This year has kinda sucked, so I’ve fallen back hard on recipes I already know how to make, and haven’t really pushed myself to try many new ones. But I saw this about a month ago, and felt like this would be a fun riff to try. And with the cold turn that finally came this weekend, this seemed like the perfect thing to make for the week. This is definitely getting added to my long term repertoire – it is the good shit.

A few variations: I used smoked cheddar instead of the recommended medium cheddar, used gigli from Trader Joe’s for the macaroni, held off on the cayenne, and didn’t quite get the toasted panko right. But oh man. Bacon, cheese, and a good kick from the kimchi that gets mellowed out by the dairy a bit. You could probably add a dash of shichimi togarashi for a more interesting kick. I’ll try it with the next batch.

Bacon and Kimchi Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bacon
  • .5 lb macaroni of choice
  • 5 T unsalted butter, divided into 4 T and 1 T
  • 4 T flour
  • 2.25 c whole milk
  • 1.75 c shredded smoked cheddar cheese (recipe recommends a medium cheddar, go with whatever cheddar your heart desires)
  • Pinch ground pepper and sea salt
  • 2/3 c chopped kimchi
  • .75 c panko
  • (1 t cayenne, gonna try shichimi togarashi next run around)

Heat your oven to 400 F, place the bacon slices on a foil lined baking sheet, and bake for appx 15 mins until done to your preference. Set aside and cool. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and while you wait for that to happen, chop up your bacon. Add your macaroni of choice and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside (pic 1).

In a large pot (possibly the same one), melt 4 T of unsalted butter over medium high heat, and once melted, add the flour and whisk constantly to make a roux (pic 2). Slowly add the milk to the roux in the pot, continuing to whisk until the sauce thickens. Once thickened, add in the cheese and stir until it’s melted and smooth (pic 3), followed by the salt and pepper, and finally the bacon and chopped kimchi (pic 4). Finally, gently fold the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce (pic 5), and pour it all into a 9 x 13 in baking dish (pic 6).

Meanwhile, melt the remaining T of butter in the microwave, and then stir together with the panko and sprinkle over the mac and cheese. Bake for 15 mins until the cheese is good and bubbly and the panko are golden brown (pic 7).

So, this is my first attempt at using the app to write these up. We’ll see how this goes!

It’s been a hell of a year so far. Besides the death of my dad and grandpa, I’ve also changed jobs, gotten a cat, and moved apartments. I also went to the doctor in the last few months, and was told that I need to up my green veg intake, and that brussels sprouts would be the best way to do that.

This was my first attempt at cooking them, and I have to say, these turned out really well. Definitely going to have to make it again. Need to find a cheaper place for halloumi though – the local Trader Joe’s is out, and Whole Foods is double the price for half the amount. (Chicago folks, any recs?)

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Halloumi

Lasts appx 3-4 meals as a side

Ingredients

  • 3 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3 T olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • .25 c red wine vinegar
  • 8 oz halloumi, cubed

Heat a large pan over medium high, add the bacon, cook until it reaches your preferred level of doneness, remove the meat (but not the fat!) and set aside.

Add 2 T of the olive oil to the pan with the grease (and be careful of splattering fat during this process!!), and when the oil shimmers, add your halved sprouts, cut side down. Cook until charred around the edges (pic 3), and then cook another 8 to 10 mins until the sprouts are soft (pic 4). Then reduce the heat to medium and stir in the crushed red pepper and red wine vinegar (pic 5). Cook until the vinegar covers the sprouts (about 1-2 mins), then remove from the heat.

If your pan is still relatively clean like mine was, add the last T of olive oil, and when shimmering, add in the cubed halloumi and sear for about 3 mins a side, until golden on each side (pic 6).

Then, combine it all together and enjoy the resulting amazingness!!

Candied bacon plus brown sugar based waffles? Uhm, yes please. 

I halved this recipe, as the boy doesn’t really do meat, but this still gave me five waffles, so the recipe as I’ll write it below will likely give you something around 10 waffles as output. 

Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles

Ingredients

Candied Bacon

  • 10 slices of bacon
  • .25 c dark brown sugar

Waffle Batter

  • 3 c flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • .25 c dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 c cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 2.5 c buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 375, line a baking sheet with foil, and place your bacon slices on the foil, sprinkling with the brown sugar. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the sugar caramelizes, and it’s beginning to brown and get crispy (see pic 2). Take the bacon off the baking sheet as soon as it’s out of the oven with tongs, and let it cool on a cutting board. 

While the bacon cools, whisk together all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients, and once well blended, fold into the dry ingredients. Once the batter’s almost fully mixed, heat your waffle iron, and take your cooled candied bacon, and chop (or, frankly, you’ll be able to break it apart with your fingers) into small pieces, and add straight into the batter. Don’t overmix the batter, or the waffles will become too tough; lumps in the batter are completely fine. 

Cook your waffles according to your waffle iron’s instructions, and enjoy the bacony brown sugar goodness!

In terms of impulse decisions, this is one of my better ones. I had everything for this in my fridge except for potatoes when Deb first posted the recipe, and new potatoes showed up at the farmer’s market literally last weekend, so I decided to go for it. 

And man, this is amazing. The vinaigrette is lovely, bacon/potato/eggs is a well known good combo, and it turns out that adding blue cheese into the mix only improves things. In short, yaaaaaaaaas. Would probably be prettier in a non bento-sized container, but man, it still works. Do yourself a favor and do the thing.

Potatoes With Soft Eggs and Bacon Vinaigrette
Lasts 5 meals as a side

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs fingerling or other small potatoes (used new potatoes)
  • whatever amount of eggs you prefer (recipe recommends 4, I made a whole big batch the other night to use in combination with breakfast)
  • .5 lb thick cut bacon (get it from your farmer’s market if you can)
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • .5 t smooth Dijon mustard
  • crumbled blue cheese to taste

Take your potatoes, put them in a pot with cold water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer your potatoes for about 20 minutes, until fork tender. Drain them, and once they’re cool enough to handle, halve them. 

Meanwhile, chop up your bacon and cook it in a heavy skillet over medium heat, until it’s about ¾ths as done as you want it to be. When that happens, whisk in your red wine vinaigrette and dijon, and let simmer for ten seconds (see pic 3). As soon as that ten seconds passes, pour the bacon vinaigrette over the potatoes, add your blue cheese, and toss to coat. 

I recommend making the soft boiled eggs ahead. 

Bring a pot of water plus a good splash of white vinegar to a boil, add your eggs, boil for six minutes, and put into ice water.  Peel your eggs (if they’re cracked, it’s okay, that’ll make it easier) and store them. 

Right before serving, take a soft boiled egg, squeeze it gently so it opens in half and spills the yolk over your serving of potatoes and bacon, and then split the halves further to drizzle the last bit of yolk out, and toss the whites on the potatoes. And then, enjoy!

Looking for a new way to try your vegetables? Just add beer and bacon!  Seriously. I found the green beans for a buck a pound on special last week, and it turns out Ale Asylum (a local brewer) just put out a new stout, so this was perfect timing in several senses. 

Stout Glazed Green Beans and Bacon

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 lbs green beans (note to self: reduce to 1 lb for the future, 2 lb was way too much)
  • .5 c stout (I used Ale Asylum’s Big Slick stout)
  • pinch smoked paprika, salt, and pepper

Cook your bacon in a pan to desired doneness. Remove, let cool, and chop. 

Add your green beans to the pan, and sear until slightly browned. Then, pour your stout in, drink the rest of the bottle, and cook until the beer reduces into a glaze (about ten minutes or so). Sprinkle with smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and chopped bacon, and toss in a serving dish to combine!

