Coming Up – Food from down in the Holler.

In the next couple of days I will be preparing one of my favorite meals. In spite of the fact that the meal is ‘virtually’ meatless, this is not the meal for those looking to cut back on trans fats.

Down Home

This meal and some of its recipes are rooted in my Tennessee Appalachian heritage. This is what you fix when money is short and not much is left in the larder.

The meal consists of Parsley Potatoes, Kidney Beans, Wilted Lettuce, and Cornbread. I haven’t decided yet on dessert, but it will probably be Banana Pudding.

I will do a post on each of the dishes as I prepare them, except for the Kidney Beans (They come right out of a can and I add some bacon fat for better flavor).

Be prepared for some things that are different from what you might expect.  For example, our family recipe for Cornbread has neither flour nor sugar in it.  Some politically correct person might today praise it as gluten-free, but I really don’t give a darned about gluten or much of anything else that is currently “IN”.  I am all about texture and taste.

I hope you will find the posts interesting and tasty.

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Bacon, Egg and Toast Cups

The Finished Product

Try cooked, crumbled sausage in place of bacon or make a vegetarian version with sauteed spinach. Dress things up with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield Makes 6
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 Ingredients

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 slices white or whole-wheat sandwich bread
6 slices bacon
6 large eggs
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions

1.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter 6 standard muffin cups. With a rolling pin, flatten bread slices slightly and, with a 4 1/4-inch cookie cutter, cut into 8 rounds. Cut each round in half, then press 2 halves into each muffin cup, overlapping slightly and making sure bread comes up to edge of cup. Use extra bread to patch any gaps. Brush bread with remaining butter.0

Bread, then Cheese, then Bacon, then Egg

2.
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium, until almost crisp, 4 minutes, flipping once. (It will continue to cook in the oven.)
Sprinkle some grated cheese in the bottom of each cup
Lay 1 bacon slice in each bread cup and crack an egg over each. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until egg whites are just set, 20 to 25 minutes. Run a small knife around cups to loosen toasts. Serve immediately.

Serve Immediately

Cook’s Note

Standard muffin pans come in 6- or 12-cup size; if baking 6 items in a 12-cup pan, leave empty space in between. Nonstick pans are nice but not essential. Beware of very thin pans, which often lead to burning. Place pans on a baking sheet to make them easier to get in and out of the oven.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.

Also adapted from Steamy Kitchen: http://steamykitchen.com/16983-bacon-egg-and-toast-cups.html

Chocolate Chip Cookies – Fridge to Oven

Baking the Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies

The cookie dough, from yesterday’s blog, has been resting in
the refrigerator for 24 hours.  It is  finally time to have some cookies.

Note:  There are two  schools of thought at this point.  Some  folks, like me, bake the

cookies  right away with dough fresh from the fridge. Others set out the dough and wait  for it to come to room temperature. Take your pick.

This is the easy part

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Remove one of the packages of cookie dough
from the refrigerator.

Use Parchment Paper if you have it.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie.

Cut off some dough

When cold, the dough is dense and hard.  As you can see I just take a large knife and cut a generous portion of the dough from the mound and then take some of the cut off dough and, with my hands – as if with modeling clay, I push the dough into a ball.  Be careful not to actually work the dough as it will change the nature of the cookie.

Generous Golf Balls

Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes.  At my altitude (mile high Denver) I make no changes in the recipe, but find that 16 minutes gives me softer cookies and 19 to 20 minutes gives me solid cookies.

Sprinkle lightly with sea salt for a "Zing"

Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more.

Cool for 10 minutes (all this waiting is crazy!)

Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.

YUM!

Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Making Jacques Torres’ Famous Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I ride a trike on the bike trails of Colorado (not single track) and got dubbed the Trike Animal after a bike rider followed me up a long hill and failing to catch me until I stopped at the top, he said, “You’re an animal on that thing!”

I like cooking and baking, but have quickly learned that baking is different in that it is quite scientific. Many of the dry ingredients in baking are measured by weight (by the pro’s) rather than volume. So they give ingredient amounts in ounces or grams, rather than cups. A cup of flour can vary significantly depending on how compressed it is in the cup, but the weight will always be the correct amount.

My sister gave me a quality kitchen scale for my recent birthday and so now I can try to make Chef Torres’ cookies and other recipes by preparing the recipe the correct way.

Other birthday presents are also used in the following preparations and so this first post is for the family to show them how their presents get used and to say, “Thank You.”

PREPARATION
Get everything out on the kitchen table …-

What all do I need?

and more preparation …

I'm sure I have forgotten something

The scale, the measuring spoons, the stand holding my iPad, the mixing bowls and all of the Chocolate are presents.

Sifting the dry ingredients by whisking!

I will provide a link to the recipe at the end of this post.

The recipe calls for two different kinds of four, cake flour and bread flour. After weighing the flours and adding the other dry ingredients I whisk the dry ingredients rather than sifting them.  It is quicker, easier and much less messy.Sifting the dry ingredients by whisking!

In addition to weighing the correct amounts of two kinds of flour, the brown sugar and the chocolate chips (pieces) are also weighed.

Weighing the brown sugar

Now we cream the butter, add the sugars and continue mixing for about 5 minutes. The eggs are added and mixing continues until they are fully incorporated.

Mix in dry ingredients with as little mixing as possible

The recipe says 5 to 10 seconds to mix in the dry ingredients.  I just can’t do it that fast.

Now for the chocolate.  You can mix the chocolate pieces in by hand, or, I use dough hooks.

Add the Chocolate Pieces

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 to 30 hours.  I wrap it in multiple packages so that I don’t have to bake it all at once.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

So at this time tomorrow I will remove one of the packages from the ‘fridge and bake at 350 degrees for 19 minutes.

Time moves slow when waiting for Cookies!!

CLICK HERE for the link to the recipe.