slice and lightly toast your pretzel rolls, then compile and cross your fingers that you don’t die just from the beauty of it.

Bob’s Ultimate BLT (Actually, BBLACT)

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Sandwiching is a passion for me (and if you consider a hamburger to be a sandwich, then it’s my biggest passion.) The BLT is a classic, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon. I call this monster of a sandwich BBLACT (Bacon, Bacon, Lettuce, Avacado, Cheese, Tomato.) Lets take a closer look at the ingredients:

Get your s*&^ together!

*Bacon. We are actually rolling with two bacons here, because, look at the website name. First we have a top quality, THICK  local applewood smoked bacon, then we have some pancetta,  the Italian cured bacon equivalent that can actually be eaten uncooked, but we are of course frying up for this work of art.

*Lettuce, or more specifically, arugula for this purpose because arugula is delicious and its peppery flavor compliments the bacon like a charm.

*Avocado, because when have you ever encountered an avocado in a sandwich and not been happy about it?

*Cheese. For some reason, most BLT’s don’t usually have cheese. I find this borderline insulting. Now, we don’t want something that will overpower the bacon, or tons of it, but in moderation, cheese should always be welcome to the sandwich party. Here we are going with a mild smoked gouda, but not too much

*Tomato, coming into season, you can find some awesome heirloom varieties out there. A bad tomato can really be a buzz kill on a BLT, but a delicious one will make it extra awesome.

*Red onion, but not too much. Not enough even to deserve a letter in the name, a few thin slices should do.

*Bread is up to you, but go with something good and soft in the middle, without too hard of a crust. With a sandwich this huge, you don’t want a hard crust cutting up your mouth as you try to devour it. I got this loaf at Whole Paycheck.

Mayonnaise is NOT an ingredient. I hope I don’t lose to many of you here, but I despise mayo. I guess I was born without the Paula Deen gene, but I just don’t understand the appeal. My condiment of choice is always mustard and in this case we have an amazing champagne whole grain mustard that we got from the National Mustard Museum in Wisconsin, because we are awesome and really know how to party on vacation.

Let’s do this:

The composition of a sandwich is much more important than most people acknowledge. I won’t go into detail with my stacking opinions, because this post is already pretty ranty, but let this beautiful photo be your guide.

And there you have it, folks. I believe this to be the best BLT in the world, but sandwiches are very much a matter of personal preference. I know some out there may decide to use this recipe and put mayo on it, which is regrettable, but something I cannot change. Ironically, this is probably the only thing on this blog that does not need more bacon.

Egg McMuffin, You Got Nothin’!

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I know.

I ate a McDonald’s Mcgriddle one morning at 4:45 after staying up all night. It was literally one of the worst decisions of my life.  Oh, I finished it, but only with the assistance of two hash brown planks. I then had ten hours of fitful, stomach achy sleep. It’s time to class up the breakfast sandwich, folks.  10 minutes of your time is all this is going to take for absolute breakfast deliciousness. All ingredients here were procured from Trader Joes. If you don’t have a TJ’s near you, I pity you, but I am sure you can find substitutes.

You got what it takes?

*2 slices peppercorn asiago sourdough

*2 large eggs

*2 awesome slices of bacon

*1 handful grated peppercorn toscano cheese

*some fresh thyme, for good measure

*salt n’ peppa

What you do:

Fry up that bacon

Fry up those eggs, sunny side up, in the bacon grease, obviously.

Lightly toast your bread

Place eggs on one piece of bread, put cheese on top and put under the broiler until cheese is bubbly to your satisfaction, or until you cannot contain yourself.

Sprinkle that thyme

Compile, and enjoy. You will not regret it.

I Scream. You Scream. We All Scream For Milk Chocolate-Stout-Pretzel-Bacon Ice Cream.

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It’s almost June, and after completely skipping Spring, Chicago is refusing to accept the oncoming Summer.

 

So while it is storming like crazy outside, I am defying the gods and making ice cream anyway. An ice cream that is actually pretty perfect for a day such as this. We got the ice cream maker attachment for our stand mixer as a wedding gift, and it has probably gotten more mileage than any other gift. If making ice cream is new to you, but you are interested in getting started, I highly recommend starting with David Lebovits’  “The Perfect Scoop” and from there you can tinker and experiment as you wish. Go crazy. With that in mind, I present to you:

Milk Chocolate, Stout, Pretzel & Bacon Ice Cream

What you need:

*Ice cream maker

*Candied bacon chunks. “Hey, how do I candy bacon?” you ask. Sigh, must I do everything for you? 

*Pretzel bits

*4 ounces quality milk chocolate, chopped

*4 egg yolks

*1 1/2 cups heavy cream

*1 cup whole milk

*1/2 cup sugar

*8 ounces stout of your choosing. When in doubt, go Guinness.

*2 teaspoons vanilla extract

*Pinch of salt

What you do:

Heat milk, sugar, and salt until warm

Add egg yolks and heat on medium until it thickens slightly. You do NOT want scrambled eggs here.

Pour mixture in a large bowl over your chopped up chocolate and stir until chocolate is fully melted

Add cream, stout & vanilla.

Chill your mixture for at least a few hours. From here, it depends on your ice cream maker. The stand mixer attachment is about as easy as it gets, you just need to make sure your batter is thoroughly chilled and the bowl is completely frozen. If you have something else, do whatever those instructions say to do.

Make your ice cream, but wait until it is done before you fold in your bacon and pretzels. You don’t want to end up with a bunch of pretzel crumbs gritty-ing up your ‘scream.

Now, I know some of you may be skeptical about this ice cream flavor combination but you are just going to have to trust me. Think about it, do you like bacon? beer? pretzels? chocolate? Okay, then what’s the problem? If you have any further doubts, the following image should erase all your concerns.

How could anything possibly be wrong with this?

Maple Bacon Bourbon Pecan Crunch!

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What better way to kick this off than with a totally unnecessary delicious snack. Really it’s good for any occasion, like a big game, holiday gifts, or breakfast. I present you MBBPC. It involves very basic candy making, which I am not a fan of but is really a lot less daunting once you do it. It basically just  involves looking at a thermometer and trying not to burn your hands off. So anyway, the ingredients needed are as follows:

A bunch of pecans, like a pound of them

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup real maple syrup (this stuff is expensive, don’t be ashamed to get it from Costco like we do.)

Some slabs of quality bacon. Real thick smoky stuff.

1/4 cup bourbon. I don’t drink bourbon but cook with it a whole lot. I guess any non-bottom-shelf variety will do. This happens to be Willy Nelson’s own brand, whom I trust completely.

A chunk of butter

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

The usual suspects

Here we go:

Cook bacon ’til pretty well done, you want it on the crispy side.

Put brown sugar and syrup in a medium heavy pot, add bourbon. Turn to medium and stir with silicon spatula.

Cook this till it is good and bubbly, 240 degrees.  Then add the butter. Stir occasionally and cook until just around 300.

Mmm bubbly

Take off heat, carefully add the vanilla, baking soda, and salt . Stir it up and watch it get all foamy, then quickly poor over the pecans and chopped bacon in a huge bowl.

Stir until evenly coated, being careful not to get any delicious lava on your hands, then spread on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.

Bake in the oven at 250 for like 45 minutes, then let cool completely.

Eat this.

Eat.

You can probably store some in an airtight container for a week or so, but if you are like us you will just eat it all before the night is over.

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