Tags: #BreaingBread, Arugula, Bacon, Bread Baking Society, Cheddar Cheese, Cheese, eggs, focaccia, Roasted Peppers, Yeast
There’s a new bread challenge in town. It’s called the Bread Baking Society (Twitter handle @Breaking_Bread – hashtag #BreakingBread), – founded by Lora from Cake Duchess and Shulie from Food Wanderings. This month the bread they asked everyone to bake is focaccia and of course, I wanted to take part. Thankfully I got it in on the last day, last minute, of the month. Once again, there was humidity, but not as bad as last week. But, no braiding or shaping of focaccia – just dimpling (awww) – so humidity foiled. Ha!
Of course, there was free creative reign, so the variety of focaccias linked up, sweet and savory, is pretty amazing, from sweet potato to southern charm.
I made a Focaccia McMuffin. I call it that because it’s composed of bacon, eggs and cheddar encased in dough (the Mcmuffin part). What makes it kind of cool is, the eggs are in focaccia wells. I scrunched up 6 large pieces of tin foil into 3-inch balls, coated each one generously with olive oil, then stuck them into the cheese and bacon filled dough before rising. When fully risen, I pressed them down again, and baked the focaccia for 20 or so minutes, then removed the tin foil balls – giving me perfect wells to crack 6 eggs into. I put the focaccia back in the oven for 8 to 10 more minutes, and voila, six perfectly cooked eggs in six bacon – cheese bread squares (when cut), per person.
Of course I had to make it pretty, so before baking the focaccia, I topped it with some roasted red peppers, arugula, more bacon – plus a few drizzles of olive oil. When done, the eggs were seasoned with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and chopped chives.
Finally, I used Nick Malgieri’s focaccia dough in this recipe, which Lora also used. But, due to the damn humidity, I had to add an extra cup of flour because the dough continued to suck up flour while basking in the free sauna the weather provided. I also took down the salt because of the bacon..bacon = salty. I’m sure Nick wouldn’t mind..he’s a pretty awesome pastry chef and guy, and he left a comment on THIS post back in 2010…thanks to Meaghan from The Decorated Cookie, alerting him to the post. Cool, huh?
I was pretty stoked since I’m such a fan girl when it comes to my favorite chefs. As you can see, I wrote a novel in response to his comment and it kind of makes me cringe. But, I won’t delete it because it was a genuine moment, and genuine moments can be embarrassing at times.
So, uh, make this focaccia if you can. Yes, it’s unusual, and yes, many Italians would probably gasp in horror at the site of it, but it’s really fun and delicious (this is all filler text since there used to be a story here.)
More filler. Not much to say. *twiddling thumbs*.
Bacon, Cheddar and ‘Eggs in Wells’ Focaccia
Basic focaccia recipe adapted from How to Bake, by Nick Malgieri, with my revisions
Copyright (c) Nick Malgieri 1995, All Rights Reserved
6 individual servings
1 1/3 cups warm tap water (about 110 degrees)
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour ( I ended up using 1 more cup due to humidity)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
6 to 8 oz cheddar cheese, cubed
10 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese plus 6 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese for the egg wells (1 tablespoon per well)
4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced (optional, or add your favorite vegetable(s)*
arugula leaves (optional, or use your favorite greens)*
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium or large eggs
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
*If you don’t want to add greens or veggies of any sort, top with extra bacon and cheese. Herbs would be nice too.
101/2 x 151/2-inch jelly roll and parchment paper
1. In a small bowl,water sprinkle the yeast over the water. Add the 3 tablespoons olive oil and stir.
2. In large bowl, combine the flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt; whisk together or mix together on low speed in your mixer.
3. Stir the yeast, water and olive oil into the flour and salt until you have a dry dough. Slowly add the 1 1/3 cup of water while mixing, until you have a soft, but slightly raggedy dough. You may or may not use all the water.
4. Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
5. When dough has doubled, fold it onto itself, then flatten it on a floured board. Scatter the cheddar cheese cubes and 2 pieces of chopped bacon all over the flattened dough. Fold it over a few times, adding flour as needed. Use a bench scraper because you will run into stickiness. Keep folding and kneading until the bacon and cheese is disseminated throughout the dough evenly. If bacon and/or cheese pops out during kneading, just shove it back in. Let rest, covered for 5 to 10 minutes to relax the gluten.
