bacon

Potato Salad With Lemon and Mint Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on August 25, 2016

Accidental Locavore Baby PotatoesPotato salad is a summer staple.

As good as potato salad is, the Accidental Locavore is not a huge fan of potato salad with either mayo or hard-boiled eggs. When I saw this from the NY Times, it looked like a nice change from my go-to French potato salad. Serves 4:

Accidental Locavore Potato Salad With Lemon and MintPotato Salad With Lemon and Mint Recipe

  • 2 pounds small waxy white or yellow potatoes, roughly about the same size
  • Juice of 1 lemon, more for serving
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts, more for serving
  • ¼ cup torn mint leaves, more for serving
  • ¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper, more for serving

Cut the potatoes in half, or quarters if they’re large. Put potatoes in a large pot with enough salted water to cover by 1”. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice, salt and olive oil.

Transfer hot potatoes to a large bowl and toss with dressing, scallions, mint and Turkish pepper. Let cool to room temperature. Just before serving, top with additional lemon juice, scallions, mint and Aleppo pepper.

My verdict: Easy and good! Will they take the place of the French potato salad? Probably not, but how can you compete with bacon (and bacon fat)???

If you don’t have Aleppo, or ¼ teaspoon of some exotic pepper (because it’s soooo worth it to go out for 1/4 teaspoon of anything), just use freshly ground black pepper.

Other herbs to consider would have to include sage, rosemary and tarragon – essentially anything fresh.

I always cut the potatoes before boiling.  It saves time, both in cooking and in waiting for them to cool enough to cut. However, you must start the potatoes in cool water. Otherwise they’ll never cook evenly all the way through and especially with potato salad, you don’t want them mushy on the outside.

What’s your favorite potato salad?

 

 

 

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Bacon Jam

by Anne Maxfield on June 23, 2016

Accidental Locavore Bacon JamWhile we all know that everything * is better with bacon, some things just make you beg for more – bacon jam is one of those things. The Accidental Locavore isn’t sure where she first had it, but it was really, really good.

And versatile.

And easy to make.

And I had a whole bunch of lardons from recent batches of bacon.

This, from Ottolenghi, makes about a pint jar. You’ll run everything through a blender or food processor so don’t worry about being too neat with the pieces.

  • 10 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2” strips
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (if needed)
  • 2 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup bourbon (or scotch)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

Accidental Locavore Bacon Jam PrepCook the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, until golden brown and starting to crisp, about 12 minutes.

Transfer to a small bowl, keeping a tablespoon of fat in the pan (if there’s not enough fat, add some olive oil). Fry the shallots, garlic and spices for a minute, then add the bourbon, maple syrup and mustard.

Leave to reduce for a minute, turn the heat to low and add the vinegar, sugar and bacon. Cook, stirring for a minute, until the liquid is thick and coating the bacon.

Put all the contents of the pan into a small food processor or blender (better) and process to a rough paste. Store in a glass jar in the fridge or serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Bacon Jam ProcessedMy verdict: What’s not to like? Try it on a grilled cheese sandwich, hamburger, scrambled eggs, crackers with goat cheese, etc.

Comment and let me know what you use it on.

 

*except for bacon swizzle sticks plunged into cold Bloody Marys and bacon/chocolate bars.

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Hot Caramelized Onion and Bacon Dip

by Anne Maxfield on March 17, 2016

Accidental Locavore Onion Dip CookedHow could you resist a dip that has caramelized onions, bacon and crème fraîche? The Accidental Locavore couldn’t and an invitation to friend’s for dinner gave me the perfect opportunity. From Vermont Creamery, it served 6:

  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Pinch of flakey sea salt (like Maldon)
  • 1 tablespoon sherry (optional)
  • Dash of hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Pepper to taste
  • fresh thyme for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°. In a cast iron skillet, or other heavy sauté pan, cook bacon until nice and crispy. With a slotted spoon, transfer it to a paper towel to drain and cool.

In the same skillet, in the bacon fat, cook your onions, sugar and salt slowly over medium heat until the onions are nicely caramelized. This usually takes about 20 minutes depending on how thinly sliced the onions are (don’t rush it!).

Remove from heat, splash in the sherry and hot sauce if you’re using them, stir to combine.

Crumble the bacon into the skillet, add in the Gruyère, crème fraîche, mayonnaise, pepper and mix everything well.

