Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon and Soft Boiled Egg

IMG_6590This salad is really, really delicious. It’s so simple. And so good. The ingredients are few:  you get an awesome contrast from savory caramelized onions and garlic, salty bacon, sweet honey and the bite of the apple cider vinegar all on top of the nice freshness of the spinach. And in my opinion, put a runny egg on top of anything and you’re golden. This is yet another winner from Tyler Florence — his “Ultimates” cookbook is one of my regular go-to’s.

Everything comes together really quickly on this one, so make sure you time it well so the egg isn’t sitting around and cooking more while you wait for the onions to caramelize. Recommend getting the water to boil on first, and cooking up the bacon while you wait for that to work. Once the onions and garlic are caramelized, you can turn the burner off if the water has still not come to a boil, and then turn it back up when it’s almost there, so the spinach is ready when the eggs come out.

TW’s Tips

  • I skipped cutting up the bacon ahead of time and just cooked it up nice and crispy and crumbled it over the salad
  • I made this for one (would be really tough to reheat), and used 2 pieces of bacon, one egg, 1/4 onion, 1 garlic clove and almost a full bag of spinach for one serving. One onion seemed like an awful lot to me.
  • The original recipe called for letting the eggs sit for 12 minutes — this does NOT work for a soft boiled egg. The ideal you’re looking for here is a runny yolk so you can mix all that goodness up in the spinach. After trial and error I got a pretty soft yolk letting the egg sit for 2 minutes — if you do 1 minute it would be nice and runny.
  • Pull the eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon and run under cold water/plunge into an ice bath immediately to stop the cooking.

Enjoy!

IMG_6591

Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon and Soft Boiled Egg

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs (TW: or more)
  • 2 bacon, slices cut crosswise into thin strips (TW: see note above)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons honey (TW: I used agave syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 (1 lb) bag baby spinach (TW: recommend 2 bags)
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Put the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, turn the heat off and let the eggs sit for 1 1/2-2 minutes. Lift the eggs out of the pan and cool; peel the eggs.

Meanwhile, put the bacon strips into a big skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat to render the fat. Scoop the bacon out and set aside onto a plate, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5-6 minutes, until soft. Add the honey and vinegar and keep cooking until the onion has caramelized, about 5 more minutes. Toss the spinach into the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss with tongs until the spinach is just wilted, about 30 seconds. Dump the spinach out into a bowl and add the bacon. Halve the eggs and arrange on top of the salad.

Advertisements

Bacon and Kimchi Burgers

IMG_5697

I like to consider myself a bit of a burger connoisseur. Well, this burger makes the top 10 list, that’s for sure. It combines the traditional (beef, American cheese) with the ethnic (kimchi, sambal) for an absolutely delicious burger. This is another winner from Food & Wine’s list of best recipes. Well done, Food & Wine, well done. It’s easy and fast, and pretty darn impressive as well.

IMG_5692

IMG_5695What I love about this: first, it’s easy. Second, the spiciness from the sambal and kimchi, crunch from kimchi and bacon, and cheesy goodness all together are amazing. It may take a little hunting for the Asian ingredients but it is so worth it.

TW’s Tips

  • You’ll find sambal in the ethnic food aisle near the Thai and Asian ingredients. It usually comes in a small plastic jar.
  • Kimchi — tossup where you find it. If you’re not in New York you probably have to go to an Asian food store to find it. At my grocery store, which has virtually everything, I found it in the refrigerated area of the produce section.
  • Make the burgers thin and don’t overcook. A little red is good.
  • The sambal mayo is fantastic on sandwiches — the lunch or breakfast kind. Save the leftovers and spread liberally.

Enjoy!

Bacon and Kimchi Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sambal oelek (Indonesian chile sauce)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 4 slices of thick-cut bacon
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef chuck
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 slices of American cheese
  • 4 potato buns, toasted
  • 1 cup chopped drained cabbage kimchi (6 ounces)

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the sambal with the mayonnaise and ketchup and mix well.
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Grill the bacon over moderate heat, turning, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes total. Drain on paper towels.
Form the beef into eight 1/4-inch-thick burgers and season with salt. Grill over high heat, turning, until browned, 
1 minute per side. Make 4 stacks of 2 burgers each on the grill and spoon 1 tablespoon of the sambal mayo over each stack. Top with the cheese, cover and grill over high heat just until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute.
Spread the remaining sambal mayo on the bottom buns. Top with the burgers, bacon and kimchi, close and serve.

Chicken Sandwiches with Brie, Shaved Granny Smith Apple and Dijon-Balsamic Reduction on Toasted Challah

IMG_4451

 

You know my love for sandwiches, and boy is this a good one! It’s a delicious combo of grilled chicken, creamy brie, tart apple and sweet acid from the balsamic vinegar — plus I added bacon (duh). And it’s super simple to make as well — basically you just throw all the ingredients together–the only process is making the reduction, which is worth it. You’ll love the combination of salty, creamy, sweet and tart. Delish!

TW’s Tips

  • Add bacon
  • I didn’t have good luck shaving the apple so I just cut it with a knife
  • Serve with a green salad

Enjoy!