Risottos are always a fantastic thing. This is the first time I’ve made this one, and it has a nice breakfasty twist to it. It could probably use a bit more wine and chicken stock to absorb into the risotto, so I’ll remember that for next time. Poaching the eggs didn’t work so well this time around, but there’s always next time. But otherwise? A wonderful, cheesy risotto. 

Bacon and Poached Egg Risotto
Lasts 2 to 3 meals as a main

Ingredients

  • 3 c chicken stock
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced (original recommends shallot)
  • 1 c arborio rice
  • .5 c white wine (I used Cupcake Winery’s Angel Food wine, as is my standard for risottos)
  • .5 c freshly grated gruyere (original recommends Comte)
  • .25 c shredded parmesan
  • 4 slices thick sliced bacon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T butter
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Bring your chicken stock to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer in a separate pot. In a pan over medium high heat, heat your olive oil, and add your minced onion. Saute until translucent (about two minutes). Add your rice, toast until it smells nutty (about two minutes), and then add your white wine, stirring until it’s completely absorbed.  Then, drink the rest of the bottle of wine as you’re cooking the risotto.  Yes, this is absolutely necessary to the success of the recipe. Because science.

Now, take your heated chicken stock, and add a few ladlefuls at a time to the risotto, stirring constantly until it’s absorbed, and then adding a few more, until your quart of chicken stock is used up.  It’s going to take almost constant effort, but the result will be worth it, especially in how creamy it makes it, trust me.  After the chicken stock is used up, taste the risotto to see where it’s at – it should be creamy, but not at all mushy.  Keep drinking the wine.  It totally helps.  (This is the area where I think I may need to add more chicken stock next time.)

While you’re adding in the chicken stock, cook your bacon to its desired doneness and set aside. To poach your eggs, fill a small pot with water, a splash of white vinegar, and salt.  Crack your eggs into separate holders (ie ramekin, small bowl, whatever) while the water comes to a simmer.  Once simmering, stir the water with a whisk in one direction until it’s spinning around like a small whirlpool. Then, add your eggs into the center of the whirlpool one at a time, and turn off the heat.  (This method works for up to four eggs.) Let sit for five minutes, and then remove from the water with a slotted spoon.  Your eggs will be nice and soft in the center, and quite yummy besides. (I didn’t have the salt and vinegar this time, so this is likely why they did not turn out as well.)

Once the stock has been absorbed, remove from heat, add your butter, gruyere, and parmesan, and stir. Add your bacon and poached eggs on top, and then enjoy!

This soup honestly seems like the perfect end of summer/edging into fall thing. It takes advantage of the last of the fresh tomatoes and perfectly roasts them, adds in bacon, and makes it perfectly savory. Plus, it doesn’t require a lot of watching, which is another bonus as it gets colder out.

Roasted Tomato Bacon Soup
Lasts appx 4 lunches as a main

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs roma tomatoes, sliced in half (I used farmer’s market San Marzanos that were on sale)
  • 2 t olive oil
  • 6 strips bacon, chopped (whoops, forgot to chop them when cooking them, still worked; go thick cut farmer’s market bacon if you can)
  • 1 small white onion, chopped (or half a medium one like I used)
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 c chicken stock
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2/3 c heavy whipping cream

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees while you half your tomatoes, and put them on a foil lined sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, pepper, and sea salt, and roast for about an hour, until the tomatoes are tender and wrinkled. (see pic 2). 

While all this is happening, heat a stockpot over medium heat, and cook to desired doneness (I usually go for mediumish, I like my bacon softer). Remove the bacon, and keep the fat in the pot, and add the onion in, cooking for about five minutes, until soft and almost translucent. Then add in the garlic, and cook an additional minute. 

Add in everything except the heavy cream (chicken stock, paprika, bacon, roasted tomatoes), and bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer over medium low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, to reduce slightly.

If you have an awesome immersion blender (thanks again paintboxsoapworks!), use it here to puree to a single smooth consistency. If you don’t, use your blender and blend in batches. Either way, once pureed, add the cream to the pot and stir until smooth.  And then, enjoy the roasted tomato bacony goodness!