Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Bacon vs Tofu

We're back. I would like to tell you that we've turned our lives around and are now committed to a healthy lifestyle, but that would make the following post pretty boring. Instead of trying to do something that would help people, we turned to bacon.

Bacon is the Pabst Blue Ribbon of meat. It has become the ultimate hipster indulgence. Since no one is more in tune with the hipster life than we are, we gladly jumped on the meat bandwagon. Our goal was to create a meal that included bacon in every dish.

For the appetizers, jalapenos and oysters were wrapped in bacon and grilled. This photo does not show us laughing as Regan set them on fire a few minutes later, but they still tasted very good.


Regan also decided take the "bacon in every dish" idea to the next level by making dishes out of bacon. The bacon baskets were the perfect place to put the mashed potatoes. It's also environmentally friendly because you can eat the container. (See, bacon helps the environment.)

Bacon Basket

Dom was very serious about a bacon wrapped turkey, but opted for the more elegant turkey-with-bacon-under-the-skin. Yes, it was awesome.



Lastly, the bread. I decided to go with bacon and onion muffins. I want to point out that there is no butter in this recipe. It can practically be counted as a vegetable with all of the onions in it. Enjoy.

Bacon and Onion Muffins
1/2 pound bacon, diced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup milk
1 cup sour cream

Fry diced bacon until crisp. Remove and drain. Saute chopped onion in bacon drippings until tender, but do not brown. Set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Combine beaten eggs, milk, and sour cream in a small bowl; blend well. Add at once to dry ingredients, stirring just enough to moisten. Stir in bacon and sauteed onion. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins, filling two-thirds full.

Bake in a 375*F oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven. Let completely cool.

Happy Thanksgiving and may all of your bacon dreams come true!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Award Winning


Fat Tuesday lived up to it's name yesterday at my workplace. Sixteen cooks entered into a chili/bean cook-off. The chili selections ranged from vegetarian to road kill (please tell me that wasn't really armadillo meat). I decided to make my chipotle baked beans and they did not disappoint. In fact, they won first prize in the bean division!

Before we get to the recipe I wanted to answer a question: what are chipotle chilies? It's nothing exotic, just smoked jalapenos. The way you normally see them is canned in adobo sauce. You can find them on the Mexican food isle, or, if you are in TX, next to the other canned peppers. They are an annoying favorite of Rachel Ray and they can give a little kick to almost anything. In this recipe you can adjust the number that you use depending on your audience. For this crowd I had to kick it up a notch, but you can make a much milder version, if you want. Don't skip them, though. They really make this dish stand out from other baked bean recipes that I have tried. Oh, and unlike some of the other recipes I have posted, this one does not have a healthy alternative section. Either just have a little bit or get a defibrillator.

Chipotle Baked Beans
  • 6 bacon slices (or more)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (or just one huge onion)
  • 1 1/4 cups purchased barbecue sauce (I used Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce)
  • 3/4 cup dark beer
  • 1/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 4 to 6 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies (I used 2 whole peppers, chopped for a kick. If you want a milder version, just use 1)
  • 6 15- to 16-ounce cans Great Northern beans, drained
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels and drain. Saute the onions in the bacon drippings. Add onions, finely chopped bacon and next 7 ingredients to bowl and whisk to blend. Whisk in chipotle chilies, depending on spiciness desired. Stir in beans. Transfer bean mixture to 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Bake uncovered until liquid bubbles and thickens slightly, about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mac & Cheese Revisited

Everyone needs a little comfort food now and then, but we're going to leave behind the images of gooey cheddar and white pasta for a moment and think differently about macaroni and cheese. You may think that the cheddar-like substance and that white elbow mac is what makes it so good but when I saw this recipe I had to try it.

Three-Cheese Mac&Cheese

Olive Oil, 1tsp
Medium onion, chopped
Bell Peppers, chopped 2
flour, 2 tbs
garlic clove, minced
low-fat milk, 1 1/2 cups
bay leaf
Gorgonzola, crumbled 1/2 cup
Parmesan, grated 3/4 cups
elbow macaroni, uncooked 2 cups (I used whole wheat.)
Mozzarella cheese
Panko breadcrumbs (aka Japanese breadcrumbs. Look in the Asian isle of your grocery store. If you don't have an Asian isle...........how are things in Iowa, anyway?)

Cook onions and peppers with oil until they are tender. Add the garlic and flour, stirring constantly. (Yes, the flour will burn if you don't keep stirring it.) Stir in milk and bay leaf. (To get bay leaf, go through your entire spice cabinet, cursing and muttering about how you should organize it because you just found two unopened bottles of cumin.) Cook milk for two minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add the Gorgonzola (Yes, it is supposed to smell like that) and 1/2 cup of the parm cheese. Stir with a whisk until the cheeses melt. Fish out the bay leaf.

