Tag Archives: Bacon

God Bless America: Pimento Cheese

There’s nothing more American than apple pie, baseball, and bald eagles.

Unless it’s pimento cheese.

Pimento cheese is a thoroughly southern staple, one whose history goes back to the early 20th century. According to Indy Week’s Brief History of Pimento Cheese, it started as a status symbol for the fancies, gracing the tables during tea parties.

Eventually, as pimentos and processed cheese became more readily available, pimento cheese found its way into the lunch bags of textile workers, eaten on white bread or with crackers.

Nowadays, pimento cheese is practically available on every corner. Creamy and fatty and so good you don’t want to stop. Pimento cheese, you are saucy minx.

There are a lot of good options down here in the south, like Stan’s Original Pimento Cheese or the Winston-Salem jam Red Clay Gourmet Pimento Cheese.  (Try their Hickory Smoked Cheddar. I can’t even.)

But, you can make pimento cheese just as easily as you can buy it. Every self respecting southern Grandma/Maw-Maw/Me-Maw or Granny has some in her fridge.

I made this recipe for pimento cheese from Food 52. I didn’t have celery salt, so I used celery seed and it worked just as well.

Whip up a batch today. Keep it in the fridge. Slather it on a cracker or scoop it up with some celery. Put it on a grilled cheese with some bacon and tomato.

And God bless the USA.

My Endless Love

My Endless Love

Parker + Otis’ Pimento Cheese, from Food52

  • cups sharp yellow cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 8 ounces)
  • cups extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 8 ounces)
  • cup drained pimentos or roasted red peppers, finely chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • To serve: crackers, baguette slices, assorted raw vegetables

Mix ingredients in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill. Transfer dip to serving bowl. Surround with crackers, baguette slices, and vegetables. Alternately, make sandwiches (below).
BONUS RECIPE!!!!

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon & Tomato

  • Pimento Cheese Dip (above)
  • 12 slices sourdough bread
  • 12 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
  • large, ripe tomato, sliced

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread pimento cheese on 6 of the slices of sourdough. Top the cheese for each sandwich with 2 slices of bacon, 1 slice of tomato, then a second slice of bread. Toast each sandwich in a large skillet over low heat till golden brown on both sides, flipping as needed.

Transfer sandwiches to a baking sheet in the oven to finish warming through and melt the cheese. Serve hot.
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Change Your Life: Weave Your Bacon

There’s a lot of bad stuff in the world. Murder. Poverty. Zoe Saldana’s wig in the Rosemary’s Baby mini-series.

Seriously, though. They couldn’t find an ACTUAL wig maker for this? | Photo by: Roger Do Minh/NBC via The Grio

Which is why we all need a little bit of goodness in our lives.

I give to you: the bacon weave.

Did I come up with this? No. Not even a little bit.

Did it revolutionize my life? Absolutely it did.

I was out in LA on a shoot with some people and was talking to a friend of mine about my favorite subject: bacon. (It might’ve been about pork products in general, but I digress.) And he was telling me about his technique for putting bacon on a burger: the bacon weave. You simply take 3 strips of bacon, cut them in half and weave them together like a little basket. Bake on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet at 400 for 15-25 minutes until crispy. Put on sandwich. Change your LIFE.

Heaven must be missing an angel.

Heaven must be missing an angel.

“It’s great,” he told me, “because you get bacon in every bite.” It’s so great that he asked me if I’d tried it like, the very next day. “Nah, man. You just told me yesterday.” But I wish I had. It’s THAT GOOD.

The other benefit is that your bacon doesn’t fall out of your sandwich. Like a bad infomercial. Has THIS ever happened to YOU?

Womp womp. | Via Imgur

Womp womp. | Via Imgur 

Get control of your life. Be a man, even if you’re a woman. Weave your bacon. Put it on a BLT today.

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Jam Thumbprint Cookies, or as we like to call them, “Jam Thumpers”

It’s Christmastime, which is my favorite time of the year: the time when it is socially acceptable to eat cookies for breakfast.