6. While the dough is resting, oil the jelly roll pan, then cut a piece of parchment to fit. The oil will keep the parchment paper down. Flatten the ball of dough onto the parchment lined pan and spread it as best you can until it almost reaches all four corners. If it resists, let it rest a few minutes, then start pushing and spreading again. Tuck in any cheese or bacon that pops out.
7. Make 6 tin foil balls..about 3 to 4-inches each, and coat each one with olive or any oil, generously (I used spray olive oil) Press each tin foil ball into dough, deep..two on each row, equally apart.
8. Cover pan with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.
9. Prehaet oven to 425 degrees F. Once risen, press the foil balls down again (they rise with the dough), then dimple focaccia and drizzle with olive oil. Top with remaining chopped bacon, pepper strips, and arugula.
10. Bake at 425F for 20 minutes, then remove pan from oven..keeping oven at 425F, and pull out foil balls. Sprinkle a 1 tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese in each well. Crack each egg, one at a time, into a ramekin or small bowl, then slowly and carefully pour each egg into a well, until all six are filled.
11. Place pan back in the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes, until the whites are cooked and the yolks are still jiggly, like a sunny-side up egg.
12. Remove pan from oven, sprinkle all over with remaining shredded cheddar cheese (the heat will melt it), and salt and pepper each egg. Sprinkle with chopped chives, if desired. Serve immediately, cutting the focaccia into 6 squares, each containing an egg. Gently reheat leftovers, as not to overcook the egg.
Tags: Bacon, Bacon Lardons, Brie, Brown butter Apple Sauce, cooking, Potato Rosti, recipes, Roasted red Peppers, Rosti, Scallions
Happy Valentines Day, err, Eve, everyone! I had this post scheduled to go up at 5pm last night. Apparently I didn’t use GMT, so it’s now the 15th. Well, it’s still Valentine’s Day on the West Coast! I hope you all had an amazing day and are now getting your lips kissed off – or eating chocolate.
For this month’s Daring Cooks Challenge, we were asked to make fried patties of some sort, and one of the recipes offered to us was potato rosti, which is sort of a mix between a giant potato latke and hash browns. I added bacon lardons, scallions and brie to mine. It was suggested that the use of a cast iron skillet was ideal, and I have three; an 8-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch, all well-seasoned, or so I thought.
Once the underside of my rosti was cooked, some careful inspection revealed there was no way I was flipping this baby over without it falling apart. SO, I stuck it under the broiler to finish it and brown the top. We cut slices out of the pan, and it came out well, but it still would have broken into pieces had I tried to flip it.
I topped some slices with a sunny side up egg with roasted red bell pepper hearts (cutting the egg into a heart shape proved difficult since the white was so delicate and thin in some areas, but I did my best, and I think it still resembles somewhat of a heart ??). For the rest of the rosti, I made a super quick brown butter chunky applesauce to top it, which was absolutely wonderful.
The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax (my pal) & Lis (one of my wifeypoos) and they chose to present Patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness! We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties.
With all that said, you have got to try my quick brown butter pan apple sauce, whether or not you make the rosti. It came to me on a whim and I nailed it in one shot, which isn’t usually the case, so I’m a proud mama..sort of.
Potato Rosti Napoleon? I sandwiched three slices of rosti with some extra brie and put it in the oven for a few minutes, then topped it with a quick pan brown butter apple sauce. A glorious tasting mess!
If you have a few minutes, please check out some of the unique, creative and delicious patties my fellow Daring Cooks came up with, by clicking on the links to their blogs, HERE. For a bounty of recipes for all kinds of patties, from the challenge, click HERE.
Rest in Peace Whitney Houston. The tragic loss of a beautiful woman with the voice of angel.
- 2½ lbs russet potatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons feshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch, or use all-purpose flour
- 1 lb slab bacon without the rind, or thick cut bacon
- 7 oz wheel of Brie or any other good melting cheese you like. Great with cheddar!
