Posts Tagged bacon

Black Pepper Biscuit Sandwiches with Spicy Tomato Jam

There are three things I want you to know about this recipe. (Maybe four.)

1. I made tomato jam for the express purpose of slathering it on a biscuit sandwich.
A few months ago I had brunch with my friend Kelly at a little spot in Portland called Bakery Bar. I don’t recall all of the specifics of the biscuit sandwich we ate, but I do remember that it was ridiculously tasty. I do know that there was tomato jam on the biscuit sandwich and it was magical. I’ve been wanting to recreate it ever since. So that’s exactly what I did.

2. I went on a canning frenzy in the past couple of weeks. Summer is ending, and thus I’ve felt the urge to preserve and can. It’s my way of making the season last. (If you’re curious, I canned tomato sauce, tomato jam, bourbon peach butter, bourbon pickled peaches, and my “famous” 24 hour dill pickles.)

3. I adapted this black pepper biscuit recipe from Bobby Flay, which makes me feel like an ass. I’m not one to call names, but I loathe Bobby Flay. I don’t like his restaurants and I don’t like his “southwest” brand of cooking, and I certainly can’t stand that he tries to put jalapeno peppers in everything. I’m just not a fan of him. However, his recipe for black pepper biscuits happens to be great. I may not like the guy, but I’ll give credit where credit is due.

4. Biscuit sandwiches are practically impossible to photograph. I’m a big fan of runny yolks, and I am totally unwilling to cook my eggs “over hard” just for the sake of a pretty photo. So, I attempted to photograph this biscuit sandwich and it quickly dissolved into a yolky mess. A delicious, wonderful, yolky mess. So I snapped one photo (which turned out okay) and then gave up on trying to take photos and ate the sandwich instead.

In any case, the following is a recipe for black pepper biscuits, tomato jam, and brief instructions on how to assemble these tasty breakfast sandwiches. Enjoy!

(Slightly adapted from Bobby Flay)
Makes 8 biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, plus a little more for the tops of the biscuits

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, pepper, and salt. Pulse a couple of times to ensure the ingredients are combined. Sprinkle the butter pieces over the flour mixture, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Slowly pour in the buttermilk and pulse until the dough just barely comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat the dough into a circle, until it is 3/4 of an inch thick. Using a 3″ biscuit cutter (or juice glass!), cut out the biscuits and place them on a lined baking sheet. Combine the remaining scraps of biscuit dough into a 3/4 thickness and repeat the process until all the dough is used. Brush the tops of the raw biscuits with cream, and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown and fluffy. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Heirloom Tomato Jam from Rosemarried

(Adapted from Sassy Radish)
Makes 4+ pints

5 pounds heirloom tomatoes*, roughly chopped
2 small yellow onions, diced
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
1 green apple, finely diced
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

*Note: I used a mix of heirloom tomatoes from my garden (including cherry tomatoes). Really, any tomato will do!

Place all ingredients in a large pot or Dutch oven and stir to combine. Over medium heart, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and allow mixture to simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 hours, or until the jam is dark and thick. Stir occasionally.

Transfer jam to clean, sterilized jars. If canning, boil jars in a hot-water bath for 20 minutes. If storing in the refrigerator, the jam will keep for 2 weeks (or more).


2 black pepper biscuits
Sharp cheddar cheese
Tomato jam
4 slices of bacon
2 eggs

Cook the eggs and bacon to your liking. I prefer a sunny side up egg and crispy (almost burnt!) bacon. But, really, this is your biscuit sandwich and you get to make it the way you want.

Split the biscuits in half, and slather a good amount of tomato jam on one half of the biscuit. On the other half, place a hearty slice of sharp cheddar cheese. If you want your cheese extra melty, place under the broiler for a few minutes.

Place a fried egg atop each biscuit, and adorn with bacon slices. Add a bit more tomato jam if you desire. Serve immediately and enjoy immensely!

Recipe Swap: Brussels Sprout Slaw

Why hello, everyone!