Now, you really could eat cookies for breakfast every day and be alright in my book. Hell, I’ll vote for you for president. But, at Christmastime, it’s encouraged. With a cup of coffee and the tree on, maybe a little Vince Guaraldi Trio on in the background, eet’s nice. (If you celebrate Hannukahtime or Noneoftheabovetime, this also applies. Just adjust for the appropriate religious or non-religious symbols.)

Our favorite cookies aren’t really Christmas cookies, but they are delicious. And I just realized I’ve been making them over 10 years, which is weird.

Sidenote. It’s strange to make realizations relative to time. I’ve been out of college for 7 years. I’ve been making these cookies for 10 years. I’ve been I’ve been driving for 13 years. I’ve been bad at driving for 13 years.

Anyways. These cookies are made of buttery shortbread, rolled in coconut with a little bit of sweet jam on top. They’re Ina Garten’s Jam Thumbprints, so named because you make a thumbprint in the cookie to put the jam inside. However, for some reason, my mom forgot the name one year and started calling them “Jam Thumpers,” which I really like better.

And what’s more breakfast-y than jam?

…bacon.

 

Well, this post is ruined.

Ina Garten’s Jam Thumbprint Cookies, slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style and foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
  • 7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut | I used a bit more, probably 10 ounces
  • Raspberry and/or apricot jam | I used raspberry and blueberry. Go with your preferences, folks.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. If dough is still a bit crumbly, add 1-2 tablespoons of cold water so that it comes together. (I added 2.)

Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls, about the size of a golf ball. (If you have a scale they should each weigh 1 ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger.

SEE. I told you.

SEE. I told you.

Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.

Jam Thumbprints, Jam Thumpers. Potato, Pa-tah-to.

Jam Thumbprints, Jam Thumpers. Potato, Pa-tah-to.

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Oohhhh, Brexico: Baked Ranchero Eggs with Blistered Jack Cheese Brunch

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks, culinarily. A few ups and downs.  

Ok. Mostly a lot of ups and one major down.

It’d be like the world’s weirdest roller coaster.

I shall list the ups and downs in a list. Real badasses use lists, y’all. 

Up: going to wd-50 in New York. Wylie Dufresne was THERE. And while I did not speak to him in actuality, in my mind, he complimented me for my hilarious, hilarious jokes. And we laughed and laughed. Back in the real world, the meal was outrageously good. Highlights include the pig tail with artichoke, olive oil jam and hazelnut; the walleye pike, celery, macadamia and grapefruit; the rabbit (!!!!!!wrapped in fried chicken skin!!!!!!!), spring onion, hibiscus, thai basil nori; and the popcorn vacherin with strawberry, kaffir lime and watermelon. 

I don’t remember this course, but it replaced the scallops. And it was beautiful.

Rabbit with fried chicken skin. Stupid good.

Popcorn Vacherin. So unique.

Down: coming back from New York, and going to put groceries away in the cabinets and finding eighty million ants. Which allowed me to channel my inner Zoolander and remark “What is this, a KITCHEN for ANTS?” (Note: I only made that remark after I got through the horror of finding, murdering, and Lysoling the ant murder site.) I seem to have remedied the problem with Ant Shield and a lot of ant killing. And I’m incredibly OCD and everything that could be ant-attractable is now in a Ziploc bag. So, don’t judge me, Judge Reinhold. Cause to paraphrase my friend Jesus: let he who is without bugs spray the first Raid.

Up: going to Whole Foods Winston-Salem and stumbling on local vendor sampling day when I was RULL hungry. I had Roots hummus from Asheville (the Thai Coconut Curry is so unexpected. Sweet hummus…delicious), Peggy Rose’s hot pepper jelly from Wake Forest, NC, and my most favorite discovery: super local pimento cheese. If you’ve never had pimento cheese, it is a true southern delicacy packed as full of calories as it is with cheese. It’s made of cheese (duh), pimentos (duh again), mayonnaise, and salt and pepper. But the folks at Red Clay Gourmet, made right here in Winston-Salem, NC, do some great twists. The have the basic classic, a Hickory smoked, flame roasted jalapeno (locally sourced!), and a weirdly delicious one: pimento cheese with goat cheese and sundried tomato. People of 336, find this pimento cheese, get yourself some Wheat Thins, turn on Steel Magnolias, start crying your eyeballs out. Oops, I went one too far.