- 1 bunch scallions, sliced, dark ends saved for garnish
- 3 tablespoons oil, for frying
- Dice bacon into cubes and fry until fat is rendered and it's a deep rust color. Strain off bacon grease and save for another use. Set aside on a paper towel in a bowl.
- Cut white, papery rind off of brie (you can keep it onI prefer it off). Dice into small cubes, or shred, if brie is cold and firm.
- Slice white and light green parts on the diagonal. Save dark green slices, also sliced on the diagonal, for garnish.
- Grate the peeled potatoes with a box grater or a food processor shredding disk.5. Wrap the grated potato in a cloth and squeeze dry, you will get a lot of liquid over ½ cup, discard liquid since it is full of potato starch. Return dried potato to bowl add the egg, brie, bacon, scallions, cornstarch, pepper, and salt. Mix until combined.
- Preheat a frying pan (a well seasoned cast iron is best, 8 to 10-inch) until medium hot, add 2 teaspoons of oil wait until oil shimmers.
- Place half of mixture into the pan, flatten with a spoon until you get a smooth flat surface. Lower heat to medium.
- Fry for 8-10 minutes (check at 6 minutes) the first side, flip by sliding the rösti onto a plate then use another plate invert the rösti then slide it back into the pan, then fry the other side about 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Repeat to make another rosti.
- ¼ cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick - 4 tablespoons - 2 oz)
- 4 large Granny Smith (or any tart apples), apples - peeled, cored and chopped into cubes.
- ¼ to ½ cup granulated sugar, entirely depending on how sweet you like it
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 good pinch kosher salt
- squeeze of lemon juice (taste to see if it needs it)
- In a large saute pan, melt the butter on medium low heat. Raise the heat to medium and cook the butter until the the milk solids rise to the top and the liquid beneath the solids is light golden brown.
- Add the chopped apples to the browned butter and saute until the apples start to soften. Sprinkle on the sugar and let the apples caramelize in the sugar, stirring until the apples are completely caramelized and soft Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon, vanilla bean or extract, and kosher salt.
- Pour the apple mixture into a bowl, scraping out all the caramel goodness left in the pan. Mash with a fork for chunky apple sauce, or give it a whirl in the food processor (or use a blender or stick blender) for a smooth apple sauce. Squeeze in some lemon juice to taste, if needed. When cool, place in an airtight container in the fridge - it should last about 2 weeks, or immediately serve warm over potato rosti.
Tags: Bacon, baking, Bell Peppers, Breakfast, Breakfast Cups, Brie, Cream, eggs, Fontina, French Toast, Ham, Leeks, Muffin Tin Eggs, Prosciutto, recipes
I’d like to preface this entry with an announcement. I’ve just joined the social network world. See the little birdie right underneath where it says Follow on the right? I’m now on Twitter. Will you follow me? This way you’ll know about giveaways the minute I post them and you get to enjoy my quirky and deep thoughts on food, life, food, entertainment, food, grievances, food, whining, food ad nauseam.
Have you ever gone out to breakfast, ordered bacon/ham/sausage and eggs/omelet or pancakes/french toast, then after eating, craved the other? I learned from this, and now whenever we go out for breakfast, I always order some egg preparation with a salty pork side, usually bacon, AND two pancakes or french toast. This way, I’ve satisfied all spectrums of my tastebuds and I’m good to go (translation – pure, unadulterated, gluttony).
Have you ever dipped your bacon in maple syrup (what’s with all the questions in this entry?)? I bet 95% of you have and love it. I think it was this practice that led to candied bacon and bacon in desserts. I’m not sure I can do bacon in desserts yet, as there’s something about meat in let’s say a cupcake or a donut, that still hasn’t quite settled in yet. However, I’m still a dipper, and during those bacon and egg breakfasts, I always divvy up the bacon between both plates – one side for maple syrup dipping, one side for salty, savory egg yolk dipping.
This month’s Daring Cooks challenge is to serve some kind of meal in an edible vessel. Taco salad in a deep-fried tortilla shell, bread bowls to serve soup in, stuffed bell peppers, oven-baked shredded parmesan cheese flats called frico’s (pronounced freak-O) . shaped into a bowl and filled with whatever suits your mood etc. You get the gist, you can have your bowl and eat it too.
Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! is our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!
