Posts tagged ‘bacon’
We’ve been trying a variety of new pasta combinations lately, and this one, tossed with roasted butternut squash, wilted spinach, crumbled bacon and parmesan, really won me over. I’ve never cooked with butternut squash before, partly because they are sort of big and intimidating-looking (I didn’t realize we could use up a whole one in one dish), but also because Stephen professes to hate them, along with other orange things like sweet potatoes, yams, and all other winter squashes. It hasn’t ever bothered me that I couldn’t cook these things for Stephen, but when I saw a recipe for pasta with butternut squash that also featured bacon, parmesan, and spinach, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could convert him to embrace the squash.
Fennel is not something that I grew up with, and my natural reaction to it (and all the other foods in its anisey-scented family, for that matter) is love-hate. When I smell fennel cooking, I find it sort of intoxicating, like I just can’t stop smelling it, but I’m not sure if I want to scarf it up or throw it out. For this reason, and since I don’t have a lot of recipes in my repertoire that feature fennel, I have never cooked with fennel myself (although I have purchased it and then wasted it with the intention of doing a kitchen first like three times). But this time, I finally found a recipe that excited me enough to follow through. This pasta was fragrant and spicy without being too much, and it was a welcome change from all those everyday-tasting tomato based pastas I get so tired of. The fennel is braised in a flavorful broth with lemon, red pepper flakes and bacon until it’s tender and mellow, then tossed with pasta and parmesan. It was so good that I’m 100% positive I will never waste a fennel bulb again! In fact, I may go get another one tomorrow.
When I first came across this recipe, I was skeptical about putting a maple syrup sauce on top of my pork chop. But then I started playing a mental game of six-degrees-of-culinary-separation, and I thought well, pork – bacon – pepper bacon – maple bacon…sounds like it could work! Throw in some cider vinegar to complement the pork and tame the sweetness of the maple syrup, some shallots and thyme, and you’ve got yourself something endlessly more delicious than ye old plain-jane pork chops of my youth.
I realized this year that somehow I have never managed to shell fresh peas before. Favas, yes, but never regular shelling peas! I’ve been wanting to get some for quite awhile, but I had trouble finding them when pea season supposedly started, so all my bookmarking of yummy pea recipes was going unused. Perhaps our unseasonable rain in May and June slowed the peas down and kept them out of the markets when I was expecting to find them, but now that it’s almost August and we’re moving on to zucchini, tomatoes, and corn galore, I had pretty much forgotten about the elusive shelling pea!
That is, until I spotted some shelling peas at the market earlier this week. And it just so happened that I was at the market next to the library, so I popped in to see if any of my requested cookbooks had come in, and luckily my long-awaited copy of Sunday Suppers at Lucques had finally arrived. I couldn’t wait to peek inside, so I flipped through the glossy pages and what was the first recipe that caught my eye? A pasta carbonara using freshly shelled peas AND pea shoots! Have I mentioned that I love pea shoots? With the discovery of the shelling peas and then the discovery of the ideal recipe to make use of them happening within ten minutes of each other, I could pretty much only conclude that making this pasta was my destiny.
This week I decided to make mayonnaise from scratch for the first time. I’d been meaning to try it for quite awhile, but this week I didn’t have anything else in mind for a kitchen first, and the timing seemed appropriate since I am hoping to audition a few new summery recipes this week that need a little bit of mayonnaise each (potato salad, anyone?). People are always raving about how much better homemade mayonnaise is, and I decided to see for myself.
Oh, and did I mention these bacon deviled eggs? We decided to try them because we had lots of eggs, wanted a snack, and I wanted to do something right away with my fresh mayonnaise, but I realized I’ve never actually made deviled eggs before so I guess I’m getting a double kitchen first out of the deal. Can anyone say no to a deviled egg? This recipe can be made with or without the bacon and is fairly standard, so if you’re look for a meat-free version this can certainly be it. Although really, you can’t ask for a better combination than bacon and eggs (scroll to the bottom if you want to skip to the eggs!).
We eat a lot of salads around here, but every time we make one for dinner I have to fight the part of me that thinks its kind of a cop-out of a meal. I mean, I totally love salads, but I kind of feel like it doesn’t count as cooking unless there is some kind of twist or extra component that beefs it up to entree level, like shiitakes and bacon, chicken and asparagus, or a really great homemade dressing. Plus, if we don’t toss is some tasty bonus ingredients, we always end up needing an after dinner snack an hour after dinner.
We’ve had a whole lot of lettuce and greens laying around for the past week, but with the hubbub of the last couple of weeks of school I really haven’t felt like cooking at all. Like, not even a bare-bones, lettuce and bottled dressing salad to go with our take-out pizza. But finally, with greens amundo getting wasted in the fridge, I decided I really had to make a salad, so we went all out and make an add-ins heavy classic, the cobb salad, with a couple of delicious twists.
A few weeks ago when spring was just around the corner, we went on an entree salad kick so severe that I could not keep up with blogging all the ones we tried; if I had, you the blog-readers would probably have written this off as a rabbit food blog and gone elsewhere! I posted our best-of-the-best, but then in an effort to space out my salad ramblings I waited on some others, and now suddenly its weeks later and I’ve all but moved on, except that I can’t get this one out of my mind! It arose from a desire to do something new with the beloved pea shoots, and made use of some beautiful local shiitakes we had picked up, and while I’m not sure the salad was meaty enough to make a meal all-in-itself, I will definitely be making this again as a fresh, jazzed-up accompaniment to a light meal.