Up: brunch with my first official guests, my friend Anna (of the wonderful blog, Curiouser and Curiouser) and her husband, Kevin Keller. Who one time, after a few glasses of wine, I called Kevin Kline. So sometimes, I call him Kevin Kline. And sometimes I call him Kevin Keller. Cause that is his name. 

But I digress.

Anna and Kevin Kline were my first official guest, so I had to find something delicious for brunch. Something easy enough to make on a Sunday morning, that could be paired with the only breakfast meat that matters: bacon, and would work well with a boozy brunch cocktail.

Enter The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and her Baked Ranchero Eggs with blistered jack cheese and lime crema. This dish is wonderful. And despite using a dozen eggs, it actually served the three of us for brunch very well. But the best part of this dish is that it’s incredibly simple. You can make the spicy tomato sauce ahead and reheat it in the morning. You cook your eggs in the spicy tomato sauce and black beans. And then broil it with the jack cheese on top. Other than prepping some accoutrement and any breakfast meats that you so choose (bacon…obviously), that’s it. And it’s delicious. Breakfast in Mexico. Breakfast IN Mexico. Brexico.

And what goes with Brexico? Tequila.

Every good brunch needs a boozy brunch cocktail. This one is violently pink and delightfully smooth. As your morning tequila should be.

Just as they do it in Brexico.

Baked Ranchero Eggs with Blistered Jack Cheese and Lime Crema

from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Ingredients: 

Ranchero Sauce

  • 1 jalapeno
  • 3 cups (from a 28-ounce can) whole tomatoes, fire-roasted if you can find them | Yeah, this ingredient confused me. I think you should just use the whole can.
  • 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed and peeled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 ¾ cups cooked black beans (or a 15-ounce can), drained

Crisp Tortilla Strips

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 small corn tortillas | I used flour cause I had them.
  • Salt, to taste
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups coarsely shredded jack cheese

Garnishes

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1 lime)
  • 1 cup crema Mexicana or sour cream
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro 

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. First, taste your jalapeno for heat. Adjust accordingly, halving or quartering the pepper if needed and toss into a blender. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and several pinches of salt and pepper, and blend until smooth. Pour into a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, add black beans (if using), and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, or until it has reduced slightly. 

Meanwhile, brush a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Cut the tortillas into ½-inch-wide strips, and arrange them on the oiled tray. Brush the tops of the tortilla strips with the remaining tablespoon of oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 3 to 6 minutes, or until they are brown and crisp, turning over once if needed. If you are like me, you will burn the first batch. Remove strips from oven, then preheat broiler. 

In a separate bowl, stir together the lime juice, crema, and a pinch of salt.

Once the sauce has thickened slightly, remove the pan from heat, and break the eggs across the surface of the sauce, distributing them as evenly as possible. Return to heat, cover the pan, and simmer eggs gently in sauce for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the whites are nearly but not completely opaque. Sprinkle the surface of the tomato-egg mixture with cheese, and broil until the cheese is bubbly and a bit blistered—just a few minutes.

Garnish with dollops of lime crema, broken up pieces of tortilla strips, and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Brexico!

Brexico!

Fire Island Sunset

From In My Kitchen by Ted Allen 

Ingredients:

  • Ice
  • ½ cup fresh pink grapefruit juice, cold
  • ¼ cup brewed hibiscus tea, cold
  • ¼ cup silver tequila
  • ½ teaspoon Cointreau
  • 1 thin slice or chunk of candied ginger | I couldn’t find this…and the drink was still great without it. 

Fill a tall glass with ice, add the grapefruit juice, tea, tequila, and Cointreau, and stir. Garnish with the ginger. 

Fire Island Sunset

Fire Island Sunset

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