Preheat the oven to 375. Cook the macaroni until it's almost tender. Drain it and mix it together with the cheese. Don't worry, it will taste better than it looks. Put half of the mix into a casserole dish. (I used a 2 qt., I think). Sprinkle some of the mozzarella on the pasta and then add the rest of the mix on top of it. Add a little more mozzarella, because it can't hurt. Sprinkle the panko bread crumbs and parm cheese over the top. Cook for about 30 minutes or until the dish is bubbly and the top is toasted.

The Gorgonzola is not as overwhelming as you might think. The three cheeses come together very nicely. It's like a grown-up version of mac & cheese. Go ahead and try it.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

When in Doubt, Make Some Chili


The cooks and photographer have had quite the adventure lately. We don't often get sentimental here at NGCCOT, but I am happy to report that all is well and we will be cooking as a group very soon. (Maybe this is God's way of telling Dom he needs a bigger kitchen.)

As we went our separate ways to wait out the storm, I needed a dish that could feed several people for at least three or four meals. The answer? Chili.

Ike Chili

Beans:Red Kidney Beans - 2 cans
Black Beans - 2 cans
Ranch Style Beans - 2 cans
Ro*tel Diced Tomatoes - 2 cans
Diced Tomatoes, Plain - 1 big can
2 cups broth
Meat (hamburger, turkey, venison, whatever) - 1 lb
Cayenne Pepper, pepper, salt - to taste

Put all of the beans and diced tomatoes in a pot.
Cook the meat
Put the meat in the pot
Let it simmer for a while
Test it to make sure you have the amount of seasoning that you want

I know that there is a big debate in the chili world of beans vs. no beans. Well, this chili has beans, so deal with it. It was pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Unholy or Delicious? You Decide.

While listening to an episode of Prairie Home Companion, I was shocked to learn that the Minnesota State Fair serves strange, unhealthy food. Of course, I had to have some. Along with Lingonberry ice cream and any kind of meat on a stick, you can purchase chocolate covered bacon. That's right. Bacon covered in chocolate. I consulted some reliable Minnesotans (is there any other kind?) and, yes, it is true. I think you know what happened next.

Chocolate Covered Bacon

Chocolate Covered Bacon

Some tricks that I learned.

1) Russian beer, preferably Baltika, helps. Seven or higher is recommended.

Baltika 7

2) Also recommended - learning how to pour a pitcher. (Geez, Regan, it's like you never went to college or something.)


3) Cook the bacon until crispy

4) It's actually a little difficult to get the chocolate onto the bacon without a vat of chocolate for a true "dip".

5) It's really not that bad.

If you would like some bacon related items, please go here.

For a little Southern flavor, we also fried some pickle slices. Dom made the batter with flour, a few eggs, too much red pepper, salt and Baltika 7.

Fried Pickles

Because of my taunts regarding his baking skills, Dom decided to shame me by making a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. The recipe is a basic Betty Crocker creation. At first, it looks a little bit like Strawberry Celery Pie:

SR Pie

In the end, though, it came out very well. Good job, Dom!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Now I'm off to unclog my arteries.

Sunday, August 31, 2008



Every year at about this time chili enthusiasts flock to a small, dusty town in New Mexico called Hatch. (The peppers are much more interesting than the town, trust me.) If you aren't lucky enough to to go to Hatch, they ship tons of the chilies to overpriced gourmet grocery stores all over the country. We love those grocery stores. We decided to take advantage of the large shipment of these chilies and hatch it up!

Although not as big as the Serrano pepper, a decent sized hatch chili can be stuffed. Dom found some nutria taco meat in a box.


Add some pine nuts, cook it, and stuff it in the pepper. After some time on the grill, they were done. How about some sauce?

Hatch Sauce

Hatch Chili Sauce:

Roasted Hatch Chilies, 2 Cups
Chicken or Vegetable Broth, 2 Cups
One Onion, chopped
Garlic, chopped

For the love of God, remove the seeds from the peppers and then chop them. Saute chopped onion in olive oil until translucent. Add a tablespoon or so of the flour and stir. Add the hatch chilies and broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the sauce thickens. Add salt an pepper to taste.

Hatch chilies are not mild. Even the mild ones are not mild. This sauce is probably best enjoyed on something like plain chicken breast.

Chicken and Stuffed Peppers

We tried a very dry French Colombard that's made by Dry Comal Creek wineries in New Braunfels, TX. It was just the right wine to put out the fires in our mouths.


Monday, August 18, 2008

We're Back!!


Product Review: Annie Chun's Sushi Kit

It looked so good sitting on the shelf that I had to try it. The kit is small but it comes with everything you need - the seaweed wrap and the rice. You provide the innards and you have yourself some sushi!

Pro: It was cheap ($3.89 a box)
Con: The rolls are very small and you can't stuff much in them.
Pro: We had Polish Cherry Vodka for dessert.

It's been quiet here at NGCCOT, but we are back! You can look forward to, or dread, future posts. In the meantime, please enjoy some wonderful food photography from Sunday.



Nice Rack:

Rack of Lamb2





Green Beans:

Green Beans