Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Perfect Sandwich Bacon...Genius !



i almost missed it...although i say,


found at DO IT AND HOW

no need to preheat the oven.  you will render more fat if you start cold.  i use a convection oven at 390F degrees.
cover a large cookie sheet with extra strength aluminum foil for easy clean up.
lay out your bacon in 3 or 4 strips close together.  now basket weave in the other 3 or four strips.   just like you would for a pie.
i set my timer for 15 minutes.  remove from oven.  then i make a spout at one end of the tinfoil and pour off as much of the fat (into a small heatproof bowl) with out tipping all the bacon off the sheet pan.
flip the bacon weave over...CAREFULLY, it's HOT.
OPTIONAL...sprinkle with brown sugar, chili powder, cumin and chipotle powder.
put back in the oven for ABOUT 10 minutes? depends on the thickness of your bacon.  the bacon shown was center-cut and was not very thick.  you might want to check it every 5 minutes....or you might want to flip it again.
if your bacon is not getting crisp enough...remove from greasy sheet pan and put on a rack and back in the oven until done to your liking.
if not using right away, they crisp up very well in the toaster oven.  i used mine the next two mornings for some fabulous breakfast egg and cheese burgers.
NOTE...the four sliced (actually 8 slices) was a little large, but so much fun to eat.
i thought about using it for a plate

please check out this DO IT AND  it's a fabulous "How-To" about so many things,
BUT  there are so many great ways to manipulate and use the ever so versatile BACON...i WILL try them all.  taco shells, mini muffin cups, bowls etc...and don't miss the TURTLE BURGERS!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Spiced Pickled Canned Peaches



i know i'll get some flack from real peach lovers and "true canners" out there, but i mostly do these with canned peaches.  i'm addicted and have to have them in the pantry all year 'round.
here in Newport Beach fresh peaches aren't really my opinion.  they arrive unripened, hard as a rock in a big truck and are expected to ripen in the store. fresh peaches tend to be "iffy" or way too pricey at the farmers markets.  it's hard to trust that each one will be juicy and delicious. i have wasted many a seemingly beautiful peach...too hard, too soft, bruised, pithy or just no peach  flavor at all.  i bought 10 and could only use 6.

YES...i have used real peaches for this recipe and, YES they were better, but canned are dependable, quite a bit cheaper...AND SO MUCH EASIER.  i hate peeling peaches...yes, i have tried the dipping in boiling water trick.  i opted for the good ol' potato peeler.

real fresh peaches are fabulous, BUT...
if you want to try this out and don't want to spend the time and money with fresh peaches...i swear you will love these even if they are...


oh...i almost forgot...
how do you use these spicy pickled peaches?...

one of my favorites is with fried chicken
OR sliced with a juicy cheeseburger
with charcuterie
diced in vanilla greek yogurt
sliced with fresh ricotta and scone.
along side a beautiful cheese platter.
or serve with CRISPY SKIN PORK BELLY !!!

(i think this makes about 6 pint jars)

7-8  peeled peaches, sliced 3/4 inch thick
5 jars "DOLE sliced yellow cling peaches in 100% juice", drained and rinsed in filtered water.

2 qts white grape juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup white wine vinegar
7 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 big tsp cardamom
1/2 big tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground chipotle
5-6 dried chili arbol
4 cinnamon sticks
6-7 whole cloves
5-6 cardamom pods

IMPORTANT...if canning..sterilize jars and lids.  put a large stock pot of water on for your water bath.

1...dissolve three(3) crushed vitamin C tablets in 2 qts of cool water.  this is to keep the peaches from turning color
2.... get your pickling liquid together and bring that to a boil.  take off heat and let steep while working on peaches.  TASTE TEST...a pinch here, another sprig there?  more sugar?
3...peel peaches.  i use a potato peeler.  i find it faster and easier than boiling water and dunking each peach in to loosen the skin....
4.....cut peaches into 3/4 inch  slices and put them in the bowl of cool vitamin C water.

NOTE...if using "cheater method"...skip steps 1 , 3 and  4

5...strain the pickling liquid through  double or triple cheesecloth, BUT SAVE SOME OF THE GOODIES.  the cloves, cinnamon stick, chili, rosemary, cardamom pods
6...introduce the peaches into the pickling liquid in a large pot and warm everything together.  i don't think there is any need to bring it to a boil, just get it warm enough so that jars are warm going into the canning bath.   remove from heat.
7...fill jars with peaches and liquid.  arrange some rosemary, cardamom, chili and cloves around to add flavor and look nice.
let come to room temp.  they can even sit on the counter over night.  then refrigerate for at least a week to absorb flavors.
NOTE...i like to have extra rosemary, chilis, cloves, cardamom, etc... that have been cleaned and boiled in the liquid.  i like to make sure each jar has these elements because they will continue to flavor the peaches.
 or i suggest canning them.
i have only "canned" these so i don't know how well the flavors will absorb with the refrigerator method.  canning is a bit of a pain, but it is so fabulous to grab a jar out of the pantry when needed.
besides...i don't have that kind of space in my packed-to-the-brim fridge.

PS... my friend Stephanie used the liquid for a BELLINI-MARTINI and cursed me the next morning.  the martinis were so good she had three... 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Food Friday: Forest Home Women's Auxiliaries

I was very lucky to have found two great community cookbooks a few weeks ago at a yard sale. The first is today's Recipes From Our Home To Yours. Forest Home Women's Auxiliaries. While there is no date on the cookbook, it looks to have been published in the late 1990s.

A history of the Forest Home Women's Auxiliary can be found on the first page of the cookbook.

The following is one of the recipes from this cookbook. A few changes in ingredients and it would resemble a dish I've had called haystacks. (Basically tortilla chips, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions, meat and beans, sorta like a tostada.)

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Some of you will say, OH, that looks so ugly. Yes it does. Some will say, oh quite gloppy, dark and terrifying. Well sure it is. But if you have your own 12 hour stock on hand, are you just going to add butter and drizzle it on a piece of bland naked meat? I say no. I say brown some oxtails and let it braise as low as long as you can with aromatic vegetables. The effect is not unlike osso bucco, but the depth of flavor is so intense and pure, that it shoots straight into you brain. There MUST be a very strong jammy zin to go with this. And if you have dogs, give them the bones. I have never seen anything better defining contentment as this.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Aspic or Mellow Meat Jello

The word itself has little to recommend it. Ass Pick. Asp Ick. A-Spic. And the thing itself, in all honesty, has even less appeal. But I had to do it. This was after a 12 hour stock making session, reduction late into the night, and a bourbon-fueled facebook conversation with the most lovely people. It kept me stoked. Pigs feet and every imaginable body part emptied from the freezer. Enough skin to solidify liquid nitrogen. And then there it is. I should have clarified it more. The top is less translucent than it ought to be. The meaty bits a little less generous than they could have been. And it's actually quite mellow. None of the acidic bite of good head cheese. Just a mellow meat jello. I had a few slices so far. NOW what the hell do I do with it??