SRC: Rebel Bacon Mac and Cheese

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time.

This months I was fortunate enough to get a really fun blog to explore, the Cookaholic Wife by Nicole. Nicole’s passion for cooking started around the age of 16 when she cooked something for the first time. Her first attempt turned into her now famous Nichole’s Famous Crab Dip.

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Later when Nicole was dating her now husband she would cook alot for him to stop him from eating fast food every time she came over. With time and confidence, she now prefers challenging recipes to push her boundaries. There were so many recipes for me to choose from on the blog. I was intrigued by all of the following: yummy Irish Car Bomb Cheesecake Bites, Nichole’s Famous Crab Dip, healthier Baked Churros, Pierogi and Kielbasa Bake, and a Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto.

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In the end the Bacon Lover’s Mac and Cheese won out. I had been craving a mac and cheese for a while so when I saw bacon added on top of it I was sold. But I calling mine the Rebel Bacon Mac and Cheese. Why?

Look at how many vegetables there are in the recipe. Each portion actually includes at least one vegetable portion. I actually did one modification to the recipe by adding half an onion as well. Aslo I went really of the beaten chart by choosing a bow tie pasta instea of the classic macaroni. I am such a rebel, ha ha. Join the revolution with me!

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Bacon Mac and Cheese
Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups pasta
  • 6-7 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced (baby bella or button)
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 3 cups spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a skillet over medium-high heat cook the bacon until crispy. Transfer the bacon a plate and blot with a paper towel to absorb excess grease. Reserve two tablespoons of the bacon grease in a small bowl. Discard the rest, but leave the skillet just barely coated.
  4. Add the onions and mushrooms to the skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.
  5. In a large saucepan, combine the bacon grease and butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, whisk in the flour and garlic and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is lightly golden.
  6. Whisk in the milk. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cheddar and Gouda cheese with a wooden spoon until completely melted. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
  7. Crumble the bacon, reserving a bit for a garnish. Add the pasta, mushrooms, spinach and remaining bacon to the saucepan and stir until combined.
  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, top with reserved bacon bits and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let rest for a few minutes, then serve.
Cuisine: American | Recipe Type: Vegetables & Side Dishes
7.6.2
226
http://cultureatz.com/src-rebel-bacon-mac-and-cheese/



SRC: Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time.

This month I had the pleasure of discovering Sarah’s blog, The Pajama Chef. Fun facts about Sarah: she LOVES peanut butter, she trains for marathons, she is doing a Master of Library Science and a Master of Arts in African Studies, she has traveled to Africa (ethnic food, love it), and given the choice she would wear pajamas 24/7. I guess her powers of suggestions really worked on me because I felt a strong urge to do a breakfast recipe.

I rarely have bacon in the house because a package is a lot when you live alone. But I had one open from last weekend for a couple of recipes and right now I am bacon crazy! So when I saw the Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles recipe it was pretty much a done deal. I called up a friend I had not seen in a while and enticed her over with the waffles. I got an instant YES. So two girls, bacon, waffles, coffee, gossip…good times!

Ξ Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles Ξ
[originally from Joy the Baker]

Ingredients:

  • 5 slices bacon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lay bacon out in a single layer. Sprinkle with 1/8 cup brown sugar. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until bacon is crisp and sugar is caramelized. Remove bacon from baking sheet to cool on a cutting board [they will stick to paper towels], then chop when cooled. BACON CANDYYYY!

 

Prepare your waffle iron, turn it on to preheat.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients–flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, then add the chopped bacon. Do not overmix–batter will be lumpy.

Cook according to your waffle iron’s specifications. Serve with maple syrup and berries.

Cook according to your waffle iron’s specifications. Serve with maple syrup and berries. Why not go over the top and sprinkle your waffles with chopped up homemade Bacon Chocolate?



Daring Bakers: Maple Mousse served in an Edible Container

I am so very excited to announce that I was the host for the April 2011 Daring Bakers Challenge. Not only is it a privilege to host such an event (a second time for me) but this is a very special challenge indeed for both myself and Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! (April Daring Cooks host) as we hosted a DUAL challenge: we challenged the Daring Cooks and Bakers to make EDIBLE CONTAINERS. It is all very exciting as it is the first time both monthly challenges cooperate.

In my native province of Quebec (Canada) many families, friends and co-workers organize group outings to our quintessential spring event: the sugar shack pilgrimage. Yes it is almost sacrilegious if one who lives in Quebec does not make their way at least once during March or April to a traditional “Cabane à Sucre”. This huge feast of eggs, ham, pea soup, pork rinds, beans, pancakes, bacon and pies – all drizzled in maple syrup – is enjoyed in the middle of the woods outside the big cities in a large dining hall. Once the meal is over everyone heads back outside to enjoy maple taffy served on a clean bed of snow.

So I wanted to share a bit of my maple syrupy home with you for this months’ Daring Bakers’ challenge. Now the dish I am offering up for preparation is not at all a traditional recipe but rather my own creative inspiration which includes some of the “Cabane à Sucre” elements. Since Lisa and Ivonne challenged me to include an edible container I decided to make a Maple Mousse served in a baked Bacon Cup. No worries bacon fearers, we have alternatives for you.

