Because the best things in life are simple

Tag: bacon

Pub Kettle Chips

Pub Kettle Chips

(Above: These chips would go great with watching a football game or just watching the snow fall.)

This was an appetizer eureka!

It isn’t often that I strike gold while dining out but I did on a recent visit to Providence, Rhode Island. By striking gold, I mean tasting something so incredibly delicious and yet so simple to cook it makes you think “Why didn’t I think of that?” This happened on a visit to Union Station Brewery in downtown Providence. The dish? Pub Kettle Chips.

For a mere $7.99 you get a large platter of homemade kettle potato chips with melted cheddar cheese, bacon and sour cream. Mmmm! Goes well with beer (but then again, what doesn’t?)

I recreated them at home by doing the following:

Pub Kettle Chips (From Union Station Brewery in Providence, RI)

December 17, 2013
: Easy

By:

Ingredients
  • Potato Chips (Use kettle chips, such as Utz Mystic Gourmet Dark Russet Potato Chips.)
  • Extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Bacon, cooked and chopped into pieces
  • Scallions, chopped
  • Sour Cream
Directions
  • Step 1 Spread a layer of potato chips on a cookie sheet.
  • Step 2 Sprinkle with extra-sharp cheddar cheese and bake in 350 degree oven until cheese melts and chips are hot.
  • Step 3 Cook bacon and crumble it or cut it into small pieces and then sprinkle on top of chips.
  • Step 4 Sprinkle with chopped scallions. And put a couple of large dollops of sour cream on top.

 

Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara

You can use bacon or pancetta. I used pancetta here.
You can use bacon or pancetta. I used pancetta here.

So you’ve had your fill of corned beef and cabbage. And probably eaten too much Irish soda bread or drank too many beers.

It’s time to travel south to explore some Italian cuisine and this dish is an old standard: as warm and fuzzy and comfortable as a glass of brandy on a cold day.

I got this recipe from Rita’s Catering. They used to have a small private restaurant, by reservation only, in Chelsea, Mass. where they served multiple course dinners at a set price. They now have their headquarters in Everett, Mass.  and I’m not sure if the dining hall in Chelsea is still open.

Whatever the case may be this recipe can’t fail to please. It’s easy to make, doesn’t take much time, and is delicious (although a bit fatty). It’s perfect for a cold, rainy day in March.

Ingredients:

  • Butter (1 tbl.)
  • Linguini (1 lb.)
  • Bacon or Pancetta (minced, 1 lb.)
  • Onion (1 small)
  • Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese (grated, 2 tbl.)
  • Eggs (2, large)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • Parsley (a small bunch, minced)

What I did:

Saute the onion in butter until soft, just turning color.

Add minced bacon or pancetta and saute until soft, not crisp.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook linguini until “al dente.”

Beat 2 eggs, add grated cheese and mix well.

Add pepper and 1 tbl. of minced parsley to bacon and onion in the pan. Stir to cook.

The rendered oils from the bacon or pancetta are a major flavor ingredient of this recipe so do not remove the oil from the saute pan.

Quickly drain the linguini and place in a large heated bowl.

Add egg-cheese mixture to saute pan (removed now from heat) and stir well.

The heat of the ingredients and the pan will cook the egg somewhat, so keep the mixture moving.

Taste, add salt if needed.

Add mixture to linguini and serve immediately.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

Nothing But Farm Fresh Meat For Six Months

Nothing But Farm Fresh Meat For Six Months

The meat from the farm comes frozen in individual packets.
The meat from the farm comes frozen in individual packets.

Six months ago we joined a meat CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). During that time all of our meat came from the Houde Family Farm in northeast Vermont.

The meat has been tastier, and I believe healthier, than anything you can get in a supermarket. Each month we’ve had tender cuts of steak, veal cutlets, lamp chops and the most delicious bacon delivered to our door.

Home delivery is a real plus as most CSAs (both meat, produce and fish ones) require you to pick up your weekly or monthly allotment at a drop-off point.

