Sweet and salty bacon

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If you like sweet and salty, try this.  I made a pound of bacon, and just before it was done, I sprinkled brown sugar all over it.  When it came out, it looked like this and had a savory sweet flavor which I found addictive! Try it! David the ice cream man has a recipe for bacon and egg ice cream, basically a egg vanilla ice cream base, with candied bacon in it.  Now, I am not sure I would go to that extreme, but this bacon on its own is perfect.

A lighter Alfredo

A lighter Alfredo

A lighter Alfredo

 

This spaghetti uses chicken broth instead of the proverbial “heart attack on a plate” that conventional alfredo sauce kindly provides.  This recipe is adapted from Lydia Bastianich.  She does not bind the sauce with flour as I do, and I find it necessary so that when the eggs are added, they have something to cling to, thereby avoiding curdling. 

6 slices of bacon

4 cups of chicken broth

1 1/2 cups of cooked and chopped chicken breast (1/4 inch dice is fine)

1 pound spaghetti/fettucini

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons light cream

3 tablespoons of wondra flour

1/4 cup of peas

Salt and Pepper

3/4 cup grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 400.  In a Large oven proof Dutch oven (4-5 quart), place the bacon.  Put into the oven until the bacon is crisp. We do this in the actual pan that we are going to make the sauce in so that the residual bacon flavor is there. Remove from oven and drain bacon on paper towels.  Chop finely. Let pan cool and drain all of the fat away.  Blot pan with paper towels. Discard paper towels!

Place pan on medium heat and add the chicken broth, the peas and the three tablespoons of WONDRA flour.  Regular flour will work if you first dilute it in a few tablespoons of water and then add. Wondra simply stirs right in as you all know!  Simmer this mixture for a few minutes (add some salt and pepper) while you boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water. 

Beat the eggs in a small bowl and add the cream, and a good dosage of salt and pepper.  When the pasta is ready, drain it.  Add the pasta to the hot sauce and take the entire pot off the heat.  Slowly drop in the eggs while tossing.  It will look soupy at this point but do not worry it will firm up considerably. Add the chicken, the bacon and the cheese.  Taste the sauce and reseason with salt and pepper. 

Cover for a minute or two while the sauce binds and thickens.  Toss again and serve with additional parmesan cheese.

Baked beans

Before going into the oven

Before going into the oven

Adapted from Martha Stewart, these Baked beans are just beyond.  I can’t remember who it was, but someone appeared on Martha years ago and described the process of making baked beans.  To Martha’s horror, this did not involve soaking white beans overnight and cooking them with a smoked ham hock and taking 24 hours to finish the process. No.  This bean recipe started with, quelle horror….canned beans!  Oh yes.  And so, with a few tricks up my sleeve, I knew that I could take these beans to another level.  The original recipe included onions and peppers, which I removed.  A few more additions and I think I have the perfect baked bean recipe.  This feeds a major crowd.  Here goes. For about 20 servings! 

Baked Beans

3 large cans (28 ounces each) of any brand of baked beans, original flavor, maple, homestyle….whatever

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup yellow mustard

1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon salt (which you need to balance all that sweet)

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 pound of lean ground beef

1 pound fresh andouille sausage (look for the Premio brand here in New Jersey–if you can’t find fresh, don’t use the smoked unless you like the kielbasa taste–rather any other type of fresh sausage like Creole, Sweet Italian, Breakfast pork (like the kind you would use in a sage stuffing).  In a pinch, you can also substitute 1 pound of cooked bacon, drained and crumbled.

Mix the beans, the brown sugar, the mustard, the ketchup and the W sauce in a large Dutch oven. Add the cayenne and the salt and set aside.  Over medium heat, brown the ground beef until it has given off all of its moisture and then drain well–the last thing you want is added fat to this.  Crumble into 1/2 inch pieces and add to the beans.

If using the fresh Andouille, which I LOVE, take it out of its casing and brown it over medium heat in a large frying pan. If substituting any other fresh sausage you can do this as well, same method.  DRAIN well, crumble into 1/2 inch pieces and add to the beans. If substituting bacon brown the bacon (I like to do this in a 425 degree oven to avoid the mess) then drain, crumble and add to the beans.  Stir well.

Place in the oven (400F) for at least 60-75 minutes (if not 90 minutes) until it’s bubbly and hot and perhaps forming a little crust on top.  Take out, let cool and serve.  Serves about 20.  Yes, 20.  Feel free to cut the recipe in half unless you are bringing this to a family reunion or just a hungry bunch!  These beans are delicious!

I’ll post the photo tomorrow as I am making them for a neighborhood block party here in Erwinna!