Tag Archives: bacon

God made dirt

And dirt don’t hurt. Further evidence that I have the taste buds of a five year old is my affection for food that tastes like dirt. Oh I suppose I’m supposed to call it ‘earthy’ but really, I just can’t can’t get enough of  mud.

Today’s case in point: lentils. I love lentils. Green lentils, brown lentils, red, brown and purple (well, I’m sure I would). Last week I finally tried out a pasta dish I’d bookmarked ages ago, which seemed a perfect fit for my dirt-loving ways. It was great, made good leftovers and I”ll definitely make it again. But not on a school night – it’s not speedy cuisine, especially if you start with bacon, as I did, in my clever adaptation. The original recipe is vegetarian, but where’s the fun in that?

Pasta with lentils and kale
adapted from epicurious

  • 1/2 cup French (small) green lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 pound cavolo nero (black kale), or other variety
  • 3/4 pound dried short pasta

Simmer lentils in water (2 cups) with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart saucepan, uncovered, adding more water if necessary to keep lentils barely covered, until tender but not falling apart, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt.

While lentils simmer, cook the bacon until crisp in a heavy skille. Transfer to a plate, and put aside.

Add the olive oil and onions to the skillet and slowly caramelize them.

While onion cooks, cut out and discard stems and center ribs from kale. Cook kale in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer kale with tongs to a colander to drain, pressing lightly. Keep pot of water at a boil, covered.

Coarsely chop kale and add to onion along with lentils (including lentil-cooking liquid), then simmer, stirring, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Add pasta to kale-cooking liquid and boil, uncovered, until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup pasta-cooking liquid, then drain pasta in a colander. Add pasta to lentil mixture along with a little pasta-cooking liquid if necessary to keep pasta moist and cook over high heat, tossing, 1 minute. Stir in the cooked bacon, season with salt and pepper, and maybe a little parmesan if you feel like it.

-Eve

WTF (What the Food!) Pizza Pops Edition

A staple of pimple-ridden teenagers and breakfast for the Spears children, Pizza Pops are small, disgusting panzarotti ready for the microwave.  Although I had my choice of pizza-stuffed pastry in the frozen-food section, I opted for the name-brand Pillsbury Pizza Pops over the more suspicious looking Walmart ‘Pizza Pillows’. Call me a stickler for quality.  I think it’s important to note that you get 4 of these badboys for less than $2.  Yum.

When she was a teenager, my sister enjoyed these.  A lot.  Having not eaten a Pizza Pop since reaching adulthood, I asked her to revisit her youthful indulgence and weigh in on this edition of WTF.

Pillsbury Pizza Pops

Ease 3.5/5 – Unwrap, place in microwave for 1 minute.  Flip.  Microwave for an additional 15 seconds.  I would have given it 4 for ease, but I was burdened by the recommended flipping.  The box also suggests baking these in the oven, but who would invest 15 minutes of their time in order to eat one of these?

Colour 3/5 – The outside looks beautifully golden and toasted, which is clearly not from the microwave.  Inside is less aesthetically pleasing.

Texture 2/5 – It’s rare that the words ‘not disgusting’ are used as a compliment, but here we are.  At one point my sister noted that the ends were ‘crispy’, when I asked her to clarify it was apparent that she meant to say ‘chewy’.  Chewy is the best way to describe the pastry… that and greasy.  The texture of the filling was like a horrifying goo with chunks.  Not pleasant, but I doubt it will be the worst I will encounter in this little experiment.

Flavour 2/5 – ‘What is in my mouth’ is not a question I have had to ask very often.  I actually checked the box to see what it was stuffed with and it claims to contain 3 meats, but it could contain anything: pepperoni, sausage, cheese, tomato sauce, a human finger – let your imagination run wild.  Whatever grade F meat Pizza Pops contain is drenched in a suspension of tomato sauce, salt and sugar, so it doesn’t actually taste like any meat – a mixed blessing.

Resemblance to packaging 3/5 – not bad on the outside, but clearly not an accurate representation of what the filling looks like – I particularly enjoy the visible cheese inside the pastry on the box.  The packaging also grossly overstates the amount of filling that you will discover inside of a Pizza Pop. Trust me, this is a good thing.

If you enjoy eating super-salty, sugary, gooey mystery meats enveloped in a greasy, chewy pastry I have found your dream food.  If you are over the age of 17, there’s no excuse for eating these vile things unless you are living in your parents basement playing World of Warcraft – in which case: bon appetit!

– Ryan

Oh.My.God.

Bacon fudge!  Kids, shall we?

– Anna

Southern Comfort

A few weeks ago I had Anna and our friend Sean over for brunch.  We had all had particularly fun Friday nights, which called for the perfect hangover cure: getting drunk again the Bloody Mary.  A few of these and we were all feeling great again, maybe TOO great because we ended up in the pub after we we finished eating.  

