Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bacon Taco BLT with Herb Aioli & Bloody Marys

So, I was inspired to try this dish after seeing some pictures of people forming bacon into crazy shapes after it had been cooked but before it had crisped up.  I though it would be cool to make them into taco shells and stuff them full of lettuce and tomato to counter all the salty, greasy, bacon goodness, like a BLT minus the bread.  Then Jen decided to mix up and awesome green aioli to put on top and all that was left was something to wash it all down.  The obvious answer, of course, was a bloody mary.  A super baconny BLT should have a super tomatoey drink as a companion.

Note: My first attempt at this bacon taco shell was successful but very time consuming and so I would not repeat it again, ever.  It took almost 40 minutes for the bacon to crisp when I had woven it into a lattice and tried to bake it in a taco shell shape (pictured at right).  Instead I will present a far simpler and less time consuming process (pictured below) that I saw here.

To accompany the dish, there was no group, or song, better than the Supersuckers covering Willie Nelson's "Bloody Mary Morning".  Can't get much better than that! - justin

Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Serves: 2
  • 1 lb bacon 
  • 6 large lettuce leaves
  • 1 medium vine ripened tomato
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 3 tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
Place 4-5 strips of bacon on a paper towel on a microwave safe plate.  Make sure the edges all overlap so that the bacon "fuses" when it's cooking.  Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, checking on it every minute or so to make sure it isn't burning.  When it's done, pull it out and fold the bacon pancake in half with something inside to make it form into a shell.  Some tinfoil should work.  After a minute or two it should have set up and become crispy.  Slice your tomato and lay some in your shell.  Stuff the rest of the space with 3 of the large leaves of lettuce.  Top with the aioli (recipe below) and you're good to go!  Make as many more as you have guests or as you think yourself capable of consuming.

The aioli can actually be made ahead of time.  It lasts for a long time in the fridge and goes well on everything; sandwiches, salad, wraps, slaw, etc.

Combine the mayo, sour cream , lemon juice, parsley, cilantro, green onions, and garlic and mix thoroughly.  VoilĂ !

Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: easy
Serves: 3-4
  • 2 oz Demitri's Bloody Mary seasoning (this stuff is awesome but use what you like or can find)
  • 1 qt V8 or tomato juice, whichever you prefer
  • 4 shots vodka
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dashes Tabasco or hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • olives or celery or some other garnish 
Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a large pitcher and place in the fridge for an hour.  Serve in a large glass over ice.  Garnish with olives, celery or whatever you stick in your Bloody Mary.  I prefer whole green olives!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Whiskey Marinated Stuffed Chicken Breast; Whiskey & Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce

Here's the thing about this recipe - you can go all out and do the whole thing: marinated chicken, whiskey caramelized onions and mushrooms, whiskey cheese sauce, and it'll take a few hours, but be well worth it!  Or... you can only go half ass and make it quick!  You could just marinate the chicken and bake it, easy enough.  You could make the onions and mushrooms to stuff in the chicken breast, and pass on the cheese sauce.  Or throw the whiskey onions and mushrooms on a burger.  You could just make the cheese sauce to go on some veggies, or nachos, or pasta or whatever you want to put cheese sauce on.  I'm trying to say it's versatile!  And only as complicated as you want to make it.  But it was smokey and rich... delicious.

I could see this being good with a variety of whiskeys.  I used Jameson, because that's what we like to drink.  Jack would be good.  Use whatever you like to drink... and I highly suggest shots while cooking. 

So tunes to go with it... some SoCal punk we were just introduced to and really enjoying - The Sparring.  Check out their Facebook page for tour dates, news and new music!  But first... enjoy their video for "Straitjacket".  -jen

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Marinade Time:  2-3 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Yields:  3/4 cup, enough for 4-6 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1 lemon's worth)
  • 1-2 teaspoons minced garlic, depending on taste (we love garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • a few good cranks of fresh cracked black pepper
  • 4-6 chicken breasts
  • 2 cups Whiskey Caramelized Onions And Mushrooms (see recipe below)
  • 2 cups shredded Smoked Gouda cheese
Whisk all ingredients together.  Butterfly chicken breasts and place one at a time in a Ziploc bag and using a mallet or bottom of a sauce pan, pound the chicken out to 1/4" thick.  Then place all the butterflied breasts into the Ziploc and add the marinade.  Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for quick clean up) and coat foil with non-stick cooking spray.   Lay the butterflied chicken breasts open on the foil and on one half of the breast, sprinkle a layer of smoked Gouda.  Top with a big mound (about 1/2 a cup) of the caramelized onions and mushrooms, then sprinkle another layer of Gouda on top.  Fold the breast the other half over the stuffing like a taco.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken has reached 265 degrees.  Cooking time is going to vary depending on size of chicken breasts.  (We use a leave-in thermometer, they're awesome.)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Yields:  about 4 cups
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, julienned
  • 16oz of sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 3 shots of whiskey
Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add onions and mushrooms, Worcestershire, brown sugar and pepper flakes.  Toss to coat, then let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.  When onions start browning, turn heat to low and add garlic, ginger and whiskey.  Let cook an additional 20 minutes or until all liquid has evaporated and onions have caramelized, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat. 

(If you're going to make the cheese sauce below, you can remove the caramelized onions and mushrooms and just use the same skillet - no need to even rinse it out.  That's flavour!)

Time:  15 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Yields:  about 2 cups
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 and 1/2 shots whiskey (divided)
  • 1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
  • 1 cup chopped Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms (optional)
  • dash of cayenne pepper, depending on taste
  • 1.5 cups shredded smoked Gouda cheese
  • salt and pepper
In a skillet or sauce pan, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add flour and whisk for 3-5 minutes.  Whisk in 1/2 a shot of whiskey and heavy cream.  Add Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms (if you choose to) and cayenne.  Continue stirring until sauce begins to thicken.  Once thickened, turn off heat and stir in shredded cheese, one handful at a time, until melted.  Stir in 1 shot of whiskey.  Add salt and pepper to taste if needed.