Welllll..I wouldn’t say my cups are the most creative, considering eggs baked in cups, especially muffin tins, have been done.do.death. I bet just about every Mommy blog has at least one muffin tin egg recipe because kids adore compact, portable food. How-ev-er, in the words of the oh mighty Emeril Lagasse, words I swore I’d never use on this blog, but it really fits the moment, I kicked it up a notch , or two or three notches, rather.
First off, I made two bowls. The first, the eggs are cracked over a small wedge of brie in a french toast cup wrapped in partially cooked bacon, then baked. The second, thinly sliced prosciutto holds a creamy leek and red bell pepper saute, which is topped with a little shredded fontina and an egg. I got part of this idea from a Rachael Ray show several years ago, and tucked it away in my lobes. Wow, ‘kick it up a notch’ and Rachael Ray in one entry. Sans Chopped, I haven’t been into TFN for quite some time.
Sweet and savory and savory! Take your pick, a creamy, filled, cheesy omelette flavor, plus a yolky texture. AND then, oh, yes, THEN..a bite of crispy prosciutto OR a melty layer of brie topped with egg, nestled in a crisp french toast cup wrapped in bacon, a light drizzle of maple syrup on the edges – sweet and savory glee.
Two whole breakfast offerings in two edible cups so you never have to make separate dishes again, unless you just prefer it that way. Most normal people do, but you have to try this, seriously. Look at it this way, by combining a full breakfast in a standard size muffin cup, it’s much less than two whole dishes, so that’s less calories and fat, right? I ate two of these – almost three, of both. Gluttony rears it’s ugly head again.
Wow, is it just me, or have I lost my chattiness? I used to talk about more than the food. I’m in a wordless pit right now..writer’s block of a sort..ARGHH.
Prosciutto Breakfast Cups
Idea from Rachael Ray, with my revisions
2 tablespoons butter
2 leeks, light green and white parts cleaned and thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, or half a large one, diced
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 cup shredded fontina cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer)
12 very thin slices prosciutto or ham (try to use a less salty prosciutto like di parma or san daniele)
salt and black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray the insides of a standard 6-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Line each cup with two slices of ham or prosciutto – .enough to cover bottom and sides of muffin well, folding if you have to.
2. In a medium-size skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the leekss and bell peppers to the pan – sauté 5-6 minutes, until very soft. Add the cream and cook until thick and reduced, about 5 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
3. Spoon a heaping tabslespoon of the leek – bell pepper saute into the bottom of the prosciutto lined cup, then 1 tabslespoon of the cheese on top of it. Press down a little to make room, then crack an egg into each well.
4. Season the tops of the eggs with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the muffin tin on a baking sheet. Transfer sheet to the oven and bake 15 minutes, until the eggs are set, but still ‘yolky’.
5. Remove baking sheet with tin from the oven and allow the baked eggs to cool in the muffin cups for a couple of minutes before removing them from pan.
French Toast Breakfast Cups
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
6 slices Whole Wheat or Whole Grain Bread (I now use this Oatmeal Bread recipe from Red Star Yeast - but any kind of whole wheat or whole grain bread is fine)
6 slices partially cooked bacon (2 minutes in microwave or 10 minutes in a 400 oven)
1 small wheel of brie, cut into 6 equal wedges (I cut off the rind)
salt and pepper to taste
maple syrup or honey
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray the inside of each cup of a 6-cup JUMBO muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Spray really well, as these can stick!
2. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
3. Dip each slice of bread in the egg mixture, then lightly press them into the cups of the muffin tin, squeezing in the middle to make a sort of heart shape to fit.
4. Place a wedge of brie in the bottom of the cup, pressing down lightly. Wrap a slice of the partially cooked bacon around the middle, outside of the french toast, so some if it digs into the wet bread. Crack an egg over each wedge of brie.
5. Place the muffin tin on a baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the bacon and toast are crispy and the egg is set.
6. Allow to cool slightly in the muffin tin before removing them. To serve, drizzle each toast cup lightly with maple syrup or honey, if desired.
This was so much fun, thank you Renata! For some more savory edible container ideas and fillings, click HERE.. To see what my incredibly, creative and talented fellow Daring Cooks came up with, click on the links to their blogs, HERE.