Hmm…Bacon FestPosted: April 27, 2012
Let’s just get this out of the way right now. I don’t
eat officially eat bacon. I gave up red meat over 30 years ago and as we all know bacon definitely falls into the not-really-good-for-you meat category. However, I will admit that I find it harder to pass by a piece of crisply-cooked bacon than even dark chocolate and we all know that I consider a day without chocolate as one of dubious distinction at best. As a result, I regularly force ask my children and other people I am eating a meal (usually breakfast) with to order extra bacon just in case a piece happens to find its way to my plate. I also do buy turkey bacon and cook with it from time to time.
Happily, I have a roommate in my part-time life (this sounds kinkier than it is; I work nearly two hours from my home so part of the week I live in Albany and the rest of the time I happily live with my husband of 30 years and counting). But I digress. My roomie Brigid loves bacon and so when we were discussing what menu to serve for the happy return of Glee (yup, we’re those kind of people) and I mentioned I had seen a recipe for mini bacon cheesecakes, Brigid immediately remembered her interest in making bacon/blue cheese/scallion scones (and for the record she makes the best scones in THE WORLD!) and then threw in BLT pasta and Bacon Fest was born!
So today you will get not one but three bacon recipes. My advice is to take your cholesterol medicine and just enjoy.
Bacon/Blue Cheese and Scallion Scones
6 tablespoons cold butter
2 cups flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
2-3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped scallions (or chives)
Mix the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter. (By the way to all you folks who think you have to have a fancy mixer (Rachel), Brigid does not use one.)
Blend in the blue cheese, bacon and scallions. Add the cream and stir the dough until the flour is incorporated. Knead with your hands 5-6 times. Pat the dough into a rectangle about 7X9 inches. Cut into triangles.
Bake at 400 degrees 8-11 minutes depending on size. Cool enough so you don’t burn your tongue but definitely eat these warm because the cheese is gooey and…well you get the idea
1/2-3/4 cups chopped sweet onions or shallots
6-8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
slow-roasted tomato sauce (see below)
3-4 cups baby spinach or arugula
1 box quinoa pasta (or your pasta of choice), cooked and drained
pinch of red pepper flakes
slow-roasted tomato sauce ingredients
4 pounds Roma tomatoes
2-4 garlic cloves
dried herbs (like oregano, basil, parsley, your choice), salt and pepper — all to taste
For the slow-roasted tomato sauce: Drizzle the EVOO in a 9X13 inch baking pan. Cut the tomatoes in half, place in the pan. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, dried herbs. Add 2-4 cloves of garlic. Roast in 200 degree oven, uncovered, for 7-9 hours. When cool, peel the skins off. If desired, scoop out the seeds with your fingers.
For the rest of the sauce: Cook the bacon, remove from the pan and reserve the drippings (unless you use turkey bacon because it doesn’t have drippings). Add 1 tablespoon EVOO and saute the onions until translucent. Add the tomato sauce, simmer for 20 minutes. While it’s simmering, cook the pasta.
Add the bacon, crushed red pepper to the sauce and cook five more minutes. Add the greens and turn off the heat. Serve over the pasta with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.
Mini Bacon Cheesecakes
make 12 mini-cupcake size cheesecakes
for the bacon and crust:
4 pieces bacon, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
for the cheesecakes:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon flour
1 large egg, room temperature
Cook the bacon, stirring periodically. When it’s browned, remove drippings (unless you’ve used turkey bacon) and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over the bacon and continue to cook, stirring until it’s crisp and glazed. Remove from heat and taste one just to make sure it’s as good as it looks and then try to make sure you save at least 12 pieces to put in the cheesecakes. This is a hard task, trust me.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse the Oreos with the melted butter, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with 1 tablespoon bacon drippings if you have them until finely ground. Line mini-cupcake tin with cupcake holders. Then put one heaping teaspoon into each one and press it down. Bake 10-12 minutes until the crust looks set. Let cool.
To make the cheesecakes, turn the oven down to 325 degrees. Combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a mixer until it’s light and smooth, 4-5 minutes. Add the flour and egg and mix until just incorporated. Fill each mini-muffin cup with about 2 teaspoons of batter. Bake until set, about 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan. Then cool in the pan in the refrigerator for at least four hours. Top each cheesecake with the bacon and get ready to pop them in your mouth.