Chicken Sandwiches with Brie, Shaved Granny Smith Apple and Dijon-Balsamic Reduction on Toasted Challah

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 8 slices challah bread, about 1/2-inch thick, toasted, or grilled
  • 6 ounces Brie cheese, sliced
  • 4 cooked chicken breast halves, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 Granny Smith apple

Directions
In a small saucepan, whisk together vinegar, mustard and honey. Set pan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer until liquid reduces to 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes.

Spread mixture on toasted or grilled challah bread slices. Top with Brie and then chicken. Using a vegetable peeler, shave apple into thin slices and arrange over chicken. Top with second slice of bread. (Add bacon if desired.)

Strip Steaks and Blue Cheese Spaghetti

As I’ve said before, I love cheese, and this recipe featuring blue cheese spaghetti had me intrigued. Blue cheese? With pasta? And steak? It sounded brilliant. I had to give it a whirl. The result was rich and delicious and made me feel like I should be drinking a dirty martini. (Tip #1: serve this meal with a dirty martini.)

Why a martini? This dish has big flavors that would stand up to it. The steak is hearty and delicious, cooked to a perfect medium rare. And the pasta is quite the accompaniment. The blue cheese is bold and pungent, and once you add in some spicy arugula and top the pasta with bacon, it packs even more punch.

TW’s Tips

  • The garlic chive butter to top the steaks makes a lot — wrap the extra in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to use later on veggies or warmed up bread.
  • I’d cut the pasta in half — it makes a TON and it’s really rich, so I ended up having to throw a lot of it away. And, it’s better when you first cook it, versus reheated.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 4 (8-ounce) NY strip steaks
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup cream or half-and-half, eyeball it
  • 8 ounces blue cheese crumbles
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped, a palm full
  • 2 cups arugula, a small bunch, cleaned, trimmed and shredded

Directions

Put a large pot of water on the stove to bring to a boil for pasta.

Preheat broiler to high with rack on top shelf.

Preheat medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped bacon and cook until crisp.

Salt water for pasta and add spaghetti to the pot. Cook to al dente, with a bite to it.

Season the steaks with salt and pepper on both sides and arrange on slotted broiler pan.

Remove bacon to paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon and drain off most of the fat, return pan to heat and reduce heat to medium. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan and 1 tablespoon butter. When butter melts into extra-virgin olive oil, add in 2 cloves garlic and the shallots, saute for 3 minutes.

Arrange steaks on the broiler pan. Place under broiler – leave door to oven cracked ajar to limit flare ups and smoke. Cook 4 minutes on each side for medium rare, up to 5 to 6 minutes on each side for medium well doneness.

To the garlic and shallots, add in flour and cook a minute more. Whisk in stock, bring to a bubble, about 30 seconds then stir in the cream. When cream comes to a bubble, add in blue cheese and sage and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir until cheese melts. Reduce heat to lowest setting.

Soften 4 tablespoons butter in microwave on high for 15 seconds. Mix in chives and 2 cloves minced garlic and reserve.

Remove steaks from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Place 1/4 of the chive and garlic butter mixture on each steak to melt down over the meat as they rest.

Drain pasta and toss with sauce to coat and combine evenly. Taste to adjust seasoning.

Serve steaks with pasta alongside. Scatter the arugula and bacon bits across the top of the pasta.

Spinach and Bacon Quiche

I love quiche. Since this is my second quiche post, I guess that much is obvious! Ah quiche… it’s like a casserole but French and fancy — and people don’t realize just how easy it is to throw one together. Pair it with a salad and you’ve got a meal.

This spinach and bacon quiche by Paula Deen is pretty darn yummy. The key ingredients: bacon, spinach and swiss cheese, all baked with eggs and cream in a crust. I use pre-made — it’s so much easier and makes for a really fast meal. If you want to make your own, be my guest. It would probably take this to the next level! But even with a pre-made crust, you get the buttery flakiness and crunch against the salty, cheesy egg filling. Oh la la!

The recipe calls for layering the bacon, spinach and cheese in the pie crust, then pouring in the egg mixture. I put the bacon in last, but that made the top a little bit funky — more browned than I would like, and rather un-quiche-like. I recommend putting the bacon in first, then spinach and cheese, and gently pressing it down a little bit before pouring in the eggs. This had to cook a little bit longer than the recipe indicates in order to set the middle. But other than that, I have no tips — it’s that easy!

I served this with a green salad with a simple vinaigrette — whisk together a minced shallot, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil, and voila — delicious dressing. Some people even say you can throw it all in a blender to make it. I’ve never tried it, but next time, I will!

Spinach and Bacon Quiche

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach, packed
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust, fitted to a 9-inch glass pie plate

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender. Layer the spinach, bacon, and cheese in the bottom of the pie crust, then pour the egg mixture on top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the egg mixture is set.