The cost per pound is higher than supermarket prices ($7.50) but I don’t believe we’re spending more money on meat. Perhaps, we’ve cut back on our meat consumption (I haven’t kept score). But I don’t buy meat anywhere else and my freezer is always filled with plenty of meat.

The types of cuts you get varies from week to week. Each delivery is comprised of 50 percent higher priced meats such as steaks and perhaps an occasional rack of lamb and 50 percent lower priced meats, such as ground beef, pork and bacon.

You can also choose not to get certain types of meat. For instance,  if you don’t like lamb (and I’m not sure why you wouldn’t) or veal (are you insane?) you can specify that when you buy your share.

The deal is you have to pay up front for your meat share. This allows the small independent farmer to plan his business better.

Houde Farm now offers four month plans and you can choose to get 10, 15 or 20 pounds delivered each month. In Massachusetts they deliver to Andover, Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge, Lexington, Lynnfield, Lynn, Malden, Marblehead, Medford, Melrose, Nahant, Peabody, Reading, Salem, Somerville, Stoneham, Swampscott, Wakefield, Waltham, Wilmington, Winchester and Woburn.

You can also order extras each month for an additional cost. Extras include farm fresh eggs (much better tasting than supermarket eggs), pork roasts, honey, and jam.

Surprisingly, I think the most notable difference between farm fresh meat and supermarket meat is in the lesser-priced meats. The hamburger, ground veal and bacon are more flavorful. And the pork roasts, divine.

Not too many independent farmers sell chicken because they cost a lot to produce, but Houde Farm started selling chickens this month (more on that in another post).

Meanwhile, consider doing yourself and an independent farmer a favor. Look into CSAs in your area and/or shop at farmer’s markets.

The season for locally grown, fresh produce is upon us and I can’t wait to finish off a succulent steak dinner with a serving of shortcake topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

A Gift: Smothered Escarole (Scarola Affogata)

A Gift: Smothered Escarole (Scarola Affogata)

This side dish marries well with drier foods, such as roasts and fried chicken.
This side dish marries well with drier foods, such as roasts and fried chicken.

I came home the other day and found a plastic bag filled with four heads of escarole tied to my back fence. There was no note: just the mystery lettuce left hanging there.

I didn’t bring it in right away. After all, I live in the city and who knows what crazy person with questionable hygiene might have left it there.

But soon the mystery was solved as I checked my answering machine. My neighbor, Nina (known as “Mama Nina” to her grandchildren), left a message saying her cousin brought her a box of escarole and she didn’t know what to do with all. She suggested I could use it in a variety of dishes, including a fine escarole soup.

Instead I headed to my cookbooks and found one for “Smothered Escarole,” in “La Cucina Di Lidia, Recipes and Memories from Italy’s Adriatic Coast” by Lidia Bastianich and Jay Jacobs. It sounded good, was simple, and she suggested it be served with drier foods such as roast beef or fried chicken.

It went well with the roast beef I made last night for dinner. It tasted a little bitter, a little savory sweet.

Ingredients/Shopping List:

  • Escarole (1 pound, about 2 medium heads)
  • Garlic (About 6 cloves, crushed)
  • Olive oil (About 3 tbsp.)
  • Salt (1/2 tsp.)
  • Hot red pepper flakes ( 1/4 tsp.)
  • Fresh black pepper (About 4 twists of the mill)
  • Bacon or sausage, cooked. (Optional; I used about 1/4 pound of bacon I had leftover in my refrigerator)

What I did:

Remove the outer leaves of escarole if damaged or discolored (Nina’s escarole was fresh and beautiful, without discoloration or wilted leaves). Cut off the bases and wash the leaves twice in abundant cold water and then drain.

In a large pot, saute the garlic in oil until golden, but not brown. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and cook over moderate heat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat. Discard the garlic and serve immediately.

(Note: Lidia writes that when she was a child, she would often eat this as a sandwich between two slices of thick Italian bread. And if you pack it for lunch, it tastes even better as the bread absorbs some of the vegetable juices.)

Find more recipes in the Food section.

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