Saturday, June 12, 2010

Friday Night Bites #5

This week I had a crazy idea, a BLT. What's so crazy about that you say? It's not what your thinking...

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 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.

Butterflied and BBQ'ed Whole Chicken

I never did bbq chicken in the oven, slow cooked and covered with foil. I think if I ever made bbq chicken it was on the grill with bbq sauce brushed on toward the end of cooking. Tony has made real bbq chicken with his charcoal grill and smoker. So I want to give this a shot. I saw a recipe on called Jack's BBQ Chicken and I used his method, but I also liked the sound of Bobby Flay's Bourbon BBQ Chicken with Sixteen Spice Rub so I used his rub and sauce. One of the reviews said they saw the show and he soaked his chicken in buttermilk but that wasn't even talked about in the recipe on-line. So I made some buttermilk with milk and a squeeze of a lemon, then removed the backbone from a chicken and layed it out flat and submerged it into the buttermilk, covered it and put it in the refrigerate for a few hours. It needed about 2 hours to cook so I took it out and padded it dry a little bit. Put it into a shallow baking pan and rubbed it with the rub, filled the bottom of the pan with some apple cider then covered it with aluminum foil. Put into a 300 degree oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes, then removed the foil and brushed on the BBQ Sauce and cooked it uncovered for 15 minutes. It came out nice and juicy and very flavorful. I served this with macaroni and cheese.

Spicy Crunchy Topped Mac and Cheese

I made a cheese sauce using Gruyere, Cheddar and Monteray cheeses, and the spice came from some cyenne pepper. I boiled a small funky shaped pasta and mixed the two together. I heated some olive oil in a skillet and added some bread crumbs and some fresh sage from the garden that I sliced thinly. I cooked these together with a pinch of salt and pepper until the bread crumbs became crunchy. I topped the mac and cheese with the crunchy crumbs.

Butterscotch Tirimisu

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!

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