 

Anna brought the bloody, Sean brought the Mary.

Along with round after round of bloody Marys, we had bacon*, eggs and a southern speciality: cheese grits.  The cheese grits were far too salty and oily (they did call for a half pound of cheese and a quarter of butter), but I found another recipe to serve with rabbit stew which was more restrained.  Grits are a lot like polenta and although they are traditionally breakfast fare, they can certainly be adapted and served with dinner.

 

Bacon and Cheese Grits

 

Just what the Doctor ordered... if the Doctor was a fat alcoholic

*The bacon came from the local butcher.  I was surprised that there wasn’t much difference in price from that purchased in major supermarkets, but the quality was vastly superior.

 

 

BACON!

 

– Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

Everything is Better with (Streaky) Bacon

poached egg1I recently made a pizza with asparagus and goat’s cheese and fortunately had a decent amount of asparagus left over to enjoy for brunch the next day.  I decided that I would use streaky bacon in lieu of prosciutto in this classic dish in combination with roasted asparagus and a poached egg.  It is such a simple meal that it almost doesn’t require instructions, but just to be sure everybody is on the same page:

Cook the streaky bacon to your desired crispiness-level and drain on kitchen roll.

Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus, season and place into a fairly hot oven until it is cooked, but not burnt. This should only take about 7-10 minutes.

Before placing the asparagus in the oven, heat a saucepan with two or three inches of water to a boil and reduce the heat to barely a simmer. Crack two room temperature eggs into shallow dishes, being careful not to break the yolks. After the asparagus has been in the oven for 3 or 4 minutes, add 1/3 cup of vinegar to the simmering water (this helps the egg whites to stay with the yolk).  Very gently add the eggs to the simmering water and allow to softly simmer for 2-3 minutes. Carefully remove the eggs one at a time with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on kitchen roll.

Remove the asparagus from the oven, top with streaky bacon and a poached egg, finish with black pepper. Enjoy.
– Ryan
poached egg2

Irreconcilable culinary differences

..and breakfast I think would come under that category. I have this theory that breakfast is one of the most culturally pre-determined meals out there. Or maybe I was just not that open minded when I first moved abroad. It took me about 3 years minimum before I could first stomach English fried breakfast. My initial question upon being introduced to this valued tradition was why do they eat dinner for breakfast here?? What is that grilled tomato and mushrooms doing here, again, dinner, surely? And that sausage, that sausage is in an insult to someone from country that values sausages above all else. It’s not the meat that us Germans are objecting to, because we do enjoy our cut cold meats for breakfast, make no mistake – but not that fatty fried thing that lurks on that place.

12 years on and I actually don’t mind it that much anymore though once in a while I still have fried eggs and baked beans for dinner, you can take the girl out of Germany, but not Germany out of the girl.  But the one breakfast that is really one step too far is that most American of traditions – pancakes (yumm), maple syrup (double yumm) with bacon (URGH). I get that salty with sweet is lovely but the very idea is just a step too far. Or at least always has been.

DSC02630

So last weekend I had breakfast at my friends place who made the most delicious pancakes from scratch. Served with fruit, lemon-sugar etc. And lo and behold the bacon emerged after a little while….and I did have it after all.  I kind of, actually, oh alright, it was not so bad. Fine, my breakfast fascism is receding at last.  But still not ready to endorse that idea wholeheartedly.

– Stef

It had to happen…

…I’ve had a request that the Bacon Explosion kick off this year’s bbq season (assuming there is one, I never count my London summer chickens before they hatch).

-Anna

(North)American food fun

So, I’ve been back from London for a week, mostly up in Fernie, British Columbia. And I’ve been getting very excited about things that are hard to come by in the UK. Embarrassingly, this means mainly meat products and Triscuits.

Bacon….yum! Despite Americans calling big chunky pieces of bacon “Canadian bacon”, the bacon we enjoyed in BC was the crispy American kind. Particularly good was a maple-smoked flavour. We also ate vast quantities of beef jerky…both the packaged kind from the supermarket and some more interesting stuff from Fernie’s local butcher. One of these was coated in a thick layer of spicy chili seeds…not for the faint-hearted or those with chapped lips from the -40 degree weather.

We also must have shared at least one plate of nachos every day. There are a couple of places in London that make vaguely passable nachos, but they too often seem to be served with chips in tiny little pieces from the bottom of the bag or with cheese that’s not sufficiently melted (come on, how hard is it to make sure all of the cheese is melted?). Not to mention the lack of toppings. Everywhere in Fernie delivered huge plates of nachos with beef, jalapenos, peppers, olives and lovely melty cheese. Plus guac and sour cream. Perfect for sharing with a few pitchers of beer after an afternoon on the slopes.

-Anna