I’m sure that most of you know the drill by this point. Every month, I participate in a Recipe Swap that is organized by the lovely Christianna from Burwell General Store. If my memory serves me correctly, I’ve been participating in this swap since last November – which means it’s almost been a year (!). How time flies when you’re having fun…

And I certainly always have fun with the recipe swap. Last month I managed to turn a recipe for Wild Rabbit with Vegetables into a recipe for a Bloody Mary(with lots of gratuitous pictures of my cute bunny rabbit, of course).

But that was last month! This month, Christianna sent out a doozy of a recipe. She asked us to re-interpret a recipe for Hot Slaw.

This recipe cracks me up. I think that the words “coddled” and “custard” should never be used with cabbage. Ever. I can’t even begin to imagine what this hot slaw tastes like, but it certainly doesn’t sound especially appetizing.

So, my basic goal with this particular swap was to make something that sounded a bit more appetizing than coddled cabbage custard (I dare you to say that five times fast!). I chose to use Brussels sprouts as the base of my slaw because I LOVE Brussels sprouts and I happen to think that they look (and taste) like miniature cabbages.

So, in a sense, I made a miniature cabbage slaw. A miniature cabbage slaw with bacon, blue cheese, pears and hazelnuts. Essentially, I took everything I love and combined them together to make one delicious slaw. This slaw is a great fall dish, as Brussels sprouts and pears are currently in season. The flavors are bold, and yet everything works together so nicely. I was really pleased with how it turned out.

Below is my recipe for the slaw, but please be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post so you can see all the other amazing creations from my fellow swappers.

Adapted from The Family Kitchen

1.5 pounds of Brussels sprouts
4 strips of bacon
1 ripe pear
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 high quality blue cheese (such as Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
The juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt & pepper to taste


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Quickly blanch Brussels sprouts in the boiling water (3-5 minutes). Remove from boiling water and rinse with cold water (or plunge into an ice bath) to stop cooking. Pat Brussels sprouts dry. Trim ends (‘stems’) off the brussels sprout and slice very thinly by hand.

In a small bowl, mix together dressing ingredients. Toss dressing with Brussels sprouts, and refrigerate for at least an hour (to allow flavors to develop).

Meanwhile, cook strips in a skillet over medium heat. I like my bacon crispy for this salad, so I cook my bacon a little longer than usual. Remove bacon to a plate (lined with paper towels) and set aside until cool. Once cooled, slice (or crumble) bacon into small pieces.

When the Brussels & dressing have sat for an hour, remove from the fridge. Slice the pear thinly and toss with the Brussels sprout mixture. Sprinkle roasted hazelnuts, blue cheese crumbles, and bacon over the top of the slaw. Serve immediately.

Vintage Recipe Redo and Swap Project: This recipe redo/swap idea was brought to life by Christiana of Burwell General Store upon finding a cool vintage hymnal/recipe book at a swap meet in Arizona. She had the vision of bringing those recipes back to life with a twist. We swappers must change at least three things to make it our own and stay true to the intent of the recipe. There is a growing group of international talent wielding their monthly vision in our recipe swap. You can check them out by clicking their links below or via the link for Christianna’s blog above. All recipes will be posted by 6 p.m. PST on Sunday October 2, 2011.

See below (or visit the Recipe Swap page) to see all the other great interpretations of Hot Slaw! Happy swapping, y’all!

On Harvest Dinners, Vacations, and Bacon-y Egg Salad.

Hello, everyone!

I’d like to start off by saying that I don’t feel the need to apologize for my lack of recent posts. I don’t feel bad about it and neither should you! Life gets busy and crazy and sometimes I don’t have a spare moment to cook (or write about cooking). So, then, rather than lament my lack of posts…I’ll just tell you what I’ve been up to.

Most of my energies were focused upon one event: The Montavilla Farmer’s Market Harvest Dinner. I’ve been volunteering with the Market all year, but I was especially excited to help with their annual fundraising dinner. The dinner was comprised of 6 courses (omnivore or vegan), wine pairings, a silent auction, and music by a string quartet. The purpose of the dinner is to raise funds for the Market’s Everybody Eats program, which helps with food stamp matching and food accessibility.

