BLT with a twist
I saw an ad on the cooking channel, just a quick little thing where the guy said... "we use caramelized bacon and a ham hock to make our bacon ice cream." That's how this recipe began. I said ok would this be a dessert or can it be served as a savory course? What would I serve it with? Would it be by itself or maybe a play on a BLT? What could be the Lettuce part? What would be the Tomato part? Would I serve it on bread? I figured it out...
I made the ice cream by infusing cooked bacon that I chopped up into the milk for 30 minutes (I couldn't find a ham hock that day, but it turns out it wasn't necessary). I proceeded with a Maple Syrup Ice Cream recipe that I found on line seriouseats.com. Again I am serving this as a savory course so I didn't want it to be too sweet, and what kind of sweet goes with bacon? Maple syrup. I used a good pinch of Fleur de Sel to heighten the savory side of things. The Lettuce part was an arugula infused olive oil. I tour up a good amount of arugula leaves and put them into a small saucepan, then covered them with extra virgin olive oil. Put the heat on very low and once I saw it was heated through, but not at all boiling, I covered the pan and removed it from the heat. Let it sit for an hour to steep like a tea, then strained it. I tasted it and it was now "Arugula Oil". For the Tomato part, I slow roasted, drained and cut in half, San Marzano whole tomatoes from a can for about 2 1/2 hours at about 250 degrees. I cut them into a small dice. When I was ready to plate it I toasted a thin slice of sourdough bread and cut it into a triangle. In a shallow bowl I put in one scoop of bacon ice cream, drizzled with arugula olive oil and spooned on some diced slow roasted tomatoes. To garnish I sprinkled over some bacon that I cut into matchsticks, one whole arugula leaf and of course the triangle of sourdough bread. Can I tell you, it came out fantastic!
Scallion Crepe Cigars
This idea came from the Boston Globe Magazine. There was a recipe for these scallion crepes and the chef likes to serve them with this dipping sauce that was also featured in the magazine. I decided to roll them into a cigar shape, just to make it easier to dip. These crepes have a whole bunch of scallion mixed into the batter, and they end up being almost spicy from the white parts of the scallions and the dipping sauce has hot sauce in it. The sauce is 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp Mirin, 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp Siracha, 2 tsp grated fresh ginger and 1 Tbsp of water.
I didn't follow a recipe for this except for the Butterscotch Pastry Cream. The difference between regular pastry cream and butterscotch is the use of brown sugar in place of regular white sugar and a pinch of Fleur de Sel. I made the pastry cream and chilled it. I softened a 4 oz container of marcarpone cheese and set aside. I whipped some heavy cream with some confectioners sugar and vanilla. I mixed the three together until it tasted really good. So I made the coffee syrup for the lady fingers. If you ever made tirimisu you know you dip the store bought lady fingers into a coffee syrup before assembling the dish. I dissolved some sugar and water together on the stove top, I dissolved some decaffeinated instant coffee in some hot water and just added it until it was a rich dark color, but not too dark. I added some Bourbon, not too much. I tasted it and it needed just a splash of water to make it just right. I dipped the lady fingers into the coffee syrup quickly and lined the glass dish with them. I spread on 1/2 of the cream mixture and another layer of lady fingers and topped with the other 1/2 of the cream mixture. Cover and let it sit overnight so it all comes together nicely. I had slowly cooked some white chocolate that morning until it caramelized and put it into a small bowl and let it harden in the refrigerator. I grated that over the tirimisu before cutting into it. It was fantastic!