Bake the skillet of dip for 10 to 20 minutes, until it’s golden and bubbly. Remove from oven, allow to cool and set for about 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh thyme, serve with pita chips or nice crusty bread and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Bacon Cheese DipEveryone’s verdict: Well, it was polished off in 5 minutes…We served it with some local flatbreads, but any sort of sturdy cracker or chip would work well. Even though our liquor cabinet is crammed with booze, surprisingly there was no sherry. I tossed in a bit of bourbon along with the hot sauce and it was fine. Using homemade mayo is always better than the jarred stuff and if I’d had time, ditto the crème fraiche, but the bacon was also mine. Sautéing some mushrooms would be a nice if unneeded addition. Next time, I’m going to chop up a little more thyme and add it in with the onions – they work well together and I wanted a little more thyme in the dip. While I cooked everything in my cast iron pan, I baked it in an oven-proof soufflé dish, as the pan was too big for the volume of dip.

Save this recipe for your next football (or anything else) party, but you might want to double it…

 

 

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A Day With a Pig and Three Chefs

by Anne Maxfield on March 7, 2016

Accidental Locavore PigsSaturday, the Accidental Locavore and about a dozen people watched three chefs tackle a pig. It was part of a two-day program Slow Food Hudson Valley put on to promote snout-to-tail eating (which reminds me–what happened to the pig’s tail?) or “butchering, preserving and sausage making a heritage pig.

Accidental Locavore Tom and Half PigWe were in a freezing cold farmstand on Kesike Farms in Red Hook NY, watching Chef Tom work his way through half of a hundred-pound pig. He did it with very few tools, and the ones that he’d chosen were all easily acquired, if not already in your arsenal. For the whole pig all he used were two boning knives, two hand saws and a sharpening steel. One of the hand saws, a Japanese, flexible bladed one, was a recent purchase from Lowes. In case you’re interested in breaking down any sort of animal (bigger than a chicken), remember knife first, then saw.

As he went through the pig he used a technique he referred to as “seam butchering” or finding the seams between the bones or muscles and using them as reference points. Between American and various European methods, there are a lot of ways to butcher a pig—choices you get to make as you cruise along.

Once Chef Tom got through cutting the pig into his basic cuts, he went back section by section, boning almost everything except the baby back ribs. He showed up his way of tying up various hams and roasts. While he was working, there was a lively discussion of the best ways to use each of the parts. Neck bones (which I forgot to ask for) are supposed to make your regular tomato sauce just amazing! Cumin, for some reason, played a major role in almost everything—it was simply the joke of the day.

After Tom was finished with his business, Chef Dan whisked away a lot of pork for stew and got to work, with help from some CIA students, on our lunch, a southwestern pork stew/chile, which was great and might actually have had some cumin in it…

Accidental Locavore John and TomThen Chef John stepped up to demo how to prep the various pork products for bacon, sausages and headcheese (yes, you use the whole head). He made a brine, using some for a loin and injected another piece with brine, explaining when you would inject versus when you would submerge. The liquid injected, should be 10% of the weight of the meat you’re using. The head and feet also went into the brine. We’ll see what happens to them next week.

Accidental Locavore Injecting BrineAfter the brining, John showed us how to do a bacon cure. It’s essentially a dry rub with salt, sugar, and whatever spices you want to add to the mix. You coat the bacon with the cure, cover it (or put it in a Ziploc) and refrigerate. Every other day, you need to flip the meat so it gets cured evenly. Another thing to look forward to next Saturday!

Accidental Locavore John Making SausagesFrom there we went on to making sausages. When you make sausages, it’s really important to cook and taste the meat before you stuff it. I always thought you just made a mini patty and fried it. No, no, no. Chef John said it’s not a good way to see how the finished product will actually taste and the texture is completely different. His way? Make a sausage-sized log, wrap it tightly in Saran Wrap, and poach it until it’s done. Then taste and adjust the seasonings. We ended the day, tasting his sweet Italian sausages and a southwestern green chile sausage. Both were really great and even better? We got to take some home.
Accidental Locavore Testing SausageI can’t wait for next Saturday! Lots of smoking going on next week. And we’ll get to try our bacon, make some tasso, have some ribs, even some headcheese. Sound tempting? There are spots available so come join us–Slow Food Hudson Valley has all the info.

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