I was charged with the task of heading up the decor and ambiance for the dinner. I had a very specific vision for the look and feel of the dinner and I if I do say so myself, it all turned out beautifully. The dinner was a great success! The food was fantastic, the wines were delicious, the ambiance was lovely, and the guests were happy.

Pictured: Harvest dinner place setting.

The day after the Harvest dinner, Nich and I escaped to the coast. I knew that we’d be exhausted from the event and thankfully I had the foresight to book us at a room at cute little hotel in Astoria, Oregon. When we arrived in Astoria, we were greeted with never-ending and miserable rain. We decided to make the best of it and proceeded to wander about the quaint little town, and ended up getting positively soaking. I looked like a drowned rat. But, we made sure to warm ourselves with a few tasty brews at the Fort George Brewing Company.

The next morning, we awoke and everything had changed. The skies were blue and the seas were calm…it was downright gorgeous. We walked along the pier, drank coffee, and read a lot of Harry Potter. Since we weren’t in a hurry (nor did we have a schedule!), we wandered around the coast aimlessly until we felt it was time to head back home. We drove home with the windows down and the music turned up loud. I sang along at the top of my lungs as the sun warmed my face and I felt that all was right with the world. It was the perfect getaway.

Pictured: Nich & I at the coast. Happy.

We arrived home feeling refreshed. Nich jumped into projects mode (he built us a picnic table!) and I set about making egg salad sandwiches. Why? Because I happen to love egg salad sandwiches! And I had a ton of eggs in the fridge. And I was too lazy to go to the store. And egg salad is delicious! This particular batch of egg salad was extra delicious, as I had the genius idea to add in bacon and caramelized shallots. These additions transformed the egg salad into something special. This is not your typical soggy deli egg salad. No, my friends, this is egg salad all grown up. You must try it for yourself! I beg of you.

So, there you have it…

This week I helped throw a fundraiser dinner, escaped to the coast, returned home, and made a damn good batch of egg salad. Oh, and I helped put on this food swap. I didn’t do much in the way of cooking or writing, but that’s OK. I wasn’t blogging, but I was busy doing a lot of wonderful things. All that to say, I had a really fantastic week. I hope you did too.

Pictured: Egg Salad Sandwich on Dave’s Killer Blues Bread with Spring Greens and Tomato

Egg Salad with Bacon, Caramelized Shallots, and Whole Grain Mustard
Note: This is what I would call a German style egg salad. The egg salad has all the classic flavors of german pub food. It is bold, smoky, and full of flavor.

4 strips bacon
1 large shallot, sliced thinly
10 eggs
1/4 cup mayo
2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon honey mustard (or yellow mustard)
2 dill pickle spears, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Salt, to taste

For sandwich:
Dave’s killer bread (or other tasty whole grain bread)
Slices of heirloom tomatoes
Greens, such as arugula or spinach

My tips for perfect hard boiled eggs: Place eggs in a large pot and cover with water, until eggs are covered with about an inch of water. Place pot on stove and heat over high heat until water just barely begins to boil. Once the water boils, turn the stove off and remove pan from heat. Cover the pot and set your timer for 15 minutes (allowing the eggs to sit in the hot water during this time). After 15 minutes, pour off hot water and rinse eggs with cold water to stop the cooking process. You should now have perfectly hard boiled eggs.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon and shallots. For the bacon, cook strips in a skillet over medium heat until the bacon is crisp and the fat has rendered. For the shallots, cook in a small non-stick skillet over medium heat with a dash of olive oil. Allow the shallots to slowly brown and caramelize. If they are browning too quickly, turn the heat down to low. The shallots should caramelize in 15-20 minutes. Set aside bacon and shallots and allow to cool.

To assemble the egg salad:
Peel and dice all the hard boiled eggs and place in a bowl. Mix in the mayo, mustard(s), salt, pepper, paprika and dill. Adjust mayo & mustard levels according to your personal preference. The egg salad should be moist but thick (not runny).

Chop bacon strips and dill pickles into a fine dice. Gently stir in the bacon, pickles, and dill until just combined. Serve egg salad on a piece of toast with lettuce and tomato.