This challenge will really please those with both a sweet and salty tooth as the combination of bacon and maple syrup is flabbergastingly good. I played around with 3 different bacon cup sizes and each one was different when it came to the sweet/salty balance ratio. I have a strong sweet tooth and surprisingly my winner was the largest bacon cup because it held more mousse. Feel free to experiment with your presentation as well: add a meringue, add melted chocolate, nuts, etc, and drizzle more maple syrup on top of your creations. Have fun and I can’t wait to see what you will all come up with.

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

Recipe Source:
Bacon cups where inspired by not martha and 59kilos
Nut Crust were taught to me by a friend, no source, but posted at Cheap Ethnic Eatz
Maple mousse is adapted from Jaime Oliver is not my boyfriend
Vegan maple mousse was inspired by this recipe at Suite 101
Meringue, finally, was adapted from Woman and Home

Notes:
• Putting aluminum foil on the muffin pan heat-proof bowls is essential or they will be stuck to the form. Be gentle when removing the aluminum foil from bacon cups.
• Bacon shrinks a lot so make sure weave is tight on the form. Tuck the ends of the bacon strips inside otherwise they will curl while cooking. A good idea is to insert 4 toothpicks where the crisscrossed bacon meets in the weave.
• For the nut bowls, use about 1 cup of whole nuts to get 3/4 cups of crushed.
• In the maple mousse recipe, after the gelatine has bloomed (softened) in the cold whipping cream, the gelatine MUST be heated to melt completely…contrary to popular belief. Follow the directions as described and never let gelatine boil or it will become stringy and unusable.
• If you make the meringues let them cool in the oven once they are baked… just don’t forget to turn off the oven when they are done. This cooling process will help then dry out nicely and be crispier.
• the taste of maple syrup cannot be substituted but yes there are substitutes for the recipes if really obliged. At least you can do the challenge with it. For 1 cup (240 ml) Maple Syrup try:
– 3/4 cup (180 ml) corn syrup plus 1/4 cup (57 grams) butter plus 1/2 teaspoon maple extract (optional)
– 1 cup (240 ml) Honey but totally different taste
– 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed, 1 cup boiling water, 1 teaspoon butter, 1 teaspoon maple extract or vanilla extract. Place granulated sugar in a heavy skillet. Heat until the sugar melts and turns brown. Meanwhile, place brown sugar into a heavy saucepan. Pour water over brown sugar and bring to a boil without stirring. Add caramelized white sugar to the melted brown sugar in the saucepan. Simmer, stirring often, until syrup is thickened. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter and maple or vanilla extract. Yield: about 1 cup

Mandatory Items: There are 2 mandatory components to this challenge. You must make one of the 2 maple mousse recipes listed below and you must make an edible container in which to place your mousse for presentation.

Variations allowed: If you have health issues and restrictions of course adapt as necessary. There is a regular maple mousse recipe and a totally vegan one. For the edible container you can let your imagination run wild, the recipes I have included are suggestions. I have listed a couple of other ideas in the Additional Information section. The meringue recipe is optional.

Preparation time:
Bacon cups: preparation 15 minutes, bake 25-40 minutes depending on cup size, cooling 1 hour.
Nut Crust: preparation 30 minutes, baking about 15 minutes, cooling 1 hour.
Maple mousse: preparation 15 minutes, cooling 1 hour, refrigeration 1 hour.
Vegan maple mousse: preparation 10 minutes, refrigeration 1hour.
Meringue Time preparation 15 minutes, baking 45 minutes, cooling 2-3 hours.

Equipment required:
• muffin pan or 6 small ½ cup capacity heat-proof bowls
• heat proof shot glasses for smaller bacon cups
• aluminum foil
• scissors
• knife
• toothpicks
• baking tray
• food processor or zip-lock bag and a rolling pin
• various sizes of mixing bowls
• wooden mixing spoon
• rubber spatulas
• whisk
• small pan
• blender or hand mixer
• baking parchment or silicone mat
• piping bag or large zip-lock bag

Bacon Cups:

Ingredients:
• 24 thin slices good quality bacon

Directions:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C.
2. Take a muffin pan or 6 small ½ cup capacity heat-proof bowls, turn upside down and carefully form aluminum foil covers on the back of 6 muffin cups or the bowls.
3. Taking 2 strips of bacon at a time crisscross the strips over the backs of the muffin cups and cut to size a tad longer then the bottom part of the cup. Now use 1 to 2 more strips to cover the sides of the muffin cups in a weaving fashion. You want a full tight weave because bacon shrinks a lot. For smaller cups I used a shot glass with a square of bacon for the bottom and I wrapped 1 strip around the side.
4. Tuck the ends of the bacon strips inside otherwise they will curl while cooking. A good idea is to insert 4 toothpicks where the crisscrossed bacon meets in the weave.
5. Place muffin pan in a cookie tray to catch drippings. Bake in oven for about 25 to 40 minutes, or until the bacon is golden and crisp but not burned.
6. Cool completely, a good hour, before removing your cups delicately from the foil.