The Ultimate Spaghetti Carbonara

If you’ve ever had spaghetti carbonara at a restaurant, chances are it wasn’t that good — except if you were in Italy. In fact, it doesn’t even sound that good at first, especially the way it is usually described on a menu. Spaghetti with bacon, eggs and cheese. (Eggs? Huh?)
.
Well, please get with the program. This is a case where the simple becomes the divine. If this “ultimate” spaghetti carbonara by Tyler Florence doesn’t convince you…well, you need to go to Italy. Stat.
Spaghetti carbonara is a creamy, salty, peppery plate of pasta — the egg cooks in the hot pasta and creates this wonderful sauce unlike any pasta sauce you’ve ever had. And the al dente pasta, the salty cheese, the freshness of the parsley, the crunch of the bacon — it’s so simple you wouldn’t believe it could pack in so much flavor. Plus, it’s one of those dishes where you might just have everything you need to make it in your fridge. What’s better than that?
.
TW’s Tips
  • I halved this recipe — a pound of pasta is just too much unless I’m cooking for company.
  • Sorry Tyler, but 7-8 minutes is not enough time to caramelize onions. Take it slow and cook them for 20-25.
  • I wasn’t happy with the way the bacon and onion cooked together. The bacon didn’t crisp up enough, and the onions browned too much if I turned up the heat. Instead, cook the bacon first without cutting it up and crumble it when it’s crispy, and cook the onions in the bacon fat. Yup, this recipe is not low fat.
  • Use lots and lots of fresh cracked pepper.
  • Use good, freshly grated Parmesan. You can get a huge wedge at Costco and it lasts forever since it’s such a hard cheese. Believe me, you will never go back to the pre-shredded, flavorless stuff. It’s expensive but less expensive than buying bag after bag of shredded whenever you need it.
The Ultimate Spaghetti Carbonara
Directions
  • Kosher salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 bacon slices, sliced crosswise into thin strips
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 tbs heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti.

Heat a 3-count of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and onion and cook for 7-8 minutes, until the onion is carmelized and the bacon crisp. While that’s going, crack the eggs into a big bowl. Add the cream and cheese and whisk. Scrape the bacon and onion with the cooking fat into the bowl.

Throw the spaghetti into the boiling water and cook until it’s al dente. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and add it to the bowl with the egg and bacon.

Drain the spaghetti, add it to the bowl, and give everything a good toss. Invert a plate on top of the bowl to hold in the heat and let the pasta set for 5 minutes. Remove the plate, toss in some salt, pepper, and parsley, and boom: You’ve got spaghetti carbonara!

Chutney and Cheddar-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Oh yeah — recipe success! I made this delicious meal — Chutney and Cheddar-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with BLTPs (Bacon Leek Tomato Potatoes) — for dinner Wednesday night.

The recipe is from Rachael Ray’s “Big Orange Book.” I am a BIG Rachael Ray fan. Not so much of her as a person (she can be a little much, and her cooking show is annoying), but I’m a fan of her cookbooks (I have pretty much every single one) and her easy, reliable, yummy recipes. I’m a champ at following a recipe and she makes it pretty fool-proof.

TW’s tips for this recipe:

  • I used multicolored potatoes to give the BLTPs a bit more color.
  • I omitted chicken stock, which she called for as a finishing touch to the potatoes. I didn’t want to lose the crispy finish on the potatoes and felt like it would turn the whole dish into mush. So I took that part out of the recipe below.
  • I used mango chutney because I had some in the fridge, but I’d love to hear how this is with another kind!
  • I used top notch extra sharp Cabot cheddar — it makes all the difference. The sharpness of the cheese and the sweetness of the chutney, combined with the nice brown crust on the chicken was killer!
  • I cooked this on a night when it was way too hot to use the oven. Don’t do that. I hated myself. But I was much happier once I ate this meal.

Chutney and Cheddar-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with BLTPs (Bacon Leek Tomato Potatoes)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds red bliss, fingerling or baby Yukon gold potatoes, skin left on
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus additional
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons prepared chutney
  • 8 slices sharp white cheddar
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Place potatoes onto a baking sheet, drizzle them with a little EVOO and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss them to evenly coat and move them to one half your baking sheet. Roast them for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.

After 20 minutes, toss the tomatoes onto the empty half of the baking sheet, drizzle them with a little EVOO and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Return the pan to the oven and continue roasting another 20 minutes, turning the veggies occasionally but keeping them separate, until the potatoes are tender and the tomatoes have burst open.

Once the tomatoes go into the oven, place the chicken breasts onto a cutting board and cut a pocket into one side of each of them using a paring knife. Spread about 1 tablespoon of chutney and place 2 slices of cheddar inside the pocket of each. Season the outside of each breast with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon, and sear the chicken breasts in the large pan until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side.

Once the chicken is seared on both sides, transfer them to the oven to finish cooking, about 5-6 minutes (if your pan is oven-safe, just put the whole pan in the oven. Otherwise put the meat onto a baking sheet before moving it to the oven).

Once the chicken goes into the oven, place another large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the bacon and cook, about 2-3 minutes. Once the bacon starts to brown, add the leeks and cook until tender, another 4-5 minutes.

When the vegetables have finished roasting, transfer them to the skillet with the bacon and leeks. Season everything with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve up the cooked chicken breasts with a scoop of BLTPs alongside.