Fennel and Kale Meatloaf (with Bacon)

There are two main factors that contributed to my decision to make meatloaf in the middle of the summer:

1. The overabundance of kale in my garden.
2. The meatloaf pan my father-in-law gave me for Christmas.

I really wish I could just leave it at those two (odd) reasons, but I feel that I should provide you with somewhat of an explanation.

As for the kale, I feel it (mostly) explains itself. The stuff grows like weeds. Try as I might, I just cannot keep up with it. I’ve eaten kale with cheesy polenta. I’ve eaten kale in a raw kale and apple salad. I’ve thrown kale on a pizza. I’ve used kale in pesto. I’ve taken to giving away bags of kale to my friends. And, still, the kale keeps on comin’…

So, it should go without saying that I’m always on the lookout for clever kale recipes. When I stumbled across Good Stuff NW‘s recipe for Kale and Fennel Meatloaf, I felt like I hit the recipe jackpot. Not only did it incorporate kale, but it gave me a chance to use my meatloaf pan.

This brings me to the second reason I made this meatloaf: the fact that my father-in-law bought me a meatloaf pan for Christmas and I had yet to blog about meatloaf! I think this makes me a bad daughter-in-law (I kid, I kid). To be totally honest, I’ve made meatloaf a few times since receiving the meatloaf pan, but I hadn’t gotten around to actually posting any meatloaf recipes. Let’s be honest…while meatloaf is one of the tastiest comfort foods of all time, it isn’t exactly pretty to look at or photograph. Since meatloaf is so very un-pretty, I haven’t exactly been inspired to blog about it. Until now, that is.

But, let’s rewind a second. You’re probably still wondering what on earth a meatloaf pan actually is.

I wondered the exact same thing the first time my father-in-law told me about one. He told me (in no uncertain terms) that every chef must own a meatloaf pan. I’d never heard of such a thing, much less purchased one. And then he gave me my very own meatloaf pan for Christmas and my eyes were opened. Essentially, it is a pan within a pan. Let me show you:

(Image courtesy of

As you can see, the inner pan rests inside a larger outer pan. The inner pan has handy holes which allow the grease to drain out of the meatloaf and into the outer pan. This ensures that the meatloaf cooks evenly and quickly, and the end result is a moist meatloaf that isn’t overly greasy.

However, like the great Alton Brown, I am not a proponent of single task kitchen gadgets. I hate things that take valuable drawer space and only do ONE thing, i.e. strawberry hullers, garlic presses, etc. So, I can’t in good conscience go tell you all to go buy a meatloaf pan. It is quite singular in its purpose. For the sake of argument, though, I will say that the outer pan could easily double as a bread pan (when it isn’t catching your meatloaf drippings). And, this was the best darn meatloaf I have ever eaten, and I feel I owe it all to the magical meatloaf pan. So take it for what you will.

So, a big thank you to my father-in-law for the gift of a meatloaf pan. And thanks to Kathleen from Good Stuff NW for giving me a fabulous meatloaf recipe to try (and tweak). I could not have been happier with the end result.

Fennel and Kale Meatloaf with Bacon
(Adapted from Good Stuff NW)
Serves 4

1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 fennel bulb, finely diced
2 c. kale, sliced into chiffonade
2 lbs. ground beef
6 strips bacon, cut into 1/4″ pieces
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh minced herbs: I used fresh oregano and dried basil (use whatever you’ve got on hand!)
1 Tablespoon pork lard/fat*

*Note: traditional meatloaf recipes call for a mixture of ground beef and ground pork or sausage. I didn’t have ground pork or sausage so I substituted bacon and pork fat. It worked out wonderfully.

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large frying pan or skillet, cook bacon pieces over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon from pan, set aside to cool. Pour off excess bacon fat into a container, set aside for use in the meatloaf. Leave 1 Tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan.

Return pan to heat, and cook onion, garlic and fennel bulb in bacon fat for 2-3 minutes. Add in kale and continue to cook, until vegetables are soft and the kale is wilted (5 minutes). Remove from heat, and allow mixture to cool.

Combine ground beef, egg, milk, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and herbs in large mixing bowl. Add in bacon pieces and stir in reserved bacon fat. Gently using your hands, mix in the fennel and kale mixture, until everything is combined. Gently press into a meatloaf pan or bread pan (or form into a loaf and place on a baking sheet).

Bake 45 minutes to an hour, or until a thermometer inserted in thickest part reads between 140-150°. Remove from oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Serve with mashed potatoes (or whatever else you want to eat it with!). I doused my slice of meatloaf with just a dash of Lucille’s BBQ sauce.

Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro and Bacon.

So, the same night that Nich set about making butter, I decided to make another one of Thomas Keller’s recipes: Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon and Cilantro. Just take a moment and soak in those words. Lentils. Sweet Potatoes. Bacon. Cilantro. So much goodness in one pot of soup! Of course, I had to make it.

We had invited our friends Beyth and Joe over for dinner, and I warned them ahead of time that they were going to be my guinea pigs for the evening. I felt the need to warn them, as I always get nervous making a brand new recipe for friends. Even though it sounds terribly delicious, what if it turns out awful? (Like this summer, when I decided to make tempura for a few friends. Lets just say, I burned the oil and smoked out our tiny apartment and we had to sit and drink wine on the front porch for a half hour until the smoke cleared. Awesome.)

Thankfully, the soup wasn’t awful. It wasn’t awful at all. In fact, this might be one of the best soups I’ve ever made. It was that good. It had all the right elements – it was hearty, savory, with a touch of sweetness. The bacon adds just the right amount of fatty and salty goodness, and the cilantro adds a delightful freshness. I couldn’t get over it. The soup is great.

I had seen a couple variations of the recipe online and was going back and forth as to which variation I wanted to follow. One recipe (which I think is closer to the original Keller recipe) called for boiling the lentils in one pot, and the sweet potatoes in another pot, and then adding them later to the pot of onions, carrots, and broth (i.e. cooking things separately so you don’t get a pot of mushy soup). The other recipe threw everything into the same pot and let it all cook together until everything was cooked thoroughly.

In the end, I decided to try a combination of both recipes. I cooked the sweet potatoes separately (boiled them in a pot of water with a bay leaf, sprig of time, and some black peppercorns until they were soft) and set them aside until later. I know that lentils take a lot longer than sweet potatoes to cook, and so I didn’t want them breaking down too much. I added the lentils to the carrot, onion, and stock pot and let that simmer for 40 minutes or so. Then, right before I was ready to serve the soup – I added in the sweet potatoes, and took a potato masher to the whole pot and let it simmer for just a couple minutes (so that the soup was nice and thick and the flavors melded together). The recipe I’m posting here is the ‘throw it all in one pot’ variation, as I’m guessing that most people would prefter this method (less work, less dishes, etc), but feel free the recipe any way you like.

Lentil & Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon & Cilantro

Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home and the Bitchin Camero blog.

6 thick slices applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
3 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups French Lentils (Lentils de Puy)
 (I actually used Spanish Lentils, which worked just as well)
8 cups chicken stock
1 – 2 tsp. yellow Curry powder
1 bay leaf
2 Sprigs of Thyme
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
salt & pepper
 to taste
1 large handful of cilantro leaves

Set a very large pot over medium-low heat and cook the bacon until the fat renders and it begins to crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve the bacon. Add the onions, carrots, and curry powder to the pot and cook in the bacon fat until soft – about 10 minutes.

Add the sweet potatoes, lentils, chicken stock, bay leaf, and thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low or low and cook for 30 – 40 minutes, or until the potatoes and lentils are tender. I wanted to thicken my soup up a bit, so I mashed the soup with a potato masher about 15 times. This is optional.

Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Add the sherry vinegar and taste the soup. (*To be honest, I think I was too over-eager to eat the soup and forgot about adding the vinegar. I’m sure it lacked a little bit of that acidic punch that vinegar added, but the soup was still amazing.) Add salt and pepper as needed. Ladle into bowl and sprinkle with bacon bits and fresh cilantro leaves.