Nut Bowls:

Ingredients:
• 1 1/2 cups crushed nuts of your choice such as almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts
• 1 egg, beaten, at room temperature
• 2 tbsp sugar
• 1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces

Directions:
1. Use a food processor or a zip-lock back with a rolling pin to crush your nuts if whole, use about 1 cup of whole nuts to get 3/4 cups crushed. You want it somewhat coarse.
2. In a bowl mix the nuts with the beaten egg and the sugar.
3. Take 6 small ½ cup capacity Pyrex cups or a similar container and line the inside with aluminum foil. Spread ¼ cup of the mixture in the bowl, all the way up to the sides making sure you have a thin and even clean layer all around.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F/175 degrees C. until the nuts are golden and fragrant (about 15 minutes). Let cool completely before unmolding.
5. Melt chocolate (either in the microwave or over a double boiler). Dip the rims of the cooled nut bowls in the chocolate. Place in the freezer for at least 15 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened and is set.

Maple Mousse:

Ingredients:
• 1 cup (240 ml/ 8 fluid oz.) pure maple syrup (not maple-flavoured syrup)
• 4 large egg yolks
• 1 package (7g/1 tbsp.) unflavoured gelatine
• 1 1/2 cups (360 ml. g/12 fluid oz) whipping cream (35% fat content)

Directions:
1. Bring maple syrup to a boil then remove from heat.
2. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little bit of the maple syrup in while whisking (this is to temper your egg yolks so they don’t curdle).
3. Add warmed egg yolks to hot maple syrup until well mixed.
4. Measure 1/4 cup of whipping cream in a bowl and sprinkle it with the gelatine. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Place the bowl in a microwave for 45 seconds (microwave for 10 seconds at a time and check it in between) or place the bowl in a pan of barely simmering water, stir to ensure the gelatine has completely dissolved.
5. Whisk the gelatine/whipping cream mixture into the maple syrup mixture and set aside.
6. Whisk occasionally for approximately an hour or until the mixture has the consistency of an unbeaten raw egg white.
7. Whip the remaining cream. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the maple syrup mixture. Fold in the remaining cream and refrigerate for at least an hour.
8. Remove from the fridge and divide equally among your edible containers.


Vegan Maple Mousse:

Ingredients:
• 1 package (12 oz.) soft silken tofu
• ¾ cup (14 fluid oz.) pure maple syrup
• 2 tsp agar-agar

Directions:
1. Let tofu come to room temperature. Using a food processor, blender, or hand mixer, blend tofu until just smooth.
2. Sprinkle agar-agar on the maple syrup and let it rest for 10 minutes. Heat maple syrup on the stove to a boil and then let it simmer 5 minutes until the agar-agar has dissolved.
3. In a food processor, blender, or a large bowl, blend the tofu with the maple syrup until creamy.
4. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Remove from the fridge and divide among your edible containers.

Meringue (optional):

Ingredients:
• 3 large egg whites at room temperature
• ¾ cup (165 g./5.5 oz) sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F/150 degrees C.
2. Put the egg whites in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer beat for a few minutes until the whites become stiff. Now add the sugar, a little at a time, whisking until the mixture is stiff and glossy. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down and the mixture won’t fall out.
3. Place baking parchment on to a clean baking sheet. Using a spoon or a piping bag, dollop the meringue into circles that fit inside the rim of your edible cups. (See mine, I wanted height but they fell a bit…which is OK…freeform art)
4. Put the tray in the oven, then immediately turn the oven down to 250 degrees F/130 degrees C. and bake for 45 minutes.
5. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool in the oven for a few hours.
6. Place meringues as decoration on your maple mousse which has already be spooned into your edible containers.

Have fun and be creative when making your individual cups. Add chocolate here, place a meringue there, dip or drizzle chocolate or extra maple syrup. You are limited only by your imagination!

Additional Information:
You can try microwaving your bacon, not tested.
For vegetarians and vegans you could try this Tofu Bacon recipe and make a bowl with it, not tested.
Tuile Bowls would be a great other edible container option.

About Maple Syrup:
Here is a Food Talk article I wrote about the Quebec Sugar Shack season.
I found a great video on Making Maple Syrup on You Tube

Disclaimer:

*Note: The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of gluten-free ingredients. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. Please consult your physician with any questions before using a product you are not familiar with. Thank you! 🙂

Bacon Chocolate Bar

Well do you know what is one of the most HIP and HAPPENING ingredients right now? No?….Bacon

Everyone is talking about it, putting it in recipes, making it the start of a meal…its even got a dedicated Shut Up bacon category on this amusing blog that pokes fun a snob-ish foodies.

So my being the ever so avant-garde trend setter (yeah right) I had to jump the band wagon. i saw a couple of chocolate bacon bars and desserts. The curiosity was too strong and pulled me in…I had to try it. So below here I present to you the non sexy and messy but yummy…

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →